ST. PETERSBURG -- Cliff Lee's work in the postseason continues to take on historical proportions. Lee beat the Rays, 5-1, in Game 1 of the American League Division Series, leaving him 5-0 with a 1.52 ERA in six postseason starts. That's the fifth-lowest ERA in Major League history for a pitcher with at least five starts. Three of the four pitchers ahead of him are in the Hall of Fame. The list is led by Sandy Koufax, with a 0.95 ERA, followed by Christy Mathewson (1.06), Eddie Plank (1.32) and Wild Bill Hallahan (1.36). After that come Lee and Mickey Lolich, with 1.52 ERAs.
Lee is also 3-0 with a 0.72 ERA in three starts in Game 1 of a series. That's the lowest ever among 54 pitchers who have made at least three Game 1 starts. Against the Rays, Lee went seven innings, striking out 10 without walking a batter. That's the third time in his career he has pitched at least seven innings in a playoff game while striking out 10 and not walking a batter. That's only happened three other times in playoff history -- once each by Deacon Phillippe, Don Newcombe and Tom Seaver. Phillippe did it for the Pirates against the Boston Red Sox in a 7-3 victory on Oct. 1, 1903. That was Game 1 of the first World Series.