Every World Series Championship team has their fill of stories. Everybody loves it when someone has fought through adversity to achieve, because no one knows what it’s like to skate by the whole time and be successful!… or maybe no one I know. Anyway, those kinds of stories give people hope. Twenty-five guys on the roster, so I’ll try to rank who I am happy for the most, but let it be very clear: I’m happy for all of these guys. It may be of no surprise to you that the guys earning their first ring are the ones at the top of my list.
#1 Ryan Vogelsong: Do you need the background on his story? Didn’t think so. He joined the Giants in 2011 after they had clinched and just wanted a chance, and got it. Now, the man’s can say he’s been to the top with the organization that drafted him. He’s also a lock for the 2013 All Star Game, by the way.
#2 Marco Scutaro: This guy has been on plenty of teams in his career, and his only other postseason was with the A’s when the Tigers showed them the door. How sweet it must’ve been for this guy, the NLCS MVP, to drive in the winning run, and have so many of his teammates fight for him to get there.
#3 Gregor Blanco: You want Andres Torres version 2.0, here it is, your minor league player that hits more than a quarter of the time in the World Series and did just enough for the Giants in the absence of their All Star Left Fielder.
#4 Brandon Crawford: The boy that grew up a fan of the Giants gets to be a Champion with them. How many of us in our childhoods grew up with that dream? And he gets to live it? Awesome.
#5 Barry Zito: Well chronicled as it was that he was left off the 2010 Postseason roster, Barry really has been the type of athlete a fan wants to see during a time of struggle: keep working, don’t whine, and figure it out. He may not have figured it all out, but he figured enough of it out to have an absolutely stellar NLCS and WS, beating guys the national media, and some Giants fans, thought he had no chance against. Kruk even called him “the soul of the team” this morning, so you know he admires the guy, haha.
#6 Tim Lincecum: The Freak may have been the Postseason MVP in 2010, but anybody who paid attention knows this year was tough on Timmy, and seeing him not be himself in the starter’s role was so painful. While he may or may not have 100% been on board with the bullpen role, he thrived in it, and flashed the Cy Young stuff he tantalized opponents with in years past.
#7 Buster Posey: Two healthy years, two World Series Championships. If that doesn’t make this kid the Boy Wonder of the San Francisco Giants, what will?
#8 Pablo Sandoval: The fat storyline got put on to him most of the season, didn’t hit for power as well as he had in the past, and yet he dominated the postseason scene, with a historic performance in Game 1.
#9 Sergio Romo: The dude really hadn’t been getting enough credit for his art, especially with his injury risk and maybe even perceived lack of a “closer mentality,” and perhaps the lack of a legitimate number of LHH splits to warrant him being the high leverage pitcher. He was given his shot, and unless the dude at the plate was named “Hanley Ramirez,” he did not disappoint.
#10 Brandon Belt: He’s been put through so much garbage, I’m not sure how good he will actually become and if he even stays with the Giants as long as he’s supposed to be under team control. That said, I’m glad he got to experience success with this team even if he is always being tinkered with.
#11 Madison Bumgarner: A Cy Young candidate in the middle of the season turned into a work-in-progress, including his NLCS Game 1 start that left him needing to work on his mechanics. Luckily, the North Carolina boy that loves cows or something got it all together just in time to throw 7 shutout innings at home.
#12 Angel Pagan: He was with the Mets, and it was time for him to go. He comes over for Andres Torres and Ramon Ramirez who were heroes from the 2010 campaign and he has a pretty decent year, with his salutes and crazy routes to the ball in the outfield.
#13 Aubrey Huff: The guy is at the end of his career, and what better way to go out than on top. Hopefully all issues he had have been overcome as he rides off into the sunset, 2 of his 3 years with the Giants involving parades.
From there, I think it’s all equal love across the board for the guys like Affeldt, Lopez, Pence, Theriot, Arias, all important pieces to the puzzle. Huge credit should of course go to Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean for putting those pieces together and putting them in just the formation to succeed. What a year. What a postseason run.
I’ve been battling what my wife and I think has been a sinus infection, and alcohol really congests the heck out of me, so I haven’t been drinking like many other adults out there. I wish I could have had a beer or something, but the extreme feeling of happiness will do. I don’t know how we can process this, so I’ll just do a by the numbers thing.
