MLB.com Columnist

Mike Bauman

In an era of parity, Giants closing in on dynasty status

If San Francisco wins it all, club belongs in discussion of game's best

In an era of parity, Giants closing in on dynasty status

KANSAS CITY -- Is it possible to have a dynasty only in even-numbered years?

In an era of baseball parity, the answer is yes. This is the most anyone could reasonably expect out of one team. That team in this case would be the San Francisco Giants.

World Series champions in 2010. World Series champions in 2012. Let's see; '10, '12, what year comes next in that sequence? If the Giants were to win everything again in '14, it would not be the same as the Yankees winning five straight championships from 1949-53. But three out of five, in the era of enhanced competitive balance, would put the Giants in a postseason category all by themselves.

How do the Giants do it? Pitching and defense, and then they scrape together whatever timely hitting is necessary. They also stay humble, which is both helpful and refreshing.

  Date     Recaps Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 21     SF 7, KC 1 video
Gm 2 Oct. 22     KC 7, SF 2 video
Gm 3 Oct. 24     KC 3, SF 2 video
Gm 4 Oct. 25     SF 11, KC 4 video
Gm 5 Oct. 26     SF 5, KC 0 video
Gm 6 Oct. 28     KC 10, SF 0 video
Gm 7 Oct. 29     SF 3, KC 2 video

"I'm amazed at these guys," manager Bruce Bochy said Monday at Kauffman Stadium on the eve of Game 1 of the 2014 World Series Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET airtime/8:07 ET first pitch, FOX). "I've told them that, at how hard they fought to get here. Again, it's a tough road and you're going through some good clubs. I mean, we had to go through Washington. We had to go through St. Louis. They've amazed me."

The Giants have won eight straight postseason series. Amazing works. So would astounding and incredible. But when you pitch and play defense better than the other guys, you can own October.

What's the common theme running through this eight-series winning streak?

"Pitching," said reliever Jeremy Affeldt. "You talk to [general manager] Brian Sabean, and he put a pitching staff together. And if you watch the playoffs and you watch how they're won, especially the last five, six, seven years, it's based around pitching.

"When we've won in the playoffs and the World Series, we've pitched. And we have good defense and clutch hitting. Pitching and defense are going to win you games. I know it's a cliche answer, but until you can prove to me otherwise, I'll stick with that answer. You have two teams here that are based on pitching and defense."

And these Giants teams are superbly managed. Bochy, at this point, is probably a Hall of Fame manager. He's seriously understated about his role, but don't mistake unassuming for an absence of ambition. The Giants never stop pushing.

"You never arrive as a player," Bochy said. "That's what we try to remind these guys, so you never stop trying to improve."

The Giants probably haven't received enough credit for winning two out of the last four World Series. This may be because they have been merely mortal in the odd-numbered seasons. They went 86-76 and finished second in the National League West in 2011. They finished 76-86 and in fourth place in '13.

There were reasons, there were injuries, but coming into 2014, the Giants were undersold. As far as prognostications, in the NL West, it was all Dodgers all the time.

The Giants, meanwhile, are here in another World Series, despite losing some key personnel to injuries, such as starting pitcher Matt Cain, second baseman Marco Scutaro, center fielder and leadoff man Angel Pagan. The ability to rise above this sort of adversity is one hallmark of a successful team and a successful organization.

By now, the Giants come to any postseason situation with confidence, poise and the highest of expectations, all born of repeated October success.

"That's the experience that kicks in," Affeldt said. "In 2012, we were down, 2-0, against Cincinnati in a Division Series and we were down, 3-1, against St. Louis [in the NL Championship Series]. Some of it is scrappy. Some of it is, stuff had to go our way.

"But I think if anything has helped us, we play a lot of close ballgames. If you play close ballgames and put pressure on the pitching staff, pressure on the defense, that's been our goal, to keep it close and then let's see what we can do. Both teams will feel the pressure and then we'll see which one gives in.

"To be able to say eight straight, you're right, that's awesome. I can't tell you there's a formula, but we just want to continue to execute. That's what we've done. There's no secret to it. We've just kept executing pitches."

By now, people who have been paying attention can't sell the Giants short. The Royals swept the Giants in a three-game series here in August. This will not lead Kansas City to underestimate San Francisco.

"The team that we saw was a team that was struggling," Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie said. "I don't think there is anybody on this team that would even come close to mistaking the team that we saw for the team that we're going to encounter right now.

"The biggest attribute they bring is they've been here. They know what to expect. They're comfortable in these situations and this is not new to them. It's a quality club."

It's a quality club that is closing in on dynasty status. In this era, a championship every other year, more than qualifies in that category.

Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.