Giants Win National League Pennant, Will Face Tigers in the Fall Classic

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Roy Ben-Joseph  Journal Staff

After an absence from the playoffs in the 2011 season, the San Francisco Giants were not only back in playoff contention this year, they have won their second National League championship in three seasons and will head back to the World Series. Two years ago when the Giants won their last National League pennant, they faced the American League champions Texas Rangers in the 2010 World Series. The Giants won that series 4-1 and won their first world title since 1954.

The 2012 National League Championship series was the first ever series to feature the last two world champions in such a contention. The Giants faced the reigning world champions St. Louis Cardinals. After game four of the series the Cards already had a 3-1 lead in the series, needing one more win in order to appear in a back-to-back world series. It was the San Francisco Giants though, who took the series with three straight victories after great effort by their offense and second baseman Marco Scutaro who batted .500 in the series.

They also got a huge gem by their second starting pitcher, Ryan Vogelsong, who pitched seven innings in game six, allowing only one run. In general, the Giants pitching staff in games five through seven were absolutely sensational. They held the Cardinals offense, the best offense in the regular season in the national league, to one run combined in three games.

Perhaps the most surprising thing is that Giants catcher Buster Posey, who was by far their best hitter in the regular season as well as a National League MVP candidate, batted .154 with no homers and one RBI.

Posey may have been far from his regular season numbers but the Giants pitching staff was not, especially in games five through seven where the Giants rallied. After being down 3-1 in the series, one loss away from elimination, the Giants forced a game seven. The stats were not in favor of the team from the Bay Area. Since moving to San Francisco in 1958 from New York, the Giants are 0-5 in game sevens while St Louis is 9-2.

With their ace Matt Cain on the mound and an early rally, the Giants denied any chance of another Cardinal comeback. San-Francisco scored five runs in the third inning against the Cardinals’ ace Kyle Lohse and took an early 7-0 lead. In the ninth inning the Giants already led 9-0 and their interim closer Sergio Romo, who is replacing the very famous closer Brian “The Beard” Wilson (who has spent most of the season on the DL due to elbow fracture) recorded the last out under very heavy rain and the celebration on the field began with the fans ignoring the heavy rain in AT&T park,  waiting for their beloved team to receive the National League trophy.

The 108th World Series, which starts Wednesday, will feature those National League champion Giants against the American League champions Detroit Tigers. The Tigers are well rested since they completed a sweep of the New-York Yankees in the American League Championship Series to win the pennant. The Tigers pitching was sensational with a post-season-low 1.02 ERA, but it is safe to assume those numbers will not remain the same.

The New York Yankees had one of the most pathetic performances in recent memory with their overpaid players, starting with their 300MIL USD third baseman Alex Rodriguez having only three hits. The entire Yankee team was miserable at the plate and had a franchise-low record for hitting in a championship series. Certainly, this offseason would be very interesting in the big apple considering the fact that the highest payroll in baseball looked so pathetic on the diamond.

Not all the news is good for the Giants before game one of the World Series. Not only did they “burn” their ace and number one starter, Matt Cain, in game seven of the NLCS, in game one of the World Series they will have to face a man that, in the last two years, has been beyond any doubt the best pitcher in baseball, Justin Verlander. In 2011, Verlander was the first starting pitcher since Roger Clemens in 1986 to win both the MVP and Cy Young award in the American League. With starting Verlander in game one, the Tigers insure that he will pitch two games on regular rest and a potential game seven on three days of rest. Considering how sensational Verlander has pitched in this post season and generally, facing him three times in a best-of-seven series would be more than a challenge for the Giants sluggers. Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy has yet to announce his game one starter. Certainly, he would rather have Cain there but he is going to have to wait for game three in order to start his ace.

Baseball fans can only hope that the 2012 Fall Classic will be as interesting as the 2011 series was. The 2011 World Series is already considered a classic not only because of Albert Pujols tying Reggie Jackson and Babe Ruth with a three home run game, but also, and especially because, of the unbelievable end of game six, in which the Texas Rangers were twice one strike away from winning the World Series, but two clutch hits by David Freese and Lance Berkman tied the game twice, until Freese won it with a walk off home run in extra innings to force a game seven, which the Cardinals won.