Rangers starting pitching vs. Giants starting pitching
Good starting pitching will be the key to determine who will win the World Series this year. The Texas rotation will be Cliff Lee, C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis and Tommy Hunter. The Giants will use Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner. Six of the eight pitchers are under the age of 30, so it will be interesting to watch how the young pitchers handle the pressure of the World Series.
Both teams have the typical ace at the front of their rotations. Lee has dominated this postseason with a 34-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio to go along with a 0.75 ERA. Lincecum is also a strikeout machine and has 30 in three starts. Expect Game 1 to be a pitcher’s duel with a lot of strikeouts. Cain will start Game 2 for the Giants and has yet to allow an earned run in the postseason. Wilson was dominant against the Rays, but struggled against the Yankees in Game 5 of the ALCS. Both back ends of the rotations for both teams are strong.
Rangers offense vs. Giants offense
The Texas lineup has been hitting the ball well this postseason, both in power and average. Nelson Cruz leads the team in home runs with five, and Josh Hamilton is second with four. As a team, the Rangers have hit 17 home runs this postseason. In comparison, the Giants have hit six. Cody Ross is the team leader with four. The Giants do not have a power offense, so they will be at a disadvantage when the series is in Arlington at a stadium known to give up the long ball. The Rangers have scored nearly twice as many runs as the Giants this postseason, so it will be difficult for the Giants to come back if they fall behind early.
One of the Rangers offensive keys will be aggressive base running. Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, Cruz and Hamilton all are a threat to steal bases. With runs at a premium based on the excellent Giants pitching, the stolen base will be a decisive factor. The Giants offense was never the strength of the team during the regular season, which is why the team added players like Ross and Pat Burrell at the trade deadline. The Giants have some talented hitters, such as Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval, but these players are young and inconsistent. One interesting thing to note is that Vlad Guerrero will have to play left field when the games are at AT&T Park. The outfield of AT&T Park is one of the biggest in the majors, so he may have trouble covering all the gaps in the field.
Rangers bullpen vs. Giants bullpen
Both the Rangers and Giants have had excellent closers, both in regular season and postseason play. Giants closer Brian Wilson has not allowed a run this postseason, and he led the National League in saves this year with 48. Neftali Feliz had an excellent rookie season with the Rangers by posting 40 saves. Both Feliz and Wilson have fastballs that can reach 100 mph. The strength of the Ranger bullpen is its depth. It has several young, hard-throwing pitchers who can come into the game at any point and provide long relief or perform in the set-up role.
The Giants have a strong set-up man in Sergio Romo, but they lack depth, especially at the back end of the bullpen.
Rangers in five
The Rangers will win this series because their offense is so much better than the Giants’. Both teams are capable of winning one-run games; however, the Giants do not have the ability to score runs in bunches like the Rangers do. Because of this, when the teams move from AT&T Park to the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, the Giants will not be able to match the powerful offense of Texas. The only hope the Giants have of winning is if their starting pitchers can completely shut down the red-hot Texas lineup, and this will be a tall order for a rotation that is so young.
Allen Kellogg is a sophomore journalism major from Alexandria, Va.