G96: Rangers ride Cliff Lee to win, 3-2 over Angels

Man, on paper this was the game to go to. The AL ERA leader in Cliff Lee goes for the Texas Rangers, and the leader of the Angels, Jered Weaver dueled in Arlington on Thursday night. A battle of aces for sure.
One I wanted to truly watch on TV, and not just use the TiVo FF function to skip the boring bits. Watched it all I did, and man, was it a rewarding game. Cliff Lee continues to be as advertised. I think a lot of Rangers fans are seeing Lee as the saviour, the guy we’re riding high into the playoffs on the back of. I still haven’t forgotten opening day 2009 when Lee was bombed by the Rangers here in Arlington, although he was pitching against us, not for us.
Lee was great, don’t get me wrong, but by his own standards, he struggled just a little. Not enough that your average fan would notice (especially if you look at his line), but he didn’t strike out as many as usual, and he had more 3 ball counts than normal. So it wasn’t a total lights out performance, just a step below it.
Lee allowed five hits, with no walks and four strikeouts. One of the hits was a home run in the seventh (to Mike Napoli). The other run was a double in the fifth that Josh Hamilton almost caught. He made a spectacular run for the ball, and it just glanced off the side of his glove. Had it been just two inches closer, I’d say it would be easily the defensive play of the game. Still, it cost us a run. In the grand scheme of things it worked out OK, but you would have liked to have seen Josh catch that.
Cliff Lee came out for the ninth, and pitched to one batter, and gave way to Neftali Feliz. There was a confab on the mound where Lee was smiling as he was taken out. Feliz needed the experience in this kind of situation too, so I wasn’t totally against Lee coming out, but you would have liked to have seen his streak of complete games keep going.
On the other side, Jered Weaver appeared to be pissed on the mound a lot, there were several camera shots of him coming off the mound and apparently swearing at something. Probably himself for not getting guys out, but he seemed rattled a little by the game situation. Whether that worked in our favor is an unknown, but we did score enough off of him (all three actually) to win the game.
The first one set the tone with Michael Young homering in the bottom of the first inning to go up 1-0. The second one was a double by Josh Hamilton in the sixth which scored Vlad Guerrero. Guerrero himself helped out earlier by legging out his single into a double, which I thought was a bit of a gamble at the time. The third run was scored on a sac fly by Bengie Molina, scoring Hamilton.
The game was tight, was well played, and the Rangers had some nice defense. There were two catches in the ninth inning by Cruz & Hamilton that could have easily fallen for hits. We’re looking like a well rounded team all of a sudden. Offense, pitching, & defense are all there.
Man, it’s a great feeling! Great that Lee got his first win in our uniform, too!