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In fact, he won both his World Series starts for Philadelphia. New York took the other four games.
"Cliff can't do it by himself," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He's only human. If anything goes wrong, he's going against a ballclub that can make you pay."
Lee struggled in August, then had an injection in his aching back and took almost two weeks off before returning to face the Yankees at home on Sept. 12. He allowed two hits in eight-plus innings of a 4-1 win.
In the postseason, he's been nearly perfect, piling up 54 strikeouts while walking only six in 56 1-3 innings. He struck out 21 and did not walk a batter in two starts spanning 16 innings against the Rays.
"I would like to throw a full season without walking anyone. I know that's probably unrealistic, but if you make every single team you face swing their way around the bases, it's going to pay off in the end," said Lee, who also won the regular-season opener at new Yankee Stadium for Cleveland in April 2009.
If the Yankees have their way, this will be the last time they see the 32-year-old Lee until they start throwing money at him this offseason, when he can become a free agent.
But if the Rangers win Monday night, New York would need to take the next three in a row to advance without facing him in a decisive Game 7 at Texas.
"We've faced a lot of pitchers throughout the years that have had great reputations. Reputation doesn't win games," Yankees captain Derek Jeter said. "You still have to go out there and pitch."
Pettitte knows that as well as anybody. At 19-9 with a 3.87 ERA, he holds major league records for wins, starts (41) and innings (256) in the postseason.
"He's been through it so many times, does not become rattled, knows how to prepare for this type of game," Girardi said. "Experience is an important thing when it comes to this time of year, because you don't expect Andy to get too hyped up. He'll be the same guy that he is during the regular season."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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