San Francisco Giants fans are inordinately lucky. They have accompanied the Orange and Black on a genuine Mr. Toad’s-Wild-Ride kind of season, set to conclude in Kansas City, one way or another, Tuesday night, or Wednesday, if necessary. The Giants set the tone, when they blasted out the gate, wildly successful for slightly more than the first third of the season, sixty-four games to be exact, while compiling a 43-21 win/loss record, 22 games above the .500 mark.
The Giants were 12-10 when they went on a 10-1 tear from April 23rd through May fifth, sweeping the Cleveland Indians and Atlanta Braves during the streak. There was a second run between May 21st and May 31st, when they won another nine out of ten, taking series from the Rockies, Twins (three-game sweep), Cubs, and Cardinals. San Francisco built a ten-game lead on the second-place Dodgers, and home-grown was looking better than store-bought, with each passing day.
There were jubilant dugout celebrations and bro-mance was in the air. Nothing seemed to go wrong through the end of the first week in June, except for Brandon Belt’s broken thumb, and Michael Morse was able to plug that hole so effectively, that three weeks went by before the ripple effect took place.
When the roller coaster car started back down, it was stomach-clutching time, as the Giants lost nine out of their next ten games and eighteen of twenty-five, losing Angel Pagan in the process, to a back ailment.
Amongst the detritus of the season, was that mid-week, here-and-there series with the Oakland A’s. Ouch.
Beginning at AT&T Park, June 9th, the Orange & Black dropped three out of four to the Washington Nationals, and then came that infamous weekend series in Colorado, whereSergio Romo
fell apart and lost his closer job toSantiago Casilla
. The Giants’ bullpen blew three consecutive games and the white-water raft ride began, one destined for a ten-week run.
Oct 15, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Santiago Casilla (46) celebrates with catcher Buster Posey (28) after beating the St. Louis Cardinals in game four of the 2014 NLCS playoff baseball game at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
During this period of chaos, were the series sweeps by the Cincinnati Reds (four games-June 26-29th), a series loss to the St. Louis Cardinals (two of three), the series loss to the Oakland A’s (three of four-July 7-10th), a series sweep by the Los Angeles Dodgers (July 25-27th), and their second series loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates (July 28-July 30th).
After briefly seeing the light, taking three of four from the New York Mets, the Giants then lost another three game-set to the Milwaukee Brewers, and got swept in Kansas City (August 8-10th).
Which team was the real San francisco Giants? When they finished the season from August 13th onwards, with a win/loss record of 28-16, including a seven game winning streak (August 26th-September 1st), most of it without Pagan, it seemed as though all they needed was an opportunity to squeak into the playoffs, their former ten-game lead, notwithstanding.
Even going six and nine in their last fifteen regular season games, was not enough to dampen their spirits, and they plundered the Pirates, 8-0, in the Wild-Card, and the rest is history, awaiting only the conclusion of World Series, and that will occur soon enough.
Win or lose, this team, the 2014 San Francisco Giants, by virtue of their three World Series appearances in five years, will go down in history as one of the best collections of ballplayers, to ever play the game.
The return trip to Kansas City, for the culmination of the World Series, still awaits, with plenty of time to ratchet up the action. Keep you seat belts fastened, even after the ride comes to an end.
You never know when Hunter Pence is going to do something unexpected.