The improbable Texas Rangers’ season continues tonight in what is sure to be a great World Series with them taking on the San Francisco Giants. This matchup features some of the game’s best pitchers, starting with Cliff Lee taking on Tim Lincecum in Game 1, and continues with C.J. Wilson facing Matt Cain in Game 2. The Giants’ offense hasn’t been able to score very many runs this postseason but they haven’t necessarily had to because their pitching has been so dominant. The Rangers on the other hand have had great starting pitching along with good hitting all postseason long. With the Giants having home field advantage, thanks in large part for what the Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann did in the All-Star game, coming to the cavernous AT&T Park will pose some challenges to both the Rangers’ offense and defense. Just like in every Fall Classic, it will come down to the team that makes the fewest mistakes and capitalize on the others’.
CJ Wilson joined Tony Bruno on Fox Sports Radio to talk about when it will settle in that the Rangers made it to the World Series, whether it is official that he is going to be the Game 2 starting pitcher, and whether he feels like there isn’t anyone that can stop the Rangers’ offense the way they are swinging the bats.
When it will settle in that the Rangers made it to the World Series:
“I think when MLB Network runs some sort of postseason recap of this year maybe leading up to Spring Training. I think coming to a familiar city like San Francisco, we stay at the same hotel when we played Oakland all the time. We’ve played in San Francisco before, we played there last year, so it is something that I guess is a little bit familiar. I think if it was somewhere like if we had to go to Cincinnati or Philadelphia where we haven’t been in a while then it would be a little bit different. But seeing how that we are semi-familiar with, I guess, it’s not such a stretch of like experience but it is really nuts. I try not to think about it. I am trying to approach it like it is a regular interleague game, you know. But that is not the case at all.”
Whether it is official that he is going to be the Game 2 starting pitcher:
“I have not been privy to any sort of news releases on the subject yet but I did throw a bullpen today putting me on schedule for game 2…I’m pretty sure that I am starting in game 2.”
Whether there is any reason why he wouldn’t start in game 2:
“No I don’t think so because I think you want to throw your best guys early and I think having me, Cliff and Colby go right away at the top-3. I think that is good. Plus, personally I feel I pitch better following Cliff than anybody else.”
Whether he thought the Giants had a chance to beat the Phillies:
“When they got off to a 2-1 lead in their series I felt like that was who we were going to play. They have a good team in a lot of the same ways we do, where they brought in a lot of guys through trades, they have had good starting pitching all year, they got a good closer, so in that sense I think it is kind of a cool matchup. Although the Lincecum vs. Cliff Lee thing is pretty much as big as you can get as far as marquee pitchers matchup in the postseason or the World Series. But Cain is obviously a good pitcher as well so I think that is something that our offense has their work cut out for them, for sure.”
Whether he feels like there isn’t anyone that can stop the Rangers’ offense the way they are swinging the bats:
“Well I don’t know, I am always going to have confidence in our offense, but from a baseball fan perspective you have to start analyzing it a little deeper than that because the reality is Matt Cain is a really good starter. I mean Lincecum is Lincecum, obviously he has won the last two Cy Young Awards in the National League. He is not going to win it this year it will probably go to Halladay or whatever. The last few years he has won a ton of games, he has a low ERA, he strikes a ton of guys out, and Cain has been really good the whole time too. Between those two guys, I think they have both pitched better this postseason than any of the Yankees guys did. Sabathia had a great regular season but he was really rusty in that first game against us and gave up five runs. Then the second game he gave up twelve hits. I don’t really see anybody on that San Francisco team giving up 12 hits. I think Bochy has been really aggressive with his bullpen, he has got a lot of lefty/righty matchup kind of things going on. The reality is this stadium is a lot less homerun prone than Yankee Stadium, so I think that is going to affect it as well. If you really, really watched baseball over the last two years you’ve seen that in Yankee Stadium there is a lot of balls that get out of there that are not home runs in most of the ballparks. Then San Francisco is the opposite. You have to absolutely bludgeon the ball to get it out of certain parts of the ballpark. If you hit it down the line to the left it plays fair but pretty much anywhere else it’s a pitcher’s ballpark. Their pitching staff uses that to their advantage. The question is just going to be, who takes advantage of the mistakes, on offense? As well as defensively, if they make defensive mistakes, can we take advantage of those by going first to third or somebody boots a ball and can we advance a base? That’s really what it comes down to and the Phillies look like they gave up a bunch of free passes and free bases and stuff on bad defense. I think that is the reason why San Francisco was allowed to scoot through there…”