For the fourth time in my life, and the fifth since they left New York, the Giants win the pennant and advance to the World Series. Game one tonight, but I figured I should write something first.
First up, the NLCS. I continue to be impressed with Bruce Bochy. Whether it was leaving Barry Zito off the postseason roster and benching the Panda back in 2010, or constantly reworking his postseason rotation and bullpen this year, Bochy is the rare manager who doesn't seem to assign roles by how famous a player is, how much money he makes or (given the ALCS this year) what the press is saying today. Oh, I've thought he was wrong from time to time, but overcoming those particular biases makes it a lot easier to be right. No, I don't know why he insists on keeping Pence fifth, Belt sixth, making it as easy as possible for opposing managers to get bullpen platoon advantages. Remember that it didn't matter against the Cardinals, who weren't built to do that anyway; we'll see what happens this week.
And, second...for a team that had to come from behind in seven, that sure wasn't a very close series, was it? Truth is that the Cardinals were lucky to be in it; all four Giants wins were blowouts, and only Game Two was an easy win for St. Louis. Indeed, Game Three, the first Kyle Lohse start, looked at the time and now especially looks like a game the Cards were lucky to win (that was the one where the Giants had tons of baserunners and couldn't quite bunch them the right way). Someone tweeted during the final that it was odd that Fox was showing a rerun of Game Seven of the 1985 World Series, and that sounds about right -- including that the Cardinals were actually outplayed in that one, too.
So, the World Series. I don't believe in making predictions about short series in baseball. I know people do it, including many I respect, but I can't see why. I do think the Tigers are a bit overrated at this point...Verlander is That Good, but the rest of the rotation is only good, and the hitting is nothing special (note that Buster Postey wound up with a higher OPS+ this year than Cabrera, for whatever that's worth).
Not that the Giants are all that amazing, either. It's not a bad team at all, but only a great one if the rotation actually was at it's best, which just wasn't the case most of the year or right now.
As for me, I'm just happy to be able to root for the Giants in a World Series again. It's always better to have a season that ends in October, however it ends.