San Francisco Giants
The Texas Rangers clawed their way back into the World Series on Saturday night, beating the San Francisco Giants 4-2 to cut the deficit to just 2-1 in favor of the visitors. This best of seven World Series betting affair continues on Sunday night with a potentially spooky Game 4 for the hosts.
The bats struck early for the Rangers, and the team never looked back. A three run homer by 1B Mitch Moreland started the scoring in the second inning, while OF Josh Hamilton blasted a solo bomb in the fifth. RHP Colby Lewis was fantastic, allowing just five hits and two runs in 7.2 innings of work to pick up his third straight win in the postseason. In defeat, LHP Jonathan Sanchez allowed four runs and six hits in 4.2 innings.
Especially with the 2-1 series edge, manager Bruce Bochy has absolutely no doubt about sending rookie LHP Madison Bumgarner to the bump. Bumgarner has been stellar in this postseason, especially by the standards of a rookie. He picked up the win in the decisive Game 4 against the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS, and fired back in the sixth game of the NLCS against the Philadelphia Phillies with two scoreless frames in relief. He did have an iffy start in which he allowed three runs on six hits in just 4.2 innings in Game 4 against the Phils, but on the whole, a 3.55 ERA and a K/9 of just short of nine is nothing to be sorrowful about, especially for a No. 4 starter. Bumgarner won six of his seven games in total this year on the road, going 6-3 with a 1.91 ERA, numbers that were ironically significantly better than they were while pitching at Candlestick Park.
There is still a tad bit of a question whether it will be LHP Cliff Lee or RHP Tommy Hunter pitching in Game 4 for the Rangers. All signs point to Hunter getting the nod since Lee has never pitched on three days of rest before in his entire career. At home in the regular season, Hunter went a perfect 7-0 with a svelte 3.06 ERA. However, so far in these playoffs, he has really been iffy at best. He allowed three runs, just two of which were earned in the 5-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 4 of the ALDS that forced a Game 5 at Tropicana Field. His one appearance in the ALCS against the New York Yankees was nothing to write home about nine days later either. Hunter allowed three runs and was given the hook after just 3.1 innings on the mound. This will be his first outing in 12 days assuming he makes the start on Sunday night.
Assuming that Hunter is the man on the mound, we have a hard time going against him even though he has struggled. Both of these youngsters could be in for long evenings, and if that's the case, we'll be backing the hosts with their speed and sudden resurgence with their bats at this relatively short price.
World Series Free Pick: Texas Rangers -130