Former Bulldog Dylan Lee makes 1st career big league start in World Series

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Sunday, October 31, 2021

Twenty-nine days after his major league debut, Dinuba native and former Fresno State pitcher Dylan Lee walked onto the Truist Park mound for his first big league start in the World Series.

His major league resume consisted of 80 pitches to 21 batters, just 29 to nine hitters during the regular season.

Lee lasted just 15 pitches for the Atlanta Braves against the Houston Astros. The 27-year-old left-hander faced four batters and allowed one run while getting one out Saturday night, the shortest start in the Series since the Yankees' David Wells in Game 5 of 2003.

In his first start at any level in more than four years, Lee came away with a 27.00 ERA.

All eight position players were on the field before Lee ran in from the bullpen, wearing bright, red spikes. He threw just five strikes, allowed Jose Altuve's infield single on his first offering and left with the bases loaded from walks to Michael Brantley and Yordan Alvarez around Alex Bregman's strikeout on 2-2 changeup.

Lee graduated from Dinuba High School in 2012, attended the College of the Sequoias in Visalia where he was named to the President's List as a freshman and to the Dean's List as a sophomore, and then played for Fresno State.

Brian Snitker waited until Saturday afternoon to notify Lee of the surprise start.

"Just for his sake," the manager said. "He probably wouldn't have gotten any sleep because people have been texting him and his phone would have been going off all night."

Altuve grounded to shortstop on a 94.1 mph fastball and beat Dansby Swanson's off-line throw for an infield hit.

Kyle Wright started warming up after Lee's second pitch, a plan that seemed predetermined. Lee stared as Snitker came to the mound and the pitcher handed his manager a pair of baseballs - one returned by catcher Travis d'Arnaud plus one thrown to him by umpire Alfonso Márquez.

Astros manager Dusty Baker talked earlier in the day about how much the sport had changed since his playing days.

"I grew up watching Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale and Juan Marichal and all the greats," he said. "I remember as a kid, my dad used to say Spahn and Sain and pray for rain,' and you'd look forward to pitching matchups. There's nothing better than an old-fashioned pitching matchup."

No one before had made his first big league start in the World Series.

Lee's two major league regular season appearances were the fewest for a Series starting pitcher, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The previous low was six by Philadelphia's Marty Bystom and the Mets' Steven Matz.