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Tim Lincecum Was a Playoff Beast and Hopes San Francisco Is Smoking

Was there a better pairing between player and city than Tim Lincecum and San Francisco? The diminutive pitcher went from Cy Young winner to World Series stud with stellar pitching in October. Lincecum tossed eight innings of one-run ball allowing just three hits while striking out 10 in a Game 5 win over the Rangers. He went 2-0 in the World Series, beating Texas stud Cliff Lee twice.

Lincecum was 4-1 in the playoffs with a 2.43 ERA, .188 batting average against, 43 strikeouts and just nine walks. He beat Derek Lowe, Roy Halladay, and Lee both times making this article look foolish. Timmy went head-to-head with some of the best pitchers in baseball and beat them all to win the World Series.

Asked after the clincher how he hopes San Francisco would be celebrating he answered “Just a lot of craziness I’m hoping. Lot of beer flowing … smoke in the air I’m hoping …”

With the way Giants fans have been acting throughout the entire World Series, I’m sure there was plenty of smoke in the air. And like I said, he fits in with the team perfectly. Lincecum should take some time to celebrate — he certainly earned it.

Photo Credit: Matt Slocum-Pool/Getty Images

Brian Sabean Acquisitions Keyed Giants’ World Series Run

Though the San Francisco Giants pitching staff was consistently one of the best in baseball, their offense had been a sore spot and more of an oxymoron the past few years than a threat. Calling them punchless would have been an understatement; Pablo Sandoval led them last year with 25 home runs and 90 RBIs while Bengie Molina’s 16 dingers and 95 RBIs paced them in 2008. The team struggled to score runs and often spoiled strong pitching performances by their starters, leading to phrases like getting “Cained.” Despite all their struggles to score runs, they made upgrades one player at a time and managed to win the World Series just three years after dropping Barry Bonds.

General Manager Brian Sabean knew his pitching and defense was good enough to win the World Series if they could only score a few runs. He acquired second baseman Freddy Sanchez last year at the trade deadline to try and bolster the offense. They came up short of the playoffs last year so Sabean went back to work. He took a gamble on Aubrey Huff in the off-season, signing him based on his track record and in hopes that his poor season in 2009 was a fluke. His work still not done, Sabean made two key pickups during the season utilizing the waiver wire to perfection.

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Edgar Renteria Named World Series MVP for Clutch Postseason

Giants shortstop Edgar Renteria came up huge for San Francisco in the World Series to earn MVP honors. He bashed a 3-run home run to break a scoreless Game 5 in the 7th inning. Cliff Lee had been relatively unhittable at the time, matching scoreless frames with Tim Lincecum until Renteria caught him with the big blast. He did it with two outs in the inning and after Pat Burrell struck out for the second of three times in his 0-for-4 game.

Renteria went 8-for-18 in the five game series with six RBIs. In addition to his monstrous Game 5 home run, Renteria also went 2-for-4 with 3 RBIs in Game 2, coming up with a solo home run to put them on the board in the 5th and a two-run single in the 8th. He went 1-for-3 in Game 1 with two runs scored and he even had three hits in the Game 4 win. Renteria’s final World Series stats was a .412 batting average, 1.209 OPS, two home runs, and six RBIs.

Who would have ever expected Edgar Renteria would end up as the World Series MVP for the Giants? Nobody could have guessed it, but now Giants fans will never forget him just like Marlins fans will always remember his 1997 World Series-winning hit.

Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Pat Burrell Takes a World Series Golden Sombrero Against Rangers

If there’s any advice I can give the San Francisco Giants as they look to close out the World Series against the Rangers, it’s hire Mark Grace and have him find Pat Burrell a slump buster. The Giants outfielder went 0-for-4 in Game 3 of the World Series with four strikeouts. The spectacular performance allows Burrell membership into the extremely exclusive LBS Golden Sombrero club, though B-Peso earns special recognition for accomplishing the feat in the World Series.

In case you weren’t keeping track, Peso is now hitless in nine World Series at-bats with eight strikeouts. He has walked twice and scored a run, but he’s the only regular on either team who still has the same batting average as when he started the series. Burrell left two men on with his strikeout in the first, another man on in the 4th, and then he struck out to lead off the 7th and 9th.

