When the starting pitchers were announced for the World Series it was no big surprise. For San Francisco it was ace Tim Lincecum getting the nod. For the Texas Rangers it was postseason superstar Cliff Lee toeing the rubber to start things off. The biggest shocker may have been the rest of the rotations for either team.

The Rangers manager Ron Washington won’t change his rotation, deciding to follow Cliff Lee with C.J. Wilson in Game 2 and then Colby Lewis in Game 3. Washington also decided that Tommy Hunter would get the start in Game 4 of the Series.

This worked for the Rangers in the ALCS well enough that they are now favorites to win the Series. BetMania released the latest odds on World Series, and the Rangers are -140 to win the series, and -130 to win Game 1.

The Giants released a similar rotation, choosing to go with what got them to the World Series. Lincecum will go first, though he briefly pitched in relief Saturday night in the Series clincher at Philadelphia. Lincecum will be followed by Matt Cain in Game 2 and Jonathan Sanchez in Game 3. Then Giants manager Bruce Bochy announced that Madison Bumgarner will be on the mound for Game 4 on Sunday.

This is a bit puzzling to me.

When scouting both of these teams it’s very easy to make an argument for either pitching staff, but it’s obvious that Texas has the better offense. One mistake to nearly anyone in the Rangers lineup can cost dearly.

The offense can hit the long ball and score runs in bunches,  and the best way to combat this is strong pitching. While the rotations are not set in stone, for the Giants to have the best chance to win the Series, they need to start Lincecum three times.

Lincecum can go on three days’ rest, and this will allow Matt Cain to get another game in if needed. It will free up Bumgarner to work relief or add to the bullpen if needed. The rotation is the strength of this team and the reason they have come this far.

The Rangers can counter by starting Cliff Lee three times, but that most likely won’t happen unless he has rest and an elimination game is on tap. With the home field advantage, the Rangers will be without the designated hitter, and this will give the Giants a chance to win with strong starting pitching and solid relief from the bullpen.

To win the World Series, the Giants have to win at home and they have to win early. If they can’t beat Cliff Lee they will be in a tough spot and already behind in the series. The answer to winning the World Series will be letting the best pitchers lead the way.

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