Somebody notify the Rangers that the World Series has started

San Francisco Giants Edgar Renteria (R) watches his solo home run in front of Texas Rangers catcher Matt Treanor (L) and umpire Sam Holbrook (C) in the fifth inning during Game 2 of Major League Baseball's World Series in San Francisco, October 28, 2010. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

Here’s a six pack of observations following the Giants’ dominating 9-0 win over the Rangers in Game 2 of the World Series on Thursday night. San Fran is now up 2-0 in the series.

1. America, meet Matt Cain.
Because the Giants play on the West Coast, there’s a good chance that the majority of the country hasn’t seen Matt Cain pitch. If you caught Game 2 of the World Series, then you realized what Giants fans have known for years: He can be every bit as good as ace Tim Lincecum. If baseball had a stat for hard-luck losers, Cain would be No. 1 on the list. He’s been a victim of horrendous run support for most of his career, but he’s stayed patient and is finally getting his due. Cain hasn’t allowed a run in three postseason starts this year and completely shut down the Rangers on Thursday night. He pitched 7.2 innings of shutout ball while allowing just four hits and striking out two. These weren’t the Mariners or Pirates he was facing; the Rangers led the league in batting average this season and finished fifth in runs scored. They’ve only been shutout six times this year (including Thursday night) and can beat you 1 through 8. But they couldn’t hit Cain tonight if they were notified what the pitch and location were going to be. He was brilliant.

2. What an embarrassing performance by the Rangers’ bullpen.
With his team only down 2-0 in the bottom of the eighth, Darren O’Day struck out Andres Torres and Freddy Sanchez to start the inning. But then rookie catcher Buster Posey singled to shallow center and O’Day was pulled for Derek Holland, who proceeded to walk Nate Schierholtz and Cody Ross on eight straight pitches, then walked Aubrey Huff to score Posey. Despite the first two walks, Rangers’ skipper Ron Washington failed to get another pitcher warmed up and by the time Mark Lowe came in, the Giants already had a 3-0 lead and the bases still loaded. Lowe then walked Uribe to score Schierholtz and gave up a single to Edgar Renteria (more on him next) to score Ross and Huff. Michael Kirkman, who was the fourth pitcher used in the inning, then relieved Lowe and promptly gave up a bases-clearing triple to Aaron Rowand and a double to Torres. By the time Sanchez came back around to strike out, the damage was done and the Giants had built a 9-0 lead. It was an inexcusable performance by the Rangers’ bullpen, which has looked horrendous two nights in a row now.

3. Edgar Renteria still has some postseason magic in him.
Renteria has certainly frustrated Giants fans over the last two years with his minimal range at short, his weak at-bats and his stints on the disabled list. But for at least one night, nobody is going to complain about how much money GM Brian Sabean foolishly gave the aging veteran two offseasons ago. Renteria hit an absolute bomb off Texas starter C.J. Wilson in the fifth to break a scoreless tie and then added a two-run single in the eighth, which essentially put the nail in the coffin. He’s also played tremendous defense thus far and has given the Giants’ professional at bats every time he walks to the plate (which is something they haven’t been getting out of more heralded hitters like Pat Burrell). Renteria won the World Series as a rookie back in 1997 and if he decides to retire at the end of the year, winning another championship would certainly be a sweet way to go out. He’s a class act and while his game has deteriorated over the years, he proved tonight that he’s clutch when it matters most.

4. The Rangers aren’t even close to being done.
No, this wasn’t the way the Rangers envisioned things going and yes, they’re in trouble. But this team won 90 games this year and went 51-30 at home. There’s no reason they can’t sweep the Giants in Texas and completely turn this series on its head. They certainly have their work cut out for them (especially after their two best pitchers just lost), but Ron Washington’s squad hasn’t thrown in the towel yet and the Giants can expect a fight in Games 3 and 4. That said, they have a lot to overcome because San Francisco is playing perfect baseball right now.

5. Javier Lopez is one hell of a weapon late in games.
When I first wrote the headline for No. 5, I put: “Javier Lopez is one hell of a secret weapon late in games.” But he’s not a secret; everyone knows he’s coming in to disable left-handed hitters and that’s exactly what he’s done throughout the postseason. How he’s gotten the best of Brian McCann, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and now Josh Hamilton is freaking unbelievable. Hamilton could have tied the game with one swing in the eighth inning, but Lopez came in and got the slugger to fly out to center to strand a runner at second. It’s almost a foregone conclusion now that when Lopez comes into the game, he’s going to retire whoever he faces. What a midseason pickup by GM Brian Sabean.

6. The Giants need Jonathan Sanchez to have short-term memory.
Looking ahead to Game 3 on Saturday, the Giants are in perfect position to keep the bottom of their foot firmly planted on the Rangers’ throats. But Game 3 starter Jonathan Sanchez is coming off his worst outing of the season while going just two innings against the Phillies in Game 6 of the NLCS. Sanchez has outstanding stuff, but he has a tendency to lose his cool early in games and put his team in bad position. Granted, that was more his M.O. before he threw his no-hitter against the Padres last year, but that Jonathan Sanchez reared his ugly head again last Saturday and the Giants can’t have that again. Not against the Rangers and certainly not against the Rangers in their home park. They can’t give back any of the momentum they created from these first two games and it’s up to Sanchez not to wake a sleeping giant.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Related Posts