Cliff Lee Learns the Power of The Claw

With one out and his catcher on base, Cliff Lee came to the plate for the first time as a Texas Ranger. He started to do what everyone expected him to do – bunt. He squared off and bunted foul, then squared off and pulled back for a ball. Then he squared off to bunt, pulled back, and hammered a pitch into left-center field for a double. Standing on second base, he turned towards the visitors dugout and saw his teammates all waving one hand above their heads. They were giving him The Claw. Lee smirked and spread his hands as if to say, “What do I do with that?” It doesn’t appear that he gave them The Claw back.

That was his undoing.

Lee gave up two runs in the third inning and five in the fifth for a total of seven runs, six of them earned. He lasted just 4 2/3 innings before being removed. Throughout the rest of the game the cameras would show Lee sitting in the dugout, frustrated with himself, shaking his head. Clearly, his mind was on one thing. He should have given The Claw to his teammates. Never disrespect The Claw.

Here’s a clip of Lee failing to give The Claw (how long before they take it down?):

I’ve read a lot of talk about whether the Rangers could/should have pulled Lee earlier than when they did. But for all of that talk, I thought the decision was one batter premature. I felt as though they should have left him in to face Uribe and give him the chance to get out of the inning. I thought that he’d have a better chance against Uribe than O’Day would have. Ron Washington chose to go with O’Day, who gave up the three run shot that put this game out of reach for the Rangers.

They’ve been resilient all season long, can they continue to be? We’ll find out tonight.

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