For the second time in three years the San Francisco Giants are champions of the National League West.
In a word, this year's team was resilient.
They lost starting second baseman Freddy Sanchez and closer Brian Wilson for the entire season. Pablo Sandoval spent two stints on the disabled list with a broken hamate bone and a strained hamstring. Tim Lincecum, the presumed ace of the staff, was horrendous for most of the first half.
Then, in August, after everything else the team had been through, MVP candidate Melky Cabrera was suspended for the remainder of the season for PED use.
All seemed lost, yet it was just the beginning. The Giants have gone 25-9 without Cabrera, including a 5-1 run against the Los Angeles Dodgers—even as the Dodgers added nearly $300 million in payroll by acquiring Hanley Ramirez, Joe Blanton, Shane Victorino, Brandon League, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and injured Carl Crawford.
Alas, buying seemingly half the league wasn't enough for the Dodgers to overcome the Giants. Not with MVP front-runner Buster Posey in the middle of the lineup.
The Giants have Posey, and their enemies do not.
Last season, when Scott Cousins annihilated Posey in a vicious collision at home plate, the season, and Posey's career, hung in the balance with the 24-year old catcher clawing at the dirt in pain. The Giants somehow righted the ship to stay competitive through the end of July, but not even the addition of Carlos Beltran was enough to overcome the loss of Posey over the long haul.
Posey returned from his catastrophic injury this season to carry the Giants back to the postseason, just as he did in 2010. However, he wasn't alone.