Question of the day: Which team will win the World Series and who will be the MVP? [Updated]
Writers from around the Tribune Co. weigh in on the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses, vote in the poll, and feel free to leave a response of your own.
Dan Connolly, Baltimore Sun
Teams of destiny do not win championships; pitching does.
I have been a believer in the San Francisco Giants’ pitching since the postseason began. Conversely, I have had little faith in the Texas Rangers’ staff — those not named Cliff Lee — since the pre-Buck Showalter Orioles swept the Rangers in a four-game series in Arlington in July.
That disaster aside, this Series is being billed as hitting versus pitching. Although that may not give enough credit to a gritty Rangers’ staff, I just don’t believe the Rangers’ offensive firepower can continually solve the Giants’ starting rotation.
So go with San Francisco to win in six games. We’ll get sentimental with the MVP pick and choose first baseman Aubrey Huff, coined “The Happy Slacker” during his time in Baltimore. Huff gets his ring and the MVP trophy after a career of watching in October.
[Updated at 9:48 a.m.:
I've liked the Rangers ever since they acquired Cliff Lee from Seattle in July, and my feelings about them have not changed. As good as the Giants' pitching is, I think Texas has a more potent and diversified offense than San Francisco, one that can find ways to score even when the bats are not booming, and I think that will be the difference in this series. I also give the Rangers the edge on defense; their infield is superb, and their outfield is athletic, with good gap-closing ability.
The easy prediction for MVP would be Lee, and I think he will pitch well, but I'm going with Rangers veteran third baseman Michael Young, who should see plenty of good pitches to hit batting in front of Josh Hamilton.
Dave van Dyck, Chicago Tribune
To look ahead, let’s look back: In the NLCS, the Phillies’ biggest bat, Ryan Howard, accounted for zero RBI in the six-game loss to the Giants; in the ALCS, the Rangers’ biggest bat, Josh Hamilton, produced four homers, seven RBI and right walks in the six-game victory over the Yankees. One of them was named MVP. And will be again in the World Series.
It’s true that pitching usually decides the World Series winner and these games should indeed be very close. But close games are decided by one big hit, and Hamilton all by himself could make the difference. And if he doesn’t, how about the Rangers adding the DH for home games? One more bat in a lineup filled with big bats? Lethal, even for the Giants superior pitching staff. Rangers in six.]
Keith Groller, The Morning Call
As if losing their respective lead championship series weren’t tough enough, both the Yankees and Phillies will have to endure the indignity of watching someone they both could have had — Cliff Lee — do his thing for the Rangers.
Lee will have his way with the Giants, who scuffle for runs anyway, twice in this series. But unlike most of the other teams that have already lost in this postseason, the Giants are greater than the sum of their parts. The ever-bland Bruce Bochy gets just enough from his lineup of castoffs, and the pitching staff is solid from top to bottom.
"Team Torture" will drag it out as long as possible — maybe to the ninth inning of Game 7 — but it will ultimately end more than 50 years of torture for San Fran baseball fans. Giants in seven as closer Brian Wilson walks the tightrope to the MVP award.]
Photos, from top: San Francisco's Aubrey Huff. Credit: Ezra Shaw / Getty Images. Texas' Michael Young. Credit: Ron Jenkins / MCT