San Francisco Giants: 10 Reasons They Won the World Series
Many people didn't think the San Francisco Giants would win this World Series they just stole from the heart of Texas. Hell, most people didn't even think they'd get there.
But, as you know well by now, they did it. They sent Bobby Cox and the Atlanta Braves packing in the first round- Bobby Cox for good-, prevented the Philadelphia Phillies from becoming the first National League team since the 1944-46 St. Louis Cardinals to win the NL Pennant three straight times, and they won their first World Series since 1954 and since moving to San Francisco, while keeping the Texas Rangers from winning their first in franchise history.
How did it happen? How did the team that had the worst offense coming into the postseason come out of it with a World Series trophy?
Here's ten reasons why.
1. Edgar Renteria
Renteria's best days are probably behind him. He's 35, and considering retirement in the offseason. He made his last All Star team in 2006, for the fifth time. He was once a Gold Glove caliber shortstop, but he hasn't won the award since 2003.
His most meaningful accomplishment may have come Monday night, however.
With two outs in the seventh inning, San Francisco had Texas ace Cliff Lee on the ropes for the first time all game. Renteria came up and hit a ball to deep left-center field that may have cleared the fence by as little as a few inches. But as Ian Kinsler can tell you from Game 2, baseball is a game of inches.
Renteria's three-run shot put the Giants up 3-0 and only nine outs away from their World Series championship. Renteria was named the World Series Most Valuable Player.
Lee was the first to blink, but had he gotten Renteria out there, who knows what would have happened. Nelson Cruz unloaded on Lincecum in the bottom of the inning to put the Rangers on the board. That could have stood up, and we'd be previewing Game 6 instead of continuing to recap Game 5.
2. Cliff Lee Was Not Himself In the World Series
In his first three postseason games, against the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees, Lee pitched 24 innings, allowing just two runs, striking out 35 batters, and walking just one.
In his final two postseason games, both against the Texas Rangers, Lee allowed nine runs in 11.2 innings. When you're giving up that many runs, the rest of the stats don't matter.
I understand Lee pitched well in Game 5, but he didn't pitch well enough for his team to win and move on to Game 6. If you told a Texas Rangers fan prior to Game 5 that Cliff Lee was going to give up three runs, many of them would have believed the series would be over with the way the Texas offense has been struggling. And they would have been right.
Lee looked short of immortal for the first time in his postseason life in the 2010 World Series, and it was the worst time to do so.
3. Cody Ross
He went from being waived by the Florida Marlins to the National League Championship Series Most Valuable Player. That's a pretty big jump in two months.
Cody led the Giants offense just far enough to the promised land. He hit five home runs, three of which came in the NLCS, in the 2010 postseason.
In many instances, Ross was the heart and soul of the Giants lineup. It's an overused cliche, but they really couldn't of done it without him.
4. San Francisco Giants: Road Warriors
The Giants did what needed to be done- they won big games on the road.
In fact, they're the second team in MLB history to win all three series-clinching games on the road. The Giants won Game 4 in Atlanta, Game 6 in Philadelphia, and Game 5 in Arlington. The other was the 2005 Chicago White Sox.
Overall, San Francisco went 6-2 on the road in the 2010 playoffs.
5. Brooks Conrad
It's messed up. But I'm gonna go there anyway.
The game was tied at two. The series was tied at one. Buster Posey hit a ground ball right to Atlanta second baseman Brooks Conrad. And... he just.. missed it.
The ball went into the outfield, allowing the lead San Francisco run to come around and score. The Braves would lose the game, 3-2, and eventually lose the series 3-1.
Had Conrad fielded that ball to get the Braves out of the ninth, who knows what the Braves lineup does knowing it's a tie game. Maybe the Braves go on to win that game, and eventually the series, and we're not talking about the Giants as World Series champions.
6. Brian Wilson
"Torture" was a term coined to how the San Francisco Giants never made winning seem easy, and Brian Wilson was a part of that. I was nervous in Game 6 of the NLCS, with Ryan Howard up with two men on, two out, and the Phillies down by a run. I'm not even a San Francisco fan. How do you think Chris "Mad Dog" Russo was feeling?
At the end of the day, Wilson would almost always turn to the center field wall and make a cross with his arms. He saved six of the 11 Giants postseason victories, and earned a win in the NLCS. If there was an MVP of the postseason, Brian Wilson might have been it.
7. Madison Bumgarner
Here's a little perspective on life for you. Madison Bumgarner is 21 years old, and pitched shutout baseball in Game 4 against Texas to give the Giants a 3-1 series advantage in the World Series.
I'm 21 years old, sitting in my living room writing about it, while my main occupation at the moment is in the chain restaurant industry.
Bumgarner pitched the game of his thus far short life on Sunday night, going eight innings and allowing just three hits and no earned runs. He also pitched well in Game 4 against Atlanta in the first round, holding the Braves to just two runs in six innings as the Giants would win 3-2 and earn the right to play in the NLCS against Philadelphia.
8. Matt Cain
If there's anyone right now who could match Cliff Lee for the most dominant first five or six games in postseason history, it's Matt Cain.
Cain pitched once in all three series San Francisco participated in, and didn't allow a single earned run. He pitched 6.2 against the Braves, no runs. He pitched seven innings of two-hit ball against Philadelphia, no runs. In Game 2, he pitched 7.2 innings, allowed just four hits, and again, no runs. All three games came at home.
Even if the World Series extended to a Game 6 tonight, it likely wouldn't of gone past that. Matt Cain would have gotten the ball tonight- at home.
9. The New York Yankees
Could the Giants have beaten the defending World Series champions in the World Series?
Well, we'll never know. But the Yankees might have been a tougher draw for San Francisco than Texas was, with their offense as loaded as it is and the experience on their side.
If the Yankees were able to overcome Texas, they may very well have repeated. No disrespect to the Giants, but I don't think that San Francisco would have won it as easily as they did if the Yankees were involved.
10. Tim Lincecum: Start To Finish
The in-betweens weren't great. But the start and the finish were dominant. And sometimes, that's all you need.
Lincecum started the postseason for the Giants with a complete game shutout of the Atlanta Braves. And ya know, he only struck out like, 14 Braves.
Lincecum also ended the postseason for San Francisco. He went eight innings, allowed just three hits, one run, and struck out ten.