2010 World Series Preview: Texas Rangers vs. San Francisco Giants

The 106th edition of baseball’s World Series begins tomorrow night in San Francisco with the Giants and Rangers renewing their historic rivalry.

Oh wait, there is no established rivalry.

But with tickets selling at record pace with record prices, and die-hard fans quitting high-paying jobs to follow their teams, we do need some “themes,” no?

First off, a quick poll to see who everyone thinks will win. My prediction below.

Who will win the 2010 World Series?

  • Rangers in 4 (6%, 6 Votes)
  • Rangers in 5 (13%, 13 Votes)
  • Rangers in 6 (21%, 21 Votes)
  • Rangers in 7 (7%, 7 Votes)
  • Giants in 4 (6%, 6 Votes)
  • Giants in 5 (11%, 11 Votes)
  • Giants in 6 (27%, 28 Votes)
  • Giants in 7 (9%, 10 Votes)

Total Voters: 102

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World Series Preview

I guess we can call it “the renewal” of the great football rivalry of the 90s between the cities of Dallas and San Francisco? Or if politics is your cup of tea, how about (former Rangers owner, 43rd president, and current Dallas resident who may “dare” to attend the games in SF) George W. Bush versus (SF congresswoman/speaker of the house — at least for a few more days) Nancy Pelosi? Or the “Bengie Molina series”? Or the two old codgers (Nolan Ryan and Ron Washington) leading their Texans against the trendy, elite folks in San Francisco? Choose your own, but give big congrats to these teams, who are apparently NOT really small-market, for dethroning the past two champs in convincing fashion.

The Rangers, 50 long years into their existence, arrive aCliff Lees the AL representative following their utter dominance of the defending champion Yankees, doubling New York 38-19 in the ALCS. Texas blew a lead during a game one meltdown, but won in convincing fashion in all four of their triumphs, outscoring NY 31-5 in those romps. Despite only needing stud starter Cliff Lee once in six games, they outplayed the Bronx Bombers in EVERY aspect of the game.

Now only the Washington/Montreal and Seattle franchises have yet to appear in the Fall Classic, as the Rangers exorcised some Yankee “demons” from 1996, 1998 and 1999, as well as decades of past futility. Texas had never even won a playoff series before this season; they’ve now won two, and look for a third — and the first professional sports title for the Dallas/Fort Worth area in over a decade — this coming week.

The Giants beat a Phillies team many thought was invincible in six games, holding on for dear life in Saturday night’s Game Six nail biter. Brian “Black Beard” Wilson made it dicey in the end, but MVP Cody Ross and SF really handled Philly confidently and well throughout the NLCS. Both series may have gone six, but neither, especially the ALCS, had a surprising end.

Cody Ross & Tim Lincecum

While others will somehow make excuses, one Yankee fan friend honestly noted “I’ll get over this loss pretty quickly. The silver lining is that the Rangers going to the Series is good for baseball.”

How true. But still, pompous Yankee announcer Michael Kay, when he wasn’t accusing Cliff Lee of cheating, was saying “this series is over” after New York’s lucky game one win. Joel Sherman of the NY Post called Yanks-Phils “inevitable” prior to the beginning of each series, while the “classy” Yankee fans were literally spitting on Cliff Lee.

I don’t recall any Philadelphia-based blowhard pontificating similarly, but some players were “shocked.” They apparently forgot that games are played on the field, not on talk radio or paper.

As it is, the two highest paid players in baseball (Alex Rodriguez of New York and Ryan Howard of Philadelphia) made the final outs of the season for their teams — both caught with bat on shoulder.

Rodriguez hit only .190 with two RBIs in 21 at-bats during the ALCS. For nine games in this post-season, he hit .219 with no homers and three RBIs in 32 at-bats. Surely New York City has forgotten his clutch hits in the 2009 playoffs already.

Howard, he of ZERO RBIs in nine postseason games, failed in much more dramatic fashion, then condescended to the media. Though his average was .300 in the playoffs, he fanned a startling 17 times in 33 at bats. This followed his 13 punchouts in 25 World Series at bats in 2009. (That’s 30 in 58 for those honest types, like me, keeping score of the futility our media ignores.)

But enough of the losers. As for fans of “small market” success — or just the better teams winning — the 2010 World Series is truly going to be a treat. For northeasterners who only follow their teams, it’ll be “boring.” In fact, many have told me they will not even bother to watch. Fox’s Ken Rosenthanl tried his best to find a middle ground in a column last night.

