ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers ace Cliff Lee will get back on the mound for his final start of the 2010 season. He hopes it's one that propels this World Series back to San Francisco. Lee is now pitching in an elimination game. The last time he did that, he threw a complete game against Tampa Bay in Game 5 of the ALDS, giving the Rangers their first playoff series victory in team history.
Lee was asked why he had troubles in Game 1, lasting just 4 2/3 innings and giving up seven runs (six earned) on eight hits. It was the shortest outing of his career. Lee is ready to get back out on the mound and show he can pitch more like the guy who dominated the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees.
"In the regular season, usually when you have a bad outing, your next outing is going to be against someone else," Lee said on Sunday. "This time I get a chance to redeem myself against the team that actually put it to me pretty good last time. I'm looking forward to it. It's basically the last start of the season for me, and I want to do everything I can to help this team win the World Series."
Lee said he didn't have any good reasons for his poor start.
"Anything I say is an excuse," Lee said. "I'm not going to sit here and make excuses. I threw balls down the middle of the plate, and they hit them. I can't do that. I've got to do a better job of locating pitches."
He was asked about all the cleaning up he was doing on the mound in Game 1. Was that a factor?
"No, none," Lee said. "I know I kick and scratch on the mound all the time, but I do that every time if you've watched close enough. That's part of, I guess, my in-between-pitch routine and what I do. I like to pay attention to where my foot is hitting, and I've had a lot of coaches say, 'Hey, what's wrong with the mound out there?' But it's nothing. I try to keep it smooth and level and clean, but that's really it."
So Lee will head back out on the mound Monday night and do what he can to make sure a repeat of Game 1 doesn't happen. He's excited to do it in front of the home fans.
"You can definitely feel the volume here," Lee said. "It's a lot of people making a lot of noise. This is the first World Series for this team, and you can tell the fans are superexcited about it."