Five thoughts on the raggedy, patched-together, overlooked, underdog San Francisco Giants and their World Series championship:
1. The postseason has always been about great pitching. Without fail. I wrote that three weeks ago, and since then the Giants put on a clinic in riding your rotation to a title. Messrs. Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez, and Bumgarner were unstoppable against a Rangers' lineup that scored 38 runs in six games against the Yankees in the ALCS. In five World Series games, Texas scored a measly 12 runs, including three garbage-time runs off the back of the Giants' bullpen in Game 1. They were shut out twice, the first time that's happened in a World Series since 1966. Some of the blame has to fall on the Rangers' bats (I'm looking at you, Josh Hamilton and Vladimir Guerrero), but credit the Giants indomitable quartet for the team's first title since 1954.
2. Let Timmy Drive—in the ticker-tape parade. That 17-year-old girl with the ungainly locks and wild pitching motion sure managed to stay out past her curfew and put on quite a performance last night. I jest, but in all seriousness how unorthodox an ace is Tim Lincecum? Dude showed up to the game last night sporting a bow tie—mind you, this was no clip-on and it was perfectly tied. After losing the Churchill-esque neckwear,, he allowed just one run on three hits in eight sterling innings, beating Cliff Lee for the second time in five days. Before he ran into the Timmy buzz saw, Lee was 7-0 in the postseason. Given Lincecum's penchant to outduel the game's best, though, it's hardly a prize that he pulled a double takedown on the mighty Lee. In four wins this postseason, Lincecum beat, in order: Derek Lowe, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cliff Lee. Time to give Timmy his due as the best big-game pitcher in baseball.
3. Edgar Renteria? Seriously??? Has Renteria had a postseason career or what? In 1997, he had a World Series-winning single in the 11th inning of Game 7—no one's had a later Game 7-winning hit in the World Series since 1924. While on the St. Louis Cardinals, he made the final out in the Curse of the Bambino-breaking 2004 World Series, the Boston Red Sox's first title in 86 years. This year, the 35-year-old Renteria his just .276 and was almost an afterthought going into the World Series. All he did was go 7-17 (.412) with six runs scored, three RBIs and one improbable three-run homer off Lee to put the Giants ahead for good in Game 5. Oh, and he was named World Series MVP. He is the Most Interesting Man in the MLB Playoff World.
4. What's the deal with Elvis Andrus' disappearing act? The leading culprit for the Rangers' hitting woes appears to be Hamilton, the prohibitive AL MVP favorite who hit just .100 with one RBI in the Series. But what really killed the Texas offense was Andrus' sudden nosedive. Through Game 1 of the Series, Andrus had a hit in all 12 of the Rangers' playoff games and had scored eight runs. As the leadoff hitter, the speedy shortstop was a catalyst for the entire offense, forcing pitchers to go after Michael Young, Hamilton and Guerrero and manufacturing runs with his legs. In the last four games of Series, Andrus went 2-14 with no runs scored, and Texas scored just five runs as a team in that span. As Andrus went, so went the Rangers' bats.
5. Desire + Hustle + Mojo > Talent. At least that was the equation this October. The Giants beat the unbeatable Phillies in the NLCS, defeating Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels in the same series. Then they capitalized on their home-field advantage and dominated the first two World Series games to put some distance between themselves and the heavily favored Rangers. But they save their best for last, taking two of three in Texas and beating Lee in the clincher. They did it all with journeyman like Pat Burrell, rookies like Buster Posey, overlooked pitchers like Matt Cain (who allowed no earned runs in 21.1 playoff innings), veteran leaders like Renteria and Aubrey Huff and one pint-sized star in Lincecum. Manager Bruce Bochy made all the right moves. Light-hitting Juan Uribe had two game-winning hits in the NLCS and a backbreaking three-run homer in Game 1 of the World Series. I could go on and on and on, but instead I will simply congratulate the city of San Francisco. Forget about Willie McCovey and Bobby Richardson in 1962, the earthquake in 1989, and Scott Freakin' Spiezio in 2002. After 52 years, you finally have your World Series title. Enjoy.
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