Yep, that was pretty fantastic.
Just when the Giants dropped down to the brink of pathetic humiliation they find a way to pull themselves back. It really was a perfect way to end the sheer insanity that has been San Francisco’s resurgence.
3-0, Giants over Padres, division title, that’s a wrap.
On August 25 the Giants trailed in the West by 6.5 games. They were chasing the team that did everything right, scored when it needed to and seemed to be nothing if not constant. Then the Padres did everything wrong and the Giants made it work for them.
The hero for the day easily was Jonathan Sanchez. Sure the five shutout innings were nice, but his biggest play came at the plate. His unreal third-inning triple led to the only run the Giants would need and the bullpen added four of the dominant innings we’ve come to expect from them.
Padres starter Matt Latos should be content that every Giant who played a role in scoring on him was part of the organization on opening day. No added players here. Hopefully he can be content with that while he’s not playing baseball for the rest of October.
Looking over Sanchez’s season it was really, really excellent. Perhaps underratedly excellent. He led the NL in hits per nine innings and ranked in the top 20 in WHIP despite the most walks allowed in the majors.
There were a number of spots when it was rumored that the team was considering offering him up as trade bait. In the end he finished with a better ERA than Cain or Lincecum and had the second best mark in the rotation. That says a lot.
There was some tension in the late innings, when there were two Padres on base in both the 6th and 7th. The final out came as a relief that the Giants didn’t blow it and that the celebration, which had uncomfortably put on hold for two days, could finally commence.
In its first postseason trip since 2003 San Francisco draws the Braves. Not exactly an ideal matchup, but at least it’s not the Phillies. Their lineup has been weakened by injuries, including season-enders for Chipper Jones, Martin Prado, but the top four guys are still quite formidable (Derrek Lee is their third hitter via a midseason trade, a fact that would probably send Matt Latos into a crying fit. As he said, his Padres were the same team all year… the same team that couldn’t hit to save their lives all year).
What’s really scary is the Braves rotation anchored by Tim Hudson and his absurd sub-3.00 ERA. Some combination of Derek Lowe, Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens will come after Hudson and pave the way for an excellent bullpen.
For now San Francisco fans should rejoice in this moment. Their team, with its suchered together lineup and dominant collection of arms, delivered on its promise and delivered shot at baseball’s highest prize.
Not much else a fanbase can ask for.
49ers analysis to come tomorrow. No need to mar a great day like this with mention of a performance that sad.