San Francisco Giants: Tim Lincecum And The 5 Most Valuable Players in NLDS
The San Francisco Giants made short work of the Atlanta Braves in the National League Divisional Series. Tim Lincecum and his teammates gave Braves manager Bobby Cox a rude farewell, winning the series three games to one.
Their reward? They get to play the Philadelphia Phillies, who swept the Cincinnati Reds in their first round match-up.
But, that series won't start for a couple days, so let's take a look at five players who played key roles in the Giants' first round victory.
5. Buster Posey
Buster Posey did not have a single RBI in this series, but he still managed to be the second most important offensive player for San Francisco.
While he wasn't driving in runs, he was getting hits and scoring runs for the Giants.
Posey, a rookie, wasn't phased at all by the pressure of the playoffs, adding a desperately needed spark to the Giants' offense.
4. Madison Bumgarner
Madison Bumgarner, a rookie pitcher for the Giants, picked up the win that sent the Giants to the National League Championship Series.
While the Braves started Derek Lowe on short rest, Bruce Bochy decided to give Tim Lincecum regular rest and put Bumgarner on the hill for Game 4.
He didn't disappoint. Bumgarner gave the Giants a quality start: 6 innings pitched, 2 earned runs.
That's all a pitcher can really do, just give his offense a chance to win the game by keeping them close. Bumgarner did just that, and in the top of the seventh inning, the Giants took the lead for good.
3. Tim Lincecum
All you need to know is this:
Lincecum, Game 1: 9.0 innings pitched, 0 runs allowed, 2 hits, 14 strikeouts, 1 walk.
If not for Roy Halladay's amazing no-hitter for Philadelphia, we'd be talking about how amazing of a performance Lincecum had in Game 1.
Baseball fans are in for a treat in the first game of the Phillies-Giants series, when Halladay and Lincecum will face off. Runs will certainly be rare in that game.
2. Brian Wilson
In a series in which all four games were won by one run, a clutch closer is crucial.
Brian Wilson was up to the challenge against the Atlanta Braves, closing out Game 3 and the deciding Game 4.
Though he was on the mound as the Braves scored three runs in Game 2, those runs were all unearned after a throwing error by Pablo Sandoval. The Giants lost that game, but Wilson never lost confidence in himself.
In Game 3, Wilson retired the first two batters he faced before allowing an infield single to Brian McCann. But he then got Nate McClouth to ground out to end the game.
Wilson walked two batters in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 4, a huge no-no, but he managed to stay composed and get out of the jam to collect the save and send the Giants to the NLCS.
1. Cody Ross
Acquired from the Florida Marlins in August for nothing, Cody Ross was the MVP of this series.
In Game 1, Ross drove in the game's only run, as Tim Lincecum threw a complete game shutout.
Then, in Game 4, he hit a solo home run in the top of the sixth inning to tie the game at one run apiece. He would later add another game-winning RBI to his resume, a single in the top of the seventh.
With two game-winning RBI in a best-of-five series, Ross was clearly the most valuable player for the San Francisco Giants.