ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Whether the Texas Rangers prove to be resilient tonight and move on to their first ALCS in franchise history, or they crash and burn after taking a 2-0 lead in this best-of-5 ALDS, Cliff Lee and Co., could go down as the highest strikeout staff in division series history.
Rangers pitchers enter tonight's Game 5 with 44 strikeouts, the fifth-most in a division series in either league since the DS started in 1995. They struck out 12 in the Game 4 loss and now need five Ks to tie the 1998 San Diego Padres, who fanned 49 Houston Astros. Six Ks and the Rangers will hold the record.
Lee struck out 10 in Game 1 at Tampa Bay and he'll shoot for double-digit strikeouts for a fourth time in his last five postseason starts. He struck out 10 in Game 3 of the 2009 NLCS with the Philadelphia Phillies, and he fanned 10 New York Yankees in Game 1 of the World Series.