This is a guest post by Aaron Garcia of AllSportsTalk.net. Aaron has been blogging about baseball since 2010. His blog is updated daily with the latest sports news and analysis, covering the NBA, NFL, MLB and NCAA Sports.
Fending off 29 other Major League Baseball teams to win the World Series is no easy feat. Doing it twice in a row and three out of the last four years is nearly impossible – but if the San Francisco Giants pull it off, they will be one of only a handful of teams in over 100 years of World Series history to do such a thing. They will have targets on their backs, highlighted with an orange more vibrant and colorful than the orange on their jerseys, which means night in and night out, they will get every single team’s best game. Nothing makes a better benchmark then performance vs. the defending World Series Champs.
So what is the Giants’ plan for the 2013 season? How will they cope with the pressure and stress of defending their championship? Easy. The same way they powered through the playoffs to hoist the trophy, armed only with a team that everyone had written off.
The Giants have talent, make no mistake about that, and they have it in crucial areas. Matt Cain is a solid ace in their starting rotation and Tim Lincecum is a Cy Young award winner, despite his down year in 2012. They have young talent behind the plate in Buster Posey and at third base with Pablo “Kung Fu Panda” Sandoval. But their ability to pump out championships the past few years has been more about their ability to play together as a team, rather than the individual play of their superstars.
Credit manager Bruce Bochy, who has proven that he can manage a roster plagued by injuries, smacked by subpar performances, and jolted with suspensions (See Melky Cabrera’s failed drug test). Through it all, he and the front office have made the right moves at the right times to get the right players in the right spots. The outcome has been nothing short of miraculous.
The National League West, for years, was a laughable division that nobody took seriously. It was said to be a pitcher’s division, and with the exception of Coors Field, no batters embraced the stadiums that dotted the NL West. So while MLB teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers bulked up on home run hitters like Manny Ramirez, Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez; the Giants went about building a team that could win in just about any ballpark. The Giants championship teams of 2010 and 2012 resembled that of the Anaheim Angels and Chicago White Sox during their most recent championship runs. They filled the bases and came up with clutch hit after clutch hit.
Furthermore, they stuck to the adage that pitching wins championships, and used that philosophy from the starting rotation on down through the middle relievers, setup men and closer. The Giants, when on their game, can outpitch anyone; and that bodes well for them to at least repeat as NL West champs, if not World Series champs again. It won’t be easy, but baseball isn’t a difficult game. When you combine quality pitching with clutch hitting and stick someone at the back end that can slam the door, you’re going to win more games than you lose – and in October, that’s all that matters.