Baseball Reflections
Don't miss

Giants well-armed for deep playoff run

The magic number for the San Francisco Giants is now 11.

Eleven postseason wins will get them a World Series championship and a huge parade through downtown San Francisco to City Hall. This is what every team strives for, and every fan hopes to see in their lifetime, at least once.

It is truly special. I know because I saw it and experienced it two years ago. I cannot imagine that I might actually see this twice in my lifetime. Waiting for this since I was a kid makes me appreciate it even more. It validates my faith and perseverance.

It was a great evening a couple weeks ago when the Giants clinched the National League West, just awesome and spectacular. And, this special feeling never gets old. The first clinching that I ever experienced was in 1987 when the Giants won the NL West, and it felt great, like pure electricity. Now, 25 years later, that feeling is still the same.

The Giants will face the Cincinnati Reds in the first round of the playoffs. I do not mean to be overconfident, and say that it doesn’t matter who the Giants play, but the Giants are a good team that should go far in the playoffs.

The Giants’ starting pitching does worry me, in some regards. I think that the starters should be Matt Cain, Madison Bumgardner, Ryan Vogelsong and Barry Zito. The long reliever should be Tim Lincecum; he’s had a horrible year. Timmy is 10-16 with a 5.16 ERA. Awful! I still think that Lincecum could be great in the playoffs, but it just remains to be seen if that will happen. Lincecum needs to have much better location, and much better stuff in the playoffs, but I think that he could do it. Zito has had a great year, and this should continue into the playoffs. The bullpen looks solid with manager Bruce Bochy making his usual brilliant moves trying to get the best match-ups for his team and his pitching staff. The Giants’ bullpen has five different guys –Javier Lopez, Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla, Sergio Romo and Jose Mijares– who could close for any team in baseball. They are all very capable, and should do well in the postseason.

The Giants’ offense is lead by Buster Posey and it’s looking great. Posey is getting HOT! And he is a candidate to win the Most Valuable Player Award, along with a batting title and possibly a Gold Glove. He is a definite candidate for all three postseason awards. Another key player in the postseason will be Brandon Belt who has really come around nicely and productively since the start of the season. Angel Pagan and Marco Scutero need to be the table-setters, just as they were in the regular season. Hunter Pence will also play a key role driving in important runs as he’s done since the Giants picked him up in the middle of the season.

I do feel some sadness with the end of the regular season. I admit that 162 games gets to be a very long season, and as a fan, one does go through the ups and downs of the season, just like the players. It is exhausting, more so if your team is not doing well. Oftentimes, the only thing one can do is look for bright spots for the future, and wait until next year. It lends itself toward being hopeful for the future of one’s team. A poor team can still impact the pennant race by playing hard against teams that still have a chance in the postseason. I’ve seen teams with nothing to lose eliminate other teams in September. I’ve seen it both ways for the Giants where they’ve eliminated teams and where they’ve been eliminated; it does happen. It’s baseball.

In Giants’ baseball history, Oct. 3  is a very special day. It marks the anniversary of Bobby Thomson’s  “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” in 1951. Of course, there are other special events that have happened on Oct. 3 in the Giants-Los Angeles Dodgers rivalry. In 1982, Joe Morgan homered off Terry Forster to eliminate the Dodgers from the postseason. Unfortunately, the day before the Dodgers eliminated the Giants from the postseason. In 1991, Giant pitcher Trevor Wilson eliminated the Dodgers on the last day of the season. On Oct. 3, 1993, the Giants needed one last win in Los Angeles to face the Atlanta Braves in a one-game playoff. The Dodgers kicked the heck out of the Giants and Solomon Torres to eliminate them. This happened despite the fact that the Giants had 103 wins.

In 2001, the Dodgers took two out of three games the final weekend of the season to eliminate the Giants. It just keeps going back and forth — the true sign of a long and historic baseball rivalry.

This year, the Giants eliminated the Dodgers from the postseason Oct. 2. It certainly wasn’t the way that I expected this season to end. I expected the season to play out in a totally different way. I thought it would be a much tougher battle for the Giants, and that it might come down to the last three games. I was considering the suspension of Melky Cabrera, and the huge trade that the Dodgers made to pick up Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett from the Boston Red Sox. The Giants just ran away with the division, and the Dodgers did not play well. Of course, it also helped that the Giants picked up Marco Scutero and Hunter Pence. Those two players provided clutch offense and defense for the Giants. I know that Giants’ general manager Brian Sabean has taken his share of criticism over the years, but he is a very smart and savy baseball man, who is very good at assessing baseball talent. I am happy that he has been associated with the Giants for a long time.

And now, the only thing we can do is wait for postseason baseball. Go Giants!

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply