There is no reason to reopen this wound, but because the petty side of me that’s rooting against Texas is emerging more and more as the Giants continue to humiliate the recently de-antlered and de-clawed Rangers something just needs to be said. It’s nice to see Ron Washington reading Success! How to Shoot One’s Self in the Foot Manual by Joe Maddon as he fumbles and mismanages from the dugout. The Giant’s offense which is comprised of cut, released and left over players from other teams around the league this season have banded together and executed an aggressive game plan against the Rangers specifically Cliff Lee.
As I mentioned before in my World Series post, I am very disgusted that Pat Burrell is on a winning team, but someone has to win and I guess I can stomach Burrell (who already has a ring anyway) and the San Francisco Giants having a ring more than the Texas Rangers.
Around other blogs especially the Texas discussion boards the consensus is that the one man that stood in the way of the Rays going deeper into the post season was Cliff Lee. Having won two games in Texas all Tampa needed to do was secure one win out of the three other games to advance and since the Rays and Rangers have a similar style I am confident that they could’ve pulled the win over a tired looking New York Yankees. Since Cliff Lee pitched in two of them that means the real opportunity to shut that series down rested on the decision in game 2 to start James Shields. And as he has in the past when the tough gets going, Joe Maddon wears plaid and confuses the heck out of everyone.
The Giants defied everyone’s predictions and take a very strong 2-0 lead after the first two games of the World Series. They’re success after everyone predicted them to roll over to Texas is an unexpected, but interesting turn of events.
So this begs the question what can the Rays learn from San Francisco’s example?
Well, after the first game Freddy Sanchez was interviewed about the team’s strategy against Cliff Lee. To paraphrase, he pretty much said that (are you listening Maddon?) that they know that Cliff Lee doesn’t walk a lot of batters. He is a creature of precision and habit so they knew that ball was coming inside the strike zone. They also knew that getting his pitch count up was important and (wait for it) that meant implementing an aggressive strategy to swing at the first pitch instead of taking it like the Rays do, which of course Derek Shelton taught the them. Which means that Maddon’s nonsensical lineups would not have matter if his hitters were more aggressive, you know as if they wanted to win. Anyway, then he discussed how they thought they’d have a better chance of beating their bull pen if they could get Lee out early. After defeating Cliff Lee, in game two C.J. Wilson who emulates Lee’s blue print had nothing to follow and got shellacked out of the game putting the Rangers in a 0-2 deficit. I just hope the Rays; especially Joe Maddon can learn something from the Giants success.