Thursday, October 28, 2010

WS Game 2: Rangers at Giants

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
C.J. Wilson tries to even the series back up for the Rangers tonight at AT&T Park.
After last night's out-of-the-blue slugfest, who knows what to expect tonight in Game 2 of the World Series? Will the offensive explosion continue, or will superior pitching finally prevail? Both starters (C.J. Wilson for the Rangers, Matt Cain for the Giants) certainly are capable of putting together dominant outings. Each has already done it in this postseason. But I think we saw in Game 1 that each lineup is also capable of stringing together a bunch of hits, against some of baseball's best pitchers, nonetheless.

No changes to San Francisco's lineup. Why tinker with a group that scored 11 runs against Cliff Lee and Co.? Texas, though, has made two changes. Matt Treanor, Wilson's personal catcher, is behind the plate instead of Bengie Molina. More notable is the absence of Vladimir Guerrero, who looked awful in right field last night and thus has been benched in favor of David Murphy. The switch was necessary; no way Ron Washington could put Vlad back out there tonight. But how often do you find a team's cleanup hitter benched for Game 2 of the World Series?

The forecast by the Bay isn't the greatest. There's a chance of rain throughout the evening, and the wind could kick up as well. Keep an eye on that. I'll share my thoughts along the way. Please share yours as well...

Where: AT&T Park
      Gametime: 7:57 p.m.
     TV: Fox Radio: WTEM-980 AM
     Weather: Showers, 64 degrees
SS Elvis Andrus
3B Michael Young
CF Josh Hamilton
RF Nelson Cruz
2B Ian Kinsler
LF David Murphy
C Matt Treanor
1B Mitch Moreland
P C.J. Wilson

CF Andres Torres
2B Freddy Sanchez
C Buster Posey
LF Pat Burrell
RF Cody Ross
1B Aubrey Huff
3B Juan Uribe
SS Edgar Renteria
P Matt Cain
8:28 p.m. -- Solid start to the game for both pitchers. Matt Cain has retired all six batters he's faced. C.J. Wilson allowed a second-inning double to Cody "Don't Call Me Babe Ruth" Ross but escaped without further damage. No rain yet, but there's some serious wind blowing in from right field. It's already tough enough for left-handed hitters to get one over that brick wall and into McCovey Cove. It's going to be near impossible tonight. Scoreless through two.

8:53 p.m. -- Matt Cain, lest anyone forget, has yet to allow an earned run in 17 2/3 innings this postseason. Forget about Lee, Lincecum or Halladay. This guy has been the best pitcher in baseball this month! Still scoreless as they head to the bottom of the fourth.

9:02 p.m. -- Nelson Cruz has now made two catches in right field I'm not sure Vladimir Guerrero would have made. Not really difficult plays, but not routine either.

9:13 p.m. -- Had a butterfly sitting atop the upper deck behind the plate at AT&T Park flapped its wings as Ian Kinsler's fifth-inning drive to center was in the air, the Rangers would be winning 1-0 right now. But clearly the butterfly wasn't paying attention (or was a Giants fan) because Kinsler's ball landed on top of the fence and bounced back into play for a mere double. Cain was then able to navigate his way through the rest of the inning -- intentionally walking Mitch Moreland to get to the opposing pitcher -- and keep this one scoreless.

9:19 p.m. -- No need for butterfly help with Edgar Renteria at the plate. He cleared the left-field fence with plenty of room to spare. San Francisco leads 1-0 in the bottom of the fifth.

9:44 p.m. -- Well this is the pitchers' duel we all thought we'd get last night. Cain and Wilson have been fantastic, the only difference that Renteria homer vs. Kinsler's near-miss. I've been particularly impressed with Cain's ability to pitch his way out of a couple of jams. I think I mentioned this back during his NLDS start, but a couple years ago I watched both Cain and Jordan Zimmermann pitch and thought there were some similarities between the two. A few "baseball men" agreed with my comparison. I think Nats fans would be perfectly happy if Zimmermann winds up duplicating Cain's career.

