The AL West has done a pretty good job of defying prediction...
The Key To The Giants’ Success
In a word, flexibility. The San Francisco Giants have made the right moves to overcome major obstacles and put themselves on the brink of their second World Championship in three seasons. To get to this point, they’ve had to be extremely flexible, putting players in a positions to succeed based on realistic evaluations and not on salary or status. They’ve also had to roll with quite a few punches.
Three examples of necessary flexibility come to mind that, I think, characterize this Giants season. First, they lost the league leader in batting average from the top of their lineup just after the trade deadline. What’s even more frustrating is that they didn’t loose him to an injury, they lost him to a 50 game drug suspension. What’s even more frustrating than that is that Melky Cabrera knew this was coming days in advance, he was simultaneously appealing his suspension and fabricating evidence to try to wriggle off the hook, but didn’t tell the team so that they could come up with a contingency. The Giants had just acquired Hunter Pence to help out in the middle of the lineup and in right field but he was added with the plan that he would join Melky in the outfield, not replace him. Because the suspension came down after July 31, there was very little the team could do to replace a very productive hitter.
All the while, the arch rival Dodgers were adding All-Stars like Hanley Ramirez and would soon double down by picking up Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Adrian Gonzalez.
Lesser teams may have taken a severe blow from this. Lesser teams might have allowed their play to suffer as they were forced to endure being disarmed while the team they were fighting added cannons. The Giants were able to keep on winning, extending their division lead.
Another example of impressive flexibility dates back to May. The Giants lost their All-Star closer to an arm injury when Brian Wilson went down. How did they do without the guy that both nailed down wins in tough situations and was the most wacky and interesting guy on the team? Well, their new closer, Sergio Romo has retired every hitter he’s faced in the World Series and has a sub-1.00 playoff ERA. He’s also taken to “Romo Bombing” his teammates and was trending worldwide on Twitter during game 2.
FInally, the biggest example of the Giants flexibility has to be Tim Lincecum. Lincecum is a former Cy young winner and up until this season was a true Ace. This year, he was terrible, leading the NL in losses and runs allowed. Even still, most Cy Young award winners would not be particularly agreeable to moving to the bullpen for the uber watched, hyper analyzed, super public playoffs.
Lincecum has become a huge key to the team’s success, throwing perfect innings in late game high pressure situations. He has been the man this post season, both on an off the field.
Oh, and Bruce Bochy is a great manager.
Stat of the Day: No team has ever come back from being down 3 game to none to win the World Series. (That’s all I’ve got today, give me a break, I’ve been in the Library for 6 hours.)
Prediction of the Day: Justin Verlander will pitch in tonight’s game.