The World Series begins tonight and it is going to be quite an adventure. The National League Champion San Francisco Giants will host the American League Champion Texas Rangers at 8 PM Eastern on FOX. Both teams won their respective divisions. It was the Rangers first division title and the Giants seventh.

The Rangers have won 2 career postseason series and have never won a World Series.

The Giants enter this series with their second NL pennant and third division title this decade.  In 2002, they lost to the Angles 4-3 in a terrible game six collapse, after being up 5-0. The original “G-Men” have been to the World Series three times, in 1962, 1989 and 2002, since coming to the Golden State.

Personally, I believe the past demise for these two young and talented teams has been inexperience which is no longer an issue.

The Rangers have four active players that have experienced October baseball. Catcher Bengie Molina beat the Giants in ’02 for a World Series title. Staff ace Cliff Lee has World Series experience, dominating the Yankees in ’09. DH/OF Vladimir Guerrero and OF Jeff Francoeur also have prior playoff experience.

The Giants also have four active players that have witnessed playoff fever. Starting with infielder Edgar Renteria, who in 1997, hit the game winning RBI to give the Florida Marlins their first World Series title over the Cleveland Indians. Then there is infielder Juan Uribe, who also has a ring with the Chicago White Sox, as well as outfielders Pat Burrell and Aaron Rowand.

These experienced players helped their teams advance with positive energy and focus through the season. Their past successes helped lead their newer, younger teammates to glory.


Here are the key players to watch in this World Series:

Texas Rangers

Cliff Lee:

This guy is a monster in his short post season career. He is 7-0 with a 1.26 ERA. He has three complete games, an average of eight innings per start, and a 10/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. If he leads the Rangers to their first World Series, he will be the greatest post season pitcher EVER.

Vladimir Guerrero:

Texas Manager Ron Washington has said that Vlad will play the field on occasion during games in San Francisco. Furthermore, Giants Manager Bruce Bochy, will most likely look to  intentionally walk All-Star Josh Hamilton.  This will leave Vlad and Cruz to do the dirty work. Having him DH most of the season clearly has helped the Rangers — 1st in RBI’s 115, 3rd in BA .300, 2nd in HR 29, 3rd in hits 178 — as he was among the league leaders in multiple offensive categories. Not to mention his arm could still shock us a few times this series. Mark my words.

Elvis Andrus:

This kid is legit at the leadoff spot and shows great promise in the field. He led the rangers in steals (32), was third in runs (88), fourth in hits (156) and first in BB (64). He will need to be successful on base and in the field for the Rangers to be successful this series. 

Neftali Feliz:

The young stud (22 years old) surprised many of us this season, as he was handed the job as closer within the first two weeks of the season. He went on to have a monster rookie year with 40 saves, 71 strikeouts and 18 walks. This kid will have to keep his cool to help the Rangers finish games this series.


San Francisco Giants

Tim Lincecum:

In his first postseason, “Timmy the Freak” is 2-1 with a 1.93 ERA. He is currently averaging seven innings a game this postseason and will need to continue to give their bullpen rest in order to win this series.

Buster Posey:

The first round pick has worked out well so far at catcher in the second half of the season. He was first on the team in BA (.305), third in RBI’s (67), and struck out only 55 times, second best out of the primary starters. Also, he had an OPS of .862, which is unheard of for a rookie. This kid may shock the world with the calm, cool and collected approach he brings to the plate.

Aubrey Huff:

The veteran led the team in RBI’s (86), hits (165), runs (100), home runs (26), BB (83), plate appearances (668), OPS (.891) and was third in batting average (.290). He also was second in fielding percentage for position players at .997, behind only catcher Bengie Molina, who had .998. He clearly carries this team offensively and has struggled a little this postseason. Huff needs to step his game up offensively for the Giants.


Unlike the Rangers bullpen, which has three pitchers with at least 60 innings pitched, the Giants have only have two. Closer Brian Wilson (74.2) and reliever Sergio Romo (62). Both starting pitchers, Jonathan Sanchez (averaged 5 IP per game) and Madison Bumgarner (averaged 3.1 IP per game), have struggled this postseason going late into games. Most would say experience wins, but I think the Giants pen has been successful this post season due to the low amount of innings split this season. Their bullpen helped beat the Phillies in six games throwing 19.1 innings, 22 strike outs, 15 hits, eight walks and only six runs. This bullpen will be key for the Giants to win games.


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