World Series Preview: Texas Rangers vs. San Francisco Giants
One of these teams will end the futility that has held both of these franchises hostages for the last half a century. Texas is making its first appearance in the fall classic and San Francisco has 18 appearances, but since moving to the bay in 1958, this will be only their fourth trip. The Giants haven’t won since 1954 for those keeping count and that was when the say-hay kid Willie Mays was patrolling the outfield.
The Rangers, meanwhile, are the fourth team in the past six seasons to be appearing in their first World Series. Led by the big bat of AL MVP candidate Josh Hamilton and the arm of ace Cliff Lee, the Rangers are looking to make up for lost time. This is a team that was in shambles financially at the beginning of the season. The team was in the midst of being sold and also had to be placed on bankruptcy protection. Enter the former Rangers great Nolan Ryan, who led a group of investors that scooped the team up and have been firing on all cylinders every since. They have a nice balance of youth and veterans including youngsters Elvis Andrus, Netfali Feliz, Nelson Cruz and veterans Micheal Young and the off season addition of Vladimir Gurrerro.
The Giants barely made it in the Playoffs but are definitely making the most out of the trip. A team dominated by pitching, the Giants added a lot of key pieces during the season to entrench the team. The additions included: Cody Ross, Javier Lopez, a call up of rookie Buster Posey and off season additions included Aubrey Huff and Pat “the bat” Burrell. For this season at least all these moves have had a positive impact on the club. Their pitching is off the charts with two top of the line starters in Tim “The Freak” Lincecum, and Matt Cain. The closer Brian Wilson is one of the quirkier guys you will meet in baseball but is also one of the best. It’s fitting that this patchwork of an offense will meet a patchwork of a front office in the Rangers for the World Series.
Now time for the breakdowns:
Pitching: Texas has the best postseason pitcher that has come along in awhile with Cliff Lee and also are benefiting from quality starts from C.J Wilson and the former Japanese league pitcher Colby Lewis.
San Francisco counters with maybe the deepest rotation in all of baseball: Lincecum, Cain, Jonathon Sanchez, and Madison Bumgarner.
The Edge:San Francisco
Offense: Texas has the big bats in Josh Hamilton, Vladimir Gurrerro, Ian Kinsler, and Nelson Cruz. They also have a nice platoon of for average hitters in Michael Young, Elvis Andrus and Mitch Moreland.
San Francisco doesn’t have the power of the Rangers but has timely hitting with Buster Posey, Cody Ross and Aubrey Huff leading the way. They will need a big series from Posey and for Ross to continue his hot streak of late.
Fielding: Texas has a solid defense led by the former gold glove winner Michael Young. The Rangers have been playing good enough defense but not the best.
San Francisco’s fielding has been just as solid if not better than the Rangers. Rookie Buster Posey leads the team in that department.
The Series prediction: This is sort of a karma infused World Series. It seems both teams haven’t been successful over the past few decades and both are trying to exercise those demons of the past. Pitching is always the most important factor in the playoffs to me and the Giants are deeper in that department. Cliff Lee is amazingly only getting better as the playoff’s progress but he can only start so many times for the Rangers. Josh Hamilton will keep it close and should have his moments as the best hitter in the series. One for sure winner in this series will be Bengie Molina, who after playing for both teams this year is going to receive a ring either way.