After another close, and yes, torturous game, the San Francisco Giants walk away with the National League Pennant, after defeating the Philadelphia Phillies in six games. This will mark the first time since 2002 that the Giants have made it to the final round, where they hope to snap a 56 year drought, and try to bring home their first championship since the franchise moved from New York to San Francisco (no blog name pun intended).
My dad, who was very young at the time of their last World Series victory, does not even remember it (much like me with the 1994 Rangers’ Stanley Cup), so I am hoping the Giants will win it more for him than me. As for myself, I have never really been through the stress of a championship—I have blocked out most of the 2002 run after a disastrous Game 6 where the Giants were up on the Angels 5-0 in the 8th inning and found a way to lose, when they were just six outs away from the championship.
No team in baseball has ever been more fitting of their slogan than the Giants this year; it is very simple: “San Francisco Giants baseball. Torture.”
Every win the Giants have in the post-season has been by one run, with the exception of their opening 3-0 win over the Phillies, and their largest margin of defeat has been five runs, when they lost 6-1 in Game 2 against Roy Oswalt. Even when the Giants have been up, they do not appear to be in control, thus adding to the tension. Even last night, the game had to go down to the wire, when in the 8th inning, Juan Uribe cranked a solo homerun off Ryan Madson to put the Giants ahead.
If it was not stressful enough waiting until the 8th inning, Bruce Bochy made a head-scratcher of a move in the bottom of the frame, when he sent Tim Lincecum to the mound on only one day rest. Lincecum would get one out and allow two hits before being yanked for closer Brian Wilson, who came in and threw three pitches, getting a double play line-out. What could have been a monumental mistake ended up not costing the Giants—Bochy was a very lucky man.
When the game moved to the ninth inning, still it could not end painlessly. Wilson would have to put the stamp on the “Torture” by putting two men on during a hectic ninth inning. But justice would prevail when Wilson caught Ryan Howard looking with an 85 MPH curveball right down the middle. Howard left this postseason without driving home a single run.
After the Giants on-field celebration, the festivities moved into the locker room where Cody Ross was awarded the much deserved NLCS MVP. He bat .350 with three homeruns and five RBI’s, along with an eye-opening .950 slugging percentage. Freddy Sanchez, meanwhile, beefed up his average to .360, with nine hits in the final five games.
The Giants pitching MVP will be a three-way split between Tim Lincecum, who threw fourteen innings in the three appearances he made, Brian Wilson, who saved three games, and Javier Lopez, the team’s lights-out lefty specialist. Without these three players, the Phillies may be celebrating now instead of them.
Now, to put an end to some of the confusion caused in last night’s post game interview with Brian Wilson, when he referred to “The Machine” coming to San Francisco. It appeared to be an inside joke, causing Joe Buck to say, “Just let that one go right over your head.” Thanks to Youtube, we have found exactly what he was talking about:
It is good to see that Wilson’s sense of humor mirrors his eccentric personality, one that includes one of the most incredible playoff beard I have ever seen.
This season has been quite a journey for the Giants, who barely squeaked into the playoffs on the last day of the regular season, and have played tight games ever since. Needless to say my blood pressure has been through the roof and my playoff beard is on its way to turning gray. But as a sign read in the stands of AT & T Park on the final day of the regular season: “Torture never felt so great!”