San Francisco Giants Lifted by Experience and Unexpected Heroes


The San Francisco Giants are National League Champions…again.

Not many baseball analysts thought the Giants would even make the playoffs. Not many analysts thought they’d beat the Pittsburgh Pirates. Or the Washington Nationals. Or the St. Louis Cardinals. But here they are. The Giants are four wins away from their third World Series title in five years.

It makes sense why many analysts didn’t believe in this Giants team. The Giants went from being the best team in baseball to the worst team in baseball in just a couple months. They’re playing without their leadoff hitter and sparkplug, Angel Pagan. They’re playing without one of their 2012 postseason heroes, Marco Scutaro. They’re playing without their work horse, Matt Cain. The list goes on.

More from San Francisco Giants

Yet, here they are. The Giants are heading to the World Series again.

The Giants thrive on team chemistry and experience. When the postseason starts, the Giants carry themselves with a new sort of confidence. Many of the Giants’ veterans have played together in the postseason before, and they know what it takes to win in the playoffs.

The Giants rookies though have also stepped up in a big way in this 2014 postseason.

Who would’ve thought that Joe Panik, Andrew Susac, and Matt Duffy would have contributed significantly to not only the Giants’ postseason push at the end of the regular season but also in every round of the playoffs? No one. Not even Bruce Bochy or Brian Sabean.

These rookies are showing maturity, poise, and confidence in the postseason. It gives fans much more optimism about the Giants’ farm system, but it also gives them more optimism about how these rookies could possibly contribute in the 2015 season.

More from Golden Gate Sports

In addition to the rookies’ success, who would’ve thought that other unexpected heroes such as Jake Peavy, Yusmeiro Petit, and Travis Ishikawa would propel the Giants in this postseason too?

Peavy wasn’t even on the Giants’ 25-man roster in the beginning of the season, but he has solidified the Giants’ starting pitching rotation and has become the Giants’ second best starting pitcher.

It wasn’t really clear what Petit’s role would be for the Giants going into the 2014 season, but he spent most of the season as a long reliever and an occasional spot starter. Petit finished the 2014 season strong, and he has been absolutely dominant in the postseason so far.

Ishikawa was one of the postseason heroes in the Giants’ 2010 World Series title run, and now, he’s become one of the postseason heroes in the Giants’ 2014 postseason.

Ishikawa’s success symbolizes the Giants’ postseason run: unexpected, yet somehow makes sense.

Given the Giants’ history of surprise performances in the postseason (such as Cody Ross in 2010 and Scutaro in 2012), it was just perfect that Ishikawa was the NLCS hero. Ishikawa was drafted by the Giants in 2002 and was a key part of the Giants’ 2010 postseason run.

After bouncing back and forth between the minor leagues and a few Major League teams, Ishikawa considered retiring on several occasions. However, his return to the Giants on July 29th was the start of a career revival.

Oct 16, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants left fielder Travis Ishikawa (45) celebrates hitting a walk off three run home run against the St. Louis Cardinals during the ninth inning of game five of the 2014 NLCS playoff at AT&T Park. Giants won 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Ishikawa got some spot starts here and there during the regular season, but he was mostly used as a defensive replacement or a pinch hitter, a role in which he excelled at.

In the postseason though, Ishikawa was called upon for a much bigger role: starting left fielder, which isn’t his natural position. He was willing to take on this role though for the betterment of the team, and his selflessness has paid off.

The baseball gods have rewarded his selfless nature and led him to perform postseason heroics, including a bases-clearing double in Game 3 of the NLCS and, of course, his three-run walkoff home run in Game 5 of the NLCS, which sent the Giants to the World Series.

After almost quitting baseball altogether earlier this season, Ishikawa has been a postseason hero for the Giants. It’s unexpected, but it’s somehow just too perfect.

Like Ishikawa, the Giants and their postseason run have been somewhat unexpected, but this team just finds ways to win postseason games. They play together, as one cohesive unit, and they play with a “never say die” attitude.

The Giants are a true team. Their success isn’t due to one superstar or one ace. Often, they’re led by an unexpected hero. This is the kind of team that fans should celebrate though. They truly play for each other, and they’re confident that they can accomplish anything. Together.