San Francisco Giants: Why They Have All the Right Tools to Repeat in 2011
The San Francisco Giants were the unlikely winners of the 2010 World Series. However, anyone who watched the team throughout the season knew that it wasn't just a stroke of good luck.
The Giants play small ball. They are getting off to a hot start in 2011. They have 13 wins at home, and 11 of them were one-run games and seven have been walk-off victories.
Many doubt that the team that was unlikely to win the World Series in the first place has any chance of repeating the feat. Critics highlight the Giants' poor offense.
They may not have the solidity of teams like the Philadelphia Phillies. However, even besides the outstanding pitching that they do have, the Giants have some tools that other teams don’t. Their numbers might not jump off the paper, but these guys always seem to come through when they need it most.
They are the reasons that the Giants were able to win the World Series in 2010, and they are giving the team a shot to do it all over again.
Veteran and Rookie Difference-Makers
He’s like a flying squirrel at second base and holds down the Giants' infield defense. He also is one of the more consistent hitters on the team. He leads the team so far in 2011, batting .281.
Although he did not get off to a hot start in 2011, he was one of the biggest surprises in 2010 and hit third in the batting order for most of the season. You can bet that he will start contributing again this year.
Pat Burrell and Aaron Rowand
Both of these guys bring regular season and postseason experience to the team. Both are often criticized for not being productive enough at the plate. However, when they get hot, they win games for the team. Giants fans remember all of the times that Aaron Rowand and "Pat the Bat" have come through with clutch hits to help the Giants win.
We all know that he’s up there with Tim Lincecum on the Giants' list of prized possessions. He won the Rookie of the Year award in 2010 and he deserved it. If he had not come up last May, the Giants might not have made it to the postseason. He is arguably the Giants’ most valuable position player, helping the team win games at, and from behind, the plate.
OK so maybe he's not a rookie or a veteran, but he has been making a huge difference for the Giants in 2011. After losing 40 lbs in the offseason, the Kung Fu Panda has been able to return to form of his standout rookie year.
The injury to Sandoval was a blow to the Giants already dismal offense. Somehow, they were able to get red hot even without the offensive contributor. When Sandoval returns, he will give the offense the boost they need to contend with every team in the league.
Productive Bench Players
These guys don't play every day, but when they do come into the game, it’s for a reason. Whether or not it’s a clutch hit to tie up the game, or an aggressive throw home to preserve the lead, you will see them out there making a difference every time.
The Giants' outfield is stacked with Cody Ross, Andres Torres, Pat Burrell and Aaron Rowand. Nate does not usually start because he does not have the same offensive power as Burrell or as Rowand when he’s hot. So far in 2011, he may have proved himself for a more consistent job. He also gives the Giants a defensive advantage in the outfield with his monster throwing arm.
This utility man infielder and his friend Darren further proved their value by teaming up for the Giants' seventh home walk-off win to sweep the A's during interleague play.
Fastest man in baseball. It’s not a proven fact, but if you want reassurance just ask anyone who's seen him run in person. He leads the team in stolen bases with only 10 at-bats. He’s the Giants' secret weapon and has already helped the team with several memorable wins.
OK, this is the obvious one. It's the reason that the Giants won in 2010.
The Giants just might have the best overall pitching staff in baseball. The team is led by the Freak, Tim Lincecum, and workhorse Matt Cain, and carried by a monster of a bullpen held down by league-leading closer Brian Wilson.
Not only do the Giants have one of the best aces in the game but the have a very solid starting five and a strong bullpen. Besides the feared closer, relievers Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez, Ramon Ramirez and Santiago Casilla were all major strengths for the team in 2010 and will continue to be successful this season.
The Giants' game-winning tools aren't a batting order full of power hitters and defensive superstars that the manager can write down on a lineup card in April and not have to tweak for the rest of the season.
The Giants' game-winning formula is one that has been executed as well as made possible by Bruce Bochy. He can always be trusted to have the right player, pitcher or batter in the game at the right time.
Bruce Bochy knows how to use every tool he has. He is the glue that holds this championship team together. He is a big reason why the 2010 Giants became world champions, and will lead the team to success again in 2011.