Every so often, a team comes around, wins a title, and everyone asks “How the heck did that team win the World Series, Stanley Cup, or Super Bowl?”
In baseball, I think we probably said that about the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals, the 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers, or the 1985 Kansas City Royals.
We look at their rosters and really can’t even figure out how the team even made the playoffs.
But ask anyone who watched any of the above teams on a regular basis, they will tell you that as a team, they played as one and had something magically going.
Well, if the San Francisco Giants can win one more game, we might put them in the same category as the '06 Cardinals, '88 Dodgers, and '85 Royals.
The Giants defeated the Texas Rangers 4-0 in Game 4 of the World Series and now hold a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. The story of this game was the phenomenal pitching of Madison Bumgarner.
Bumgarner was completely in control from the first pitch of the game. He was so confident in his stuff on Sunday night that he threw Josh Hamilton—a dead fastball hitter—three straight fastballs in the first inning. Hamilton grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.
The best part of watching Bumgarner pitch last night was how clueless he made Vladimir Guerrero look. I have never seen Vlad look as bad as he did on those changeups in his second and third AB. He had Vlad just waving feebly at the pitches.
Bumgarner pitched eight innings of three-hit baseball, while allowing just two walks and striking out six. It was a great performance by a guy who should be a Cy Young contender for years to come.
Offensively, once again the Giants did enough.
This is what I was talking about when I mentioned looking at a team and asking how they won. The Giants get a different contribution offensively every night.
I almost feel they choose cards before the game and the player who draws the highest card gets to carry of the offense for the night.
Here are some other observations from Game 4…
I thought home plate umpire Mike Winters was awful. At the beginning of the game, he didn’t call the low strike, but he called the high strike. Then as the game went on, he started calling the low strike.
There is nothing worse than an umpire who changes his strike zone during the game. I also thought his strike zone was the size of a shoe box at the beginning of the game.
Equally as bad was Hunter. In the postseason, pitchers need to have swing-and-miss stuff. Hunter just doesn’t have that. He didn’t get his first swing-and-miss until his 79th pitch of the game.
Down two with Nelson Cruz at the plate and Hamilton tries to steal second? Awful play. There is a difference between being aggressive and being stupid. That was stupid.
Andres Torres came to play Sunday night. He was all over the basepaths and his double in the seventh was the nail in the coffin for Game 4.
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