The 2010 World Series is set and history will definitely be made. Congratulations to the 2010 National League Champion San Francisco Giants. The stage is set for a memorable matchup against the Texas Rangers starting Wednesday in San Francisco. This match up of “underdogs” will ensure that either the cities of San Francisco or Arlington will celebrate their first ever World Series championship. Unlike last year’s World Series between league powerhouses New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies, this year’s Fall Classic will match up two different kind of teams. I’ll go into the differences between the teams in a later post. For now I want to focus on the Giants.
Unlike the Rangers who clubbed their way to the World Series, the Giants clawed their way to the promised land with amazing pitching, timely hitting and good luck on some questionable calls. The main question of the Giants succeeding in the playoff was could they score enough runs to make it this far. The answer is Yes, especially since they were able to do so without a masher in the middle of the lineup that many people, including myself, felt that they needed (For the record, I still feel that way. Prince Fielder or Carlos Peña at first or Adrian Beltre at third and Pablo Sandoval at first would be a good fit. But we can talk about that more in November). In 10 games, the Giants batted .231 with 6 HRs and 27 RBI. That’s an average of 2.7 runs a game in beating the both the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies of the NL East. How can an improbable lineup that scored less than an average of three runs a game make it to the World Series? Jayson Stark of ESPN.com describes the Giants offense as so:
But how did they get here? How did they do this? How did they pull off this miraculous magic-carpet ride, anyhow?
Exactly one starting position player who took the field for the Giants on Saturday had ever made an All-Star team. (That was Edgar Renteria, a guy who hit eighth, naturally, and went 1-for-16 in the NLCS.)
Precisely two of these guys started this game playing in the same place you could have located them back on Opening Day. (That would be Renteria, the shortstop, and Aubrey Huff at first base.)
Their cleanup hitter (Buster Posey) was in the minor leagues when this season started. Their No. 5 hitter (Pat Burrell) got released by Tampa Bay. Their No. 6 hitter (Cody Ross) was a waiver-claim special -- and all he did was win the NLCS MVP award.
They're a team loaded with so many retreads and reclamation projects that even their manager, Bruce Bochy, refers to them as "a bunch of misfits." But all you need to know about the 2010 Giants is that these guys actually take that as a compliment.
The seemingly anemic offense of the Giants proved the old baseball adage the Good Pitching Beats Good Hitting in the postseason.
The strength of the Giants lay in their vaunted pitching staff. As a whole, the staff had a 2.47 ERA with 102 K’s and only 28 walks while holding opposing hitters to a .199 batting average in both the NLDS and NLCS. This is made even more impressive since the Phillies hit .178 (8-for-45) with runners in scoring position and .216 for the NLCS (The Phillies hit a measly .215 for the entire playoffs). Three of the six games were decided by one run, one by two runs, one by three and only one by five. The young studs of Lincecum, Cain and Sanchez with a good bullpen anchored by the hirsute closer Brian Wilson were impressive and dominant and will definitely pose a challenge for the potent bats of the Texas Rangers. In a seemingly mirror image to the ALCS, it just seemed that the Giants (like the Rangers) were hungrier and wanted the win more than the favored Phillies (like the favored Yankees)did.
How will this series turn out? Hope you don’t live in a Cablevision area since their tiff with Fox is still ongoing and tune in on Wednesday night.
For Further Reading:
- Click Here for the pitching statistics page for the 2010 postseason from ESPN.com
- Click Here for the batting statistics page for the 2010 postseason from ESPN.com
- Click Here to access box scores and other stats of the 2010 NLCS from BaseballReference.com
- Click Here to access Jayson Stark's article Giant cast of 'misfits' marches on from ESPN.com