NLDS Playoffs Giants v. Nationals

Welcome to the 15h Czar’s blog of 2014 celebrating our San Francisco Giants!  This is the special postseason blog, hopefully the first of three (one for the NLDS, one for the NLCS and one for the WS). 


If you are a NL team not worried about the G-men, you are not paying attention


The play-off’s this year are riveting.  It all started with the Wild Card games.  First Kansas City takes out the A’s in a 12 inning thriller where the lead changed hands about four times. Then the Giants pound the Pirates 8-0 behind Bum, a Brandon Crawford Grand Slam (first one by a shortstop in MLB history) and a three hit night by Panik. This looked like the Giants team from April and May.


It all started with the “yes, yes, yes” yell (supported by 40,000 fans, of which I was one) by Pence following the season ending victory over the Padres last Sunday.  He asked if we wanted another game at home – YES – YES – YES!


After the Pirates game the G-men came into DC to play the team with the best record in the regular season  – the Nationals. Peavy faced off against Steven Strassberg and behind Panik’s triple, Posey’s game winning RBI and Strickland’s 100 mph heater to get a strikeout with the bases loaded, they beat the National’s 3-2 and took home field advantage. Today it’s Hudson versus Zimmerman.


The Gigantes are simply looking like they are the coolest team in the playoff’s – nerves of steel, going about their business playing one inning at a time and making the plays they need to make. They are now 9 and 0 in postseason play going back to 2012. That might not continue but it’s a pretty cool record.


Who is hot and who is not


The Giants are not the most talented team in the playoff’s but they are clearly the most experienced and they have one intangible that no one else has – Bruce Bochy. He is a master at managing his players  - he puts the right guy in the right place at the right time. It’s positively surreal.


On the player side of things we clearly miss Pagan (not so sure about Morse) but the way that Panik has stepped up is helping to take the edge off of that loss. MadBum and Peavy are nails, and Hudson is doing well tonight. The next game belongs to MadBum on Monday versus Gio Gonzalez.


The question mark seems to be Ishikawa in left field but then again he got a huge hit in game 1 yesterday and he got the only hit early in the game against Zimmerman today. The secret weapon might just be Brandon Belt. The two hits in the Wild Card game were pretty nifty.


My take is that the Giants are a true TEAM – not a collection of superstars. Each player is a piece of the puzzle in a box organized by Sabean that Bochy puts together before each start. It’s like watching a well-oiled machine. It is just awesome baseball. Does this team compare to 2010 and 2012?– yes and no,  Yes with respect to grit, determination, Buster Posey and a shutdown bullpen, no with respect to depth on the bench, or Cody Ross or Edgar Renteria. Will any of this make a difference?  The next two games will tell or, if the G-Men win today, it’s all about Monday.


We will talk about the NLCS when we get there.


The Play-offs


National League: The only thing that has been almost as much fun as watching the Giants win has watching the Dodgers melt down.  Kershaw giving up a six run inning tells me that the LA Thugs may not get to the NLCS,  However the Cardinals are very tough (especially at home) and they are suddenly hitting home runs. If the Cards do beat the Thugs they will be very tough at home. 


American League: Does anyone not like the Royals?  What a bunch of fun kids; they play fast and they play small ball.  7 stolen bases against the A’s and it seems like they have gotten as many against the Angels.  The Royals are up 2-0 in the series (on the road) and now go home to try to finish off the Angels – who look old and tired, even with Trout and Pujols.  The other series, the O’s versus the Tigers looks like it’s over. Baltimore is making the Tigers look old and slow. 


It’s playoff time!


Ciao, and GO GIANTS!


The Czar