Well, the Giants and the Rangers did it. Two teams that have never won the World Series (at least since the Giants moved to San Francisco in 1958) will have a chance to win their first.
The last time this happened was 2002, when the Angels beat the Giants in seven. Needless to say, the Angels came into existence in 1961, the same year the Rangers’ organization came into existence as the second Washington Senators (the original Senators moved to the Twin Cities in 1961, and MLB being the conservative body it is decided to stick another team in D.C., rather than expanding into a truly new market; the Senators moved to metro Dallas and became the Rangers before the 1972 season.)
The Giants have already broken one recent curse (the inability to win a game on the road after leading a series 3-2 (1987 and 2002), so there’s no reason to think they don’t have a chance to finally win a World Series since moving out West. Besides, there are no players left from the 2002 team on the 2010 roster, so it’s pretty safe to say that there isn’t anything left of the 2002 Game 6 collapse, except unpleasant memories and a few nightmares as far as the Giants are concerned.
The point of this post is that anything can happen in a short series. Going into the play-offs this year, the smart money had to be on the Phillies representing the NL in the World Series and any of the four finalists except Texas representing the AL. Of course, that’s not the way it turned out.
Teams with great starting pitching often underperform in the post-season (the 1969 and 1971 Orioles are good examples, as are the 1988 and 1990 A’s), but the Giants managed to win both the Braves and Phillies series with games to spare, although in all honesty, the games the Giants won were all exceptionally close. One could also point out that the Phillies had three exceptionally fine starters in Halladay, Oswalt and Hamels, but they only managed to squeeze out two wins in their five starts.
The Giants remind me of the 1960 Pirates. The Pirates allowed the most runs scored by an opponent in any World Series ever played (the Yankees scored 55 runs in the Series), but won the Series 4-3 on Mazeroski’s legendary home run. The Yankees won three blow-outs, but couldn’t win the close games.
That sounds a like the 2010 Giants. One expects that the Rangers will win at least one big blow-out game in the Series no matter what, but the Giants could still end up as World Champions.
I’m not even going to try to predict the outcome of this series. The Giants have looked like a team of destiny in the first two post-season series: they’ve had the line-drives hit right at fielders who turned them into double-plays, and the tough hops mostly went the Giants’ way.
That could all change in the World Series. The series will most likely come down to which of the two teams’ hitters adjust most quickly to the fine starting pitchers the other team hasn’t seen much of in the past.
The teams last played in the regular season June 19-21, 2009, when the Giants swept a three-game series in San Francisco. That seams like an awfully long time ago, when one considers how dramatically the Rangers improved in 2010.
The Giants also faced Cliff Lee in San Francisco in his NL league debut on July 31, 2009. Lee shut the Giants down, throwing a complete game and allowing only a single earned run on four hits and two walks and notching six strikeouts.
It’s going to be a great series for people who really love baseball, because we’ll get to see two teams that haven’t been their much or at all in the past. We’ll see how the TV ratings go, however: the networks would have loved to see either the Yankees or the Phillies back in the series to play either of the actual winners.