San Francisco Giants teams of late have an on-again, off-again, everything-or-nothing approach to the World Series. This group, though it may not seem like it to those that watch them every night this season, is the closest thing baseball has had to a dynasty since the late 90s Yankees. Their almost inexplicable run to two of the past four, and perhaps three of five, Series wins comes courtesy of an evolution of their roster that started behind the plate and on the mound.
2010 was seen as just a San Francisco Giants team catching fire when the postseason bell rung. Their regular season statistics were not sparkling at the plate and a young catcher named Buster Posey was called up mid-season to lead the team in batting average the rest of the way. The Posey promotion changed a lot for the team and pitchers such as Matt Cain, Tim Linececum and Barry Zito praised his ability to command a game for pitchers to follow. That mutual comfort level wore on until the postseason came, and everything began to click together.
That postseason saw the San Francisco Giants win against a tough team such as the Atlanta Braves, a deep team in the Philadelphia Phillies and a hungry team with M.V.P. Josh Hamilton, the Texas Rangers. Cody Ross, one of the few players of the Giants’ roster thought to be on the downside of his career, exclaimed his presence against the dominating Roy Halladay with a two-run home run, setting a tone that this was their year. This team had a mixture of old and young talent, experience and raw ability, that seemed to propel them to the World Series win. Having three starting pitchers with earned run averages under 2.50, Matt Cain with no earned runs all postseason, certainly helped their cause.
2011 was a disaster year for the San Francisco Giants as Buster Posey’s injury left the team outside the playoffs and out of a World Series hunt. The transition from the experienced players to new ones, however, was allowed to progress gradually with this down year, and the results would soon be seen. The 2012 team made it to the playoffs, but found themselves down two games to the Cincinnati Reds before taking a game off the glove of third-basemen Scott Rolen. After another comeback and game-seven drubbing of the St. Louis Cardinals, the team swept away the Detroit Tigers for another World Series win.
This year’s San Francicsco Giants team finds no reason to stop the playoff train here. After a victory against the Cardinals’ ace, Adam Wainwright, their formula of pitching and timely hitting was on display, again, and looks to be their calling card with an old regime on the way out, again. Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum, two staples of the previous Series teams, are gone and displaced respectively. Linececum, who did not see the field against Washington, is said to be finding his rhythm as he was quoted saying, “My timing issues are always the thing.” How deep those issues go in his mind will play a part in this San Francisco Giants team going for ring number three of this decade.
Commentary by Myles Gann