Cliff can Lee-d Texas to a first World Championship
The MLB Championship Series told me two things above all else. One, Cliff Lee is currently the pitcher every team would want on their roster and two, San Francisco needs more offence to seriously contend.
If you combine these two facets then, if you're anything like me, you may consider game one of the 2010 World Series a right off, however the real issue comes down to whether the Giants can do enough to keep the series alive when Lee isn't on the mound.
San Fran fans won't like this, giving up on a double Cy Young winner before he's ever thrown a World Series pitch, but realistically game one should belong to the Texas Rangers.
Lee was unreal against the New York Yankees in game three of the ALCS, halting any momentum New York felt they could gain with a dazzling display of two-hit, scoreless ball through eight innings.
The Yankees tried everything they could to wear down the classy lefty but try as they may even the likes of Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez couldn't come close stopping the former AL Cy Young winner.
And if the Bronx Bombers couldn't get to grips with his corner painting then you have to admit the Giants will struggle with what can only be described as a rather tame looking power line-up.
Lincecum has to give the performance of a lifetime to keep up and after two pretty average NLCS outings he's simply unbackable in game one at 21/20, even with home field advantage.
It doesn't come down to one game though and Bruce Bochy will feel quietly confident that the rest of his rotation should have enough to flummox and frustrate a Rangers line-up that has seen little of Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner.
This is do or die for the Giants though.
The rotation has been their saviour all year, the one thing that kept them in the hunt for October while offensive struggles threatened to derail them so it's absolutely essential they don't get bossed by Guerrero and Hamilton in game two.
You have to look as well at the issues surrounding Ron Washington's rotation - well more precisely the fact nobody knows the order except for the ace.
They've had good innings from Colby Lewis and Tommy Hunter but CJ Wilson was poor in the ALCS and if I was a Rangers fan I'd definitely have more than a few concerns about this.
The Phillies' downfall ultimately came in the form of a lack of offence in the NLCS but the Giants still found enough to beat Roy Halladay once and produced enough clutch hitting to oust perhaps the most complete pitching staff in baseball.
Cody Ross came up big and was rightfully named MVP while Juan Uribe smashed a series winning homer and Buster Posey and Aubrey Huff had great regular season numbers.
These are the guys that need to come up big although something tells me Pat Burrell could be something of an X Factor, despite a largely disappointing career, and any sort of contribution from him would be much welcomed.
Getting back to the point though, I might be going out on a limb but I seriously believe Cliff Lee can be the difference maker with three wins not beyond him.
So the question is, can Sanchez, Cain and Bumgarner manage four wins between them? For me the answer is no so the 20/27 about Texas taking their first ever World Series title is where my money is heading.
As for Lee, you may have already guessed this but he's my pick for MVP at 9/2.
In fact if this series goes the distance, which I believe it will (it's 4/1 about a Rangers 4-3 win), then it could well be that Cliff Lee's name goes alongside Bob Gibson and Josh Beckett as names that'll live forever in World Series folklore.