In one of the least stressful and most fun Giants playoff games of 2012, Matt Cain, Marco Scutaro, Pablo Sandoval and yes, even Hunter Pence led San Francisco to its second trip to the World Series in the past three years. A Giants unit troubled all year by a lack of offense went out to an 9-0 lead against the defending World Series champions who had a seemingly insurmountable 3-1 lead in games only a few days ago. Now its on to a Wednesday night matchup against Justin Verlander and the Tigers, with the Giants the clear underdog. But after seeing Pence knock in three runs with a broken bat which hit the ball three times, the Giants have to believe they can again defy expectations.
There was no torture last night---unless you were a Cardinals fan forced to watch that 24- minute, six run Giants inning.
Instead, Giants gave their fans pure joy. Someone needs to hold a contest for the favorite moment of the game. Pence’s double? Cain’s RBI single? Belt’s blast?
Many will vote for Cain’s payback to Matt Holiday. Some likely questioned hitting Holiday with an 0-2 count, but that’s why Cain is so popular with teammates.
The driving rain storm at game’s end reminded me of the apocalyptic ending of Paul Thomas Anderson’s film, Magnolia. That ended with frogs, rather than rain, falling from the sky, but the Cards were so shellshocked they probably would not have known the difference.
Tigers are Beatable
For all those who see Verlander as “unbeatable” in the World Series, I recall the same being said about Cliff Lee in 2010. And the Baltimore Orioles beat the great Sandy Koufax---in his prime---in the 1966 Series.
True, the Tigers have great starting pitching. But many solid pitchers have problems at AT & T Park. Just ask the Cardinals starters.
According to Tim McCarver, Madison Bumgarner discovered a flaw in his mechanics that he has now corrected. If true, and he can return to his stellar form, the Giants have a great chance.
Tim Lincecum warned up last night and may get a start against the Tigers. Anything is possible when he takes the mound.
It will be fun to see Prince Fielder matching up with Pablo Sandoval. The Panda has clearly been eating his bamboo in recent days, and has not been in such a hitting groove since his second hand injury.
Buster Posey can’t hit any worse in the World Series, and is overdue for a turnaround. In fact, unlike 2010 few Giants had career performances in the playoffs, which mean many still have a tremendous upside.
The Giants had a mixed home field record this year, but they have got their home field mojo back. No team has better fans than the Giants, and you never saw an empty seat when cameras panned the stands.
Few thought after two home losses to the Reds that the Giants would reach the World Series. They are now playing with house money, and that may give them the looseness they need to pull off a final miracle.
For the record, I wrote in my April 6, 2012 Beyond Chron baseball predictions article
:" I try to avoid recalling the 2002 Series, so I’ll go Giants-Tigers in the 2012 Classic." As Casey Stengel used to say, you can look it up.