When reality not only matches but exceeds the hype, you get Cliff Lee last night at Yankee Stadium.
Affixed God-like status for his perfection in October, Lee entered Game 3 of the ALCS as a mixture of Sandy Koufax, Whitey Ford, Warren Spahn and Andy Pettitte, the all-time winner in the postseason.
Then the lefty pitched as good as any of them in an 8-0 Rangers victory over Pettitte and the Yankees, witnessed by a disappointed gathering of 49,840 who likely were already hopeful for the day Lee signs a massive free agent contract with the Yankees this coming off-season.
“He is a handful,” Alex Rodriguez said of Lee, who hurled eight shutout innings, allowed two singles, a walk and matched a career high by whiffing 13. “He was hitting his spots. Pretty much a masterpiece.”