Is it just me or does this not look like a guy who just pitched a complete game shutout? (AP Photo/John Smierciak)

Texas Rangers (23-22) at Philadelphia Phillies (27-17) Preview Game 2

For the first time since not re-signing with Texas and signing with the Phillies instead, Cliff Lee will find the mound against the Rangers. The Rangers will have their first face-to-face glimpse at Cliff Lee in a Philadelphia uniform – well, at least after not returning to Texas in the offseason. And instead of seeing him in the dugout as a teammate, they will see him on the mound as they are at the plate waiting for his pitch that each Ranger hopes won’t doom them to a defeat tonight.

Pitching Matchups

The Rangers hand the ball to No. 2 starter RHP Colby Lewis. He is 4-4 for the season with a 3.81 ERA over his eight starts. Lewis has been nothing but dominant in his past four starts going 3-1 with a 1.67 earned run average giving high hopes that he has solved whatever his problem was last month. His last time out, Lewis pitched a complete game against the Chicago White Sox allowing no runs on just five hits. The outing prior, he allowed only one run on five hits over 7.1 innings in a 7-2 win over Oakland.

Lewis has yet to face the Phillies but is 3-1 in his Interleague starts, all of which were in 2010, with an earned run average of 2.57.

Former Ranger LHP Cliff Lee will get the start for the Phillies. Lee is 2-4 this year with a 3.84 ERA. Over nine starts and 58.2 innings, he has allowed 26 runs on 60 hits, walked three batters while striking out 68. In five of his previous six starts, Lee has allowed three or more runs. He received three losses and three no decisions in those six starts and the Phillies only won two of those six. His last time out, he walked a season-high of six batters while allowing three runs on six hits over 6.1 innings against St. Louis in a 3-1 loss for Philly. In just one of his previous five starts has Lee received more than one run of support from his team.

Against the Rangers, Lee is 6-3 for his career in 10 starts with a 5.55 ERA. Over 61.2 innings, he has allowed 40 runs on 70 hits, walking 14 and striking out 55.

Pitchers vs. Hitters

RHP Colby Lewis: Lewis has never pitched against Philly but has pitched to Ross Gload who is 0-for-1 and Raul Ibanez who is 1-for-4.

LHP Cliff Lee: Ian Kinsler is 9-for-20 with one double, one triple and five RBIs, Michael Young is 11-for-31 with one double and two RBIs, Adrian Beltre is 4-for-29 with three doubles and three RBIs and Mike Napoli is 4-for-14 with one double, one homer and two RBIs. Elvis Andrus is 2-for-5 with one double, David Murphy is 2-for-7 with one RBI and Chris Davis is 0-for-3.

My Prediction

Lee seems to have struggled this year and while Lewis has as well, Lewis seems to have his solved his problems on the mound. I think the Rangers aren’t going to let their previous emotions get in the way of slamming those balls to a victory. At least, I hope that’s how it plays out.

And I must say, I still hope that the Rangers make it the World Series this year and the Phillies do not so that Lee can wish he would have come to Texas rather than heading to Philadelphia. After all, he saw greater chances of doing that with Philly and that’s why he’s there…it sure wasn’t because of the money!

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Tags: Adrian Beltre Cliff Lee Colby Lewis Ian Kinsler Michael Young Mike Napoli Phillies Rangers Rangers Vs. Phillies Texas Rangers

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