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World Series Ramblings

We’re now four games in to the 2010 World Series and are on the potential precipice of seeing the Giants win it easily. They’re up three games to one, but you will never be able to convince me that they are this much better than the Rangers. The Rangers have had two things working against them this series, and it’s a real shame. The first is that they are playing extremely tight. I really thought that winning on Saturday night would help loosen them up, but it did not at all. I don’t want to take anything away from Madison Bumgarner last night, but he wasn’t pitching against the same Rangers that almost swept the Rays and that almost swept the Yankees. The second thing going against them is Ron Washington. He may be an incredible manager of people, but he’s a terrible game manager. I hadn’t really watched much of his managing as we don’t get too many Rangers games here, but the playoffs have shown me that it might have actually been possible for the Royals to win with Trey Hillman.*

*Joke. Trey Hillman was worth eight to ten losses by himself. He was that bad. Ron Washington is more like, say, Tony Pena in terms of his decision making. Not excessively terrible, but bad enough that most know the decision is wrong before it goes bad.

All that said, I expect the series to get back to San Francisco. I just don’t think that Cliff Lee will lose twice in a World Series. He’s too good. On a bit of a side note, I’m always entertained when experts talk about how much money Lee is making by pitching amazingly in his second straight postseason but didn’t mention anything about his poor performance in Game 1 hurting his payday. They’re right not to, but I find it interesting regardless. Anyway, I think the Rangers are a smart enough hitting team to avoid getting stymied by Lincecum and will put enough runs on the board to get the series back to manageable. I don’t, however, think they’ll win the series anymore. Though to tie things together (since this is a Royals blog and all), the last team to come back from the same deficit face was…the 1985 Royals.

I have been impressed with Bruce Bochy’s managerial chops throughout this series and really throughout the entire postseason. He’s made moves and it seems like everything he does has worked. Pat Burrell was strangely one of his best bats throughout the season, but he’s now gone cold, so he benched him. It takes a good manager (and also a fairly unselfish player) to bench a guy during the World Series when the player was one of the guys who got you there. The true test for Bochy is going to come if the Series reaches a Game 7. Jonathan Sanchez will be scheduled to pitch that day, but there’s no way he can go, right? I think he has three options. One is to say Sanchez is hurt and give Zito the ball. One is to let Bumgarner go on three days rest. The final one is to do it by committee giving Lincecum a couple of innings, Bumgarner three or four and then turn it over to the bullpen that’s been so good. My recommendation is not the latter as that’s just too risky in a Game 7 of the World Series. I think starting Zito is equally as risky since he hasn’t pitched in a month plus. I say give Bum the ball and see how far he can go and then make your moves. He has all winter to recover. You don’t play a Game 7 too terribly often. I have a feeling the thoughts will be moot, though. I don’t think this series gets past Wednesday.

My final thought is about Tim McCarver. He’s been a bad announcer for a long time, but I think he might possibly be getting even worse. Maybe I have this same thought every postseason when I listen to him on an almost daily basis as opposed to once a week at most during the regular season. We’ve been treated to math equations such as 171+170=240ish* and arguing strike calls that the Fox Track thing shows as strikes and praising strike calls that the thing shows as balls. I think he’s getting worse. Fox wants to know why viewership is down this series. It’s partially the matchup, but it’s partially because people had broken their televisions in anger of having to listen to McCarver by Game 5 of the NLCS.

*The situation was in the NLCS when he was talking about how worthless it was to give scouting reports for the Giants and Phillies, teams that had played 171 and 170 games respectively. He then said, ‘That’s a total of 240ish games. Scouting reports are out the window.” I’m paraphrasing but using quotes for emphasis here. He corrected himself around the fourth, but I was just astonished.

Sadly, regardless of what happens tonight, the baseball season will be over by week’s end and we’ll be inundated with stories of where Lee will sign, who Greinke will be traded to and what superstar the Yankees will sign to end their ridiculous title drought. It’s been a fun year in spite of our heroes in blue struggling. Hopefully we get lucky enough to extend the season three more games. As a baseball fan, I root for the Rangers because it means we get more baseball.


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