It has come to this. The 2010 San Francisco Giants are in the World Series up against the Texas Rangers. In other news, a sounder of pigs were witnessed flying over San Francisco yesterday and unicorns did indeed come charging out from within parts of my body that should never have mythical creatures charging out of them. Kudos to the one tin-foil hat wearing conspiracy theorist who picked the Giants and Rangers to meet in the World Series this year, my hat is off to you.
I didn't think, at the beginning of this season (or more accurately, at the beginning of the time I began writing for the Giants and SB Nation Bay Area - earlier this year), that I'd be putting together previews for World Series games. For me to have reached that scenario by this point would have required me to get a big break and bust into national MLB media or have either the San Francisco Giants or Oakland A's make it through the respective championships to get there. Needless to say, I didn't keep my secretary (nonexistent) on standby.
The 106th edition of the World Series is here, and the two aforementioned teams, one having never won a title, and the other not having won one for 56 years. The Giants knocked off their defending pennant champion Phillies, while the Rangers took out their defending champs in the Yankees.
Here I am, here we all are, just shy of game one at AT&T Park in a best-of-seven series. Pitching rotations are coming to fruition, the umpire crew has been announced, and we're all ready for game one on Wednesday evening. A game one that, as is customary for the Giants this year, is a pitching duel. Tim Lincecum and Cliff Lee each take the mound for their respective ball clubs and it's business as usual for the San Francisco Giants.
Lee is part of a pitching staff that went for a combined 2.76 ERA in these 11 games. Lee himself is 3-0 with a 0.75 ERA. He became the third pitcher in MLB history to win his first seven playoff decisions and has the third best all-time ERA in postseason history with 1.26. He's never lost to the Giants, have returns on a 1.1.3 ERA in the three contests.
"What I attribute my success in the post season to is confidence, relying on my routine, playing on a really good team, having a really good offense to lean on, Bengie Molina," Lee said. "Those are a lot of the reasons. But I think mostly it's probably just confidence and going out there and expecting to be successful, and what allows me to do that is my routine. I've proven to myself over and over that it works, and eventually it becomes what you rely on to make you successful, and that's where I'm at."
Josh Hamilton will look to make Lee's job an awful lot easier, batting .350 in the ALCS against the Yankees and winning the ALCS MVP trophy because of it. He hit three home runs and drove in seven in the series. He's looking to make things tough for Giants game one starter, pitching ace Tim Lincecum.
Lincecum, the two-time defending NL Cy Young winner finds himself in yet another pitching duel after a couple of contests against Roy Halladay in the NLCS. He's 2-1 this postseason with a 1.93 ERA in four games. He's never faced the Rangers.
The counter to Hamilton will hopefully be Cody Ross, the NLCS MVP trophy winner for the Giants, who has come from seemingly nowhere with his play. Three home runs gave the Giants the edge in the NLCS. His first career homerun came against Cliff Lee in 2003.
Being the fourth team in the past six seasons to see their first World Series, the Rangers will need to overcome a negative stat: the previous three teams all lost in five games or less: Houston (2005), Colorado (2007) and Tampa Bay (2008).
The Rangers have lost eleven games in a row in San Francisco and the Giants have won the last seven of the meetings altogether between the two teams.
The Giants have had a tendency to win very close games with contributions coming throughout the lineup. No team in the NL had more home runs from the seventh and eighth positions than the Giants. Seven of the ten postseason games for the Giants this year have been decided by one run, with San Francisco only losing one of those contests. Eleven different players throughout the Giants lineup have worked together to score the team's nineteen runs in the LCS.
In regards to the title, I'll point you in the direction of McCovey Chronicles, our Giants blog. They've been kicking around discussion lately, and did so at the beginning of the NLCS, regarding opposing pitching for the team. The gist of the matter is that even poor pitchers can feel like Roy Halladays and Cliff Lees. Tim Lincecum versus any pitcher will end up being a pitching duel, one-run affair.
So there you have it, that's what you're watching this evening whether you like it or not. The Heat got their freakshow out of the way yesterday, so the one and only thing you should be doing is watching the Giants and Rangers square off via Tim Lincecum and Cliff Lee.