After Wednesday’s unexpected Game 1 victory — unexpected in the manner in which it was achieved, not that it was achieved — the Giants will try to secure a 2-0 series advantage Thursday night when Matt Cain takes on C.J. Wilson.
The forecast for San Francisco calls for temperatures of 62 at game time with clouds and a 30-percent chance of showers. The chance of rain deminishes to 10 percent as the night progresses. So hopefully rain won’t be a factor.
The Rangers will send out 29-year-old left-hander C.J. Wilson.
Wilson is very much like the Rangers’ version of Jonathan Sanchez. Wilson is a converted reliever who saved 14 games last season and 24 games in 2008. But we was converted to a starter this season, going 15-8 with 3.35 ERA in 33 starts.
The part the makes him like J-San is that he’s left-handed who led his league in walks (93).
That means the Giants must take a completely different approach at the plate than they did against Game 1 starter Cliff Lee. Against Lee, they wanted to be aggressive, knowing Lee was going to spend most of the night in the strike zone.
Against Wilson, they’ll need to be patient. Make Wilson work, and hope he puts himself into fastball counts. And then when he does, the Giants must pounce on those fastballs. That’s what the Yankees did against him in the ALCS, where Wilson made two starts and went 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA, giving up eight earned runs in 12 innings.
Here’s another thing to consider with Wilson. With every pitch he makes, he’s venturing into new territory. The 204 innings he pitched this season were a career-high by a longshot. Pitching out of the pen, he never threw more than 73 innings in any one season before 2010.
That didn’t seem to bother him in the ALDS against the Rays, when Wilson pitched 6 1/3 innings of two-hit shutout ball. But in the ALCS, he started Game 1 and gave up three earned runs in 7-plus innings. In Game 5, he got tagged for six runs (five earned) in five innings with four walks. He surrendered three home runs in his two ALCS starts.
Wilson was at his best coming out of the All-Star Break when he went 7-0 in late July and August. But he struggled in September, going 0-3 with a 6.26 ERA in five starts. He broke that string by beating the Angels on Oct. 2 — the second-to-last day of the season
Against Wilson, the Giants send Matt Cain, who — with all apologies aside to Tim Lincecum — has been the Giants’ best pitcher down the stretch. Cain earned four consecutive victories from Aug. 23 to Sept. 26, posting a 2.46 ERA over that stretch.
Then he had the one hiccup in the final weekend of the season against the Padres.
But in the postseason, he’s been on again. He gave up one unearned run in 6 2/3 innings in the NLDS against the Braves. Then he came back with seven shutout innings, giving up just two hits against the Phillies in the NLCS.
It’s doubtful after pounding out 11 runs on 14 hits in Game 1 that Bruce Bochy is going to make any changes to the lineup in Game 2.
For the Rangers, the question is whether they will sit Vlad Guerrero to get the left-handed hitting (and better fielding) David Murphy into the lineup. We’ll see.