The Rangers' well-played 4-2 victory in Game 3 was a must win scenario and starter Colby Lewis delivered their deliverance by giving up 2 runs in 7.2 innings pitched. And give Texas first baseman Mitch Moreland a hard slap on the butt for punching out a three run homer with two outs in the 2nd inning. It would be all the offense the Rangers would need.
On the Giants side, it is a story of failing to execute on all fronts. Sanchez managed to only deliver 4.2 innings of work, giving up all four Ranger runs. Offensively, the big story is left fielder Pat Burrell's dismal performance at the plate: four at-bats, four strike-outs. Burrell's 2010 World Series resume features a nasty 0 for 9 with eight strike-outs, this from the player the Giants rely on for raw stampeding power.
The critical questions raised by the Giants' Game 3 loss have quickly overwhelmed the need for excessive postgame review and analysis. And let's get to them pronto:
1. The Pat Burrell offensive vacuum. Burrell will be on the bench for Game 4, and Nate Schierholtz gets a start in right. Can Burrell work through an ill-timed World Series slump in one off day? The Giants need his power and tremendous ability to work counts to present their best offensive package against the Rangers.
2. Who will pitch for the Giants in a possible Game 7 now begins to loom large out of the San Francisco fog. It would be Jonathan Sanchez's turn, but there is no way Bruce Bochy starts Sanchez at this point. Madison Bumgarner on three days' rest? A variety of starters and relievers in a mixed stew of pitching? Stay tuned.
3. Can the Giants get their hitting attack rebooted? This team lives on the edge of winning and losing as a matter of routine, and either you double your medication and enjoy the ride, or you live in a shadow world of terror and angst.
Game 4 will be the pivotal contest in this Series. Enjoy the ride!