The one thing most of us never wanted to hear after Game 1 of the World Series was that there will be a Game 7. However, before Game 1, the prospect of the Giants playing in Game 7 - in a winner-take-all extravaganza for the right to be called Champions - would have been a been greeted with a euphoric "YES!" A fitting and resounding cry that has become the Giants' calling card of this postseason. And so it has come to pass: There will be a Game 7.
In four career World Series starts, Madison Bumgarner has a 4-0 record with a 0.29 ERA, and he has held opponents to a .120 batting average. The ERA is the lowest all-time for any pitcher with a minimum of 3 starts. That's better than Maddux. Better than Glavine. Better than Schilling.
And he's only 25 years old.
Well, that was impressive.
In a game that started out ugly with the Royals chasing Ryan Vogelsong out of the game in the 3rd inning after nickel and diming him for 4 runs, the Giants managed a huge comeback to win Game 4. Eleven different players recorded hits, including each regular, marking the first time that has happened in a World Series game since 1960.
Well, it only took 3 games, and we finally know something.
The Giants will not clinch a World Series victory at home. Much like 2010 and 2012, if the Giants win it will be on the road. And with each passing game, the thought of winning anything at all becomes more fleeting. The Giants trail the Royals 2 games to 1 in the World Series. Three streaks came to an end, but the most important one still remains.
After Game 1, it appeared the Giants had delivered a right hook to the Royals and it was fair to wonder whether or not KC would recover in time to not fall behind 2-0 in the World Series. The Royals' momentum was completely halted, and the Giants were poised to reinvent the formula the 2007 Red Sox used to dispose of the streaking Rockies.
Instead, the Royals punched back, reminding the Giants that they are not the 2010 Texas Rangers or the 2012 Detroit Tigers. But we already knew that, didn't we? We also know this:
10 of the last 11 teams to win Game 1 of the World Series went on to win it all.
10 times the Giants have sat 1-1 after two World Series games, and they've lost 8 of those Series.
Hmm... So, it's going to be like that then.
Living in Los Angeles, it's common to see and hear film industry adages, and one of the best is this quote by William Goldman:
“Nobody knows anything...... Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what's going to work. Every time out it's a guess and, if you're lucky, an educated one.”
The very same idea can easily be applied to baseball. For all the stats, advanced metrics, odds, and "gut feelings," at the end of the day, regardless of what possibilities were in April, the San Francisco Giants are meeting the Kansas City Royals in the 2014 World Series. That much, we do know.
Well, that sounded familiar.
Early in the game as FOX spit out stat after stat on the screen, my wife looked at me and remarked, "You know why I love baseball so much? There are so many stats and numbers."
Check this out:
"You know, you look at the bright side. We lost 4 games, but we were in every one of them." - Matt Carpenter
I am guilty of joining the "Loathe the Cardinals" bandwagon. I really am. But when I ask myself why, I have trouble validating any of my reasons. The city, its fans? Whatever. Those players gave the Giants everything they could handle. And this 4-1 series win might as well have been a Game 7 walk-off given how hard the Cards brought it. Nothing was easy. And manager Mike Matheny's tip of the cap to Bruce Bochy and the Giants celebrating on the field was the definition of a class act.
"It doesn't get any better than this," Bruce Bochy said to the fans after the game. The reason? The San Francisco Giants are going back to the World Series.
Coming into Game 3 of the NLCS, the Giants had scored 10 runs without a hit and only 7 runs with one. So after Gregor Blanco's leadoff double in the bottom of the first, no one was surprised that he eventually scored on Buster Posey's sacrifice fly. Nor was anyone surprised that 1 run was all the Giants would get despite having runners at first and third with nobody out and Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval due up.
Baseball has always been a game of numbers, even when the numbers were just used to look backwards instead of forward. Even today we take special note of the fact that Pablo Sandoval tied Barry Bonds' franchise record by reaching base in his 21st consecutive postseason game. It was mentioned many times during the broadcast that The Giants hadn't scored 4 runs in the first inning of a post season game since the 1912 World Series. Unlike the Royals, Orioles, and Cardinals, the Giants seem to be the only playoff team not benefitting from the long ball as they've only hit 2 home runs this postseason, and none in over 155 at-bats since Brandon Belt's marathon ender in Washington.
None of them mean as much as 12. That's how many postseason wins the Giants need as a wild card team to take home another World Series title. They've already won 6.