October 30th, 2014

The Giants Had The Magic Weapon

The San Francisco Giants have won three World Championships in five years. Not too shabby. It’s so tough just to get to the postseason. This club has a ring for each of three fingers. And for me, this clinches a Hall Of Fame induction for manager Bruce Bochy.
Congratulations to the players, the front office, the workers in the organization and the fans. Well earned. Well deserved.

Part of being a good manager is keeping your team loose, knowing when and what trigger to pull and knowing what you’re doing. Having conviction. Bochy handled his roster like a Concertmaster handles his orchestra. He knew which instrument had to play at which time to make beautiful music. Together.

In essence, Bochy and the Giants accomplished the victory with a rotation of one starter. They got good effort but no results to speak of from Ryan Vogelsong, Jake Peavy or Tim Hudson. Bumgarner was the violin section, the horn section, the percussion section and everything else combined. He did everything but turn the sheet music. That was left to Jeremy Affeldt who pitched extremely well in Game 7 and to a great extent, Yusmeiro Petit who also contributed from the mound early in the Series.
But for all intent and purposes, this was the Madison Bumgarner World Series.
There will be countless words spoken and written about his heroics. He earned every syllable. All I can say is what I said on twitter tonight. I’ve watched lots of baseball in my life and Mr. Bumgarner’s mastery of his craft was probably the best I have seen over a sustained period of the Postseason. Others have been great. This was special. The man was on a mission. I’m glad I saw it. Bruce Bochy knew the exact moment to insert his magic weapon and had enough intestinal fortitude to let him finish the job.

Pablo Pandaval and Hunter Pence provided the offensive fireworks to allow the Giants to eek out enough runs to turn Bumgarner loose. The Panda can get hot and use the entire field to bring havoc to the opposition. Pence gets loose and confident and smacks the ball around the diamond with authority himself. Together they form a dynamic duo in the middle of the lineup.

I was disappointed in the lack of plate discipline of Buster Posey. He swung at bad pitches throughout the World Series and didn’t offer much offensive help at all. In fact, when his team had a chance to fight back in Game 6 when they were down 7 runs, he swung at the first pitch with the bases loaded and grounded into an inning ending double play. That took the rolling train right off the tracks. The train landed in a ditch and forced the Bumgarner Game Of A Lifetime-tonight.

Gregor Blanco almost became the Bartman of the Bay. His misplay with two outs and nobody on base in the 9th inning caused acid reflux, nausea and a case of the yips in the Giants dugout. But all is well that ends well. For the Giants, it ended with Pablo Sandoval catching a lazy foul pop up and collapsing to the ground in joy.

I could hear and feel the ground shake when Sandoval went from first to third base in the second inning. And when he fell to the ground with the final out in the 9th. And he did it right in front of the fabulous Panda heads if I’m not mistaken.

The Royals laid an egg tonight because they couldn’t really cash in when they had the chance. The door was open in their half of the second inning and they could only muster two runs. It seemed like a lot, but it could have and should have been more.

The Royals matched the Giants for ineffective starting pitching with the exception of rookie right-hander Yordano Ventura. We may be talking about that young man for a long time to come. He can hit 101 with his fastball and has the secondary pitches to buckle knees. What I like is that he has ice water in his veins.

Manager Ned Yost played his game without going to ANY of his right-handed pinch hitters against Affeldt or Bumgarner. Left sitting on the bench watching the action were bats that belonged to Josh Willingham, Terrance Gore, Jayson Nix and back up catcher Erik Kratz. Wouldn’t one of them have been worth giving a crack at Bumgarner? Would a bunt by Jarrod Dyson have possibly started a rally? We’ll never know.

The fans in both San Francisco and Kansas City were gracious, exciting, excited and tremendously loyal. I didn’t read or hear of any poor behavior or rude conduct. Everything in both cities was flawless. It’s just a shame one team had to lose. But the Royals didn’t lose. The Giants won. They snatched one more game in the series than Kansas City. It came down to the magic weapon they had and the Royals didn’t. That was Madison Bumgarner. Period.

Now, it’s back to Phoenix and the Arizona Fall League for me. Please join me on twitter to read about the prospects on your favorite team. I’ll be discussing every Major League club and the guys they have playing in the AFL. This coming Saturday is the Fall Stars Game. I’ll be there. I hope you will be, too.

You can find my World Series scouting profiles of Giants young players on their MLB.com team page and Royals young players on their MLB.com team page. Just click on “news” at the top of the page and scroll down for my articles.

Again, thank you to San Francisco and Kansas City for 7 great games. Thank you to each of you for following me on my World Series blogs. And congratulations to the 2014 Champions of Major League Baseball-the San Francisco Giants.