The Giants are Back on Top of the World

2 11 2010

Opponents feared the beard all postseason long, as Brian Wilson was nearly flawless

Posted by BaconSlayer09

On October 2nd, 1954, the New York baseball Giants finished off a 4 game sweep of the Cleveland Indians for their 5th World Series in a span 50 years. Great moments like “The Catch” by Willie Mays have embedded the Giants into the eternal storybook of the World Series. However, since that fateful October day, the Giants have been kept away from the World Series trophy – until today.

When Brian Wilson (maybe he will begin a new trend of playoff beards in baseball) struck out Nelson Cruz on a high 90 MPH slider in the bottom of the 9th inning of game 5, the futility was broken. The Giants, backed by World Series MVP Edgar Renteria’s 3-run home run in the 7th, are back on top of the baseball world.

Renteria's two home runs were vital in games 2 and 5.

Renteria has been nothing short of awful since 2008 (especially for his $10 million salary these past two years). However, he is not a stranger to postseason heroics (see 1997 World Series). The 34 year old Shortstop came through in this World Series when both Pablo Sandoval and Mike Fontenot proved to be ineffective at 3B throughout the postseason. Manager Bruce Bochy then moved NLCS hero Juan Uribe to third and Renteria to SS. The move definitely paid off, as Renteria hit .412 in the series with two key home runs in two close games. Renteria’s dinger in game 5 was enough for the Giants to hand two losses to Rangers ace Cliff Lee, who was nearly flawless in all of his previous postseason starts.

The World Series victory for the Giants is almost a miracle, as they were far back of the Padres in the standings late in August. Thanks to a 10 game losing streak by the Padres and some incredible pitching, the Giants clinched the NL West on the last day of the season. They then finished off the Braves in 4 and shut down the defending NL champion Phillies in the NLCS.

While this World Series was far from exciting (the Giants outscored the Rangers 29 to 12), it is still the World Series. As avid baseball fans and unbiased spectators of this series, we here at Pine Tar and Pocket Protectors would like to congratulate the San Francisco Giants on their 2010 World Series Championship.

I now leave you with this well done video – Enjoy and to the off-season we go. As a side note, I bet the guy who wears the “Let Tim Smoke” t-shirt in the video is voting yes to Prop. 19 tomorrow.

Don’t Let the Postseason Faze You

8 10 2010

Halladay and his 1.66 FIP in game 1 of the NLDS was enough to no-hit the best offense in the NL

Posted by BaconSlayer09

It took Roy Halladay 320 starts to reach the postseason. Yet, when he finally got there this past Tuesday, it’s as if he was unaffected by the waving white towels, the buzz of a sell-out crowd, and the cameras of a national TV broadcast. In fact, it seemed to fuel him. His no hitter, the second in baseball’s postseason, was probably the second best start of his career (behind his perfect game earlier this year).

Just a few hours ago, Tim Lincecum also made his postseason debut. It’s taken “The Freak” 122 starts to reach the big stage. Yet, when he took the mound at 8:30 CDT tonight, the atmosphere seemed to make him stronger. 9 innings and 14 strike outs (2nd highest total of his career) later, Lincecum walked off the mound with the best victory of his career. His performance resulted in an FIP of 0.33 and a .711 WPA (the highest of his career).

The fact that Lincecum and Halladay, two of the best pitchers in the NL, excelled in their first postseason start shouldn’t be a huge surprise. However, both did it in dominating fashion against two respectable offenses (the Reds scored the most runs in the NL). How dominating? How does 18 innings, 2 hits, 0 ER, 2 walks, 22 Ks, and a 0.99 FIP sound?

I’ve watched baseball for more than a decade now and I have never seen such dominance from two pitchers in the playoffs, especially two newcomers. I think we all have to understand that pressure does not get to everyone. So we shouldn’t give certain pitchers too much credit for pitching “important games”.

Lincecum's .711 WPA in game 1 was a career best

For example, you probably shouldn’t think David Price is better than Felix Hernandez because Price pitched in games that meant more in the standings. That would be unfair to Felix Hernandez. Because who knows? Maybe Felix could pull a Halladay or Lincecum. After all, he is one of the most talented pitchers in the game.

With both the Giants and Phillies taking game 1 of their respective series, many are probably salivating at the thought of a Lincecum vs. Halladay matchup. And hey, I don’t blame any of you one bit. But just don’t forget that we also have Cain vs. Oswalt and Sanchez vs. Hamels to look forward to as well. This will be a fun Doctober.