Giants Are a Win Away From Turning the Rangers Into Pumpkins

Madison Bumgarner puts Giants a win away from the title

By Josh Alper
|  Monday, Nov 1, 2010  |  Updated 6:55 AM PDT
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Giants Are a Win Away From Turning the Rangers Into Pumpkins

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When FOX had the Texas Rangers lineup introduce themselves on Sunday night, they also had the players share their favorite Halloween costumes from when they were kids. None of them said The Invisible Man, which is a shame since they all did such a fine job of impersonating him in Game Four of the World Series.

The Rangers managed just three hits against Giants starter Madison Bumgarner and their season is now on the brink as a result. The 4-0 victory means that the Giants can shut the door on the 2010 baseball season on Monday night in Arlington. Bumgarner, who went as a future ace slumming it as a fourth starter, deserves the lion's share of the credit.

The rookie lefty shut out the Giants for eight innings, struck out six and threw 69 strikes among his 106 total pitches. He only one dangerous situation, two runners on in the seventh inning, while making the Texas hitters look totally befuddled more often than not in a start that feels like it could be the first step on a road to big, big things. It is also one of the final steps toward forming the overriding theme of the 2010 postseason.

The San Francisco Giants, boys and girls, can pitch the baseball a little bit.

So much has been made of their lackluster offense, although they didn't do a particularly bad job of it on Sunday night and have gotten a ton of key hits in this series, that it was overshadowing just how brilliantly their pitchers have performed. That's not the case anymore. The Braves and Phillies looked positively miserable at the plate, and the Rangers, who pounded the Yankees in the ALCS, have now scored just 11 runs through four games of this World Series. 

Now they've got Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain lined up for the next two games with just one of them needing to keep the train rolling down the tracks to their first World Series title since setting up camp in San Francisco five decades ago. You've got to like their chances of getting that victory, even with Cliff Lee waiting for them on Monday night, and you've got to like their chances of doing it behind a special performance from their starting pitcher.

Focusing on the pitching pays short shrift to the home runs by Aubrey Huff and Buster Posey. It also underrates the contributions of Andres Torres and Edgar Renteria, who each had three hits on Sunday, but it's simply hard to concentrate on anything else when guys are turning out gems like we've seen from Bumgarner, Lincecum and Cain over the course of this playoff run.  

If they can do it one more time, you can bet there are gonna be a lot of kids 25 years from now who remember their favorite Halloween as the one when they dressed up like a Giants pitcher.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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