"Careful what you wish, you may regret it, careful what you wish, you just might get it!" -- Metallica
As the quote from power ballad masters Metallica says, many Rangers fans were hoping to avoid facing the big, bad, scary Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series. By the way, isn't it nice to be worrying about which team you're going to be facing in the World Series? Great position to be in. Anyhow, the Red Shoes had no trouble topping the big, bad, scary Yankees in the ALCS. But the Giants might be the team that Rangers fans should be scared of.
Fortunately, that same band does the song that Yankees closer Mariano Rivera makes his grand entrance into games to, so that bodes well. Unfortunately, the Giants are pretty stinkin' good. But the numbers certainly wouldn't say that.
Here's some statistical evidence for you: Of the Giants' Game 6 starters in the NLCS, they had three guys hitting worse than .200 in the postseason. One guy (out-of-nowhere MVP Cody Ross) hit .300 or better.
By contrast, the Rangers have seven -- count 'em -- SEVEN starters hitting .300 or better, including No. 9 hitter Mitch Moreland, who's been one of the great surprises of the postseason. Fact is, there isn't a scarier lineup going in the postseason than the Rangers', and that was the same in the last round with the offensive juggernaut Yankees and Phillies still alive. Ryan Howard had ZERO RBIs in the playoffs. Are you kidding me? It took a while for the Rangers' bats to heat up, but they were all purring nicely against the Yankees.
As for pitching, I said it all along entering the NLCS, the Giants pitching would match up just fine with the Phillies' star-studded, Hall of Fame three-man rotation of Roy "No-No" Halladay, Roy "I'm a Bumpkin" Oswalt and Cole "I have Pretty Hair" Hamels.
And that unbeatable rotation was topped by San Francisco's.
The Giants' ace, "the Freak" Tim Lincecum will go up against the Rangers' ace Cliff Lee, who without a doubt can now be called the greatest postseason pitcher actively playing in the Major Leagues. I'd give Lee the slightest of edges in that match up, but after that it gets hairy with Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez. They're probably both pushes with C.J. Wilson (depending on which C.J. shows up) and Colby "They Call Me the Cobra" Lewis.
And if the Rangers are trailing after six innings, they're in trouble because the Giants' bullpen is stacked full of talent, closing out, of course, with Fear the Beard Brian Wilson, who is easily the most entertaining interview in the postseason. The Rangers' bullpen is plenty good too, with the exception of Game 1 of the ALCS, but it's not on par with the Giants'.
So anyway, what I'm saying here is, I have the Rangers as the favorite to win the "Y'all Classic" — so does Vegas — but I'm not sure I'm as confident in the Rangers as I might have been had they played the Phillies. Basically, I see the Phillies as the NL's version of the Yankees with all their superstars and the Giants and Rangers both playing the role of "good TEAMS" outplaying the favorites.
Now, the Rangers, which are star-studded compared to the Giants, are finally the favorites in a postseason series. How will they react? We'll find out in about 48 hours.