The San Francisco Giants had gone down by two games in both the NLDS, and NLCS, the Giants entered the 2012 World Series on a mission. Annoyed by the talking heads not giving them a chance to win on paper, the Giants took matters into their own hands.
The 2012 World Series is my personal favorite of the San Francisco Giants’ three recent World Series Runs. There was so much poetic justice in it all. First, in the NLDS, after being down two games to nothing, there was the comeback. Game 5 of the NLDS brought one of my top five favorite moments as a Giants fan, the Buster Grand-Slam.
Hitting it off of
, and literally having the ball hit his name on the scoreboard was the ultimate “karma” kind of moment. For those that don’t know, Mat Latos signed every autograph with “I hate SF” underneath for a good amount of time. That stemmed from his “hurt feelings” about the Giants making moves at the deadline and knocking the Padres out of contention in 2010.
After that, we get to the 2012 NLCS. The NLCS was just incredible baseball. However, there was some “Karma” involved in that as well. Matt Holiday, who controversially plowed through Marco Scutaro in Game 2 of the NLCS was the last out recorded of the series, capping an incredible comeback for the Giants. Even better, the Holiday popped out to Scutaro for the final out. Down 3-1, the Giants roared back from the two game deficit to win the NLCS and move on to the World Series.
The Detroit Tigers had it the easy way in the ALCS. They swept the Yankees behind
, the triple crown winner, and a plethora of aces in
, and Annibal Sanchez. That Tigers rotation was incredibly elite. Two worlds collided. A team who wasn’t known for power, coming against a team with the
. The stage was set for Game One.
With the “Expert Picks” definitely leaning in heavy favor of the Tigers, the Giants had a little bit of a chip on their shoulder. Verlander and Cabrera were the names you constantly heard out of ESPN leading up. There were two people who picked the Giants to sweep, Grant Brisbee of SBNation and McCovey Chronicles, and Rob Iracane of Yahoo Sports. Nearly everyone else had the Tigers in 5 or 6 games.
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was a culmination of everything the Giants had been through in the 2012 postseason. Little to no belief they could get it done, coupled with getting behind early too often that postseason.
started off Game 1 with a bang as he blasted a home-run to right center of the Tigers’ vaunted ace, Justin Verlander. He then homered off of him again in the third inning. Sandoval’s three home run game in Game 1 put his name up there with
. The Giants got Verlander out of the game really quick, also thanks to a
single off the Tiger ace. The score ended up 8-3 as the Giants made a BIG statement in Game one.
Game 2 was quite different from game one. It was a tight game that didn’t see a run scored until the seventh inning. However there was some absolutely incredible defense in that game, mainly from Gregor Blanco. The score ended at 2-0 as Blanco and Pagan got things done at the plate to get some runs across. Madison Bumgarner also put together his best performance of the 2012 Postseason, going seven innings with eight strikeouts and only two hits against.
Game 3 was almost a carbon copy of game 2, except the Giants jumped out early. Two runs in the second inning was all it took as Ryan Vogelsong pitched very well. He went 5.2 innings and then the Giants brought in Tim Lincecum out of the bullpen. He went 2.1 innings and Romo closed the ninth giving the Giants a 3-0 lead in the World Series.
Game 4 provided a little bit of nerves going into it for Giants fans. They didn’t want Verlander to get a second shot at them, which could’ve potentially flipped momentum in the series. That would mean getting the sweep right then and there. After the Giants jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, Miguel Cabrera finally did something at the plate. His 2-Run Homerun would prove to be his only offensive contribution during the World Series. Buster Posey put the Giants back ahead with a 2-Run blast in the sixth inning. Both he and Cabrera would go on to win the MVP for their respective leagues that year. Delmon Young tied it with a solo shot, and then in came Jeremy Affeldt.
Affeldt did in his entire Giants career, what
is doing now. He just did it without as much national media attention. Affeldt struck out the heart of the order and combined with Casilla to end the ninth.
, the Giants starting second-baseman for most of the year, got a pinch hit single in the tenth. After a
sac-bunt, and a Pagan strikeout, up came NLCS hero, “The Blockbuster,” Marco Scutaro. Scutaro’s single brought home Theriot, giving the Giants a 4-3 lead going into the bottom of the tenth.
Romo came in for the save with the heart of the Tigers’ order looming. Romo gunned down the first two, leaving the final out to come between him and Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera in-famously said a few things to Romo before he stepped into the batters box during Game 1 of the World Series. It was something to the tune of “I’ll be waiting for your slider.” In the final at bat of the 2012 Season, Romo threw five straight sliders to Cabrera. On the sixth pitch, Romo froze him with his sinker right down the middle of the plate. Cabrera’s bat was frozen to his shoulder, and we got our third “Buster Hug.”
There were a few key guys in that World Series year, the biggest guys during that run had to be Mat Cain, Pablo Sandoval, Marco Scutaro, and then the bullpen. As was the strength of each of the last Six world series champions, the bullpen got the job done. The did what was needed of them in the most crucial moments. Without the pen, you can’t win. 2016 proved that. Their bullpen was a mess all year, and it cost them, both the division, and a potential comeback bid in the NLDS.
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If we take that and apply it to this year, which team is the most complete? The Cubs have a whole lot of flashy hitting, a stellar rotation, average defense, an average pen with one elite arm. The Indians? They have it all. When you get to the postseason, the ability to score runs in every fashion is vital. The Indians play stellar defense, have a very good rotation, an incredible bullpen, and they can get runs across in every fashion. They actually remind me of the Giants 2012 team, a lot. If they can continue to scratch runs across in every fashion, and continue to pitch effectively, they’ll win the whole thing. Despite the Cubs being the flashier team, and all the experts predicting them, they can be a re-incarnation of the 2012 Giants.
Game 2 of the 2016 World series is tonight, at 7pm ET. You can watch on your local FOX affiliate station.