The 2010 San Francisco Giants were a team of torture, quirkiness, and talent. Despite not being known as a great team, they found a way to win the World Series.
And now, just two years later, a completely different team with the same team name is looking to make another run at the World Series.
Angel Pagan, Buster Posey, Matt Cain, Sergio Romo, Hunter Pence, Marco Scutaro and the Giants clinched the NL West in September, and they have done well since then, eliminating the Dodgers from the postseason while finishing the year with 94 wins (they won 92 in 2012). San Francisco is gearing up for a postseason run, and they are ready.
Giants fans remember the 2010 playoff run, and how a band of misfits, including Brian Wilson, Aubrey Huff, Juan Uribe, Edgar Renteria, Andres Torres, Cody Ross and others, came together to salvage a championship for San Francisco. However, it's a new group of players leading the Giants now.
Buster Posey, Aubrey Huff, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Sergio Romo and Pablo Sandoval were on the 2010 team, among others. However, it’s safe to say their roles have changed.
Posey won the NL batting title and will probably win the NL MVP award. Lincecum’s 2012 ERA is over 5.00. Huff’s batting average is under .200. Bumgarner and Cain are earning national attention, Sandoval is hitting around .300, and Romo is a dominant closer filling in for the injured Wilson.
So, while a lot of familiar faces are still here, it's safe to say their roles have changed. Javier Lopez is in a similar role, and the Giants seem to have similar players. Angel Pagan reminds me of Andres Torres (although he's a better hitter), Marco Scutaro is a better, healthier version of Freddy Sanchez, and Xavier Nady is Pat Burrell with better defense.
What Team Is Better?
The 2010 team didn't exactly live on speed, but Pagan and Blanco have speed. If the Giants include Huff on the playoff roster, they will need a pinch-runner, which will either be Francisco Peguero, Justin Christian or Emmanuel Burriss. Peguero can hit, but he is known for his speed and fielding ability.
Thanks to the availability on their playoff roster, San Francisco has the luxury of including all five starters, a pinch-runner, and an abundance of talent. Cain will start Game 1 of the NLDS, while Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner are also rotation locks.
15-game winner Barry Zito is expected to round out the rotation. Ryan Vogelsong will probably pitch a lot as a long reliever, with some other strong arms filling out the bullpen.
It's safe to say the Giants didn't have this luxury in 2010. However, Bochy worked around it.
Jose Miljares, Javier Lopez, Jeremy Affledt, Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla and Vogelsong will be getting the ball in October, while either George Kontos or Guillermo Mota will fill out the bullpen. Mota has struggled lately, posting a horrific 5.23 ERA for the year. Kontos has a 2.47 ERA, and he has shut down opposing hitters lately.
He has excelled as a long reliever, while Mota has failed at that task. So, Mota, who pitched in the 2010 playoffs, will likely be off of the roster, due to the recent success of Kontos, who has possessed great command of his breaking ball, among other pitches.
Bruce Bochy seems to be managing this team differently, as he has been more lenient with slumps and quicker to let young players get playing time. He isn't letting Lincecum start Game 1 or 2 (it'd be shocking if Lincecum started Game 2). Mota and Huff won't play a huge role, and neither will Ryan Theriot. Additionally, Bochy has more of a set lineup.
How Far Will The Giants Get In 2012?
Pablo Sandoval is hitting this year. Bochy has two capable shortstops, a second baseman riding a 20-game hitting streak, and a first baseman with an OBP above .350. He has an MVP candidate and batting champion at catcher, a powerful right fielder, a speedy center fielder who gets on base, and an experienced left fielder who is thriving.
What does that mean? It means he basically has a set lineup, so he won't have to mix and match as much as he did in 2010.
This Giants team has more talent, and they are hitting very well, unlike the 2010 team, who beat a Braves team with skeletons in their locker room and the Phillies with an abundance of one-run wins. This team ranks 12th in runs scored and 7th in team ERA, meaning they win because of superb play on both sides of the ball. This team is much more experienced, and they are ready to win.
So, if the 2010 team that is seemingly less talented could win the World Series, can't this team, too? Yes, they can.
This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.