What might have been?
Larry Stone of the Seattle Times looks at the Game One pitching matchup for tonight’s San Francisco-Texas game from the Mariners point of view:
[T]he Game 1 pitching matchup between Tim Lincecum and Cliff Lee — one
for the ages; or at least, one for the last week, right on the heels of a
double dose of Lincecum-Roy Halladay in the NLCS — is particularly
galling for the locals.
Call them The Two That Got Away. The non-drafting of Lincecum in
2006, when the Mariners eschewed the local boy who made great with the
No. 5 overall pick, in favor of Cal’s Brandon Morrow, has been lamented
for years now. But that doesn’t make it any less painful to watch the
two-time Cy Young winner reach the ultimate national stage in a Giants
uniform (while Morrow is blossoming into stardom himself, with the
Toronto Blue Jays; but that’s another story).
Then there’s Lee and the still-fresh pain of viewing Lee’s brilliance
up close and personal, from late April through early July, with no
tangible effect on the M’s fortunes. And to have him and likely Cy Young
winner Felix Hernandez undercut by such a paltry Seattle offense that
the Mariners, buried in last place, had little choice but to get what
they could for Lee, a future free agent, by trading him.
The Mariners’ loss turned out to be the golden ticket for the Rangers
to escape 49 years of franchise futility. An undeniably great pitcher
during the regular season, Lee has morphed into Superman in the
postseason. He has a combined 7-0 playoff record and 1.26
earned-run-average over the past two seasons with the Phillies and
Rangers, including a 3-0, 0.75 mark this October, with 34 strikeouts and
one walk in 24 innings.