0: Number of times the Giants lost in the World Series
1: Extra inning game in the World Series, and ultimately, the final game the 2012 season would see
2: Wins the Reds had against the Giants before the G-men charged back; the number of championships in three years
3: Wins the Cards had until Zito led the charge; also the number of innings the Giants trailed in the World Series
4: Wins against the Tigers in their first ever World Series matchup
6: Runs scored by the Tigers, tied for the fourth-fewest in a four-game series in MLB history
7: Consecutive wins the Giants ended their season with
11: in the morning on the 31st is when the parade will begin in San Francisco
24: Hits in the postseason by Pablo Sandoval, a club record
56: Consecutive innings the Giants were not behind
89: MPH that Sergio Romo sinker had to end the baseball season
See you at the parade.
You’ve heard about the San Francisco Giants leading the Detroit Tigers 3-0 and the history in the World Series that teams with 3-0 leads have never gone further than 5 games. 20 of those 23 teams swept. I don’t care much for “it’s never happened before therefore it can never happen again” type talk, so let’s talk about what has happened: The Giants have lost 4 in a row two times this year, the Tigers have won 4 in a row eight times (seven times in the regular season, once in the postseason). The Giants know as well as anybody that a team with its back against the wall like the Tigers are capable of lighting it up at any time… getting hot, that’s what the postseason is all about, isn’t it?
Anyway, the lineups. The Giants with a new DH blessing their 8 spot:
Ryan Theriot has the slash line that would tell you things could be alright in .269/.314/.308, but obviously he hasn’t done much power against RHP, including a .279 wOBA against and a 76 wRC+ vs. RHP. Not really all that inspiring, but I will say it’s probably going to be better than what Hector Sanchez could do.
The Tigers and some notes from them:
It was going to be the normal Tigers lineup vs. a RHP, but now Gerald Laird will take Avila’s spot in the lineup. Gerald Laird, as you may remember, does not throw out basestealers at as good of a rate as Avila, so this could be a break for the Giants.
5:15PM PST first pitch on FOX. No matter what the score is in tonight’s game, or in any of the if necessary games, it is not over until the final out is recorded. Hopefully the baseball season ends tonight.
Perhaps the only thing more documented than Anibal Sanchez’s career numbers against the Giants and the fact that Tigers hit RHP better than LHP is the fact that we are now playing by American League rules. American League rules mean we get that Designated Hitter spot in the lineup. We heard yesterday that Bruce Bochy was leaning Hector Sanchez for the DH, and you only have to look to Game 3 of the ALCS to guess what Jimmy Leyland’s going to throw out there on the lineup card.
The visiting Giants are throwing out this lineup:
*Blet!* Bochy has split up the straight line of LHH at the bottom of the lineup by putting Sanchez in the 8 spot just in case Leyland might try to neutralize that spot with someone like Smyly or Coke later in the game. Could’ve done the same thing with Arias, but it is what it is.
While the Tigers are throwing out this unsurprising lineup:
Exact same thing as that lineup linked in the first paragraph, and as you’ll notice, the 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 8th spots are all LHH, so their lineup goes R-L-R-L-R-L-R-L-R repeat, so no complaining from Tiger fans when Bruce Bochy walks to the mound after every batter in the 8th, because Leyland brought it upon himself!
Familiar Formula: It’s also been no secret that the Giants starting pitching has saved the team and their fanbase from either abandoning baseball or watching the World Series with slumpy shoulders, to having a two-game advantage over their opponent in the Fall Classic. A look at the line scores for the rotation, with two starts from the very rich, and very omelettey Barry Zito:
NLCS Game 5, Zito: 7.2 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 6 K’s, 115 pitches, Game Score 72
NLCS Game 6, Vogey: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 9 K’s, 102 pitches, GS 73
NLCS Game 7, Cain: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 4 K’s, 102 pitches, GS 62
WS Game 1, Zito: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 3 K’s, 81 pitches, GS 55
WS Game 2, MadBum: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 8 K’s, 86 pitches, GS 79
Combined, 5 GS: 33.0 IP, 23 H, 6 BB, 30 K’s
If you’ve listened to Mike Krukow, you’ve heard him enjoy talking about WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched), and while it’s not my favorite method of evaluating pitchers, you notice that have less than a baserunner an inning allowed is pretty good when you’re going against teams in the postseason. If Vogelsong and Cain can continue their dominance of their opponent that Giants SP have established in the last five starts and not get Cain’d, the Giants could very well be looking at the improbable and very preferable sweep of the AL Champion Tigers.
The Giants have won two straight games over the Tigers, and five straight games overall, taking out some pretty good pitchers and bullpens along the way, not to mention the hitters as well. There’s a lot of understandable optimism in San Francisco and pessimism in Detroit with the gap being what it is. I’ve been cautiously optimistic, but I expect the Giants to win tomorrow at the very least of their three-day stay in Detroit at the very longest. Here are some reasons why you should not shut the book on the Tigers in case you’ve already started using the “p” word (hint: ticker tape) in every other sentence when talking about the Giants.
