The scraggly beard from his worst October performance was gone. So was the tuft of hair he usually keeps beneath his lower lip. This was clean-shaven Cliff Lee, the way he might look next season if he plays for the Yankees.
Lee has one more start for the Texas Rangers before his free-agent bonanza begins. He has one more chance to make a final impression on his employer and others who might pursue him. He is ready for his close-up.
“I don’t like shaving, so I usually let it go a little bit before I shave it,” Lee said Sunday before the Giants pushed the Rangers to the brink of elimination with a 4-0 victory. “But that’s really all that is. It’s not a superstition.”
With that, Lee spoiled a fun angle: ace turns to razor to restore postseason magic. We should not have expected anything different. Lee’s image is all business. He gets the ball from his catcher, tugs once on the brim of his cap, pulls once on the back, then fixes his eyes on his task. Ready, fire.