When the ace left-hander takes the ball for Game 5 of the World Series on Monday night, he gets a second chance against San Francisco after losing the series opener. But if Lee and the slumping Texas Rangers are going to save their season, the normally potent lineup needs to muster some offense.
Otherwise, the visiting Giants will be celebrating a championship deep in the heart of Texas.
"You like having (Lee) on the mound in any game. But an elimination game is even better," slugger Josh Hamilton said. "He's going to go out and pitch his game. Hopefully our bats will show up and give him some support."
The Rangers are in a 3-1 hole in the best-of-seven series after a 4-0 defeat Sunday night, when San Francisco rookie Madison Bumgarner delivered a Lee-like performance, limiting Texas to three singles in eight innings before Brian Wilson pitched a perfect ninth.
Texas was held scoreless at home only once during the regular season. The Rangers, who lost 9-0 in Game 2 at San Francisco, are the first team to be shut out twice in a World Series since the 1966 Los Angeles Dodgers failed to score in the last three games while being swept by Baltimore.
"I don't think discouragement is the right word. Obviously, we know we're capable of more," Michael Young said.
Lee was 7-0 with a 1.26 ERA in eight career postseason starts going into Game 1 of this World Series, when he suddenly looked nothing like the dominant October ace he had been the past two years for Texas and Philadelphia.
"This time, I get a chance to redeem myself against the team that actually put it to me pretty good last time," Lee said Sunday before Game 4. "I'm looking forward to it. I've been working hard and ready for - it's basically the last start of the season for me - and I want to do everything I can to help this team win the World Series."
But now, the Rangers' offense is slumping at the worst possible time.
And all their prized midseason acquisition can do is get the Series back to AT&T Park, where Texas lost the first two games and is 0-11 all-time. It could also be the last start with the Rangers for Lee, eligible to become a free agent after the World Series.
In Game 1, Lee allowed eight hits and seven runs over 4 2-3 innings. It was his shortest postseason start, and he had never given up more runs or hits.
"I was throwing balls over the heart of the plate. I wasn't working ahead in the count," Lee said. "I made mistakes."
There is no margin for error left in the first World Series in the franchise's 50 seasons.
"I certainly hope he'll do better (Monday). We feel pretty good about him being out there," manager Ron Washington said. "Once again, we've got to put some runs on the board."
The Rangers got back into the series with a 4-2 victory in Game 3 on Saturday night, but couldn't seize that momentum.
San Francisco went ahead to stay in the third Sunday night when Aubrey Huff - from nearby Fort Worth - hit a two-run homer. He pulled a pitch 404 feet down the right-field line off Tommy Hunter, prompting chants of "Aubrey! Aubrey!" from a section of orange-clad Giants fans sitting in some of the highest seats behind home plate.
Texas fans didn't have much to cheer about - no matter how much they were ready to go crazy.
There was a diving catch by Hamilton in center field to end the second when the Giants had runners on first and third.
But the slugger had a tough night offensively, going 0 for 4. The majors' leading hitter in the regular season at .359 is batting .125 (2 for 16) in the World Series.
Hamilton grounded into an inning-ending double play in the first, then was caught stealing to end the fourth after reaching on a fielder's choice.
The crowd of 51,920 was up in anticipation again in the seventh when Hamilton reached on an error with one out. But Vladimir Guerrero struck out for the third time - the second time in a row that he swung weakly at strike three after talking a called third strike to end his first at-bat.
It was the first three-strikeout game for Guerrero this season, and his first in 43 postseason games.
During a break between innings early in the game, a video montage of Lee highlights was shown on the giant video board to the 1957 song, "Mr. Lee."
The Rangers acquired Lee from Seattle on July 9 in hopes that he would have a chance to win games like the one on Monday night.
He won his first three postseason starts for Texas, winning the opener and then the clinching Game 5 in the first round against Tampa Bay. He struck out 13 and allowed only two hits in eight innings to beat the defending World Series champion New York Yankees in Game 3 of the AL championship series.
When Texas knocked out the Yankees in six games, Lee was set up to start the Rangers' first World Series game.
Now, he is sporting a clean-shaven look heading into Game 5, though he insists the grooming has nothing to do with what happened last Wednesday.
"I don't like shaving, so I usually let it go a little bit before I shave it," he said. "But that's really all that is. It's not a superstition."