(AP) — Cliff Lee has won his last three starts against the New York Yankees, including the postseason. He might find this one a bit easier.
He’ll try to earn his second win over New York this year and will face a lineup without Mark Teixeira on Wednesday night as the Texas Rangers try for a two-game sweep in this matchup of division leaders.
Lee (10-5, 2.44 ERA) posted both wins for Philadelphia in last year’s World Series with a 2.81 ERA in those starts. He won his first outing against the Yankees (69-43) since the Fall Classic on June 29, scattering eight hits in a 7-4 victory with Seattle.
The left-hander is 2-2 with a 2.63 ERA in six starts with Texas (65-47) as he looks to continue a remarkable streak. He’s pitched at least eight innings in 10 straight outings – the longest run in the majors since Toronto’s Pat Hentgen did it 12 times in a row in 1996.
It’s part of a tremendous season in which Lee leads the AL in ERA and complete games (seven). He’s struck out 126 and walked nine in 155 innings.
“I’m not going to sit here and pat myself on the back for anything,” said Lee after allowing one run in eight innings in a 5-1 victory at Oakland on Friday. “I just want to give my team a chance to win every time I take the mound.”
Teixeira is a .370 hitter against Lee, but is unavailable for this series. The slugger remained home in the New York area after his wife gave birth to the couple’s third child Tuesday.
Derek Jeter is a .387 hitter against Lee while double-play partner Robinson Cano is at the other end of the spectrum with a .227 average.
The Yankees hope Cano will return to the lineup after he did not start Tuesday’s 4-3, 10-inning loss due to a fever and a cold. Ramiro Pena started at second base in his place, but Cano pinch-hit for him in the sixth inning, stayed in the game and went 1 for 2.
Curtis Granderson could return to the lineup despite his .206 average against left-handers. He did not start Tuesday with left-hander C.J. Wilson on the mound for Texas, but Granderson is a .300 hitter against Lee.
David Murphy’s single with the bases loaded in the 10th inning off Mariano Rivera gave the AL West-leading Rangers the victory. Murphy went 2 for 3 with a homer and three RBIs, and is 10 for 23 with three homers and nine RBIs in his last six games.
“I’ve been taking the single approach up there and looking out over the plate and reacting,” Murphy said. “It’s working right now and I’ll stick with it.”
New York has lost six of nine and saw its lead atop the East cut to one-half game over Tampa Bay.
The Yankees will start Javier Vazquez (9-8, 4.63), who is 2-1 with a 5.32 ERA in four outings since the All-Star break. He lost for the first time since June 30 by allowing six runs over 5 1-3 innings in a 6-3 loss to Boston on Friday.
The right-hander is 2-2 with a 5.74 ERA in five career starts against the Rangers, and hasn’t faced them since July 21, 2008.
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