I thought the Giants had almost no chance of winning this series after losing the first two games in San Francisco and having to play the remaining games in Cincinnati against a very strong Reds team which tied for the best regular season home record in the National League.  It just goes to show you how much the game can surprise you no matter how things look.

I’ll be honest — as a veteran Giants fan who has rooted for the team the last 35 seasons, writing the Giants off when things look grim is a coping mechanism I’ve developed to lessen the disappointment if the most likely outcome comes to pass.  When both the Giants and the A’s were staring three game sweeps in the face, I was prepared to write a post about what a cruel mistress baseball is — your team battles all year long and makes the playoffs only to have your dreams crushed in a first-round playoff massacre.  Believe me, I remember plenty of those from the pre-2010 days, and even the incredible 2010 season has not completely erased the memories of all of all the prior frustrations.  The 2010 season eliminated the pain of the 2002 World Series, but old mental habits die hard.

Actually, once the Giants won games 3 and 4 of the series, I thought their chances were pretty good in game 5, because I couldn’t see the Reds beating Matt Cain twice in the same series unless the Reds’ starter threw a shutout.  In fact, I thought the Giants’ chances were better going into game 5 than the A’s chances were, even after the A’s dramatic come-back/walk off win in game 4 and the fact that the A’s were playing at home, because the A’s were facing baseball’s best pitcher Justin Verlander in game 5.

The A’s, of course, could have beaten Verlander, but if there was any pitcher in baseball at this moment in time who could render the A’s/Tigers game 4 irrelevant, it’s Verlander.

As for whom the Giants will face in the NLCS, St. Louis or Washington, I have no idea.  Anything can happen in a short series, let alone a single game.  On paper, the Nationals look to have a much better team than the Cardinals, but the Cardinals consistently over-perform in the play-offs.  Experience is a big factor in the post-season, and the Cards certainly have plenty of that that.  That being said, Gio Gonzalez pitched extremely well in September (1.74 ERA for the month) and isn’t likely to give up seven walks (but only one hit) as he did in the first game of this series.

At this point, I don’t think it really matters to the Giants who they face in the next round.  They’ve got momentum now, and also the experience of 2010 when the core of the present team won the whole thing.  Either of the Cardinals or the Nationals will be tough in their own way, but I’m sure the Giants can’t wait to get back out on the field against anyone.

Explore posts in the same categories: Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, Oakland A's, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Washington Nationals

2 Comments on “Unbelievable!”

  1. Bill Vogel Says:

    Nice glove-handling, too! Notable was newcomer Brandon Crawford’s BIG stop. He and teammate, Brandon Belt, were AA “Richmond (VA) Flying Squirrels” last year. We in Richmond wish them and the Giants well as they hunt for 2010 results again!

  2. Burly Says:

    Crawford and Belt were stealth stars for the Giants throughout 2012. While Crawford’s offensive performance was poor (.653 OPS), his defense at SS was so good that fangraphs valued his overall 2012 performance at $8.8 million.

    Belt didn’t hit for much power or an impressive batting average, but his .360 on-base percentage was extremely valuable. Fangraphs valued his overall performance at $7.7 million.

    Relative to what they were actually paid as young players (less than $1 million combined according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts), their contributions were enormous. Crawford will be 26 next season, and Belt will be 25, so their best seasons are yet to come.

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