Following Tim Lincecum's second masterful outing of the postseason against the Phillies in Game 1 of the NLCS Saturday, I scanned all the way back to 1958 when the Giants moved to San Francisco from New York to find the greatest pitching gems in SF Giants postseason history.
I found some obvious names, I found some surprise names, I found three names from this year's Giants squad (no, Barry Zito wasn't one of them).
Given what Giants starting pitchers have already done this postseason, there's a strong case to call them the best SF Giants starting rotation ever.
Here are the Top 10 Pitching Gems in SF Giants Postseason History.
The Giants had to win the game for the pitcher to be included.
Yeah, even Livan showed up in here. Sure, in his last two years with the Giants he was maddeningly frustrating, but in 2000 he had a pretty good year: 17 wins, a 3.75 ERA...oh yeah, and 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball with 5 Ks to start the 2000 NLDS against the Mets at Pac Bell Park.
The same Mets who had Edgardo Alfonzo, Mike Piazza, and the clutch Todd Zeile in their prime. The Giants went on to lose 3 games to 1 but it wasn't because of Livan.
Yep, the beloved Giants announcer used to be a pretty darn good pitcher too.
In this series, Krukow went nine innings, giving up just two runs in St. Louis against the likes of Ozzie Smith, Terry Pendleton, and Willie McGee. He was able to grind it out 4-2 despite giving up nine hits.
The 21-year-old may look like a high schooler, but he sure doesn't pitch like one.
In his first season pitching, Madison "Mad Bum" Bumgarner clinched the NLDS in 2010 for the Giants in Atlanta in his postseason debut.
He gave up two runs in six innings, striking out five in the 3-2 clincher.
Down 3 games to 2, this was a do-or-die Game 6 for the SF Giants in 1962. Did I mention they were playing the Yankees?
Did I also mention this Yankees lineup included Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris? Pierce didn't seem to mind, pitching nine innings of two-run ball, giving up just three hits and sending the series to New York on the heels of a 5-2 victory.
Jonathan Sanchez was up and down the entire 2010 season, baffling hitters then imploding on a consistent basis.
But when they really needed him, against the Padres at the end of the season to win the division and in Game 3 of the NLDS, he came through big time.
Sanchez went 7 1/3 innings, gave up two hits, struck out 11 batters and his only run was charged when setup man Sergio Romo went into the game and gave up a two-run homer in relief.
The 3-2 win in Atlanta gave the Giants a 2 games to 1 advantage heading into Madison Bumgarner's clinching Game 4 performance.
Dave Dravecky was a source of inspiration for not just baseball fans but the country in general during his career. It's safe to say he pitched inspiring ball in the 1987 NLCS in St. Louis.
He tied the series at one game apiece by pitching nine shutout innings, giving up just two hits, and striking out six.
Dravecky, my friends, was a good man.
The Phillies were heavily favored to win this series and you got the feeling the Giants had to win at least one against Roy Halladay, who previously pitched the second no-hitter in postseason history in the NLDS versus the Tampa Bay Rays.
Tim Lincecum wasn't perfect (he gave up three runs in seven innings while striking out eight) but he pitched better than Halladay in Philadelphia and was impressive given he was facing a devastating lineup in the Phillies. He basically stunned the packed house.
It's the type of game that can completely shift momentum in a playoff series...and possibly send the Giants to their first World Series since 2002.
Jason Schmidt had some amazing seasons in San Francisco. Before Tim Lincecum, he was the staple of the Giants pitching rotation in the 2000s.
Starting Game 1 of the 2003 NLDS against the Marlins he didn't disappoint: nine shutout innings, three hits, and five Ks against a 1-5 lineup of Juan Pierre, Luis Castillo, Ivan Rodriguez, Derrek Lee, and Miguel Cabrera.
In one word, wow.
Jack Sanford won 24 games, started 38 games, and pitched 265 innings for the SF Giants in 1962 with an ERA of 3.43. That in itself is pretty impressive.
But he wasn't done there. While Billy Pierce faced such fearsomes as Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris in Game 6, Sanford had to go up against another threat in Yogi Berra when he pitched Game 2 at Candlestick Park.
He responded by shutting out this vaunted Yankees lineup, giving up just three hits, and striking out six. Yeah, that's a guy I wouldn't mind on my postseason roster.
Sure, it was the NLDS, but in Tim Lincecum's postseason debut he was absolutely dominant.
The two-time Cy Young winner pitched nine shutout innings against the Braves to start off the series, giving up two hits-one to Omar Infante, who was third in the NL in batting average during the regular season, and one to star catcher Brian McCann.
Oh yeah, and he struck out a franchise postseason-record 14 batters. The Giants ended up winning the game 1-0 and eventually beating the Braves in four games to advance to the NLCS.