I’ll be honest: after the Giants were bamboozled by Bronson Arroyo in Game 2 I figured it was over. Nice season Giants, thanks for the ride, loved it, but not every year is like 2010.
Not that many would have predicted the Giants could come back on the Reds, BUT this team has been overcoming adversity all year:
- Their best player was coming off a career threatening injury. No one knew what exactly to expect from Buster this season.
- They get swept in the first series of the season by the team everyone picked to win the division.
- They lose their closer two weeks into the season, leaving huge bullpen questions to be answered.
- Their ace has an awful first half and the worst season of his career.
- They lose their All-Star left fielder (and first half MVP) to a season ending drug suspension.
- They had offensive black holes at second base, shortstop, and first base for most of the season.
- There were questions about Bumgarner and Vogelsong and the closer-by-committee approach and shouldn’t Hunter Pence be better and can they really win with a Blanco/Nady platoon in left field and on and on I could go.
- The were the Dodgers making huge moves that were supposed to bury the Giants.
- And then those first two games of this series…
Of course, they come back and win this thing. I agree with Joe Lemire…through it all Posey and Bochy stood tall and calmly led this team. I know the Hunter Pence pre-game speeches are getting a lot of press, but it is the calm hand of those two dudes that define the character of this team.
So, we move on…and they move on with confidence.
Some other thoughts:
- It isn’t often that a player of Posey’s caliber gets a moment to do the kind of damage he did in game five. There are too many ways to mitigate a stars influence in baseball (see Bonds, Barry) and even if the moment presents itself this is still a game where a 30% success rate is awesome. But Buster came through. Someone, a while back, said the guy Buster is most like is Joe Montana. I only believe that more.
- Remember when I wrote that the demise of this team would be the shortstop position. Well, Arias and Crawford are huge reasons the Giants live on. Crawford’s game 5 was particularly impressive given the pressure on Bochy to play Arias. Huge defensive plays, an RBI triple, and that at-bat against Chapman. That’s big-boy stuff.
- Angel Pagan, I’m a believer.
- Who would have thought the Giants could win a five game series in which Lincecum made no starts and no starter last through six innings. Both of those things need to change in the next round.
- The key to the NLCS, in my opinion, is Madison Bumgarner. He needs to step up and dominate.
I think that what Pence did, in addition to genuinely inspiring his teammates, is take a bit of the glaring spotlight off of Posey. That way Posey could get his work done. Ol’ Buster is oddly shy of the spotlight for a major league baseball player.
Pingback: All Tied Up (NLCS Thoughts) « baseballmonk