The San Francisco Giants look like a team of destiny as they head into the National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, and so far the team from the bay has been October’s favorite team. All four teams heading to the championship series, Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals included, have looked very good this postseason, but the magic seems to be in the hands of the San Francisco Giants.
The Giants have looked very beatable at different points this year. They have had some of their best players put on disabled list, they endured a late losing streak in September as the race for the pennant and wild card waged on without any interference from San Francisco, and the team offense has even batted out of order on more than one occasion in the playoffs.
The Giants 3-2 win against the Washington Nationals on Tuesday clinched a spot in the next round of the playoffs, and the offense seemed to be taking a night off, but San Francisco Giants baseball has been built on will, and as Outfielder Hunter Pence noted in a postgame interview, the team’s pillars are pitching and defense. Hunter Pence was an example of that notion with his sprint, jump, and stretch act that ended with a “Web Gem” catch and his back on the outfield fence to erase an extra-base hit from the Nationals’ Jason Werth. Pence says eloquently of the catch, “I was just like, ‘I’ve got to get that ball.” Efforts like what Pence and the Giants defense displayed during the National League Division Series are what have allowed the San Francisco Giants to enjoy, if enjoy is the word, wins in 11 of the last 12 postseason games. San Francisco Manager Bruce Bochy tells media with a smile, “Our way is torture, I think,” as Giants wins have not happened easily, but they have happened anyway.
Shut down pitching has been a major weapon for the San Francisco Giants, lead by ace Ryan Vogelsong, who has been virtually untouchable in the postseason so far. Proving that San Francisco is October’s favorite team this year, fortune has also been a huge weapon on the side of San Francisco, as the three offensive scores from the Giants came off a bases-loaded walk, a ground-out, and a wild pitch.
Most of the torture the San Francisco Giants have inflicted upon their opponents has come without any aid from their old hero, Pitcher Tim Lincecum. In fact, out of all the players listed on the playoff roster for the Giants, Lincecum was the only player in the clubhouse that never reached the field. The closest he got to playing was warming up for relief in the bullpen. Bruce Bochy stated that Lincecum was set to pitch in the 19th inning of the brutal 18 inning game against the Nationals on Saturday. While happy for the work his teammates have put in, Lincecum looks to make an impact in the NLCS.
The San Francisco Giants are October’s favorite team, as the baseball gods have always made sure to provide what the Giants have needed in the most opportune moments. There are more talented teams on paper, but as the Nationals found at, talent can and will fall to strong defense, tough pitching, and pure magic.
Commentary by LaBaron Jackson