Giants vs. Rangers?

“My surprise wasn’t that we were better than people seemed to expect. The surprise was that we were able to overtake a team, who in my opinion, was the best team in baseball for 161 games in Texas. That was the surprise. They are a great team…Texas had a tough four or five games but I don’t subscribe to the theory that the bottom fell out and they became a bad team. They were the best team in the game for 161 games.”

Oakland general manager Billy Beane in an interview with Tyler Bleszinski of Athletics Nation.

“I can’t believe I’m losing to this guy!”

Jon Lovitz as Michael Dukakis about George Bush in a classic 1988 Saturday Night Live satire of the Presidential debate.

The San Francisco Giants are champions of the world. The Rangers were a disappointment in the end. The Giants out-played the rest of the field…

But after watching the Giants for the past three weeks…just exactly in how many positions are they better than the Rangers?

Catching? Definitely. Buster Posey is the best in baseball.

First base? Brandon Belt and Mitch Moreland both hit .275. Belt had a .360 on-base percentage and a .421 slugging percentage. Moreland had a .321 on-base and a .468 slugging, giving him an eight point edge in OPS.

Second base? Marco Scutaro had an incredible three-month run with the Giants. He has also had a couple of pretty good years over his career. He has never been considered Ian Kinsler’s equal.

Shortstop? Brandon Crawford over Elvis Andrus? No way

Third base? Pablo Sandoval has been magical lately. He has never been considered better than Adrian Beltre.

Left field? Melky Cabrera was the Giants left fielder for most of the season before getting busted with a 50-game suspension. In the playoffs it was Gregor Blanco. Certainly you take David Murphy over Blanco.

Center field? Josh Hamilton over Angel Pagan.

Right field? Hunter Pence is a better player than he showed for the Giants. Nelson Cruz did not have his best year for the Rangers. They are two different styles of players. Make your own call on this one.

Call it five wins for the Rangers, one for the Giants and two tossups. Maybe it’s because the Giants had Joaquin Arias as their utility guy as opposed to Michael Young.

Ah pitching…of course.

The Giants had the big three of Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong and Madison Bumgarner. The Rangers had Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison and Derek Holland.

Advantage Giants…right?

Let’s at least point this out. Here is the WAR (wins over replacement) for the Giants three starters: Cain (3.5), Vogelsong (1.7) and Bumgarner (1.8). The Rangers? Darvish (4.0), Harrison (6.2) and Holland (1.7). That’s from,com

But the Giants had Barry Zito, who was 15-8 with a 4.15 ERA. The Rangers had Colby Lewis and then Ryan Dempster. They combined to go 13-9 with a 4.09 ERA.

The Giants had Tim Lincecum, who was 10-15 with a 5.18 ERA and then was brilliant in the playoffs. Rangers fifth starters Neftali Feliz, Scott Feldman and Roy Oswalt combined to go 11-15 with a 5.17 ERA just as staters.

Look, if Lincecum is at his best, there’s no comparison to anybody. But if Feliz had stayed healthy or Oswalt had pitched like expected…

Bullpen? All across the board, the Rangers relievers had better collective numbers than the Giants during the regular season. Lower ERA, opponent’s batting average and baserunners per nine innings, higher save percentage and strikeouts per nine innings. Lincecum gave the Giants bullpen a huge boost during the playoffs.

The Giants certainly wouldn’t have minded putting up their bullpen up against anybody if Brian Wilson had stayed healthy all season.

So overall, are the Rangers the better team? Seems like it. Seemed like it two years ago too.

From a talent standpoint, the Giants don’t seem to overwhelm anybody. Maybe that’s why they were one game away from being eliminated over the first two rounds against the Reds and Cardinals.

But two years ago they completed out-played and out-pitched the Rangers. They did so against the Tigers as well. The sum of their parts seem much greater than each of them individually, kind of like the Orioles and the Athletics.

Or as somebody likes to say, “It’s not the best team that wins on a given day, it’s the team that plays the best.”

There be the rub.

The Giants do that better than anybody and now they can party like it’s 2010. The Rangers are still trying to figure out what happened.


The best quote I heard from last night was “The players in this (Giants) room play for the name on the front of the jersey, not on the back.”

I don’t get that same feeling from several key players on the Texas Rangers, especially this last year.

It’s not about who’s “numbers” were better over their whole career, it’s about who’s better right now. To say Ian Kinsler is a better player than Marco Scutaro the 2nd half this year is beyond ridiculous.

the Giants were consistent in all their play. the Rangers were not, especially pitching. the Giants made very few errors. the Rangers got as far as they were capable of getting this year.

Sabermetrics. are good tools to use in tracking a given players performance from a statistical stand point, but it is only a tool,
you must apply comon sense when evaluating that performance, and never under estimate the value of intangibles such as Heart,Unity and fundamentals, there are no statistics currently used to track these very real eliments, elimemts which were missing from this team this past season.
We have stats to measure the time it takes a man to advance from first to third base or from home to first,we can compare how he hit against lefties as opposed to righties, night games vs day games, home vs road,

but there is nothing to apply value to the greatest assets of all, Heart and determination.

That’s what bothers me about all the baseball guru’s, they only know stats.
Never, or hardly ever played the sport, they never heard of total team
effort! For example, during the 1960 World Series, the Yanks scored twice
as many runs as the Pirates, and each game the Yanks won, they did so
by 10 runs or more. In the 7th and final game, the Pirates scored one
more run than the Yanks, and won the deciding game by one run, 10 – 9.
Great teams, no matter what the opposing team’s stats, never quit or
give up! And, most of the time, they win. I am not a Giant fan, but they play
better as a team, than all the rest!. The 1968 Cardinals, 1969 Mets, and
2012 Giants showed the world how winning baseball should be played. Yet,
today we still have most American League Teams, namely the Yankees
and Rangers, built for the Home Run. It was the Yankees .300 hitters,
defense, and great pitching that won all those pennants and World Series!

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