Giants win away from World Series title
By: Willie Bee
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Tim Lincecum and the Giants are a win away from the championship.
One more win. That's all the San Francisco Giants need to claim their first World Series title in 56 years following Sunday night's 4-0 victory over the Texas Rangers.
San Francisco can get the win in Game 5 on Monday night, a mound rematch of Game 1 with the Giants sending right-hander Tim Lincecum (23-14, 3.35) to the hill against Rangers southpaw Cliff Lee (9-10, 3.66). Perhaps this time the two will treat fans and bettors to the duel everyone expected when they met before. San Francisco topped Texas, 11-7, as 115 underdogs and blowing away the puny 5½-run total.
Despite that outcome, MLB oddsmakers opened Monday's total at six runs and made Lee and the Rangers minus 170 money line favorites.
Game 4 belonged to Giants rookie Madison Bumgarner. The young southpaw worked through eight scoreless innings with just three Texas singles on his scorecard. Closer Brian Wilson finished the shutout with two strikeouts in the ninth. Aubrey Huff poked a two-run homer in the third to give Bumgarner the only runs he needed. Buster Posey's solo shot in the eighth closed the scoring for San Francisco.
Texas opened as 135-140 MLB money line favorites at most shops offshore before climbing to around 145. The final fell well short of the nine-run total, the second straight 'under' of the Series following a pair of 'overs' in Games 1 and 2.
Neither Lee nor Lincecum pitched up to their usual standards in Game 1 last Wednesday in San Francisco. Lee failed to get out of the fifth when the Giants broke a 2-2 tie with six runs, five of those charged to the Texas lefty. It marked the first time Lee started a postseason game in which his team lost, with his personal playoff ledger now at 7-1.
Lincecum worked into the sixth and ended up with the win on his stats sheet, but the two-time Cy Young winners was touched for four runs on eight hits with just three strikeouts to his credit.
While Lee's offense battled back in that contest to try and make it a game, his bullpen and fielding let him down. Texas mitts were charged with four errors, two by usual DH Vladimir Guerrero who was playing right field. Darren O'Day served up a three-run tater to San Fran's Juan Uribe to cap that six-run fifth, and Mark Lowe was charged with three more runs in the eighth when the Giants put the game out of reach.
The three strikeouts by Lincecum were out of sorts for a hurler who ranked third in the majors with 231 in his 33 regular season starts. It was just the sixth time all season he hadn't recorded at least five Ks in a start.
Jeff Kellogg, working his fourth World Series, will have plate duty for Game 5. The veteran of 19 full MLB seasons posted a slight 17-15-2 lean to the 'under' during the regular season before adding another low-side tally to his record in the Game 5 of the ALDS between the Rays and Rangers. Lee was on the hill for Texas in the 5-1 win that propelled the Rangers into the ALCS. The total was 6½.
The last time Kellogg was behind the dish for a World Series contest was Game 5 of the 2008 matchup between the Phillies and Rays. Philadelphia won by a 4-3 count with 'under' 7½ the winning wager.
A few clouds will start creeping into the Dallas-Ft. Worth area on Monday with forecasters listing a 20 percent chance of rain early in the evening before skies begin to clear. Expect a game-time (4:57 p.m. PT) reading in the low-to-mid 70s with NNW winds around 10 mph (third base on deck circle out to right-center).
If the Rangers can force a Game 6, it will be Wednesday in San Francisco. The mound matchup would be a repeat of Game 2 with CJ Wilson on the hill for Texas against Matt Cain of the Giants. FOX has that broadcast with the same 4:57 p.m. PT start time.
NOTE: W-L records displayed for starting pitchers are team records in games the pitchers start, including the postseason.