MLB 2010 Playoffs: What the San Francisco Giants Need to Win the NLDS
They're back. After a seven-year absence from the postseason, the Giants hosting the wild-card wining Atlanta Braves in an upcoming Division Series. It has been a roller coaster of a season for the team by the bay.
In early July the Giants were in fourth place in the NL West and 4.5 games back. Then, after taking a three game lead, they dropped two to San Diego (SD was 12-6 this season against SF) and had to go to the final game of the season to clinch their berth. But they did it—and hope to follow it up with a World Series ring.
Game 1: Thur, Oct. 7th in SF
Game 2: Fri, Oct 8th in SF
Game 3: Sun, Oct 10th in SF
1: Timmy Needs to Be Timmy
After winning two Cy Young awards in the past two seasons, this has been a down year for him. After starting well, Lincecum went winless in August (0-5) and fans started to worry. Control issues and a fastball that has lost some of its velocity both plagued him. But Lincecum finished strong, finishing 5-1 in his last six, averaging 10 Ks/9.
Now in the playoffs, Lincecum will be asked to pitch at least twice per series. If the Giants are to win, they need their ace to be himself and keep Atlanta at bay. Early control problems could lead to early runs, and this Giants team is not one that can continually come from behind, even when they're at home.
If Lincecum can continue his dominance and stay well into games, the Giants can save their bullpen and win games without needing to score more than a few runs. This will help them beat Atlanta and make it to the NLCS.
2. Buster Needs to Stay Hot
This kid is fun to watch. Offense, defense—he does it all, and should be at least in the top 3 for the Rookie of the Year award.
That said, The Giants must have a healthy, productive Buster Posey in order for them to progress. Since taking over as the everyday catcher in mid-July, Posey is batting .305 with 18 HRs and 68 RBIs. With Pablo Sandoval struggling, Posey has been the catalyst for this offense.
A hot Posey is a hot Giants offense, and if he continues, the Giants will be a hard team to beat.
3. The B-Listers Need to Continue to Over Achieve
1. Aubrey Huff
2. Andres Torres
3. Juan Uribe
4. Pat Burrell
The B-listers that are the A team for the Giants. I don't mean this as any disrespect, but these guys are journeymen in the MLB. Andres Torres is a 32-year-old rookie. Huff, Uribe and Burrell are all good but not great players, but they all came together to push the Giants into the playoffs.
Huff has been out of his mind this year. Batting just under .300 and hitting 86 RBIs, he is one of the biggest reasons why the Giants are where they are this year.
Same could be said for Uribe. After paying Edgar Renteria millions to play shortstop, Juan Uribe comes in and sparks the Giants almost every game he plays.
And we can't forget about the ageless wonder Pat Burrell. After being released by the Rays, the Giants swooped him up and haven't looked back. Burrell has had numerous clutch hits and has been a real influence in the clubhouse.
4. Pitching, Pitching, and More Pitching
Pitching: the bread and butter of the Giants. If San Francisco is to win, they must be dominant on the mound. The starters need to be efficient and go deep into games.
The Giants have relied all year on their pitching and nothing will change. You can rely on a few runs a game—if the pitchers can continue their dominance. If they can, the Giants will win.