2012 San Francisco Giants: We've Never Seen a Team Quite Like This

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2012 San Francisco Giants: We've Never Seen a Team Quite Like This
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
When will the Tigers learn to pitch around him?

Eventually, eventually, they will get the memo. 

Don’t pitch to Marco Scutaro!

The man is absolutely en fuego, spraying the ball all over the diamond and always to some unforeseen hole. He may still be the second man up in the order, but he’s the Giants' best hitter right now. But postseason baseball history is littered with such stories, where ordinary players hop into the proverbial phone booth and emerge as one-man Superman wrecking crews.

There has been Jim Leyritz, who rallied from relative obscurity each October and delivered clutch home run after clutch home run in the mid '90s. Recently there has been Raul Ibanez, who went from bench-warmer to the toast of New York seemingly overnight, as he lashed deep home runs into the cool night sky.

But there has never been a Ryan Vogelsong.

Who else has returned from exile in Japan (where he was not deemed good enough to make the postseason roster) to not only start for a contending squad (as is the case with Colby Lewis), but also become the ace of a staff playing for the World Series? And make no mistake about it; the Giants would rather have Vogelsong on the hill than Matt Cain at this point, which is why Vogelsong is getting the nod in Game 3 over Cain.

Then there is third baseman Pablo Sandoval; all he did was smoke three home runs in his first three plate appearances last night and followed that up with “only” a line drive single in his fourth and final at-bat.

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Who'd have ever thought fans would be cheering Barry Zito to commend him for a great performance?

As incredible as Sandoval’s feat was though, there have been bombers before him who have also swatted three homers in one World Series game. Some guys named Pujols, Jackson and Ruth.

But there has never been a Barry Zito.

What other player has been kicked, booed and beat down more by his own fanbase over the past six seasons to the point where he actually had to turn off his Twitter account? Who else has nearly been released (and indeed would have been if not for his enormous contract) and left off the playoff roster just two years prior, and turned in back-to-back transcendent postseason performances, one of which with his team squarely up against the wall?

Heck, there has never been a Tim Lincecum.

Name me another two-time Cy Young award winner who finished dead last in ERA for the season, only to become a strikeout machine in relief when his team needed him the most.

You won’t, because you can’t.

The Giants of 2010, as Andrew Baggarly's wonderful new book points out, may have been the ultimate band of misfits, but this 2012 Giants incarnation relies heavily on guys like Zito and Vogelsong who were written off not just as misfits, but nearly out of baseball entirely, and on Lincecum, whose flame-throwing days appear to be far behind him and who now relies on a changeup that makes hitters say, "I've never seen anything like it."

Funny thing, neither have we.

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