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10/25/2010 12:00:00 AM
The World Series gets underway Wednesday in San Francisco where the Giants host the Rangers. Bob Harvey says the winner will be the...
FOX TV execs would be lying if they said they’re okay with a Rangers, Giants World Series. The people who are paid to worry about things like ratings were hoping for either the Phillies or Yankees (or both) to advance, but they’ll have to be satisfied with a Series between teams that have combined to go 105 seasons without winning the Fall Classic.
Regardless of how things play out, one of the game’s longest championship droughts will come to an end. San Francisco will be seeking its first MLB championship since 1954 when the Giants were still in New York while Texas hasn’t won since its inception in 1961 when the franchise was known as the Washington Senators.
A World Series victory for Texas would take it off the list of teams without a flag to fly, a distinction they share with their Lone Star neighbors in Houston, among others. If you think that Rangers president and part-owner Nolan Ryan would like to get the jump on the Astros, you’d be right.
The Rangers are listed as minus 135 favorites at TheGreek.com with the Giants priced a plus 115. Bodog carried the same futures MLB odds.
We’ve established that both teams are overdue for a title but which team will be celebrating come early November? Let’s break it down.
Slight edge: Giants
San Francisco gets the nod on depth alone. They had the best team ERA in the big leagues this season at 3.36 headed by starters Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez and you saw what their veteran bullpen did against Philadelphia in Game 6. Closer Brian Wilson always seems to be walking a tight rope but he did lead the majors in saves with 48 in 53 chances.
SF might have the best starting pitchers overall but the Rangers have the best pitcher in Cliff Lee who is 7-0 in his postseason career and could conceivably start three games if needed. He’ll be backed by Colby Lewis was 2-0 in the ALCS and has a postseason ERA of 1.45 and C.J. Wilson was as good as any starter in the league during the second-half of the season. Neftali Feliz, the Rangers closer, had 40 saves in 43 chances. The difference is in middle relief where San Francisco holds the advantage.
The Rangers are head and shoulders above the Giants offensively. Texas hit a league-best .276 this year, scored 787 runs and has muscled up in the playoffs hitting 17 home runs, including one in each game. San Francisco hit .257 and scored 697 runs. It’s tough to see San Francisco being able to keep pace with Josh Hamilton, Vladimir Guerrero, Michael Young, Nelson Cruz and Elvis Andrus. Hamilton killed the Yankees in the first five games of the ALCS and New York’s solution was to intentionally walk him three times in Game 6. The problem with that strategy as New York discovered is then you have to deal with Guerrero who drove in 115 runs and is one of the best clutch hitters in the game.
Cody Ross has been a great story and there’s the young star in waiting Buster Posey. However a lineup featuring Jose Uribe, Aubrey Huff and Andres Torres likely doesn’t strike fear deep in the heart of Texas.
Edge: San Francisco
The Giants made just 73 errors this year en route to a league-best .988 fielding percentage. The Rangers were in the middle of the pack this year committing 105 errors for a fielding percentage of .982 plus they’ll be forced to play Guerrero in the outfield in the games in spacious AT&T Park.
The Giants had the fewest stolen bases (55) and the worst stolen base success rate (63%) in all of baseball this year. The Rangers, on the other hand, stole 123 bases and were successful on 72% of their attempts. When Elvis (Andrus) is in the building, San Francisco needs to pay attention. He stole 32 bases in the 2010 regular season.
Texas wins in five games.
It’s been written that good pitching beats good hitting but truthfully, San Francisco hasn’t faced a team that hits the ball like Texas does. The keys in my book are Young and Guerrero. With Andrus on base and Hamilton on deck, Young will see more hittable pitches than any player in the Series while Guerrero figures to come to the plate with more runners in scoring position.
It says here that Lee will win outduel Lincecum in Games 1 and 5 to earn MVP honors as Texas ends its drought leaving San Francisco to wait until next year.