So, what are the Rangers up against?
On the one hand I want to be at least somewhat optimistic about the Rangers chances. I mean, there’s no way that Ron Washington can screw up the bullpen so badly a second time in one series, right? There’s no way that a formidable Rangers lineup will remain so utterly impotent, right? There’s no way they won’t do a lot more damage against lefties Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner -- at home no less -- than they could do against Lincecum and Cain, right?
But then I look at the numbers and realize how dire things truly are:
- Teams have taken a 2-0 lead in the World Series 51 times. Forty of those teams went on to win it;
- The last 11 teams that took a 2-0 lead at home have gone on to win it;
- The last three teams to take a 2-0 lead in the World Series went on to win the thing in a sweep.
I mean, sure, you can point to the 1996 Yankees who went down 2-0 at home and went on to steamroll the Braves in the next four, but they were rather exceptional for that very reason. And, in hindsight, that was the beginning of a sustained run of excellence for the Yankees, the likes we haven’t seen since Mickey Mantle’s day. The exception that proved the rule, as it were. Unless the Giants sign Mark Wohlers between now and Sunday I don’t know that the 1996 Yankees’ example is very instructive.
So get the antlers and the claws ready, Rangers fans. Be prepared to scream your head off. But likewise be prepared for this thing to end poorly, because it usually does for teams in the Rangers’ shoes.