I wrote a piece yesterday morning called “Will being favored in Series, matter to Giants?” based on a casual comment by a friend who was of the opinion that the San Francisco Giants could never be listed as underdogs-not with all their experience. Imagine my surprise when my friend, Eddie, casually commented that, unless things had changed in the last hour, the Giants were indeed underdogs to the Kansas City Royals.
After veering past the bathroom mirror, to remove what egg yolk was still encrusted on my mustache, I did a quick check, which is what I should have done in the first place, to verify that the Royals had, indeed, been established as the Series favorite.
Aretha Franklin sang about it: r-e-s-p-e-c-t. What do the Giants have to do to gain a modicum of the most basic-not to mention important-element to be found on a baseball diamond?
You tell me Bruce Bochy, Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, and Dave Righetti, are not worthy of being favored? Works for me.
Comprised of a core of key personnel, from managerBruce Bochy
, pitching coachDave Righetti
, catcherBuster Posey
, and five pitchers, to a coaching staff that has been there and done that-twice, why would San Francisco be underdogs, to a team that is in the playoffs for the first time since 1985? Whose record entering the 2014 postseason, was exactly one game better in the win column, and one game better in the loss column, than the Giants? There does not appear to be an adequate answer to the question.
Jun 29, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti (33) visits the mound with relief pitcher Jeremy Affeldt (41) and catcher Buster Posey (28) during the ninth inning at AT&T Park. The Reds won 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
Madison Bumgarner (2-1, 4 GS, 0.76 WHIP, 1.42 ERA) has been anointed as the league’s best left-hander in the postseason, regular-season stats, notwithstanding. The bullpen of Jeremy Affeldt (1-0, 7 GP, 0 ER, 0.67 WHIP, 2 HLD), Santiago Casilla (0-0, 7 GP, 0 ER, 0.75 WHIP, 4 Sv), Javier Lopez (0-0, 6 GP, 0 ER, 1.50 WHIP, 2 HLD), and Sergio Romo (1-1, 7 GP, 0.86 WHIP, 1.93 ERA, 4 HLD) has functioned as a unit through three successful postseasons, and has been almost flawless so far in 2014.
The Giants have won nine consecutive postseason series; included in that run is a win/loss record in two World Series, of 8-1, against teams with far superior offensive stats. Big bats produce big stats, and all of that. However, good pitching beats good hitting, as a rule, and that will go a long way in determining an ultimate world champion.
Baseball being the whimsical and finicky game that it is, makes predicting the outcome of a seven-game series, a very iffy proposition, so I avoid it when possible. But being favored by the oddsmakers means they think the Royals are going to take the Series.
Bottom line: you tell me the Giants are underdogs, once again? Another tragedy.
Jul 3, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti (33) visits starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner (40) on the mound during the fourth inning of the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports