If you had the Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants in the 2010 World Series at the start of this season I’d like to shake your hand. If you like unpredictability and two teams that were never taken serious as World Series Champion contenders then this is your World Series.
If you’re a fan of predictable World Series with a team that is a well known franchise then this is not your World Series. I don’t think anyone thought that at the end of the 2010 season that these would be the final two teams standing.
While nobody saw it coming you couldn’t help but respect the fact that these two franchises earned the right to play in the 2010 Fall Classic. You have a Texas Rangers ballclub that comes into the World Series beating the two top teams in the American League in the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS and the New York Yankees in the ALCS. You then have the San Francisco Giants that come into the World Series beating probably the best team in Baseball in the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLCS. Both these teams, while shocking, have earned the respect of Baseball fans across the United States.
The series is poised to be one of the most unwatched yet underrated World Series that we have seen in quite sometime. Both teams are really good ball clubs as seen through their path to the World Series. But with the exception of maybe a handful of players, they are two teams that are a bunch of unknowns to the common person. If you’re a die-hard Baseball fan you know who is playing for both teams, but if you’re someone who is tuning in just to see the World Series you will feel like you are watching a random interleague game on ESPN or the MLB Network.
But do not sell this series short, both of these teams will deliver and give us the best Baseball we have seen all season long with the World Series Championship on the line. Already a matchup of Cliff Lee vs. Tim Lincecum to start out Game 1 is exciting to watch. Follow that matchup with Matt Cain vs. CJ Wilson in Game 2 and we have yet another appealing pitching matchup that will deliver.
When you want to discuss key factors for these teams it’s quite simple. The Texas Rangers will win this series if they hit the ball as well as they have throughout the American League playoffs. If they continue to see the ball well and make it a tough time for pitchers, then you are witnessing the 2010 World Series Champions.
But Texas will have to deal with the best pitching rotation they have seen in the playoffs thus far in the San Francisco Giants. If there is anyone that can shut down the offense of the Texas Rangers it’s the San Francisco Giants. If you don’t believe me look at the National League Championship Series when they shut down the lineup of the Philadelphia Phillies. Up until the surge that was the Texas Rangers offense in the Postseason, it was all about the Phillies offense and the San Francisco pitching staff shut them down.
As for key players in this series you won’t have to look far if you’ve been watching the Postseason at all. For Texas the key players will be Cliff Lee, Josh Hamilton and Elvis Andrus. They have basically been the nucleus for this Texas Rangers success in the Postseason.
Josh Hamilton was non-existent in the ALDS portion of the Rangers run. He was coming off of a rib injury that shelved him for most of September and he wasn’t the offensive juggernaut that he was in the ALCS in the ALDS. But he showed up in the ALCS and in a big way driving the ball over the wall four times in the ALCS alone. If he hits like the ALCS version of Josh Hamilton the Rangers will win the series, but if he hits like the ALDS version of Josh Hamilton then you better be prepared to see the Giants celebrating a World Championship.
Finally we have Elvis Andrus, who in my opinion has been the most underrated player in the postseason. His speed has been deadly on the base paths throughout the entire postseason keeping pitchers from focusing on the catcher and focusing on his speed. He is producing runs and has reminded me a lot of Juan Pierre from the 2003 run from the Florida Marlins. Whether he is hitting the ball or walking, the minute he gets on base, you know he will score. He has been the Rangers unsung hero in the postseason.
Looking at the San Francisco Giants key players for the World Series you have to go with the group of Tim Lincecum, Brian Wilson and Cody Ross. The three players that really helped push the Giants to the National League Championship and do the unthinkable when they beat the Phillies in the NLCS. If these three players are on then it swings into the Giants favor.
Similar to Cliff Lee, Lincecum needs to set the foundation in Game 1 of the World Series. You will be in your home ball park, in front of your home fans and in the World Series. You have a lot of intangibles already in place to help carry you to victory but you have to matchup against Cliff Lee in Game 1, the toughest pitcher in Postseason Baseball the last decade.
If Lincecum can defeat Lee in Game 1 then pendulum will swing in the large favor of the Giants, to many people Lee is unbeatable and bullet proof. If anyone can stop the dominance of Lee and matchup with him pitch for pitch, it’s “The Freak.” Just like in Game 1 of the NLCS when he beat Roy Halladay, Lincecum needs to beat Lee.
Just like Elvis Andrus for the Rangers, Brian Wilson has been the unsung hero for the Giants Postseason run this year. He has shut down teams the moment he steps on the mound and helps guide the Giants to a victory. If you look back to the Yankees dominance in the 90s it was because of Mariano Rivera being lights out in the playoffs; Wilson is doing the same thing and may be the most feared closer in the National League now. He has been a integral part to the Giants Postseason success. Once the ball gets into his hand in the 8th or 9th you feel like its game over and a Giants victory.
While Lincecum and Wilson have been great, the Giants may not have made it this far without the help of Cody Ross. Cody Ross has been the offensive spark plug that has shocked the Baseball world in his October dominance. It’s a story every Baseball fan enjoys by seeing someone redeem himself & his career in front of Baseball’s biggest stage. Ask any Phillies fan, if Ross shows up, this series belongs to the Giants.
When it comes to picking a winner for the World Series I have been going back and forth because it truly is a toss up right now. But at the end of the day I remembered what I have been preaching for quite sometime and that is “pitching wins championships.” Going off of that moniker against two teams very evenly matched, I have to go with the San Francisco Giants to win the World Series. Having the pitching at the end of the day is best force to stop a team with such good offense like the Rangers.
This series is so evenly matched and will be very exciting to see for any Baseball fan. While it doesn’t have the marquee matchup that the average viewer may want to see, it’s a series for really Baseball fans. It should be fun to watch and I feel it will go the distance all the way to Game 7. This will be very fun to watch.
Prediction: Giants win series 4-3
As always for more MLB & World Series coverage check out my sports podcast “The Wheelhouse” over at www.wheelhouseradio.com!
For more MLB Postseason coverage head over to my sports podcast “The Wheelhouse” over at www.wheelhouseradio.com!
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