World Series 2010: Can Josh Hamilton and the Texas Rangers Keep Up the Pace?
This World Series won't showcase the teams most of us expected or the MLB probably wanted.
But even casual fans, and all Yankee and Philly detractors, will be excited to see a few new faces in this year's Fall Classic.
The Giants haven't been to a World Series since 2002, and it's well documented that the Rangers are making their World Series debut.
The Rangers battered pitchers all season, ending the regular season ranked fifth in runs with the league's highest batting average. In the postseason the Rangers have outscored their opponents 59-32, pounding both Yankee and Tampa Bay starters and relievers.
On the other side, the Giants bring arguably the best rotation in baseball to the World Series. Anchored by 2008 and 2009 Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum, the San Francisco Giants had the lowest ERA in baseball this season at 3.68. That ERA has shrunk during the playoffs to 2.47.
This is the big matchup: one of the best hitting teams in baseball against the deepest rotation. Cliff Lee aside, the rest of the Rangers rotation is unlikely to pitch shutouts, and the Giants are unlikely to tee off for 10 runs in a game. The World Series will turn on this matchup. The Giants will score a few runs here and there and hope their pitching gets the job done.
This season Lincecum did not face off against the Rangers. After his 14-strikeout playoff debut, Lincecum was steady, if not brilliant, against the Phillies. Expect him to pitch well at home against a lineup dominated by right-handers. Also, look for him to try to neutralize Josh Hamilton with his devastating change-up rather than go after him the way Yankees did.
Cain pitched a brilliant game against the Phillies in the NLCS. The Phillies' lefty lineup favored Cain, and he may struggle to replicate that dominance against the Rangers.
Sanchez pitched poorly in his start against the Phillies, but the bullpen saved him. That is the big advantage for the Giants. They may have a slight advantage with their starters, but they certainly have a better bullpen. If need be, the Giants can lean on that.
The Giants' 21-year-old fourth starter will face a stiff test in Game 4 if Bruce Bochy decides to call on him. He's pitched well in the postseason but hasn't faced a lineup like this.
Basically, the Giants don't generate a lot of offense. Aubrey Huff and Pat Burrell, the Giants' big hitters in the regular season, have struggled in the postseason. This offense isn't rolling the way it was down the stretch in the regular season. Cliff Lee, one of the most dominant postseason pitchers in history, is likely to shut them down. For the Giants to overcome Lee's starts, the pitching staff will have to be lights out.
Honestly, I just don't see that happening.
Prediction: Rangers in six
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