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Thursday, October 25, 2012

World Series: Giants Off to Detroit, Up 2-0

In their first two series' of this postseason, the Giants were slow out of the gate, getting down 2-0 to Cinci in the NLDS then 3-1 to St. Louis in the NLCS. Their start in this World Series has been drastically different.

After getting a historic day out of Pablo Sandoval in game 1 Wednesday, the Giants took the commanding 2 game lead Thursday behind a rebound effort out of Madison Bumgarner. They flexed their muscles and racked up 8 runs against arguably the best pitcher in baseball, thanks to an all-around great effort out of the top four hitters in the lineup (including Sandoval's 4-4 day with 3 big fly's), but they didn't need the offensive out poor in game 2. After struggling through his first two starts of the 2012 Postseason, Madison Bumgarner finally looked like the young lefty that was so dominant the last time the Giants were in the playoffs, shutting down a potent Tigers lineup, allowing just four base-runners over 7 innings. Unlike his first couple of starts this October, MadBum had life on his heater and was hitting his spots. He struck out 8 Tiger hitters in his 7 innings of work before giving way to Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo, who slammed the door closed on Detroit. The Giants showed the Tigers they could beat them in a variety of ways the last couple of games and must have Detroit scratching their heads as they take flight back home, wondering what they can do to get back into this series. So far, the Giants have done exactly what's gotten them to this point, and if they keep it up, I doubt this series makes it back to San Francisco for games 6 and 7.

I know Pablo had that epic day Wednesday, and the Giants offense really put on a show, but it's been that starting pitching which has once again set the tone for San Francisco. In 2010, they had the best staff in the big leagues, and while they've struggled at times this October, they all seemed to have gotten their feet back under them. I know MadBum's 7 shutout innings on Thursday will gain most of the headlines, but the fact that Zito out-pitched Verlander in game one really gave the Giants momentum. In a game that nearly everyone outside of Northern California was writing off to Detroit, Zito stepped up and kept that Tiger lineup at bay, which had to be a blow to the Tigers' confidence. At the same time, the Giants knocked around Verlander about as badly as he's been hit this year, regular season included. Then came Doug Fister, who may have had the best stuff of any starter the Giants have seen this October, and they managed to work him out of the game and then get to the Tigers vulnerable bullpen. Nobody had an especially big day at the plate Thursday, but the Giants beat Detroit with good old fashion National League style baseball. The perfect bunt by Blanco helped plate the first run of the game, then the outstanding at-bat from Hunter Pence off Octavio Dotel helped get the Giants that insurance run in the 8th.

Once again, the Giants couldn't have scripted this series to start out any better than it has, but there is still a lot of work to be done. They no head to Detroit, where I'm sure Tiger fans will be anxiously awaiting their chance to try and support their team back into this thing. The Giants did face the Tigers best two arms in San Francisco, but Annibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer (Detroit's game 3 and 4 starters) are still extremely tough assignments. The thing I'll be curious to see heading into game 3 is what Bochy does with the DH spot. My guess is Pablo Sandoval slides into that spot with Joaquin Arias moving out to third base, but Boch could also decide to keep rolling with his same 8 position players he's used all October. Either way, I expect Arias to be in the lineup in Detroit.
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29 Comments:

  • At 9:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yeah Giants! Hopefully they keep up that road warrior mentality they've had! Finish them off in Detroit!

     
  • At 3:51 PM, Anonymous J-Bill said…

    I don't agree with DH'ing Sanchez. I would have went with Arias or Theriot. They are better suited for the stage than Sanchez. I hope he proves me wrong though!

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    Congratulations to the Giants and Pablo Sandoval for his great game. I hope that they keep it up in the rest of the games.

     
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