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ALCS Game 3: Cliff Lee, Rangers Look To Take ALCS Lead

The ALCS shifts to New York today as the Yankees host the Texas Rangers in Game 3 of the ALCS. Andy Pettitte will start for Yankees while Cliff Lee will start for the Rangers.

Texas is coming off their first home playoff win in franchise history in Game 2, beating the Yankees 7-2. Colby Lewis lasted five and two thirds innings and was credited with the victory.

The Rangers bats in Game 2 chased Yankees starter Phil Hughes after just four innings of work, knocking him around for 10 hits while drawing three walks. Texas will look to continue that offensive trend tonight against Andy Pettitte, who lasted seven innings while only giving up two runs in an ALDS win over Minnesota. 

Texas also chased Yankees ace CC Sabathia after just four innings of work as well in Game 1, jumping out to a 5-0 lead before a bullpen implosion gave New York a 6-5 win. If Texas scores early and often against Pettitte, it could just be all Cliff Lee needs to deliver the Rangers the series lead.

Lee pitched and received the win in both games 1 and 5 of the ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays. All told in the ALDS, Lee pitched 16 innings, including a complete game in Game 5, allowing just two earned runs while striking out 21 and walking none. 

The ALCS is in essence a five game series now with Lee having an opportunity to start two of the five games, if necessary. Game 3 tonight may just be the most important game for both teams in the series because of that fact. If the Yankees beat Cliff Lee, they'll have another two games at home against inferior pitchers with a chance to clinch the pennant. If the Rangers win, they'll just need two more wins with Lee possibly starting a decisive Game 7 to clinch their first pennant in franchise history.

First pitch tonight is slated for 8:07 EDT, 7:07 CDT. Televised coverage of the ALCS can be found in TBS.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.