NLCS 2010: The 10 Greatest Pitching Gems In SF Giants Postseason History

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IOctober 17, 2010

NLCS 2010: The 10 Greatest Pitching Gems In SF Giants Postseason History

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    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 07:  Tim Lincecum #55 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the eighth inning of game one of the National League Division Series at AT&T Park on October 7, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  The Gia
    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    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.

10. Livan Hernandez: 2000 NLDS Game 1 Vs. The Mets

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    4 Oct 2000:  Livan Hernandez #61 of the San Francisco Giants walks to the mound during the NLDS Game against the New York Mets at Pac Bell Park in San Francisco, California. The Giants defeated the Mets 5-1.Mandatory Credit: Tom Hauck  /Allsport
    Tom Hauck/Getty Images

    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.

9. Mike Krukow-1987 NLCS Game 4 Vs. The Cardinals

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    1989:  Pitcher Mike Krukow of the San Francisco Giants throws a pitch  during a game at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. Mandatory Credit: Otto Greule  /Allsport
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    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.

8. Madison Bumgarner: 2010 NLDS Game 4 Vs. The Braves

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    ATLANTA - OCTOBER 11:  Starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner #40 of the San Francisco Giants pitches in the second inning to the Atlanta Braves during Game Four of the NLDS of the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Turner Field on October 11, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (P
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    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.

7. Billy Pierce: 1962 World Series Game 6 Vs. The Yankees

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    CHICAGO - AUGUST 06:  The words 'The Catch' are seen above the likeness of former Chicago White Sox player Billy Pierce #19 against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at U.S. Cellular Field on August 6, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. 'The Catch' referes to the
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    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.

6. Jonathan Sanchez: 2010 NLDS Game 3 Vs. The Braves

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    SAN FRANCISCO - SEPTEMBER 16:  Jonathan Sanchez #57 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers during a Major League Baseball game at AT&T Park on September 16, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Ima
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    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.

5. Dave Dravecky: 1987 NLCS Game 2 Vs.The Cardinals

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    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.

4. Tim Lincecum: 2010 NLCS Game 1 Vs. The Phillies

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 16:  Pitcher Tim Lincecum #55 of the San Francisco Giants pitches in the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game One of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park on October 16, 2010 in Philadelphia,
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    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.

3. Jason Schmidt: 2003 NLDS Game 1 Vs. The Marlins

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    SAN FRANSISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 30:  Pitcher Jason Schmidt #29 of the San Francisco Giants delivers against the Florida Marlins during the first inning of Game 1 of the 2003 National League Division Series at Pacific Bell Park on September 30, 2003 in San F
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    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.

2. Jack Sanford: 1962 World Series Game 2 Vs. The Yankees

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    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.

1. Tim Lincecum: 2010 NLDS Game 1 Vs. The Braves

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    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 07:  Tim Lincecum #55 of the San Francisco Giants pumps his fist after he got Matt Diaz #23 of the Atlanta Braves to fly out to end the seventh inning with a runner on third base in game 1 of the NLDS at AT&T Park on October 7, 201
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    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.