November 2, 2010

Giants among men

by Dan Bilicki In: Baseball

San Francisco did it and they did it by beating the supposedly unbeatable. Yes, the Giants toppled Cliff Lee in the post-season – twice – and now are World Champions for the first time since moving out west more than 50 years ago.

How’d they do it? Typical for this MLB season, it was all about small ball, outstanding pitching and role players stepping up. Look no further than the World Series MVP, Edgar Renteria.

The aging infielder had been demoted to utility role this season and didn’t even appear in half of the Giants games.  But when given the chance to play when it really mattered, he took his chance and ran with it. The two homers he hit in the World Series were one less than Renteria hit in the entire regular season. He also became the fourth player in MLB history to have the Series-winning RBI in two different years. The last time he did so, it was 1997 with the Florida Marlins.

The Giants pitching was also lights out. Except for Game 1, which San Fran won, the Rangers just couldn’t hit what the National Leaguers were throwing. Even in the Rangers’ Game 3 win, they managed eight hits, but the Giants bats fell silent. We also saw the supposed powerhouse Rangers get shutout twice – including once at home to a rookie.

Nobody will ever deny that the Giants weren’t worthy of being World Champions. They fought right to the end of the regular season, winning their extremely competitive division on the last day of the regular season. Will they be able to repeat? It seems impossible with the Yanks likely to load up with Cliff Lee, but you can never rule out a gritty team like San Francisco has.

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