CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

Vote in the Internet Baseball Awards for a chance at a free copy of Dollar Sign on the Muscle
Voting ends in 16 days and 7 hours

<< Previous Article
World Series Prospectu... (10/31)
<< Previous Column
World Series Prospectu... (10/31)
Next Column >>
World Series Prospectu... (10/31)
Next Article >>
World Series Prospectu... (10/31)

October 31, 2010

World Series Prospectus

Game Three Analysis

by Christina Kahrl

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

One game might only mean ignominy deferred. It might only be the beginning of a replay of '87, reconfirming the convictions of those who want to invest everything in full faith and confidence in the benefits of home-field advantage. Heck, achieve that, and "the All-Star Game means something" might even win a few converts.

Or, it could just be one ballgame, and a reminder that one of the Rangers' first big moves once the calendar flipped figures to be one of their biggest causes for celebration at season's end. Lewis once again cruised through a critical start, just as he had in his LCS-completing killshot of the Yankees, allowing just five baserunners through the first six innings, but wearing down enough to allow seventh- and eighth-inning solo shots to narrow the margin. While the Giants had a shot at putting him into some sort of trouble in the opening frame by getting two on with two out, that was as close as they came to a big-inning opportunity, and by striking out Pat Burrell the first of three times*, it was clear that Lewis wasn't having any of it.

Against that, the Rangers got to dance with Jonathan Sanchez's incremental, start-by-start acquisition of an Oliver Perez-sized rep for an especially gauche brand of lefty flakiness. He put the leadoff man aboard in three of his five innings, and if not for getting a fifth-inning double play before Josh Hamilton's lead-enhancing homer, he was en route to even bigger trouble. That he only gave up four runs can be taken as good news of a sort, but if this series goes to seven games, we may not see Sanchez starting it. Logistically, that might mean Madison Bumgarner on short rest, with Lincecum and Sanchez available for stretches, but as Bruce Bochy demonstrated in his NLCS, everything goes onto the menu when a single win's left to be won.

Mitch Moreland's delivery of his Earl Weaver special in the second inning was important on several levels, not just because it was the game-winning blow. First, it owed a lot to Moreland's increasingly apparent ability to extend his at-bats until he gets his pitch. After taking a tough second strike, he expanded his zone and kept flicking low pitches foul, until he finally got Sanchez to move just that little bit extra up in the zone. It's the sort of brilliant batsmanship that the Rangers can use more of.  It also reconfirmed the wisdom of not getting hung up on Moreland's brief bit of struggle against big-league lefties. The youngster's performance against lefties at the lower rungs of the system suggests he's no platoon player, so even with Jorge Cantu as the unappealing alternative, it's to Ron Washington's credit that he's kept running with the rookie. Less happy is having him hit ninth in the AL venue after hitting him eighth in the San Francisco; maybe this sort of night is going to get him elevated in the order, especially after Washington's lineup order took the bat out of Moreland's hands in Game Two. Whether they sit Vladimir Guerrero in the sixth or seventh games, the right-leaning Rangers need Moreland's power and pitcher-exhausting patience closer to their more likely baserunner-rich opportunities.

To bring this back to Lewis, it would be easy to suggest from this outcome that perhaps a star is being born, but Lewis' workmanlike brand of dominance isn't cut from the same cloth as Tim Lincecum's or Cliff Lee's. Clutch defines the performance, if not the performer, and he remains now what he was in September, a reminder of the Rangers' layered risks and sufficient successes from among them to get themselves here. Whether with the example of Japanese leaguer re-importation or the successful transmogrification of C.J. Wilson from sporadically dominant ace reliever to quality rotation regular, the fact that both have been critical components to the Rangers' rotation should make for an interesting source of inspiration in the monkey-see, monkey-do world of the Hot Stove League.

In the meantime, there's tonight's matchup to ponder, because between the defense-dependent Tommy Hunter and the increasing suspicion that Madison Bumgarner is a blue-chipper worthy of his cerulean status, it would be safe and somewhat easy to favor the Giants. But I don't think it's going to be quite so easy as all that, because while there's reason to believe Hunter is all BABIP-generated good times, it's important to remember that his performance against right-handers this season (.231/.273/.435) suggests he might be a tough matchup for a Giants' lineup that lists heavily to the right, perhaps as much as the Rangers have their issues against lefties. As I suggested in the World Series preview, I'm anticipating more of a pitcher's duel in Game Four, especially if Hunter keeps the Giants as hack-happy as they were against Lewis in Game Three. The outcomes of the at-bats of Andres Torres and Aubrey Huff figure to be the most important early on, because if Hunter fails to execute against them, the game will get away from the Rangers early.

*: Pat the Bat gold-tinted that sombrero in the ninth with the aid of Neftali Feliz.

Christina Kahrl is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Christina's other articles. You can contact Christina by clicking here

Related Content:  Mitch Moreland

0 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
World Series Prospectu... (10/31)
<< Previous Column
World Series Prospectu... (10/31)
Next Column >>
World Series Prospectu... (10/31)
Next Article >>
World Series Prospectu... (10/31)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Josh D...
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: The '80' Pitches In This Yea...
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Playing a Hinch
The Lineup Card: Awards We Wish We Could Giv...
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: AL Wild Card Game Recap
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: ALDS Preview: Angels vs....
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: NL Wild Card Game Previe...

MORE FROM OCTOBER 31, 2010
World Series Prospectus: Game Three Report
World Series Prospectus: Game Four Pitching ...

MORE BY CHRISTINA KAHRL
2010-11-02 - Premium Article World Series Prospectus: Game Five Analysis
2010-11-01 - World Series Prospectus: Game Four Analysis
2010-11-01 - Premium Article GM for a Day: Los Angeles Dodgers
2010-10-31 - Premium Article World Series Prospectus: Game Three Analysis
2010-10-29 - Premium Article World Series Prospectus: Game Two Analysis
2010-10-28 - Premium Article World Series Prospectus: Game One Analysis
2010-10-27 - Premium Article Kiss'Em Goodbye: New York Yankees
More...

MORE WORLD SERIES PROSPECTUS
2010-11-01 - World Series Prospectus: Game Four Analysis
2010-11-01 - Premium Article World Series Prospectus: Game Five Pitching ...
2010-10-31 - World Series Prospectus: Game Three Report
2010-10-31 - Premium Article World Series Prospectus: Game Three Analysis
2010-10-31 - World Series Prospectus: Game Four Pitching ...
2010-10-30 - World Series Prospectus: Game Three Pitching...
2010-10-29 - Premium Article World Series Prospectus: Game Two Report
More...