How We See the 2010 World Series
The 2010 World Series is upon us. Every baseball fan knows the main storyline: The Texas Rangers will appear in the World Series for the first time while the San Francisco Giants will be looking to win their first World Series since moving to the west coast in 1958.
If anyone had the Texas-San Francisco exacta at any point during the regular season, much less before the season, then you're either delusional, lucky, or in the wrong business. Send me your ticket from Las Vegas as proof. Copies not allowed.
The staff at Baseball Analysts weigh in below with our comments and predictions.
Rich: I believe Texas has the edge. The Rangers beat Tampa Bay and New York, the two best teams in baseball in the Division and Championship Series. The Rangers also have the best starting pitcher (Cliff Lee) and the best hitter (Josh Hamilton). San Francisco has strong pitching depth and home-field advantage, but the offense leaves a lot to be desired. I don't see Cody Ross, as an example, hitting three home runs in the World Series, like he did in the NLCS. While most World Series go six or seven games, I'll go out on a limb and say Texas in five with Lee winning the first game and the finale.
Jeremy: I think the difference between the American League and National League is understated. The Rangers are the better team. However, the Giants have home-field advantage. In my opinion, the National League has a natural edge in the World Series, given the difference in quality of pitcher hitting. I worry that Ron Washington will badly mismanage games in a National League park, for example failing to understand that C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis, and Tommy Hunter should not pitch past the fifth or sixth innings. Still, the difference in talent between the two clubs appears overwhelming, so I'll take the Rangers in six.
Dave: I have to agree with Rich and Jeremy: the Rangers have the clear advantage in the lineup, and probably an advantage in starting pitching (mostly thanks to Lee), but the Giants have the advantage in bullpen (and Bruce Bochy seems more adept at playoff-bullpen management) and home-field advantage. The pluses for the Rangers outweigh those for the Giants, and so the Rangers are, rightly, slight favorites for the series (the betting line suggest they win it about 55% of the time). I will go with the Rangers in seven.
Rich: Do I hear Rangers in eight? What will it be, Sully?
Sully: I don't see the talent discrepancy between the two clubs as "overwhelming" as Jeremy. I think Andres Torres, Aubrey Huff, and Buster Posey are only a bit worse in aggregate than Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, and Ian Kinsler, the core position players for each team. I can't see much difference between the rotations and, like Dave, I think the Giants have a bullpen edge.
I'll go out on my own here and take the Giants. First, the home crowds at AT&T Park have been amazing and I think San Francisco really feeds off of it. Home field will be key, and I think particularly so this evening. The Phillies came into the NLCS with an air of infallibility thanks in large part to Roy Halladay's Division Series heroics. The Rangers are a complete team, but there's a similar dynamic at play with Lee. If the Giants take Game One like they did against Philadelphia, and then have Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, and Madison Bumgarner lined up for Wilson, Lewis and Hunter, there's a clear path to victory for them. So I say Tim Lincecum carries the Giants tonight, and San Francisco goes on to win in six.