World Series, Game 1: Insert Pun on Lincecum/Lee’s Name Here | The Golden Sombrero Baseball Blog | MLB, Fantasy, College & High School Baseball News

World Series, Game 1: Insert Pun on Lincecum/Lee’s Name Here

Do you know what the best thing about baseball’s postseason is, besides the fact that the Yankees are no longer present in this one?  Anything can happen, and we fans get to witness it.  A career .265 hitter claimed on waivers in the middle of August bats .350 in the NLCS, belts 6 extra base hits (including 3 home runs), and wins the NLCS MVP Award.  A former drug addict turned AL MVP frontrunner misses almost the entire last month of the season just to come back strong and help handle the New York Yankees, at times without even swinging the bat, on his way to his own ALCS MVP Award. These are the reasons I watch. Well, that and the two phenoms that will be alternating time on the mound come Wednesday.

What I’ll Be Watching: Cliff Lee vs. Tim Lincecum

Personally, I think this is the best postseason matchup so far (Sorry, Halladay vs. Lincecum). I’ve become a huge fan of Cliff Lee over the past two years, and I’ve just recently started warming up to Lincecum (A bad taste still lingers in my mouth from the results of the 2009 NL Cy Young voting). Cliff Lee’s stats this postseason are otherworldly: 3-0, 0.78 ERA, 0.58 WHIP, and a 34:1 K:BB ratio. He’s still unbeaten in his postseason career, tallying a 7-0 record in 8 starts. He always seems to be one step (or more) ahead of the hitters, utilizing pinpoint accuracy with his fastball and keeping hitters off balance with a mix of cutters, changeups, and the occasional curveball.

Most of the Giants lineup has never faced Lee, and even fewer have had any success against him. The only two who have done damage against him are Juan Uribe and Aaron Rowand. Uribe has a .297 BA (11-37) against Lee, with 2 HR and 7 RBI. Rowand has posted a .280 BA (7-25) with 4 doubles and a homer. Only Aubrey Huff (.263 BA, 5-19) and Edgar Renteria (.235 BA, 4-17) have more than 4 AB against Lee, but they have had little success. A curious note: Cody Ross is 1-2 against the lefty, with that one hit being a home run.

Big Time Timmy Jim has his work cut out for him in Game 1. Not only does he have to share the mound with Cliff Lee, he has to deal with a Texas lineup that banged out 17 home runs and 59 runs through two rounds of the playoffs. The Giants, in comparison, have 6 home runs and 30 runs in their games. If Lincecum wants to help keep his team in the game, he needs to do everything he can to keep the Rangers off the bases. Elvis Andrus and Josh Hamilton have a combined 11 steals in 12 attempts this postseason (11 games), and you can bet if they get on base they will challenge the forgetful Lincecum and his rookie catcher.

During the regular season, Lincecum allowed 27 steals in 30 attempts. Jimmy Rollins stole second and third against him in Game 5 of the NLCS, but that’s the only damage base runners have done against him so far in the playoffs. Hopefully he learned his lesson from the regular season, otherwise Texas will be sure to exploit one of his biggest weaknesses. Lincecum will be facing a lineup of new faces, which should hopefully work in his favor. Aside from Jeff Francoeur, who has a .188 BA (3-16) and 1 HR against him, only two other Rangers (Cantu and Guerrero) have stood in the batter’s box against him, and neither more than 3 times (Cantu was K’ed all three times).

The Giants are going up against their biggest challenge yet: a pitcher who is unbeaten in the postseason and an offense that has won all their October games by at least 4 runs. To their credit, the Giants have won 6 1-run games this postseason, so they appear to have the edge in a close game. Tim Lincecum and his teammates won’t go down without a fight, however, so expect him to leave everything out on the mound. If Cliff Lee is his usual self, and I have no reason to believe he won’t be, Lincecum will need to keep the Texas offense in check and off the bases for his scrappy team of misfits to have a solid chance in Game 1.

World Series Prediction (Based on Absolutely Nothing): Rangers in six games


  1. JP says:

    Ryan is writing! I second your Series prediction mostly because I don’t want to see a 4 or 5 game yawn of a series.

  2. Braf says:

    Great stuff! Can we expect more stuff from you, dude? Welcome back to the states by the way.

  3. Cool Breeze says:

    We hope that Cliff Lee brings his talent to the Cubs after this season. In need of the prototypical number one who can win in the postseason for around 102 years, cross your fingers for the Cubs. However, if Pardon the Interruptioners Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon are to be believed, the Yankees have a 75-100% chance of signing the ace. Someone help him on his way to Chicago.

    Besides my rant about Cliff Lee, the stats you provided on base stealing are scary for the Giants. I’m surprised nobody really took advantage of this during the playoffs. You can tell Lincecum needs extra fractions of seconds to wind up that 170 pound body, although I didn’t realize how great a weakness that might become.

    Prediction sidenote: before the playoffs, baseball tonight (I think) ran a simulation that predicted the Giants to win it all. So far their video game has been prescient.

  4. DH says:

    Great post, Ryan. Phils took advantage of Lincecum’s total inability to hold on a runner, and it makes sense the Rangers will do the same. I’m surprised there is no mention of Brian Wilson. That guy has crafted the best “closer with a screw loose” persona in ages. You should write an article tracing the history of the crazy closer, starting with Bruce Sutter. I’m waiting…

    Also, have you ever noticed hot much Cody Ross looks like Rob Corddry??

  5. Braf says:

    Please tell me that this is indeed the real cool breeze.

  6. Ryan says:

    That is indeed the real Cool Breeze. You can tell by the use of the word “prescient.”

  7. Ryan says:

    And also the unabashed love for the Cubbies.

  8. AquariaTX says:

    Yep, Rangers running wild on basepaths, Cliff Lee unbeatable, poor Giants, Rangers in 6.

    We see how that worked out for you.