Coming back from a devastating ankle injury that could have ended his career, Buster Posey had to prove that he could catch every day at the Major League level. The Giants expected him to be one of their primary offensive producers. After the first day of Spring Training, Posey proved he could be the same player as he was before the injury.
Posey already has won the National League Comeback Player of the Year Award and hit .336 to claim the 2012 batting title. Many baseball-knowledgeable people think he also will win the NL MVP award.
Despite having a poor offensive postseason, Posey had two crucial hits that propelled his team to the championship. In Game 5 of the NL Division Series against the Cincinnati Reds, Posey hit a grand slam that helped push the Giants to the World Series. In Game 4 of the Fall Classic, with his team trailing for the first time in the series, Posey hit a two-run homer that gave the Giants a lead and took the enthusiasm out of the stadium. Although the Tigers would later tied the score, Posey's homer recaptured the momentum for the Giants.
Other than contributing to the offense, Posey handled the pitching staff expertly during the World Series. At 25, he has respect from his pitchers. Throughout the World Series, the Giants' starting rotation dominated the powerful Tigers, including slugger Miguel Cabrera, who won the first Triple Crown in 45 years.
When the Giants lost All-Star closer Brian Wilson with Tommy John surgery in April, many baseball experts wrote them off because finding a quality closer during the season seemed impossible. For some time, manager Bruce Bochy experimented with several relievers in the closing role before settling on Sergio Romo.
While he doesn't wow the crowd with a blazing fastball, Romo doesn't exhibit any fear on the mound. During the playoffs, he never blew a save. To end the World Series, Romo struck out Cabrera, who is among the most feared hitters in the Major Leagues.
The Giants' starters during the World Series were phenomenal. In those four games, Barry Zito, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain allowed only four runs collectively. No team can win if it can't score. The Tigers at no time during the series could link together three hits and manufacture any runs. Although the Tigers scored three runs during the final game of the Fall Classic, all of them came on home runs.
The defense for the Giants was spectacular and enabled them to prevent prolonged rallies. At no time during the World Series did a defensive miscue enable the Tigers to score. Turning numerous double plays ended many potential rallies. The play of young shortstop Brandon Crawford, who fulfilled a lifelong dream with his hometown team, impressed everyone with his ability to stop everything in reach and his magnificent throwing arm.
The slick-fielding Marco Scutaro initiated many double plays beautifully. Brandon Belt, the young first baseman, saved many errors for his fellow infielders. Pablo Sandoval made many extraordinary plays at third base.
Giants center fielder Angel Pagan seemed to be in the right place at the right time to catch fly balls that could have gone for hits, especially extra-base hits. Gregor Blanco in left field grabbed everything that came his way.
The player who set the tone for the World Series, though, was Sandoval. In Game 1, he hit three home runs. Whenever the Giants needed a hit to score, he always seemed to deliver. He earned the MVP award for the series.
Going into the 10th inning of Game 4, Ryan Theriot, functioning as the designated hitter for the first time in his career, singled. Crawford laid down a perfect bunt to advance Theriot to second. Scutaro, who has come up with so many crucial hits during the postseason, then singled in the winning run. Although the Giants still needed to retire the Tigers in the bottom of the 10th, nearly everyone could sense that the Giants were about to win the World Series.
The Giants once again proved teamwork and being resilient are essential to being a successful team. They didn't stop playing good baseball or stop believing in themselves when Melky Cabrera received a 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. While the rival Los Angeles Dodgers collected superstars midseason in hopes of going to the playoffs, the Giants simply went out and played. They never complained about their misfortunes, and they merely won everything in baseball. The Giants played the game with old-fashioned skills of pitching, defense and timely hitting.
Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants! You deserve everything you achieved.