Baseball is a team sport, but the San Francisco Giants were led by one man in a way that we’ve never seen before. Two innings would’ve been incredible. Three would’ve been a miracle. Five innings. Five innings. Five innings.
After throwing nine shutout innings three days earlier.
After throwing 47.2 innings throughout this postseason.
Move over, Curt Schilling. THAT was the best postseason pitching performance in the history of the game. Move over, Clayton Kershaw. There’s a new best pitcher alive.
We just saw history. Other than Michael Jordan in the NBA Finals and Joe Montana in the Super Bowl, my eyes have never seen anything comparable in a championship setting than Bumgarner tonight.
It takes a monumental performance from an individual to eclipse three World Series wins in five years, but Bumgarner turned conventional wisdom upside down. We’re always so worried about these guys’ arms, but Bruce Bochy knew. And now he’s going to the Hall of Fame.
It took a lot more, of course. Pablo Sandoval went 3-for-3 and got hit by a pitch (in Craig Biggio-esque fashion, meaning it was a great play). Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt had two hits apiece. Michael Morse and Brandon Crawford each had sacrifice flies, and Morse drove in Sandoval on a single after Sandoval took an extra base on Belt’s fly ball to left.
Tim Hudson pitched a nice first inning, and with a two-run lead in the second inning he couldn’t get his pitches to sink. In came Jeremy Affeldt, who deserves the assist tonight. Assists don’t exist in baseball, but Affeldt deserves one. (And after further review, Affeldt got the WIN, and Bumgarner earned the SAVE.)
What a team.
It wasn’t an easy
victory save for Bumgarner, as Gordon — who had no clue against Bumgarner for the entirety of this series until there was one out left — knocked a single in front of Gregor Blanco. Blanco thought he could stop the one-hopper, and it scooted by him to the wall. Then Juan Perez couldn’t pick it up. And millions of Northern Californians screamed at their televisions, wondering how Bumgarner could get robbed in such a way.
Then the best pitcher alive threw high fastball after high fastball to Salvador Perez — who actually had a pretty good clue against Bumgarner up to that point — and finally got a high foul popup that was caught by the man who deserved to clinch the final out: Sandoval.
After the final out, Buster Posey ran in for the hug and Bumgarner said, “I love you.” Posey took a lot of guff for no extra-base hits, but he caught ALLLLL those innings with a terrible back and dragged every bit of greatness out of his friend.
— No one is allowed to complain about Affeldt’s contract again. Ever. Again.
— The Giants lost Game 3 by a score of 3-2. They won Game 7 by the same score, even with Tim Hudson lasting only 1 2/3 innings.
— The double play Joe Panik started in the third inning was the best in Giants history. Period.
— Sign Sandoval. Now.
— No Angel Pagan. No Matt Cain. No Hector Sanchez. No Marco Scutaro. Not much Brandon Belt during the regular season (thanks in part to Scutaro). No Michael Morse for a while in late-September/early-October. 88 regular season wins. Jake Peavy and Tim Hudson running on fumes. Road team in the Wild Card game … Pence screamed about this team’s “Champion Blood” after they clinched a spot in the postseason, and that crazy scooter-riding humanoid was right.