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Rangers vs. Giants, who has the edge?


Player scouting reports


Player scouting reports

Bengie Molina has been the primary catcher this postseason, and he has backed up his playing time with a .333 average, two homers and seven RBIs. Matt Treanor, left, will continue to catch C.J. Wilson. The Rangers are 1-2 with that combination so far.


Edge: Giants

The player who instigated the Molina trade to the Rangers is Buster Posey , right, a candidate to be NL Rookie of the Year and a future star for years to come. That's according to Molina, whose only advantage over Posey is experience. But it's a significant advantage.

Mitch Moreland has settled in as the regular first baseman, and Jorge Cantu hasn't sniffed the field since Game 1 of the American League Championship Series. Moreland has survived against left-handed pitching and held his own defensively.

First base

Edge: Giants

San Francisco's top run producer during the regular season was Aubrey Huff, who had team-highs in homers (26) and RBIs (86). The former White Settlement Brewer star played some in the outfield, but he hasn't been anywhere besides first base since Aug. 14.

Ian Kinsler cooled some in the ALCS after swatting three homers in the AL Division Series. He hit .250 against the Yankees, driving in three runs. He also made a couple of nice plays in the field, including a double play in Game 6 on a Robinson Cano one-hopper.

Second base

Edge: Rangers

Freddy Sanchez , right, a former National League batting champ, hit a team-best .360 in the NLCS. He had nine hits but scored only once. Defensively, he committed four errors in the regular season and had a .991 fielding percentage. Both were better than the league average.

The only way Elvis Andrus, left, can't beat a team is with his power, but he did have two doubles against New York. He had nine hits in 27 at-bats, scored four runs and stole four bases. He also made two plays that the average shortstop doesn't make.


Edge: Rangers

Edgar Renteria and Juan Uribe split duties during the NLCS against Philadelphia. Uribe has the hotter bat, and he won Game 4 with a walk-off sacrifice fly and Game 6 with a go-ahead solo homer. They combined for 30 at-bats, and had only four hits.

Michael Young, left, tied Andrus for the team lead in ALCS hits with nine and hit .333 after struggling to a .150 average in the ALDS. He has struck out 13 times in 47 postseason at-bats. That's a strikeout rate of 27.7 percent, 12 percent higher than in the regular season.

Third base

Edge: Rangers

Look for Uribe here, too, along with Mike Fontenot and Pablo Sandoval. Fontenot, acquired in August, can play three positions and very well could in this series. He's not a fit at third, though, with no strengths at the plate. He had one homer and one stolen base all season.

Nelson Cruz and David Murphy have held down this spot, rather impressively. Cruz will play here against both Giants left-handers and in Game 1 against Tim Lincecum. Murphy's playing time will depend largely on how many games Vladimir Guerrero is in right field.

Left field

Edge: Rangers

Released by Tampa Bay early in the season, Pat Burrell, right, rebounded for a 20-homer season. He still strikes out a bunch, and his defense is poor. The Rangers like to test outfielders, and they could try to take advantage of Burrell.

Josh Hamilton, left, the front-runner to be the league's MVP, was the MVP in the ALCS with four homers and a .350 average. He also walked eight times. Granted, five were intentional passes, but if he doesn't chase pitches out of the strike zone, he could have another big series.

Center field

Edge: Rangers

After a sluggish division series (.125), Andres Torres hit .350 in the NLCS. He had 43 doubles during the regular season, primarily as the leadoff hitter. The former Rangers outfielder (remember 2005?) is a threat to run (26 steals), but he strikes out too much (128).

In Game 5 of the ALDS, Guerrero, left, knocked in the first run with a grounder and copied Andrus later in the game by scoring from third on a grounder. Guerrero had three RBIs and the key hit in Game 6 of the ALCS. He can still perform in the big games.

Right field

Edge: Rangers

Cody Ross, right, was the NLCS MVP with three homers and five RBIs. He sparked the Giants' offense with two homers in Game 1 off Roy Halladay. When the Giants lead late in games, he moves over to left field and Nate Schierholtz enters in right to shore up the defense.

Vladimir Guerrero is a .312 career hitter against the Yankees, but is only .176 (3 for 17) against CC Sabathia and .200 (1 for 5) against Phil Hughes. Guerrero, who drove in 115 runs this season, hits .346 against Andy Pettitte and .364 against Mariano Rivera.


Edge: Rangers

Sandoval, right, and Burrell are candidates to DH when the series hits Rangers Ballpark. Sandoval's numbers and playing time dipped steeply from last season. His average was down 62 points from .330, and he hit 12 fewer homers than the 25 he had in 2009.

This group will play a factor in the games at San Francisco. Murphy and Julio Borbon will be the top two pinch hitters against right-handers. Cantu and Francoeur, regulars most of their careers, will be called up against Giants left-handers. Borbon is the speed off the bench.


Edge: Giants

With Fontenot, Uribe, Renteria and Sandoval sharing time, the Giants usually have two bats that haven't just been wasting away on the bench. Pinch hitting is a huge part of an NL game, and the Giants have veterans ready to do it.

Cliff Lee continued to amaze during the ALCS, despite pitching only once. Colby Lewis' effort in Game 6 was the best start by a pitcher not named Lee. C.J. Wilson and Tommy Hunter struggled in Games 4 and 5, but are members of the World Series rotation.


Edge: Giants

Two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum, right, heads a rotation that had the second-best starters ERA (3.54) in the NL and the top opponents batting average (.236). Rookie Madison Bumgarner impressed in 18 starts (3.00 ERA), but he lasted only four innings in his NLCS start.

Put aside the Game 1 meltdown, and the Rangers' bullpen has been OK. The biggest relief gains in the ALCS were made by Neftali Feliz , left, who had a confident look in his last two outings. Derek Holland has also proven to be a reliable relief piece.


Edge: Giants

Two lefties -- Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez -- will take their shots at Hamilton. Sergio Romo's slider is a great pitch, and Brian Wilson saved three games and won another in the NLCS. Expect to see him in the eighth inning if a save is on the line.

Considered inferior to his two playoff counterparts, Ron Washington , left, has led the Rangers to the World Series by not changing a thing. He wants his team to be aggressive on the bases, execute at the plate when asked, play well defensively and pitch.


Edge: Even

Bruce Bochy, right, took San Diego to the World Series in 1998, when they were swept by the Yankees. His career record is below .500 (951-975), but he is above .500 (415-395) with the Giants. His team does just enough on offense to support terrific pitching.