The Yankees saw Cliff Lee twice in the World Series, and they couldn’t beat him either time. As they prepare to face him tonight in Texas, Lee looms large as a reality they are surely to face — in one form or another — in this year’s postseason.
Lee is one of the top pitchers in baseball, but every contender in the American League — including the Yankees — has a left-handed ace at the top of the rotation.
David Price in Tampa Bay. Jon Lester in Boston. Francisco Liriano in Minnesota. John Danks (and Mark Buehrle) in Chicago. They aren’t all Lee-level pitchers, but the Yankees are almost certain to face a very good lefty at least once, maybe twice, in both the division series and the ALCS.
“I like the lineup that we throw out against lefties,” Joe Girardi said yesterday. “That’s why we made some of the moves, getting Kearns and some of the things that we did. Our lineup can score a lot of runs off anyone.”
Austin Kearns and Marcus Thames are on the roster specifically to help against guys like this. Tonight’s game won’t be an accurate test because Mark Teixeira won’t be here and Jorge Posada seems unlikely to start, but this is the kind of the matchup the Yankees are going to have to deal with in October.