San Francisco Giants: Underdogs No More
Their first opponent; the Atlanta Braves. The Giants possessed the top pitching in baseball, however, not one media outlet took them seriously because of their serious lack of offense. They took the series in four games, winning all three games by one run. Torture. Giants fans know that term all too well as they continued to ride it all throughout their historic postseason run.
NLCS opponent; Philadelphia Phillies. Note: Roy Halladay tossed a no-hitter in the previous series and was set to face the Giants lineup that struggled all season to score runs. Cody Ross took the Doc deep twice in Game 1 and the Giants prevailed. They went on to defeat the Phillies in six games, clinching a world series berth when they were deemed the underdog once again.
The Texas Rangers, the most fearsome lineup in baseball in 2010. Add that to Cliff Lee leading their rotation and the Rangers were favored to take the series in five or six. The Giants took them out in five, defeating Cliff Lee twice while sending Tim Lincecum to the mound.
Flash forward. 2012. The San Francisco Giants were not given the publicity or the media attention other squads received. They even fell into an 0-2 hole in the NLDS, losing both games at home, only to storm back at defeat former San Francisco skipper Dusty Baker and his Cincinnati Reds, sending them home scratching their heads.
They fell into a 1-3 hole against the comeback kids, the St. Louis Cardinals who had erased a 6-run deficit in their divisional series finale with the Washington Nationals to reach the NLCS. The Giants completely dismantled the Cards over the final three games, outscoring them 20-1, receiving great pitching and timely hitting - the Giants recipe for success.
Now that the Giants hold a 2-0 lead over the favored Detroit Tigers in the World Series, America is beginning to take notice. The Giants are no longer the forgotten band of misfits, they are the team to beat. Justin Verlander took the mound in Game 1 and figured to continue his streak of dominance in the postseason, until he ran into the Kung Fu Panda, Pablo Sandoval. If you have yet to watch his remarkable Game 1, do yourself a favor and check it out. Sandoval took Verlander yard in his first two at-bats, pushing the Giant lead to 4-0, only to save some more fireworks for later and knock another one out of the park off of relief pitching.
Underdogs no more. Barry Zito started Game 1 and looked like his Cy Young self from 2002. Madison Bumgarner took the mound in Game 2 after going 0-2 giving up 10 runs in 8 innings over his first two postseason starts in 2012. A Giant success translates into a 2-0 lead with Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain ready to take the mound in Games 3 and 4.
Don't be surprised if the Tigers are broomed. The Giants are THAT good.