The playoffs seem to be the time that the Giants come out and start to win. But unlike 2012, it’s taken six elimination games to wake them up.
So, the Giants came through. And now, a city and a team can rejoice knowing that only the Detroit Tigers stand in the way of bringing a second championship in three years to San Francisco.
Sure, the Giants brought happiness to San Francisco and the entire Bay Area when they triumphed over the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and Texas Rangers en route to a World Series victory in 2010.But this is a different team, with different players assuming different roles.
Tim Lincecum is no longer the team ace, although he is still a dominant playoff pitcher.
Buster Posey is no longer vying for Rookie of the Year; an MVP award is in his sights now.
Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, Gregor Blanco, Marco Scutaro, Hunter Pence, Pablo Sandoval and Angel Pagan are new playoff starters, while Ryan Vogelsong and Barry Zito are new to the playoff roster. Because of San Francisco’s talent and resiliency, they are in the World Series and will be contenders for years to come.
On a separate note, two of those players I mentioned, Crawford and Belt, are very young.
Both are in their second seasons, both have limited power, both play defense worthy of Gold Glove consideration, both provide sparks to the bottom of the order and both have come through for their teams.
Is Crawford fazed by the pressure? Well, his RBI triple in Game 5 of the NLDS, diving catch in that same Game 5 and leaping catch in Game 7 (of the NLCS), two-run single in Game 5 of theNLCS and RBI double in Game 1 of the NLCS say no. He’s been better in the postseason than the regular season, flashing the leather at shortstop on multiple occasions, swinging the bat well and avoiding errors.
How about Belt?
He hasn’t been as handy with the bat, but his hitting is coming around. His defense has been spectacular as he has made some great plays at first base (picking one-hop throws and making diving stops).
To cap off the first two rounds, he lived up to his name and belted a fastball from Jason Motte into the right-field seats, sealing the clinching 9-0 win for the Giants.
Both have overcome the pressure to make impacts on both sides of the ball.
Belt’s scorching second half is a great sign because the tall, long-necked first baseman has a long, promising future by the Bay.
The same goes for Crawford, who has the ability to hit near .300 with Gold Glove defense.
Gregor Blanco also sparked the team hitting just .244, but achieving greatness in the outfield and getting on base frequently. He made multiple running and diving catches in the playoffs, while serving as a more-than-adequate replacement for Melky Cabrera.
Oh, and that Posey guy? He’s pretty good too.
San Francisco has lots of young talent and they will be good for years to come because of this.
If they can lock up Angel Pagan, who will be tearing up big league pitching for years to come, and keep Crawford, Belt, Posey and Blanco, the offense will have talent.
And Pablo Sandoval?
He’s young, powerful and able to handle the bat very well. He drove in 104 runs in 2012. Sandoval has also performed well this postseason.
The pitching staff has young talent, too.
Madison Bumgarner worked to the tune of 16 wins and a 3.37 ERA in the regular season, although his postseason has been disastrous (0-2, 11.25 ERA).
Matt Cain is young. So are Sergio Romo and Tim Lincecum, who we may have forgotten in the midst of his 10-15 season (with a 5.18 ERA).
Add in the fact that San Francisco has the cap space to handle a hefty contract this offseason and it should be clear that the Giants will be contenders until Posey bolts from San Francisco (which isn’t happening anytime soon).
I’m not a fan of Josh Hamilton coming to San Francisco, but that is a very real possibility. The same goes for Michael Bourn and pitchers like Kyle Lohse or James Shields. Marco Scutaro hit .500 in the NLCS, .306 in the regular season and .361 over a two month period with San Francisco (during the regular season), so it’s safe to say San Francisco will shoot to bring him back.
Even if they can’t, San Francisco has to be feeling good about the future.
The incredible team chemistry and fan support should attract free agents to San Francisco, especially pitchers. The Giants would benefit from adding someone in free agency, but they really don’t need too.
Why? Because they never lose big games.
San Francisco finally has offense and power. They have 13 homers in 13 postseason games, with six of them coming at AT&T Park, the worst hitters park in the MLB. Their rotation is also picking up the slack, thanks to Barry Zito, Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain.
Oh, and Lincecum?
He’s done a great job as a reliever, pitching nine and one-thirds innings of one-run ball in relief. He has struggled in the rotation, but his ability to come in to relieve any pitcher at any time has really helped the Giants.
San Francisco has young talent and is now a complete team.
Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez are dominant in late-inning relief, rounding out a team chock full of dominant pitchers.
Buster Posey hit .336 with 24 homers and 103 RBI in the regular season and Sandoval has six postseason homers so far.
So, what does that mean?
It means that San Francisco’s well-rounded team and young talent will propel them to success for years to come.
This article was originally published on Bleacher Report.