Cliff Lee to start playoff opener for Rangers

OAKLAND, CALIF. (AP) - Cliff Lee was picked to start the Texas Rangers‘ first playoff game in 11 years.

The AL West champions announced their pitching plans Sunday for the first round of the postseason. Rangers manager Ron Washington said Lee will get the ball in Game 1, which is no surprise. The ace left-hander, acquired in a July trade with Seattle, was 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA in five postseason starts for Philadelphia last year.

“We have to finish the season first. I have another start to make and I’ll focus on that and getting to be where I want to be,” Lee said. “Obviously, the first game of the playoffs you want to do whatever you can to help the team win.”

Lee will be followed by left-hander C.J. Wilson and right-hander Colby Lewis in the rotation for the best-of-five division series. The Rangers, making their first playoff appearance since 1999, will face Tampa Bay, New York or Boston in the first round.

Texas is the only current major league franchise never to win a playoff series. The Rangers wrapped up the AL West title Saturday with a 4-3 victory in Oakland.

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