They really didn't go down easy in Game 3, either. Don't forget that despite the strong pitching Colby Lewis and the Rangers threw at them Saturday night and despite Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez's short outing, the Giants were in the game to the bitter end, with the tying run at the plate in the eighth and on-deck in the ninth.While Neftali Feliz's gas finished the job for the Rangers and trimmed the Giants' advantage in the World Series to 2-1, there aren't any reasons for concern that the Giants haven't had before. Only a pair of home runs accounted for the offense, which managed just five hits? Been there, done that. Up in the series, but challenged to hold serve? See: San Diego, final regular-season series; Atlanta, NL Division Series; Philadelphia, NLCS. Also, there's a reason Madison Bumgarner is pitching Game 4 of the World Series when it could be veteran Barry Zito. He was the better pitcher down the stretch of the regular season, and he has shown poise beyond his years in the postseason. While the Rangers' Tommy Hunter also is a highly regarded pitcher on the rise, he hasn't shown the postseason presence so far that Bumgarner has. At 21, the big lefty has excelled beyond everyone's expectations upon his recall to the Majors this summer, and he was as sharp as any of the Giants' starters when all of them were on their games. Another thing: Bumgarner has excelled especially on the road. He posted a 1.91 ERA in 10 road starts during the regular season, and he pitched like a cool veteran in the NLDS clincher in Atlanta. He picked up a five-inning victory at home against the Phillies in the NLCS, before stepping up in the road NLCS clincher with two strong innings of scoreless relief. Pitching won Game 3 of the World Series, and it will be the same in Game 4. Bumgarner figures to put them in position to win, and the Giants' bullpen again will take it the rest of the way, and the "just enough" offense will deliver its normal output. Hey, it wouldn't be torture if it was a straight line to a World Series title, would it? And while a Game 5 rematch of Tim Lincecum and Cliff Lee is now assured, the Giants have to feel good about their chances heading into the final game of an October in which they've done so much right on the road. Besides, shouldn't the team in orange and black have a certain advantage on Halloween?
Nothing has been easy for the Giants in 2010, so following the relatively smooth ride at home through the first two games of the World Series, the slip in Game 3 in Texas was somewhere between inevitable and predictable. After all, they wouldn't call it torture if it were easy. But part of the mystique the 2010 Giants built en route to the World Series was a road presence that should help them in Game 4, when the crowd at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington will be amped for a pivotal game in the series and the Rangers will be seeking an equalizer.
The Giants won't cower from this challenge, that's for sure. They're used to being in a tight spot, and they've had many moments when they've needed to get it done on the road -- the last time was a Game 6 victory to clinch the National League Championship Series in Philadelphia. They were the best road team in the Majors after July 4 at 27-15 (.643), and they have finished strong in grays by winning their past five road series and going 4-2 on the road in the postseason, including Saturday night's defeat.