Maybe you can't see Detroit losing the series, Jake. But San Francisco sure can, as they made abundantly clear in Game 1. Detroit may be the better team on paper, but last night they looked like—wait for it—paper Tigers .
You can make the case that last night's game was a fluke. Detroit was obviously rusty from the 10-day layoff after sweeping the Yanks, while the Giants won with smoke and mirrors—also known as the ancient Barry Zito and three homers from a giant Panda. Things should be different for Motown from now on.
They should be, but don't bet on it. Detroit is statistically the better team. But stats only reflect the long-term. That is why, rephrasing Patrick's elegant elocution, Moneyball-style analysis doesn't work for the postseason.
Only magic counts. San Francisco isn't just hot. They are spooky like their black-and-orange for Halloween scorching. They're on an epic, historical roll—taking three straight to beat St. Louis for the National League pennant right after they won three straight in Cincinnati to beat the Reds. And they aren't just winning clutch games. They are winning with unsung heroes and lucky bounces on strange plays. Like the double Hunter Pence got last night from a crazy ricochet off third base, and how it weirdly echoed a bizarre, shattered-bat two-bagger Pence had in the series with Cardinals. The Giants also have an animal totem with their Giant Panda, shades of rally monkeys and squirrels. They had a Game 7 that ended, Kinsella-like, with the city's first rain in months, with fans and players dancing in the downpour. Beware of hair, always. Brian Wilson's facial follicles are already famous, and now Sergio Romo's beard has its own Twitter account, too.
They look relaxed, on and off the field. That alone can be enough to account for the extra fraction of a second that means the difference in baseball between hit and miss, win and loss. The Giants believe that something good is going to happen. For physiological or maybe mystical reasons that means good things usually do.