File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
AT&T Park hosts a classic pitching matchup in Game 1 of the Fall Classic.
I don't expect either lineup to have much success tonight, because I believe both pitchers are going to be primed and ready for this stage and understand the importance of getting their team off on the right foot. Obviously, anyone can come back from a 1-0 deficit to win the series. But you do get the sense the winner of Game 1 is going to be especially well-positioned to go all the way, particularly if the Giants can become the first team in two years to beat Lee in the postseason.
No real shocks in either lineup. Vladimir Guerrero, normally Texas' DH, is starting in right field as expected. He may not be real fleet of foot at this stage of his career, but I sure wouldn't want to take my chances running on his arm. San Francisco, meanwhile, is going with a slightly reconfigured look, with rookie Buster Posey batting third, Pat Burrell cleanup, Cody Ross fifth and Aubrey Huff (usually the No. 3 hitter) down in the 6-hole as manager Bruce Bochy tries to put his best right-handed hitters higher up against Lee.
The first run in this game is going to be huge. Who knows, it might even be enough to prevail. I'll share my thoughts along the way, and as always, I encourage you to share yours as well...
THE 106th WORLD SERIES — GAME 1
TEXAS RANGERS at SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Where: AT&T Park
Gametime: 7:57 p.m.
Where: AT&T Park
Gametime: 7:57 p.m.
TV: Fox Radio: WTEM-980 AM
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 59 degrees
RANGERS8:11 p.m. -- Well that was a thoroughly bizarre top of the first. The Rangers wound up with one run, but it really could have been worse for the Giants and Tim Lincecum, who suffered one of the biggest brain cramps you'll ever see on this stage. Little comebacker to the mound, he had Michael Young hung up between third base and home plate, he ran him back to third but inexplicably never let go of the ball. Why didn't he throw it? I have no explanation. Somehow, though, Lincecum wasn't burned by it, because with the bases now loaded and one out, he got Ian Kinsler to ground into a double play. Still, the Rangers didn't look fazed at all against the right-hander. And now they send Cliff Lee to the mound with a 1-0 lead.
SS Elvis Andrus
3B Michael Young
CF Josh Hamilton
RF Vladimir Guerrero
LF Nelson Cruz
2B Ian Kinsler
C Bengie Molina
1B Mitch Moreland
P Cliff Lee
CF Andres Torres
2B Freddy Sanchez
C Buster Posey
LF Pat Burrell
RF Cody Ross
1B Aubrey Huff
3B Juan Uribe
SS Edgar Renteria
P Tim Lincecum
8:30 p.m. -- Wow, 2-0 Texas in the second inning thanks to Bengie Molina's single, Cliff Lee's double (yes Cliff Lee's double) and then a terrible throw by Andres Torres, who probably would have nailed the lethargic Molina tagging up had he made only a halfway decent throw to the plate. Gotta say, the Giants look like they're playing tight or scared or something so far. The Rangers, meanwhile, look as relaxed as ever.
9:04 p.m. -- More wow. The Giants storm right back to score twice in the bottom of the third and tie the game 2-2. Great at-bats from Freddy Sanchez (now 2-for-2 with two doubles) and Buster Posey, who did a fantastic job just going with Lee's pitch, sticking out his bat and poking an RBI single. San Francisco actually could have added to the rally and taken the lead, but Pat Burrell had a terrible at-bat swinging from his heels twice and then taking strike three. Cody Ross then struck out to end the inning. So who had a combined four runs scored in the first three innings of this game? Not me.
9:27 p.m. -- Now we're seeing some top-notch pitching. Lincecum has really found his groove since the second inning. Get this: He only needed 29 pitches to get through the Rangers' lineup the second time around. He's also gotten some spiffy defense from Edgar Renteria and Juan Uribe, helping his cause. Lee, meanwhile, has had to labor a bit the last two innings after an efficient first and second. Still 2-2 as they head to the bottom of the fifth.
9:48 p.m. -- Welcome to Bizarro World. It's the bottom of the fifth inning, the Giants lead 5-2 and Cliff Lee has been yanked by Ron Washington. Just a fantastic job by San Francisco's lineup taking what Lee gave them and being perfectly content for soft line drives over the infield. They've had a bunch of those tonight, not to mention three doubles in three at-bats from Freddy Sanchez, who is the very early favorite for World Series MVP. Here's the most amazing stat of the night: Entering tonight, the Giants had scored five or more runs only once in their last 17 games. Once. They just managed to do it in less than five innings against Cliff Lee. Incredible.
9:51 p.m. -- Make that 8-2. Darren O'Day: Meet Juan Uribe. Left-field bleachers: Meet Juan Uribe's three-run homer. Holy cow.
10:16 p.m. -- Lincecum didn't exactly make the most of his commanding, six-run lead. Gave up two more in the sixth and couldn't finish the inning. But Santiago Casilla came on to get out of the jam and preserve an 8-4 lead. Still a long way to go in this one, though. Gonna require some deft work from the San Francisco bullpen to record the final nine outs.
10:48 p.m. -- Remember how the Giants looked like they were playing tight early on? Well, it's the Rangers now exhibiting those tendencies. Why on earth did Ian Kinsler round first base so wide on that infield single? I get it that he thought Sanchez's throw had sailed past Huff. But even if Huff hadn't made the diving stop, Texas trails by four runs in the eighth inning. Kinsler's run means far less than the out he just ran himself into. Not smart.
11:05 p.m. -- Something tells me Vladimir Guerrero is not going to be in Texas' lineup tomorrow night. Unless MLB suddenly allows a DH in an NL park.
11:35 p.m. -- That'll do it. What was billed as a classic pitchers' duel ends up as an 11-7 Giants victory. Not the cleanest ballgame. Six combined errors. A couple of baserunning blunders. Shaky relief pitching. Both of these teams got here in part because of their strong fundamental play. Neither side can be happy the way they handled that part of the game tonight. Game 2 tomorrow, same time, with Matt Cain facing C.J. Wilson, who needs a big-time performance to prevent Texas from falling into a 2-0 hole.