Madison Bumgarner dealt a crucial blow the Rangers World Series hopes in Game 4.
Being a devout Ranger fan made watching Game 4 an absolutely kick to the stomach. Sure, the home plate umpire had the consistency of a snowflake and first base umpire Jeff Kellogg should have brought his seeing-eye-dog to the field, but in the end the Rangers were just flat out beat.
Game 3 gave Ranger fans a reason to believe. The bats woke up, Colby Lewis looked more like Cliff Lee than Cliff Lee and there was a obvious energy to the team.
Then some kid named Madison Bumgarner took the hill, which promptly took the wind out of the Rangers sails. Eight innings of four-hit shutout baseball will do that to a team.
Coming into the 2010 World Series, it appeared as though runs would have to come at a premium as names like Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Bumgarner were headlining for the Giants; in similar fashion, the Rangers had quality hurlers in Lee, Wilson and Lewis.
Looking back, the only matchup where the Rangers decidedly lost the pitching battle was in Game 1, which can definitely be looked upon as an aberration—Cliff isn't that bad that often. CJ Wilson pitched as well as any Ranger fan could've hoped for before the bullpen imploded, and Colby Lewis was every bit as good as Wilson, if not better.
Simply put, the Giants are winning with pitching.
Game 1 aside, the Giants have been held in check by the Rangers starters. Say what you will about the Game 2 eighth inning outburst, but through seven innings, the game was still in the balance until the bullpen imploded. Even with Tommy Hunter getting an early hook in Game 4, the Rangers had a shot in the seventh to tie it up with two on and Kinsler at the dish.
But as it has been the case all series long, the Giants pitching has proved superior to the Rangers offense.
In fact, since the beginning of the Series, the Rangers as a team have hit just .211 with a .283 OBP. In a series of this magnitude, those stats just won't cut it.
Make no mistake though, the Rangers offensive impotency has more to do with the likes of Cain, Lincecum and Bumgarner than it does anything the Rangers have done. Texas has still hit plenty of balls hard, they just tend to find gloves. A perfect example in Game 4 was Kinsler's line-out to left with two on. He hit Bumgarner's offering as hard as a man can hit it ball, it just happened to be right at Cody Ross.
Perhaps the Rangers aren't being as patient as they have been in the ALCS and ALDS. But that can be attributed to Giant pitchers throwing first pitch strikes and pressing the count.
As it stands now, the World Series has at least nine more innings to go before at least one team can call themselves champions.
With a Game 5 matchup of Lincecum and Lee, it is anyone's guess whether the Fall Classic continues.
But as any poker player will tell you, it's hard to beat a man with three aces in his hand.