This is more about their culture than it is it being an even year. This is exactly what the Giants are all about; how they do it time and time again: somehow, it’s in their DNA.
It all starts with their horse, Madison Bumgarner: MadBum is great in the regular season. But he’s a freaking monster in the postseason: they get on his back, ride him for all he’s worth.
This guy is amazing. Whatever you try to say about him, it’s probably not enough. I’ve really never seen anything like him or it. The bigger the stage, the higher stakes, the more dominant this guy is. It’s supposed work in reverse; especially since you’re matching up with the best the sport has to offer, at this stage.
But this dude just flips the switch, from great to sick: and does it virtually every time he gets the ball in the postseason.
And the most amazing thing about it is, it’s not surprising at all. Everyone expected it.
Giants’ first baseman Brandon Belt said it best: “it’s almost boring. He really needs to do something a little different next time. I’d like to see him hit a homerun or something. How about hitting a homerun in a playoff game. Heck, anybody can do it in a regular season game.”
And he damn near did that, too when he hit that shot off Noah Syndergaard in the third inning: Syndergaard had to be like, are you freaking kidding me, dude: I have to match you pitch for pitch, and you’re the toughest out in this lineup?!
I could spend the next hour running down this dude’s crazy stats, but the only one you really need to know is this: he has now pitched in 8 postseason road games and the Giants have won all 8. In other words, the bigger the stage and the more hostile the environment, the better this guy is.
This dude is the ultimate horse and number one, because you go through the history of the game and there have been some amazing postseason pitchers, and I’m not sure I’m taking any of them over MadBum in a win or go home playoff game. He’s just that good. One of the best ever in that regard, and by the time he’s done, he probably will be.
He already has three rings, and he’s still just 27.
And while MadBum the most important dude in that clubhouse; he’s not the only one. Other than Buster Posey, you just really never know who that other guy will be. It’s always someone who you don’t expect, maybe someone you don’t even know, who rises up on the biggest moment imaginable and does the most unimaginable thing: in this case, Conor Gillaspie, a guy who only got the start because third baseman Eduardo Nunez was hurt. A guy who had hit just six homeruns all year, and who was facing a dude who allowed just one homerun all season. Oh and he was playing in his first postseason of his career.
Most Giants thing ever. That’s what they do. And they do it over and over again. And it’s not even that surprising. Because we’ve seen it so many times before.
Which is why, if I’m the Cubs, I’m gripping. And if they’re not they should be. Because crappy bullpen or not, this is the last crew you want to run into this time of year, if you’re the Cubs.
And Cubs fan, 103 wins means nothing. Being the best team in the regular season means nothing. The team with the best record has only won it all five times in the last 30 years. Wildcard teams have won it five times in the last 15 years. So if you’re not tripping Cubs fan, you should be.