Rangers will opt for Hunter over Lee in Game 4

Rangers will opt for Hunter over Lee in Game 4

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have decided to include Tommy Hunter in their playoff rotation and not pitch Cliff Lee on three days' rest.

The Rangers originally planned to pitch Lee in Game 1 on Wednesday and again in Game 4 (if necessary) on Oct. 10. But the Rangers crunched some numbers and decided that would not be a good idea.

"The numbers didn't look good," said manager Ron Washington. "We're going to use our whole pitching staff."

Lee, who normally pitches on four days' rest, has never pitched on three days' rest in his entire Major League career.

Over the past eight years, there have been 51 instances of a pitcher starting a playoff game on three days' rest. Their combined record is 13-20 with a 5.01 ERA, as opposed to a 4.18 ERA on four days' rest and a 3.80 ERA with five or more days off. There were six starts on three days' rest last year, and the pitchers' cumulative ERA was 6.30. The starter also averaged just five innings per start.

"We just decided not to push Cliff out there on three days," Washington said.

So they'll go with Hunter, if necessary. He would follow C.J. Wilson in Game 2 and Colby Lewis in Game 3. The Rangers initially announced that Hunter would pitch out of the bullpen in the playoffs.

"It's a great opportunity," Hunter said. "It's something I've looked forward to since the beginning of the season -- throw in the postseason. Now I'm getting that opportunity."

Hunter, who is 13-4 with a 3.80 ERA in 21 starts and one relief appearance on the season, will make his final start on Friday against the Angels.