The Rangers and the Giants are getting set to kick off the World Series on Wednesday evening, but before the games get started, they'll each have to figure out if they're going to make any changes to their starting rotations and playoff rosters. In this StoryStream, we'll keep you updated on those issues. (Click here for the complete World Series schedule.)
There's no mystery regarding what the Rangers are going to do in Game 1, with regard to their starting rotation - they're going to go with Cliff Lee. Lee was prepared to start Game 7 of the ALCS and is fully rested entering his second World Series in a row. He's their ace, and he's the guy they'll look to in order to get off on the right foot.
Behind Lee, it's a little more up in the air. The second and third starters will be C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis. What remains to be decided is which will go when. The probably is that it will be Wilson, and then Lewis, as it has been through the first two rounds of the playoffs, but they could swap places.
And as for the fourth starter, Ron Washington is deciding between righty Tommy Hunter and lefty Derek Holland. Hunter has been ineffective through two starts so far, while Holland has shined out of the bullpen. However, Hunter remains the odds-on favorite, as Washington likes the certainty of their roles. As Evan Grant writes:
While Hunter has been shaky, the Rangers know what to expect from Holland coming out of the bullpen. If the Rangers switch roles, they feel there is more possibility they could get shaky performances from both pitchers.
As far as the overall playoff roster is concerned, there won't be much changing. But as the Giants feature fewer left-handed threats at the plate than the Yankees, the Rangers are leaning towards dropping one of Clay Rapada and Michael Kirkman - southpaw relievers - in favor of Dustin Nippert or Mark Lowe - right-handed relievers. Nippert and Lowe would improve the righty depth in the bullpen, although Nippert was generally ineffective this season, and Lowe missed a ton of time with a herniated disc. His stuff is electric, but his health is unreliable and his availability is unpredictable.
The Rangers have had a little extra time to think about all this. The Giants only just clinched a World Series berth on Saturday, and so their picture is fuzzier. It isn't even certain whether Tim Lincecum will get the nod in Game 1, opposite Cliff Lee, as Matt Cain is rested and ready to go.
The probability is that Lincecum will start the series, but as of right now, we can't be sure. All we can be sure of is that San Francisco will start Lincecum, Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, and Madison Bumgarner in some order. Bruce Bochy says he and his staff will evaluate everything over the coming two days before making any final decisions.
As such, we also can't really try to predict any changes to the roster. One injury note is that center fielder Andres Torres has a hip flexor injury, sustained while sliding into first base Saturday night, but his roster spot isn't in jeopardy, as the injury is minor and he's in line to start in Game 1.