It’s hard to believe, isn’t it? The World Series is upon us, and it doesn’t involve the Yankees or the Phillies. While I’ll admit, it’s tough for me to really get into the MLB postseason when I don’t have any real rooting interest, but the fact that we’ll be seeing a couple of new faces fighting for it all this time around certainly helps.
The Texas Rangers: With the Rangers winning the AL pennant, the Mariners are now left alone with the Nationals as the only teams to never play in the World Series. That should be an…. interesting race.
Anyway, the Rangers are good. Really good. We’ve all seen what their offense is capable of when firing on all cylinders, and with Cliff Lee, CJ Wilson, and Colby Lewis making up most of their rotation, it’s tough not to like their pitching as well. These aren’t the Texas Rangers we’re used to, and this postseason could serve as a glimpse into what life will be like for Mariners fans if they’re able to retain Cliff Lee. Historically, their biggest problems have been pitching, and an insufficient budget. Give them Cliff Lee, a huge TV deal, and a World Series title, and the rest of the AL West might have a problem.
The San Francisco Giants: Pitching, pitching, pitching. That’s what comes to mind when most people think of the Giants. They’re known for their arms, and they’ve got some good ones. Namely, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and of course, Brian Wilson (who, incidentally, may be the weirdest Major League Baseball player ever). If anyone besides the Phillies has the pitching staff to silence the Texas offense, it’s probably the Giants.
However, shutting down your opponent’s offense is only one part of the game, and while the Giants certainly have the pitching and the defense (56.4 team UZR in 2010), they’re lacking in the offense department. Now, don’t get me wrong – their offense has greatly improved since the Giants team we saw in 2009, but they’re still below average, and not nearly the powerhouse you’ll see on the other side of the diamond.
Prediction: Rangers in 6.
There will certainly be some excellent pitching match ups, but in the end, the Giants just don’t have the bats to compete with the Rangers. Plus, it’s tough to doubt your odds when you’ve got Cliff Lee going twice in a seven game series.