Here you have it. The 2010 World Series features the San Francisco Giants and the Texas Rangers. These certainly are not at all the most household playoff names in Major League Baseball, but they did take down some of the biggest championship threats of our era.
Neither the Philadelphia Phillies nor New York Yankees could withstand the onslaught that the 2010 league victors laid down on them. Both the Giants and Rangers concocted a potent mixture of offense and pitching that got them where they are today; staring each other down in hopes of wearing some shiny new World Series rings.
Stacking up the two less-likely championship candidates, one may realize that this World Series is certainly not very predictable. There are certain factors that make each team tick, but the edge goes to Texas.
Here are 10 reasons why the Texas Rangers will win their first World Series in franchise history.
The Rangers have bounced in and out of the playoffs, but here they are in their first World Series. Every team that is lacking in the ring department is always going to be the thirstiest and grittiest team out there. There is nothing more that an organization in this position wants more than to deliver the big one for themselves and the fans.
It will be time to remove the Rangers from the list of teams that have never won a World Series.
The minor off-the-field issues that shrouded several individuals on the club have dissipated, but people always will remember that they were there.
The Rangers will want this as a team because it will be a bigger story that they recovered from said off-the-field problems.
Prior to the season, manager Ron Washington tested positive for cocaine and apologized for using during the 2009 season. It isn't an issue that a manager finds himself involved in. However, Washington and the Rangers turned the story into a motivation to win. Now Washington is the Manager of the Year frontrunner and has the chance to win a championship.
The same could even be said about Josh Hamilton's troubled past and how he has pushed forth and grown into one of baseball's elite hitters.
The story of this Rangers team winning the World Series will be big, especially because of the bounce back from plenty of past drama.
With his career fading a bit, he hasn't really been recognized a significant component to the Rangers, especially because he started off the 2010 season on the San Francisco Giants and was eventually moved to Texas. Now he's putting together some punchy postseason stats.
A career .281 hitter in the playoffs, Molina came into the ALDS and seemingly couldn't stay off base. He collected five hits, including a home run against Tampa Bay. He did the same exact thing against the Yankees, smacking a game-changing home run off A.J. Burnett.
Now he'll be pitted against a staff of pitchers that he's worked with before. It will be interesting to see if Molina can continue to ride this hot streak, especially against his former staff. If so, he could continue to smack the ball all over the place.
Forget that the Giants have home field advantage. Once the action moves back to Texas, the Rangers will continue to dominate in the series and shut the door.
The Rangers were 51-30 at home during the regular season and came up with some clutch wins at the Ballpark in Arlington during this postseason. If the Rangers can head out to San Francisco and hit up Tim Lincecum in Game 1 and Cliff Lee can pitch a gem, the Rangers might be set for Games 3-5. The Rangers shut the door on the Yankees in Texas in six games. They put down the Giants in a similar fashion.
The beauty of the Rangers lineups is that they do have their core of hitters that are expected to be catalysts. But they can get production from just about any slot in the lineup. Anyone from Elvis Andrus to David Murphy to Mitch Moreland has been able to come up with big hits for this team. They led the league in hitting during the regular season with a .276 batting average.
This regular season hitting translated into .273 postseason hitting, which is excellent considering the Giants haven't been even hitting over .250 during this postseason. If the Rangers can remained unfazed by the meat of the Giants' rotation, they can easily outscore them. This is a lineup that has seen Matt Treanor contribute a home run. There's just a lot can be said about a lineup that is unpredictable from top to bottom, and that is unpredictable in a good way.
A pitching staff can be considered impressive when it goes beyond an ace like Cliff Lee. Aside from Lee, the Rangers might not have that second lights-out starter, but the rotation consisting of names like C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis has certainly looked solid.
Colby Lewis is 2-0 in the playoffs so far in three starts. Both of his wins came against the defending champion Yankees, in which he allowed three runs in 13.2 innings of work. He was the man to knock the Yankees out of it with an eight inning, one run effort.
C.J. Wilson is also in there and hard on lefties. Tommy Hunter has had some excellent starts throughout the year has well.
They might not stack up perfectly against the Giants starting staff, but this group of starters has done an excellent job of performing in preparation for this World Series matchup.
Having peppered the Yankees with big hit after big hit, one could wonder where the next week of big bops will come from out of the Rangers lineup. Expect a big World Series from righty bats Nelson Cruz and Vlad Guerrero.
Nelson Cruz handed a thrashing to the Yankees and Rays, scattering five home runs against them. His bat is white hot right now. Batting .375 in the playoffs right now, it wouldn't be shocking to see him jack a couple more home runs over the course of the next week. He might even launch one into the bay.
It will admittedly be rather intriguing to see Guerrero play the outfield, but nonetheless, his postseason production on offense as been rather average. He is well overdue for a huge home run or bases clearing extra base hit.
These two are due for a huge showing on offense in the World Series. In particular, if Jonathan Sanchez can't find the control on his nasty stuff, Cruz and Guerrero will be waiting to take advantage.
Cliff Lee is the first example of extreme reliability at a particular position for the Texas Rangers.
So far in the postseason, he has been virtually unstoppable. He picked up two wins against the Rays, including a complete game. He also stymied the Yankees in an eight-inning start during the ALCS. He has started three games and won all of them. The Rangers have to like the direction this trend is going in.
Lee is lights out when it counts and goes out there with toughness against everyone. If any Rangers pitcher can win this series, it'll be Lee because he is so capable of winning a pair of decisions during this World Series.
If in a close game the Rangers starting staff winds up in a sticky situation, the Rangers bullpen will certainly pick up the slack. They could be called underrated because much of their success has come from young arms and unlikely options. They've been unstoppable, however.
Lefty Darren Oliver might be way up there in age, but he has been as effective as ever. Righty Darren O'Day doesn't allow baserunners.
Another young righty, Alexi Ogando, has stepped in and looked excellent. He knows how to bring heat and his fastball has hit the upper-90s here and there. And naturally young closer Neftali Feliz is the centerpiece of this bullpen. It is his first season as a closer and he looks like he's been doing it for years. There is a ton of fiery talent in the Rangers bullpen that will make games difficult for the Giants offense to overcome, especially after the weak hitting postseason that they've seen for the most part so far.
Josh Hamilton has become dominant enough to the point where he could be considered a particular reason for the success of the Texas Rangers. The guy hit .359 in 108 regular season games.
He is the whole package. He brings power, speed, contact and discipline to every at-bat. He can hit early in games, late in games and in situations with runners in scoring position. He did it this season when he played and he can definitely continue it.
Despite a weak NLDS against Tampa Bay, he bounced back and completely owned the New York Yankees in the NLCS. He popped four homers in six games while driving in seven on 7-for-20 hitting. He even tossed in three stolen bases for good measure.
Hamilton is showing that he can perform well, regardless of what time of year it is or what the situation. As one of the best young hitters in the game, it is only fitting that he is single-handedly the biggest reason the Rangers will win the 2010 World Series.