ST. PETERSBURG -- Cliff Lee's work in the postseason continues to take on historical proportions.Lee beat the Rays, 5-1, in Game 1 of the American League Division Series, leaving him 5-0 with a 1.52 ERA in six postseason starts. That's the fifth-lowest ERA in Major League history for a pitcher with at least five starts. Three of the four pitchers ahead of him are in the Hall of Fame. The list is led by Sandy Koufax, with a 0.95 ERA, followed by Christy Mathewson (1.06), Eddie Plank (1.32) and Wild Bill Hallahan (1.36). After that come Lee and Mickey Lolich, with 1.52 ERAs. Lee is also 3-0 with a 0.72 ERA in three starts in Game 1 of a series. That's the lowest ever among 54 pitchers who have made at least three Game 1 starts. Against the Rays, Lee went seven innings, striking out 10 without walking a batter. That's the third time in his career he has pitched at least seven innings in a playoff game while striking out 10 and not walking a batter. That's only happened three other times in playoff history -- once each by Deacon Phillippe, Don Newcombe and Tom Seaver. Phillippe did it for the Pirates against the Boston Red Sox in a 7-3 victory on Oct. 1, 1903. That was Game 1 of the first World Series.
Washington keeps Hamilton's arm in center
ST. PETERSBURG -- Manager Ron Washington made a small change in his planned Game 2 lineup against the Rays on Thursday. He decided to start Josh Hamilton in center field and go with Julio Borbon in left field.Washington made the change because he wanted to take advantage of Hamilton's strong arm in center field and possibly cut down the Rays' chances of going from first to third. Hamilton started in center in Game 1 and Washington liked what he saw. "He played the heck out of center field," Washington said. "They are a team that likes to take liberties, and putting him out there might prevent them from taking liberties. The ball gets to you quicker here on this turf, so there is a better opportunity to make a play. His arm in center field plays here." Washington said if they were at the Ballpark in Arlington, he would be more inclined to go with Borbon in center field and Hamilton in left. Washington still went with Matt Treanor at catcher as planned, even though Bengie Molina had three hits, including a home run, in Game 1. Washington wants to keep both catchers "engaged," as he did during the regular season. "That's what we did and that's what we're going to do," Washington said.
Rangers hoping Murphy will be OK for Game 3
ST. PETERSBURG -- Manager Ron Washington said the plan is for David Murphy to start in left field on Saturday against the Rays and right-hander Matt Garza.However, Murphy is recovering from a strained left groin muscle and is still not 100 percent. Washington wants to see how Murphy comes through a workout on Friday at the Ballpark in Arlington before committing to starting him in left field. "If we feel like he can go out there and finish the game, we'll put him out there," Washington said. "But if we have to make a change in the fifth or sixth inning, he's not going out there. Hopefully by Saturday he'll be ready to go, but I'm not putting Murphy out there if he can't play." Murphy hit .291 with 12 home runs and 65 RBIs in 138 games and 419 at-bats during the regular season but has not played since Sept. 29, when he injured the muscle while running the bases in a game against the Mariners. If Murphy can't go, Julio Borbon will most likely be back in the outfield.
Rangers hope Tucker can live up to promise
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rangers are hoping to get lucky with a one-time big prospect by claiming right-handed pitcher Ryan Tucker from the Marlins.The Rangers acquired Tucker on Wednesday, making the announcement after their 5-1 victory over the Marlins in Game 1 of the American League Division Series. "He's a right-handed pitcher who was a top Draft pick and has a good arm," assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "In the past, we have had interest in him. This is an opportunity to see if a change of scenery can help his ability. He took a step back this year and we're hoping that he can bounce back." Tucker, 23, was the 34th overall pick of the 2005 Draft out of Temple City (Calif.) High who had a breakout season in the Minors in 2008, when he was 5-3 with a 1.58 ERA in 12 starts and 13 relief appearances at the Double-A level. He was also 2-3 with an 8.27 ERA that year in 13 games with the Marlins. But he has not been able to build on that success. He began this season at Triple-A New Orleans and was 0-5 with a 6.15 ERA in seven starts before being suspended for "insubordination." He finished the season at Class A Jupiter in the Florida State League, going 1-3 with a 6.00 ERA in 23 games. But he does have a power arm with 410 strikeouts in 497 1/3 innings. "We're aware of some issues this year and the past," Levine said. "We're coming into this with our eyes wide open. He will be held to a high standard. We've done our homework enough to feel he deserves a chance but we're also making him aware of our standards and the need to adhere to them." Tucker was placed on the 40-man roster. To make room, Rich Harden was designated for assignment. But he was not on the playoff roster and is going to be a free agent anyway. "The only impact is he's going into free agency sooner than others," Levine said.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.