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Hit a pitch: How to beat Cliff Lee

One encounter and they might survive. Two battles and the Yankees’ bid for a second straight World Series might end under the Texas sky.

One encounter and they might survive. Two battles and the Yankees’ bid for a second straight World Series might end under the Texas sky.

Cliff Lee takes the bump in Game 3 in the AL?Championship Series — and if the Rangers stick around, most likely Game 7 as well. So how do the Yankees beat the man who dominated them last October with the Phillies? It won’t be easy.

Lineup must be prepared

Hitters must be ready for any pitch at any time. You can’t sit on a location.

In Game 5 of the AL Division Series win over Tampa Bay, he threw mostly four-seam fastballs the first time through the order, then got ahead with the cutter the second time around. Of course, that approach can always be adjusted as seen on Sept. 12 against the Bombers where he seemed to alternate cutters and fastballs for the first pitch.

Get to him early ... or late

The Rays had the bases juiced with one out in the first inning of the first game of the ALDS. The first inning has become somewhat of an obstacle for Lee. If he stumbles early, it could be a long night on the mound. If he recovers, like he did in Game 1 where he struck out the final two batters, he’s on cruise control.

At least until the seventh inning. Lee posted a 4.37 ERA in that inning, a 4.00 ERA in the eighth and a 6.14 ERA in the ninth. If he wants to go the distance, make him pay.

 
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