Going into the two League Championship Series, most people thought it was a foregone conclusion that the New York Yankees would face the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series. What no one took into account was that the Rangers offense would be able to take advantage of a shaky New York pitching staff. Or that the San Francisco Giants were the one team in the playoffs who had the starting pitching to match-up with the Phillies’ “Big Three.”
Now, the World Series isn’t a rematch of last year’s (Yankees vs. Phillies). It’s a matchup between the San Francisco Giants, who haven’t won a World Series since 1954 (when they were still the New York Giants), and the Texas Rangers, who hadn’t won a postseason series in their entire history before this season.
Texas Rangers 2010 MLB World Series Preview
To say the Texas Rangers dominated the New York Yankees in the ALCS might be an understatement. Except for Game 5 and a single inning in Game 1, the Texas Rangers looked like they were playing against the Seattle Mariners, not the New York Yankees. Cliff Lee was phenomenal in his one start in the ALCS, and the Texas hitters battered the Yankees pitching staff.
If the Rangers want to win their first World Series title, they’ll have to continue hitting well. While that might seem easy considering how they hit against the Yankees, the Giants’ pitching staff is a lot better than the Yankees’ pitching staff. Texas will need Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz and Vladimir Guerrero at full strength if they want to win this series. They’ll also need Cliff Lee to continue his otherworldly postseason success, as no one else on the Rangers’ pitching staff is able to strike fear into the hearts of their opponents.
San Francisco Giants 2010 MLB World Series Preview
One word describes why the San Francisco Giants made it past the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies to make it to the World Series: Pitching. Tim Lincecum has been outstanding, Matt Cain hasn’t given up an earned run in the playoffs, and both Johnathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner are powerful left-handed arms that have the potential to neutralize some of the Rangers’ best hitters.
For the Giants to win the World Series, they’re going to need all of their pitchers playing at top form. Six of their seven wins this postseason have been by one run, and they’ve only scored more than three runs in three of their ten postseason games. The Texas Rangers, meanwhile, have won all seven of their games this postseason by at least four runs and have scored five or more runs in seven of their eleven postseason games. The Giants’ batters did well in the NLCS considering who they had to face (Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels), but simply scoring three runs a game might not be enough if the Rangers continue their hot hitting.
Rangers vs. Giants Conclusion
The 2010 World Series pits a pitching-heavy, small-ball club against an offensive juggernaut that possesses one great pitcher (Cliff Lee) and a bunch of question marks behind him. The knee-jerk reaction is to pick the Texas Rangers after their complete domination of the New York Yankees, but we haven’t seen how the Rangers hitters will fare against a pitching staff like the Giants’. If the Giants can steal a game from Cliff Lee, which could happen if Tim Lincecum has a repeat performance of his playoff debut, they can easily win this series. As I see it right now, the Giants are going to outplay the Rangers on the days when Lee isn’t the starting pitcher, and take down Texas in six games.
2010 MLB World Series Prediction: San Francisco Giants defeat Texas Rangers, 4-2
All statistics retrieved from ESPN.com