10:02 p.m. -- Wow, an abrupt ending to Wilson's night. A blister on his pitching hand has forced the left-hander out of the game one batter into the seventh inning. That's an unfortunate conclusion to a fantastic outing by the Rangers starter. Chance here for San Francisco to take advantage of Texas' suspect middle relief.

10:11 p.m. -- Sure enough, Uribe delivers an RBI single against Darren Oliver to extend the Giants' lead to 2-0 in the seventh.

10:23 p.m. -- I know it'll never happen, but if the Giants end up winning the World Series, Javier Lopez deserves serious consideration for MVP. He's certainly been as important as anyone else on San Francisco's roster this postseason. The Fairfax native and Robinson High alum has now faced 18 batters this postseason and retired 16 of them. And it's not like he's facing slouches. He's basically been going up against no one but Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Josh Hamilton. Impressive stuff.

10:44 p.m. -- So much for Derek Holland as the unsung hero of the Rangers bullpen. The lefty just threw 11 straight balls and walked in a run. It's now 3-0 Giants, with the bases still loaded in the bottom of the eighth. Oh yeah, and so much for the first sub 3-hour World Series game in four years. Chances of that were looking great around the bottom of the seventh, but things have slowed to a crawl since. There hasn't been a World Series game played in less than three hours since Game 5 of the 2006 series between the Cardinals and Tigers (played in 2:56). And there hasn't been a World Series game that ended before 11 p.m. on the East Coast since Game 1 of that 2006 series, which ended at precisely 10:59 p.m. Still have a chance to get this one completed before local news goes on the air, but the Rangers bullpen is going to need to record an out first.

10:54 p.m. -- Or, you know, throw a strike. Good lord, this is pathetic. It's now 6-0, still in the bottom of the eighth.

11:03 p.m. -- Hey, what do you know? They're going to the ninth at last, the Giants' rally having been stopped dead in its tracks after seven runs, all with two outs in the eighth. It's 9-0 with three outs to go. Here's tonight's incredible stat: The Giants have scored as many runs in the last 12 innings as they did in the entire NLCS: 19. And they WON the NLCS!

11:14 p.m. -- That's your ballgame. Final score: San Francisco 9, Texas 0. The Giants take a commanding 2-0 series lead as everyone heads down to the Metroplex for Game 3 Saturday night. Is this thing over already? No. But the Rangers have to win at least two of three at home just to bring the series back west. And in order to do that, they're going to need to start producing more at the plate AND get much better relief pitching.


Unknown said...

You *had* to get that in, didn't you, Mr. Reverse-Lock??
; /

Unknown said...

Cody Ross to left for the 7th inning, Schuerholtz in right .... Whoa! Just in time.

Unknown said...

"the only difference that Renteria homer vs. Kinsler's near-miss."
So if this holds up, we'll refer to it as The Butterfly Game.

Unknown said...


Michael J. Hayde said...

"The Giants are winning with pitching again. But not theirs."

Best. Quote. Ever.

Unknown said...

OK, so I guess the reversey-lockey thing is off.

natsfan1a said...

Yeah, the reverse-lock is off, but the Bizarro Giants World run scoring thingy is sooo on.

In other news, I enjoyed Rob Schneider's pregame interview on MLB Network. He seems to be quite the knowledgeable Giants fanatic. Needless to say, I also enjoyed Joe Montana's reading of the lineups. Heck, I'd probably enjoy his reading of the phone book. I know, I know. What a homer. :-)

Faraz Shaikh said...

This is shocking. I mean the performance by Rangers bullpen. Last night, Giants hitters kept getting hits in 2 outs. Same thing tonight again. 7 runs and they couldn't get one out? WOW. I am not complaining or anything but this is ridiculous. Completely wasted Wilson's performance and pretty much no chance of Rangers coming back in 2nd game. It is just that I am so used to watching Giants play 1 run games, no one expected this.

Anonymous said...

Texas is a bunch of pretenders, they were the worst of the playoff teams in the AL and their bullpen has been weak all year and now it is showing under the national spotlight, Giants in 4!

natsfan1a said...

On a somewhat related note, is it just me, or is that whole claw/antler thing kinda bush league, particularly when the gestures are done on the field?

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