At the rate he’s going, it wouldn’t be surprising to see manager Bruce Bochy put Burrell on the bench for Game 4. I probably wouldn’t make that move; Nate Schierholtz is your replacement and isn’t exactly an offensive threat. Burrell at least can get on base and score runs by walking, and he always has the potential to deliver a big-time home run. I would ride him out and hope he comes up with a big hit. Maybe Philly fans are still in his head.

Vladimir Guerrero Out, David Murphy in for Texas in Game 2

Vladimir Guerrero served as the DH for Texas 140 times this year. It only took one game for him to prove to Ron Washington and fans everywhere why he’s best suited with a bat in his hands and not a glove. Vlad let a routine ball to fight field go past him in the 8th inning of Game 1 Wednesday night and he also mishandled another ball hit down the line that same inning. He had half of Texas’ season-high four errors in Game 1 and will be taking a seat for Game 2 after the dreadful performance.

David Murphy, who had a pinch hit RBI single in Game 1, will crack the starting lineup as the left fielder while Nelson Cruz moves over to right. Murphy played 82 games in left field and 51 more in right this year, so he’s used to playing the outfield. Murphy OPSd .806 in the regular season and is posting a .789 line in the post-season. Murphy’s offensive production was similar to Vlad’s in the regular season and David is hitting better in the playoffs, so the defensive upgrade is well worth the change. It is likely to be a low-scoring game, unlike the shocker in Game 1, so a defensive miscue can make the difference. Texas is wise to make the change, but we’ll still likely see Vlad pinch hit late in the game.

Cliff Lee Lets Rangers Down, Freddy Sanchez Lifts Giants Up

Cy Young Award winners Cliff Lee and Tim Lincecum were set to square off in Game 1 of the World Series between the Rangers and Giants. The matchup between the aces should have produced a 2-1 game with an over-under run total line of 4.5, and the wise better would have gone with the under. But that’s why they play games with bats, balls, and gloves and not pencils, papers, and Vegas oddsmakers.

Never in my baseball watching years could I have imagined that Cliff Lee would blow a 2-0 lead, throw over 100 pitches, and not make it out of the 5th inning against the Giants. The previously unbeatable strike-throwing robot as Alan Hull likes to call him gave up two runs in the 3rd and three more in the 5th (though he was charged with four). Freddy Sanchez, Cody Ross, and Aubrey Huff all hit him hard in the 5th inning, largely because Phifer wasn’t locating his pitches. Darren O’Day relieved Lee and gave up a three-run bomb to Juan Uribe which really seemed to seal the win. And it wasn’t even the pitching that let Texas down; they committed four errors in the game which was a season high.

Former batting champ Freddy Sanchez truly showed up. The Burbank boy went 4-for-5 with three doubles, three RBIs and two runs scored. His first double was an opposite field bloop job that was lucky to fall in fair territory, but every other hit after that was stung well. Aubrey Huff added three hits and knocked Lee out of the game with a line drive up the middle. If San Francisco could win the game many of us already handed to Texas then they’re in excellent shape to take it all. As someone who dislikes the Giants, I have to admit I’m worried. Where’s Dusty Baker to bring in Livan Hernandez when you need him?

Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Neftali Feliz Guarantee? Rangers Have Better Team, Will Win World Series

We noted yesterday that the Rangers are favorites to win the World Series over the Giants. Walking into the Texas locker room, closer Neftali Feliz admitted to me that he had seen the story on LBS and agreed.

OK, that didn’t happen, but he really did tell Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes that the Rangers have the better team and that they’ll win the World Series. Rojas relayed Feliz’s thoughts via twitter, prompting ESPN college basketball writer Diamond Leung to wonder if the guarantee makes Feliz “Jose Namath.” Guarantees are getting played out and nobody did it as well as Joe Namath who said it when it actually meant something.

Feliz is expressing confidence in his team as he should be. Between their pitching and the way they’re hitting, they appear to be the better team and that’s why they’re favored. Texas has the advantage with Cliff Lee starting Game 1 on Wednesday, but Game 2 goes back to the Giants as they have Matt Cain over C.J. Wilson. When it heads to Texas for Game 3, I’d put Colby Lewis as the slight favorite over Jonathan Sanchez. LBS author Danny Lee says it will be a snoozer, but I’m excited for the World Series. As a baseball fan, it’s impossible not to be.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez