The 2010 MLB postseason season is drawing to a close, but two teams remain. The Texas Rangers, the American League champions, advanced to the World Series by dominating the New York Yankees four out the six games on the ALCS, winning each by 5 runs or more. They pitched better, hit better, and generally overwhelmed the defending champions. Their opponents in the Fall Classic will be the San Francisco Giants, who defeated the Philadelphia Phillies by winning three of their four games by one run. Behind both their clutch hitting and their superior bullpen, which strung together seven innings of scoreless relief in Game 6. Who will manage to pull out four more wins and bring the first World Series title to their home cities? The Tech’s Sports staff weigh in...
The beginning foretells the end
This World Series is a matchup of the underdogs. The Rangers have never been to a World Series, and the Giants have not won a World Series since 1954. Both teams overcame immense odds to get this far, with the Rangers taking down the defending champion Yankees and the Giants preventing what would have been a third pennant in a row for the Phillies. In this series, the winner of game 1 has a huge advantage. Both teams have stellar bullpens, and Game 1 is slated to feature a matchup between the teams’ best pitchers, with Cliff Lee pitching for the Rangers and Tim Lincecum for the Giants. As a Texan who grew up making fun of the Rangers for being notoriously terrible, it doesn’t get any better than seeing them win baseball’s granddaddy of them all. That being said, the Rangers will win game 1, and take the series in 7. After all, wouldn’t it be great to see a winner-takes-all final game?
Prediction: Rangers in 7
Rangers will keep on plugging
With the Rangers on a high, expect them to continue their slugging against the Giants. Lincecum, Cain, and Sanchez are a tough group of pitchers to beat, but Cliff Lee is up to the challenge. Lincecum’s sluggish relief performance in the eighth inning of Game 6 following his Game 5 loss turns all of the momentum against him as he starts against the Rangers. Lee will take over the games in which he starts, ensuring at least two wins for the Rangers, who will get the other two with their hot bats. Hamilton’s above .500 on-base percentage should continue along with his homers. Inspired by their humble, work-minded manager, Ron Washington, Texas should win it all.
Prediction: Rangers in 6
End of the line for the Giants
Now, after admitting defeat, I will have to back up the team that smoked the Yanks in the ALCS — the Rangers. Yes, Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum look phenomenal, the Giants have been playing great baseball, and they have home-field advantage. If there is one team that can outduel the Giants’ pitching, it’s the Rangers. TC.J. Wilson and Cliff Lee will be able to give Cain and Lincecum a run for their money. Ron Washington has his players hungry for a ring and champagne
(or Ginger Ale — no champagne for Josh Hamilton) celebrations in the locker room. Washington’s starters, coupled with the hot hitting of Josh Hamilton (4 HRs in the ALCS) and the rest of the potent Rangers lineup, will bring the Commissioner’s Trophy to Arlington.
Prediction: Rangers in 6
Rangers take weak Giants
I forecast the World Series with a sense of humility and a tinge of reluctance; neither the Phillies nor Yankees, both of whom I picked to advance to the World Series, even to make it to a seventh game in their respective Championship Series. However, if there’s anything we learned in the aftermath of the NLCS, it’s far better to go down swinging than looking. As Texas has conquered the best that the American League East has to offer, I have to believe the Rangers will be able to take down a weaker Giants team from the National League to take home the World Series title.
Prediction: Rangers in 6.
Giants will triumph in the clutch
In the end, it’s two teams that few expected to make it very far at the start of the season. While the Rangers handled the Yankees easily for most of the ALCS, the Giants squeezed through a nailbiter of a series against the Phillies. The series will show new challenges for both teams, since the Rangers haven’t seen as good a starting rotation as the Giants, while the Giants have yet to face a lineup as potent as the Rangers. You’d expect the Rangers to hold the advantage in a slugfest, since with their hitters, they’re never out of a game. But thus far, they’ve had very little success in close games. This could be very costly against the Giants, who just went through an entire series of games that went down to the wire. Additionally, how will the Rangers’ run production fare in a pitchers park for the first time this postseason? In a year that’s been dominated by pitching stories, it would only be fitting for the better rotation to win out. The series will end with the nutter Brian Wilson flashing his victory sign, giving the Giants their first world series since moving from New York.
Prediction: Giants in 6
Pitching will carry Giants to title
Anything can happen in baseball. On paper, both the Giants and Rangers should be sitting at home right now, watching the powerful Phillies and Yankees play for the championship for the second straight year. The Rangers were supposed to be crushed by a potent New York offense, but ended up outscoring the Yankees 31-6 in their four wins and batting over a hundred points higher in the series. Likewise, The Giants’ wimpy offense was supposed to be no match for that of the Phillies, but led by unlikely heroes Cody Ross and Juan Uribe, pushed just enough runs across the plate and handed leads over to their stalwart bullpen.
Pitching, however, wins in the postseason. The Rangers have Cliff Lee, who is available to start three games in the series, and Colby Lewis, but the Giants’ trio of Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Jonathan Sanchez can shut down opposing offenses. Neftali Feliz and the rest of the Texas bullpen looked solid against the Yankees, but were never tested in any high-pressure, close game situations, while the Giants’ Brian Wilson saved three of San Francisco’s wins (and got the win in the fourth).
The Giants will also have home-field advantage in spacious AT&T Park, thanks to the National League’s win in the All-Star Game, creating an additional challenge for Texas hitters. The Giants will produce enough runs to reach Game 7, where Lincecum will outduel Lee and San Francisco will see its first-ever World Series champion.
Prediction: Giants in 7