Tigers Home Streaking: Small sample size and arbitrary end points be damned, the Tigers have won eight straight games at home and have not lost at Coamerica Park since September 23rd. That’s more than a month ago. They won both their games against Oakland, and since they swept New York, they couldn’t have lost those games in the postseason. The fans have been spoiled, and the team may get more into that comfort zone to execute once they get into familiar positioning.
The Tigers Still Are Allowed to Hold a Bat in Their Hands: Despite ten hits in two games, and being shut out in Game Two, the Tigers by rule will continue to be allowed to go up for their hacks after the Giants have their turn. This means offensive contributors like Austin Jackson, Miguel Cabrera, and Prince Fielder will get their shot at redemption against San Francisco Giants pitchers. It’s not like Giants pitchers don’t make mistakes. They do, but the Tigers just haven’t run into one enough for a big rally.
If Game 3 is lost by the Giants then…: You have strikeout artists in Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander in Games 4 and 5, respectively. Even if the Giants lose Game 3, you got to believe there will be lots of rah-rah-ing in Detroit believing because of those two pitchers themselves. Sure, it would be unfair to overlook Matt Cain and Barry Zito, but it’s only because we know they’re not invincible.
Hector Sanchez is the DH: Want me to lay off that breaking ball out of the zone? Too bad! I went to the Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval school of “if I can see it, I can hit it fosho!” While it is amazing he has 2 walks in the postseason, he also has a 1-for-7 with 4 K’s going on. To be fair, National League rosters aren’t really built for the DH, but for the National League (duh).
So in Conclusion: I think the Giants still win this, but the games still need to be played, and the Giants still need to execute.
The Giants are up 1-0 after a Panda barrage of hits and Zito keeping the Tigers guessing, which left many people feeling like they could do anything. As a result, my wife isn’t talking to me right now, but she’ll get over it. But then people started to think about the 1-0 lead, and oh nooooooooooooooooooooz:
Tonight it will be up to Madison Bumgarner and his reported mechanical fix to keep those Tigers bats quiet and the Giants bats to stay active against sinker-baller RHP Doug Fister. I am cautiously optimistic with Ryan Vogelsong going in Game 3, but like every Giants fan, I would love to see the Giants sweep the home part of the series like they did against Texas in 2010.
Same lineups for both clubs New catcher for the Tigers with Laird in and Avila out (thanks @FaultCombs), but besides that and the starting pitchers, same deal.
5:07PM PST first pitch scheduled. Same bat time, same bat channel throughout the WS.
And now, for the links:
A.J. Ellis is a funny guy and he’s doing some work for the LA Times now, recapping last night’s game.
USA Today unearthed some high school shots of some Giants and Tigers.
Brisbee’s Game 1 recap.
Sam Miller’s Game 1 recap (I believe a subscription is required)
Troy Renck’s thoughts and comparing the ’07 Rockies to the ’12 Tigers.
The Getting Blanked recap and preview combo, with front pages of local periodicals
You dream of getting to the World Series, but how often does it actually happen? The odds of first outlasting everyone else in a marathon 162-game season and then battling the hottest of hot teams to call yourselves “champions” and invest in outlandishly expensive but awesomely cool paraphernalia and jewelry are pretty slim, and if it were easy, teams that will stay unmentioned wouldn’t be in championship droughts like they’re in now. The Giants go for their second championship in three years while Justin Verlander and the Tigers look to avenge their 2006 sweeping by the Cardinals. To the lineups.
And what you’re used to from the Giants, who are also walking in with the same 25-man roster they used in the NLDS and NLCS:
We’re either going to get exactly what we want, or be tortured with suffering tonight, there is no in between. NO NO I SAID NO IN BETWEEN. So there.
Maybe this is the part you came for — the links!
Game 1 Preview from Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles
The umpires for the World Series, including the ejectable Joe West!
ESPN’s World Series Predictions, just because it’s a page with a lot of predictions
John Manuel of Baseball America giving the two teams credit for their Minor League scouting
Brandon Crawford’s feelings on the Postseason and his walk-up music
What the Detroit and San Francisco mayors have bet on this series
Inland Empire 66ers offer Bob Costas a job after he says he’d like to do a year of minor-league broadcasting
Did you know Ty Cobb lived in the Bay Area? And that his descendants are Giants fans?
A piece of art I could stare at all day
5:00PM PST. FOX. Let’s do this.