For those of you who might be surprised by what you're seeing in the World Series (I'm writing this after game 2 of the 2012 series, with the Giants up two games to none on the Tigers), or this post-season for that matter, I have put together this Giants Baseball Primer to help initiate you to how Giants baseball is played. This can also serve as a refresher course to Giants fans who are familiar with the strange happenings with the orange and black.
First, and foremost, what you are seeing is not an anomaly. This happens all the time. The Giants have been playing this way for a number of years now, and all their post-season accomplishments - however bizarre - have been on national TV with millions of viewers. The Giants are not hiding anything, but all is in plain view.
The Giants have a great pitching staff. Their 2010 World Series champion staff was the best baseball had seen since the 1965 Dodgers. They shut down everybody. They still have most of those pitchers here, and even though they aren't quite as good as in 2010, they can pitch the same way.
Madison Bumgarner shut the Tigers down with a two-hit shutout. He did nearly the same thing to the mighty, mighty Rangers in 2010 game 4. Vladimir Guerrero and Josh Hamilton were hypnotized, so it should come as no surprise that the same thing happens to Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.
The Giants have a mediocre lineup. They have the fewest home runs of any team in baseball at home. (But, for some reason, they hit the most road homers in the majors, out-homering their opponents on the road. Go figure.) The Giants are so lame at the plate, they don't know what to do when the bases are loaded. Most teams do better with runners in scoring position, but the Giants do worse. They do what comes naturally to them: they make outs. Look at last night's game. They scored only two runs, and they made three outs on those two plays. Grounding into a double play with the bases loaded, and a flyout with the bases loaded. Game over. Again, this should come as no surprise, as they beat the Reds in 2012 LDS game 3 by making outs, and did so many times against the Cardinals in the NLCS. A great pitching staff plus a mediocre lineup plus a pitcher's park equals low scoring games.
According to the Transitive Property of Equality, if A=B and B=C, then A=C. Let's apply this to the Giants: San Francisco is the weirdest place on the face of the earth. San Franciscans are the weirdest people on the face of the earth. Twenty five of the weirdest baseball players are on the Giants roster. Halloween is orange and black. The Giants are orange and black. Every day is Halloween in San Francisco. The weirdest things happen in San Francisco. Pitchers are blown off the mound in All-Star games. Earthquakes happen during World Series. Bridges collapse. Stadium lights go out at bizarre times. I could go on and could write a book about this. But I think you get my point. Don't be surprized when things happen that are normally surprising elsewhere. They always happen here. No exceptions.
If your pitcher is pitching a no-hitter into the late innings of a close game, YOU WILL LOSE. This always happens. Derek Lowe of the Braves found this out in the 2010 NLDS. Roy Halliday of the Phillies found this out in game 1 of the 2010 NLCS. Homer Bailey of the Reds found this out in game 3 of the 2012 NLDS.
The longer a game is scoreless, the better the odds of a Giants victory. The Giants are used to low-scoring, nail-biting one run games. As last night's game went scoreless into the sixth inning, I knew the Giants would win. They KNOW late inning scoreless games. They live them and breathe them. The list here is too long to post. Remember Cliff Lee vs. Tim Limcecum in game 5 of the 2010 World Series?
Our games start when the rest of the country goes to bed. The Giants silently put together winning teams while east coast media sleeps. They should be warning people of how the Giants play, but they don't.
Lastly, the worst strategy to use against the Giants in post season is: "We're going with what got us here." Doesn't work very well.
This concludes my Giants Baseball Primer.