Saturday, November 1, 2014

San Francisco Giants Win Third World Series in Five Years

USA Today:
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The San Francisco Giants beat the Kansas City Royals, 3-2, to win Game 7 of the 2014 World Series and earn their third championship in the last five seasons. Though starting pitcher Tim Hudson could not escape the second inning in the game, the Giants’ bullpen shut down the Royals the rest of the way to lead San Francisco to yet another World Series win.

Baseball can be pretty ridiculous sometimes. The Giants didn’t seem like they should win the World Series in 2010, when they needed big performances out of dudes like Pat Burrell, Juan Uribe and Edgar Renteria. And they didn’t seem like they should win it in 2012, when they swept a Tigers team that included, at the time, the best pitcher and the best hitter in the world. And it certainly didn’t seem like they should win it in 2014, when they played under-.500 ball from June 9 through the end of the season.

The Giants are just the second National League team to win three World Series titles in five seasons, 2010, '12 and '14. The Cardinals gave St. Louis titles in 1942, '44 and '46.

Bruce Bochy is the second manager in Giants franchise history to win three World Series. The other was Hall of Famer John McGraw in their New York days, 1905, '21 and '22.

The Royals' 11-4 (.733) postseason record is the best winning percentage by a World Series runner-up. They had a better postseason winning percentage than did the Giants (.706).

Madison Bumgarner
The Giants left-hander, who shut out the Royals on Sunday, came back on just two days' rest in the fifth inning and pitched five more scoreless innings in Game 7. He gave up a single, then retired the next 14 batters he faced.

The parameters of the postseason have changed so much over MLB’s history that it’s hard definitively that the Giants’ ace had the best postseason ever for a pitcher. Another Giant, Christy Mathewson, threw complete-game shutouts in Games 1, 3 and 5 of the 1903 World Series, for example. And Curt Schilling dominated in 2001, as did Orel Hershiser in 1988, as did Sandy Koufax in 1964.

But Bumgarner’s 2014 is one for the history books regardless: He threw 52 2/3 innings — more than anyone else ever did in a single postseason — and in those 52 2/3 innings he had a 1.03 ERA and strikeout-to-walk ratio over 7:1. That’s nuts. And throwing five scoreless innings in an elimination game on two days’ rest ranks as one of the coolest things you’ll ever see done on a baseball field.

Hunter Pence
Pence went 12-for-27 with three walks — good for a .500 on-base percentage — in the World Series. Plus he scored eight runs and played fine defense in right field throughout. Practically any other year, that’d be good enough to earn him World Series MVP honors.

Tim Hudson
Despite Hudson’s short outing in Game 7, he pitched pretty well for the Giants en route to his first-ever World Series berth. Hudson is 39 years old, he’s the active Major League leader in wins with 214, and he battled back from a gruesome ankle injury that ended his 2013 season with Atlanta. During the Giants’ champagne celebration after the NLCS, Hudson called out, “I waited 16 years for this!” Now, after 16 seasons in the Majors — including spots on six playoff teams that never escaped the LDS — Hudson gets his ring.

Pablo Sandoval
Sandoval also had a great series for the Giants, just like he did in their 2012 run. He batted .279 with 16 homers and 73 RBIs in 157 regular-season games for the Giants and .366 in the postseason with seven doubles and five RBIs, four of those during a seven-game World Series win against Kansas City.

But Sandoval is slated for free agency after the season. He has been such a mainstay on these Giants championship team and such a popular player in San Francisco that it’s hard to imagine him playing elsewhere. But it could be that Sandoval’s three-hit night in Game 7 represents the exclamation point on his fine tenure with the club.

San Francisco's $164.7 million season-ending payroll -- sixth-highest in the majors -- will go up slightly, and again next season. World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner receives bonuses of $100,000 for his World Series MVP and $75,000 for the NLCS MVP.

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