Monday, January 3, 2011

2010 Season In Review

Wow, what a year.  For me, it started out not being able to buy season tickets for the first time in 26 years due to the economy.  So, I picked the Giants to win the World Series since I wouldn't be there to see it.  And it happened.

Spring training started with the realization that the Giants had little prospect for improving upon their 2009 total of 88 wins.  Although 88 wins could be figured as overachieving, they finished in 3rd place behind a surging Rockies team, and were the only team of the 8 holding a playoff position at the All-Star break not to hold on.  One thing was clear, though.  The Giants had one of the best pitching staffs in all of baseball, and the 88 wins without any semblance of an offense proved it.

They started off very strong in the first couple of weeks, as did the A's.  But they faded as time went on, and it was clear that the Padres were a team to be reckoned with, especially with the way they were pitching.  Slowly, the Giants added bats.  First, Buster Posey was brought up from the minors.  Bengie Molina was their cleanup hitter, and Posey took that spot after Molina's trade to their eventual World Series opponent Rangers.  Pat Burrell and Cody Ross were instrumental additions in the team's stretch run.  The pitching staff caught fire in August - racking up numbers not seen in baseball since the 1965 Dodgers.  I was convinced they easily had the pitching staff to win it all, but I was not convinced at all that the Giants would win anything.  The Giants never won anything, and it was not in their nature to ever do so.

The pennant race with the Padres was simply an amazing thing to watch.  "Torture" as we would come to know it was already coursing through our veins, we just didn't have a word for it.  Of course, that last 3-game series had the Giants dropping the first two - and losing a great number of games during the year to San Diego - and winning the West in game 162 was Torture at it's that point.

Of the 32 post-season games played in 2010 between all 8 playoff teams, seven were one-run games.  The Giants played every single one of those seven games, and were 6-1.  Now that's Torture.  All four Braves games, three of the six Phillies games, and not one of the Ranger games.  The Giants simply dominated the post-season, going 11-4.  Brian Wilson was on the mound for all four clincher games - game 162 vs. the Padres, game 4 vs. the Braves, game 6 vs. the Phillies and game 5 vs. the Rangers.  Three of those series ended in strikeouts.  Ryan Howard standing motionless trying to argue with the umpire whilst the Giants dogpiled in the center of the diamond is an image of contrasts I'll never forget.  Swing, Ryan, swing!  Tim Lincecum won game 1's of the NLDS, NLCS, WS and the WS clincher.  Matt Cain had a 0.00 ERA in 3 starts, and Brian Wilson was lights out.  The Texas Rangers, who had the best offense in baseball, were shutout once at home all year.  The Giants shut them out twice, and came one pitch from doing it a third time.  The Rangers totalled one run and six hits in the last two games, and only one Texas player even as much as touched third base.  AL MVP Josh Hamilton was a deer in the headlights and Vladimir Guererro swung not like a madman, but like a little leaguer.  Nelson Cruz whiffed and Cliff Lee was spanked.

Madison Bumgarner, Johnathan Sanchez, Juan Uribe, Buster Posey, Edgar Renteria, Javier Lopez, Aubrey Huff.  Kruk, Kuip, Miller and Flem.  Dave Flemming's cracked voice.  Enough names to remember forever.  I hope I didn't forget anybody.  Bruce Bochy, and the million man march down Market Street.  "Swing and a miss.  And that's it!"  What a season.  The replays are great and will be forever.

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