I hate to count the Giants out, I really do. I don't think anyone expected them to get past the Phillies, and yet they handled Philly pretty easily in the NLCS. And if this postseason has shown us anything, it's that the best team doesn't always win and that baseball is unpredictable and all that. But, after digging deeper into the numbers, I just don't see how the Giants are going to win.
It is no secret that the offense has been one of the Giants' biggest weaknesses this season. Their .318 team wOBA ranked 9th in the NL, their .151 ISO is barely above average, and their overall .257/.321/.408/.729 line is pretty mediocre in a league where the pitcher gets three at-bats in a game. Their one bright spot has been in NLCS MVP and noted scrapheap pickup Cody Ross, who batted .288/.354/.466/.819 with the Giants and .324/.395/.794/1.189 in the postseason, with four pretty clutch home runs. However, Ross is also a career .265/.323/.466/.788 hitter, so I'm not sure I would count on him to singlehandedly beat the Rangers like he did the Phillies and Braves.
The Rangers, on the other hand, had one of the best offenses in the American League. Their .333 wOBA ranked fifth behind the Yankees (who, by the way, Texas destroyed in the ALCS), Red Sox, Twins, and Blue Jays. Their .143 ISO isn't very impressive, especially in a hitters' park like Arlington, but they scored 90 more runs than the Giants and their overall .276/.338/.419/.757 line is better. Also, they have this guy, um, I think his name is Jason Hamilton or something, who's pretty good.
As far as pitching goes, here are the probable starters:
Cliff Lee, 3.18 ERA, 2.58 FIP, 3.23 xFIP, 2.65 tERA, 10.28 K/BB ratio
Tim Lincecum, 3.43 ERA, 3.15 FIP, 3.21 xFIP, 3.46 tERA, 3.04 K/BB ratio
Colby Lewis, 3.72 ERA, 3.55 FIP, 3.93 xFIP, 3.52 tERA, 3.02 K/BB ratio
Jonathan Sanchez, 3.07 ERA, 4.00 FIP, 4.11 xFIP, 3.70 tERA, 2.14 K/BB ratio
C. J. Wilson, 3.35 ERA, 3.56 FIP, 4.20 xFIP, 3.81 tERA, 1.83 K/BB ratio
Matt Cain, 3.14 ERA, 3.65 FIP, 4.19 xFIP, 3.49 tERA, 2.90 K/BB ratio
Tommy Hunter, 3.73 ERA, 4.99 FIP, 4.70 xFIP, 5.17 tERA, 2.06 K/BB ratio
Madison Bumgarner, 3.00 ERA, 3.66 FIP, 4.03 xFIP, 3.59 tERA, 3.31 K/BB ratio
The only game where the Giants might have a potential advantage over the Rangers is in game four. The lefty Madison Bumgarner has a good shot at shutting down the Rangers' potent offense, while Tommy Hunter struggled a bit in his last postseason start (though the Rangers managed to beat the Yankees anyway, 10-3). The two bullpens are pretty equal, except Neftali Feliz hasn't been quite as good as Brian Wilson. So, if the Giants do somehow manage to take a late lead against the Rangers, they will probably hang onto it.
If there are any silver linings for the Giants, it's that Texas hasn't hit very well on the road all year long. Sure, the Rangers scored 36 runs on the road against the Rays and the Yankees in the postseason, but in a small sample sizes of just 7 games (and Yankee stadium is a notorious hitters' park). Over the entire season, the Rangers batted just .265/.324/.391/.716 on the road. The Giants do have home-field advantage thanks to Brian McCann, and AT&T park tends to slightly favor pitchers, but I don't think this San Francisco lineup can solve Tommy Hunter, let alone Cliff Lee.
My prediction: Texas in 6.