Texas Rangers defeat NY Yankees for AL PennantAs to the actual series, while Colby Lewis pitching the Rangers’ first World Series home game is a great story, having Cliff Lee (postseason career numbers: 7-0, 1.26 ERA) going in Game One – therefore nearly guaranteed to pitch twice (finally once at home), and perhaps three times if necessary — is a nice benefit Texas did not have in the ALCS.

The Giants rotation is also set as they wish, due to the three day layoff before we get going. San Francisco has the best starting pitching in the majors, but Texas has arguably the best hitting, especially in the playoffs where they’ve tattooed top hurlers like David Price, CC Sabathia and others. This World Series is, as many have noted, a “study in contrasts.”

These two squads, who no one, including yours truly, would’ve forecasted to play the final series of the baseball season, did their best work on the road in the playoffs. That is the sign of a good team.

Despite going just 39-42 away from the Metroplex during the regular season, Texas is 5-1 so far in the postseason, including three triumphs in Tampa and two dominating wins versus the overhyped Yankees in the Bronx. San Francisco was 4-1 away from the Bay Area, including taking two of three from a Phillies team most thought would roll into the World Series due to home field and pitching. Turned out SF was better at home and on the mound. Go figure.

Considering I’m 3-3 picking series this October — correct on three of four in the Division Series, but foolishly missed both LCS forecasts since I went with my “brain” in lieu of my gut — take this prediction with a grain of salt: {The beauty of baseball, as I often reiterate, is that it’s such a complex game that NO ONE can predict it (unlike the NBA, for example). Even a more intricate analysis — like this one for example – would be fruitless.}

World Series Prediction

I’m taking the Giants in a seven game classic. I think home field, secured by the NL for the first time in nine seasons, finally matters. While road teams are a brutal 10-17 in the 2010 postseason, ballclubs with home field have won seven of the past ten World Series, and San Francisco uses it to win Games 6 and 7 at home, especially by avoiding Cliff Lee in those crucial tilts. And additionally, if it matters, the Giants have won 11 of the past 12 contests with Texas, all during Interleague Play.

But who knows? 2010 has been a winning year for baseball all around. The best rookie crop in my lifetime as a fan; some shocking success stories from teams picked low, sub .500, or out of the playoffs (San Diego, Cincinnati, San Francisco, Texas, Oakland, Minnesota, Toronto); and of course, the best pitching in nearly two decades, which is what makes the game better:

Six no hitters (two of them perfect games), including one in the playoffs, and 15 hurlers with sub 3 ERAs in the era of small ballparks. Then, get this: NONE of those 15 were on the Giants nor the Rangers!

And as of this morning, rumors are we could finally get a longer MLB postseason ala the three other major sports.

Lastly, if it concerns you, aside from maybe Thursday night, weather should not be a factor, as it’s been nearly perfect all October in playoff cities, much to the chagrin of the anti-baseball “they cannot play into November” cliché-laden media.

Enjoy it!

UPDATE:  BLS Five Keys for Texas and San Francisco in this World Series.



About AJ Kaufman

A former schoolteacher and military historian, A.J. now works in public relations. As an MSF columnist since 2009, he supports anything baseball-related. Raised in San Diego, A.J. has since resided in numerous parts of America, including Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Ohio and Washington State. After departing the coasts in 2005, he's traveled the back roads of all 50 states and prefers the Heartland. Married to Maria, A.J. is the author of three books and enjoys reading presidential biographies.

Comments

  1. Depressing that you pick the Giants. I am going with a definite SF win in game 1 because Cliff Lee is pitching and he's due to lose, but Texas wins in seven.

    • Just very hard to predict any individual game, much less the entire series. I am cheering for Texas, for sure. A much more likable team.

  2. In either case, I think it's going to be a thrilling series. As far as who wins, that's the beauty of it! Each game, I think, is going to be one that can go either way, which I feel makes for better sport than a David v. Goliath every year.

  3. As a former NYer, I'm pumped for the world series. Interesting matchup and nice to see new teams in there. I like Texas but, as a Mets fan, I'm rooting for the NL team. And dont expect Yankee fans to care. They're sore losers.

  4. I would like to think the Rangers would be able to win the series in 6 games, but you have a point with home field. If the series does go 7 games however, don't you think the Rangers would try to throw Cliff Lee for that game? Realistically he could throw games 1,4 and 7. Sure that's a lot, but just having him on the mound is better than not.

    • I'd like to think that but Washington has reiterated he won't. Now down 0-2. Texas won't have Lee until game 5 where, at best, they'll be 2-2, and could be 3-1 down or it could be over.

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