After claiming the best first-half of baseball, the San Francisco Giants went cold. So cold, Vanilla Ice could give you an accurate description of the Giants second half. So cold, that the polar ice caps regenerated a little bit. In fact it looked as if the Giants were going to miss out on the playoffs during an even year for the first time since 2008. Fans of the G-Men have become spoiled. When an even year comes, as obscure and illogical as it sounds, we’ve expected to at least be in the playoff picture. By some stroke of luck, the historically clutch and always threatening St. Louis Cardinals couldn’t pass up San Francisco. In a turn of events, a season finale sweep of the red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers kept the Giants afloat just enough to earn the second wild card spot.
During the final weekend the Giants had to go through their biggest headache since 2008. The Giant Killer, Clayton Kershaw. With Madison Bumgarner on the mound Friday the Giants trampled the Dodgers 9-3 but had to face Kershaw in a must-win game on Saturday to keep their playoff hopes alive. Manager Bruce Bochy made the move to start 25 year-old rookie relief pitcher Ty Blach. The move worked as Blach outdueled Kershaw, spinning 8.0 masterful innings and striking out six. Kershaw gave up three runs and only struck out four batters, very un-Kershaw like.
Going into Sunday’s game the St. Louis Cardinal’s needed a win and a Giants loss to claim the second wild-card spot. Unfortunately for them, the Giants were able to secure a comfortable 7-1 win. It was a hit parade as every Giants hitter recorded a hit. Even deadline acquisition starting pitcher Matt Moore recorded a hit. Moore tossed 8.0 innings of 1-run ball to keep the Giants’ season alive. Dodgers Japanese star pitcher Kenta Maeda was rocked for five runs and was pulled out in the third inning. After the season finale, baseball fans bid farewell to legendary Dodgers radio broadcaster, Vin Scully. The city of San Francisco said goodbye in style with posters, streaming his radiocast on live television and a farewell ceremony. Although Scully’s career is over, the Dodgers season isn’t.
The Dodgers have had their postseason ticket punched for some time now. With USF having a handful of students from Southern California, especially the Los Angeles area, it’ll make for a fun, competitive atmosphere around campus. I can picture Dodgers fans parading around in their white and Dodger blue and Giants fans strolling around comfortably with their orange on in full force. The fun banter and high tension should create an electric and entertaining walk to class every day.
The next step for the Giants is facing the New York Mets in New York on Wednesday, October 5th for a chance to play the Chicago Cubs in the National League Division Series (NLDS). New York will deploy their young ace pitcher Noah Syndergaard who has earned the nickname Thor for his big frame and freakish athleticism. San Francisco will send out their own ace, Madison Bumgarner, in hopes of a repeat performance from the 2014 Wild Card game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bumgarner stymied the potent Pittsburgh offense, then went on a historic run all the way to the World Series Title.
Experts and analysts are already making their picks and once again the Giants are being left out of the conversation. Much like they were in 2010 and 2012. Bruce Bochy and the Giants like it that way, they feed off the chip on their shoulder. It’ll be another exciting month of postseason baseball. Living legend David Ortiz looks to finish his career on a high-note and ride off into the retirement sunset with another ring with the Boston Red Sox. The Cubs are trying to end their 107 year championship drought. Giants fans are hopeful for another parade down market in few weeks but we’ll see. One pitch can make all the difference.