Sunday, October 24, 2010

Giants Win the Pennant!

No, last night's game wasn't as exciting as Bobby Thompson's "Shot Heard 'Round the World," but it was pretty exciting.  Going into the playoffs, Philadelphia was easily the odds on favorite to take on home the Commissioner's Trophy this October.  Instead, they lost to a team most picked to finish fourth out of five in their own division.*  Don't get me wrong, the Giants have a tremendous starting pitching staff.  Any rotation that's strong enough to have Barry Zito as their number five starter is going to be pretty stacked.  No one disputes this.  The question about the Giants was whether or not they would score enough runs to win consistently.  To an extent they did (697 runs scored, good for ninth in the NL), but that's primarily because of their unbelievable success in run prevention--number one in runs allowed (583 runs) and number four in Defensive Efficiency at 70.9%.  How the Giants got to this point, is pretty immaterial.  They got here, and that's really all that matters.
* Full disclosure:  Prior to the start of the season, I predicted a Phillies-Yankees World Series rematch, with the Phillies winning in seven games.  Also, I predicted the Giants would finish fourth in the NL West ahead of only the lowly Padres.  While, I was right that the Giants would finish ahead of the Padres, I didn't realize that they would finish 1-2 in the division. bad!

So, now we have our World Series match-up complete.  The Texas Rangers, led by Cliff Lee and Josh Hamilton, will appear in the World Series for the first time in their franchise's history.  The San Francisco Giants, led by Tim Lincecum and Buster Posey, will return to the Fall Classic for the first time since the height of the Barry Bonds-era (2002) with the goal of winning their first World Series since 1954--three years before the Giants left New York for the left coast.  It should be an exciting series for most baseball fans--albeit one dominated by great pitching performances and low scoring games.  Both teams seem to be pretty evenly matched, which means there's a chance we could see a seven game series.  In fact, I'll go out on a limb, and predict a seven games series.  I give the slight edge to the Rangers based on two things:  (1) their ability to score runs in bunches, and (2) they have Cliff Lee.

Just one final note to Dodger fans out there.  Since the Dodgers won the World Series in 1988, the Giants have made it to the World Series three times (1989, 2002, 2010), while the Dodgers haven't come within three wins of the Fall Classic.  Just some food for thought...

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