|Why the Giants will win the World Series|
|By Michael Rushton, MLB Contributing Editor|
|Resiliency is an attribute that can't be measured through box scores and sabermetrics.|
The San Francisco Giants are rich with it and that is why they seem destined to claim their second World Series title in three years.
In fact, don't count out the Giants should they fall behind in the upcoming Fall Classic against the Detroit Tigers. For them, the series will just be getting started.
Much like a St. Louis Cardinals team that won it all in 2011, San Francisco just doesn't give up. That came full circle when the Giants ousted those same Cardinals in the National League Championship Series despite trailing 3-1 in the series.
By winning the final three games of the set, the Giants extended their string of victories in elimination games to six in a row after also rebounding from a 2-0 series hole to the Cincinnati Reds in the National League Division Series. The six wins with their backs against the wall matched a record set by the 1985 Kansas City Royals.
"I'm still numb," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said after his club's 9-0 home win in Game 7. "How many times we faced that, and it was -- this team -- these guys deserve all the credit. They were determined not to go home. They had that never say die attitude."
That attitude stems from an offense that is much deeper than the lineup that won it all in 2010 thanks to the additions of Marco Scutaro and Hunter Pence during the season. New faces like Angel Pagan and Brandon Belt have also helped, as have returning stars like Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval.
The Giants certainly put the pressure on the Cardinals' pitching in the NLCS. They took plenty of extra bases while hitting .261 in the set, logging 10 doubles, three triples and five homers while driving in 31 runs.
Every postseason, a player comes out of nowhere to shine and that was certainly Scutaro against the Cards. In winning MVP honors for the series, the 36-year-old hit .500 thanks to an LCS-record 14 hits. It matched a mark held by some other clutch players, including Albert Pujols, Hideki Matsui and Kevin Youkilis.
Acquired from the Colorado Rockies on July 27, Scutaro also set an LCS record with six multi-hit games and drove in four runs while scoring another six. His motivation stemmed from a late and hard take-out slide by St. Louis' Matt Holliday in Game 2.
"I knew he was a good player. But to see him day in, day out, you really appreciate the talent that this guy has," Bochy said of Scutaro. "I don't know if it was possible for him to raise his game, that's how well he's played, his level. But he did, after that slide. And he was just determined to get to the World Series. He led us there."
The Giants will have home-field advantage for the World Series, meaning the Tigers will be without the designated hitter for as many as four games. That gives San Francisco an edge after its starters made themselves tough outs when faced with elimination.
Matt Cain drove in a second-inning run in Game 7, following RBI efforts by Barry Zito and Ryan Vogelsong in the previous two contests. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, they became the first trio of pitching teammates to drive in a run in three straight postseason elimination games in major league history.
"I think to win a championship it takes more than 25 guys," noted Scutaro. "It takes from the front office all the way to the bat boy, and you have to have that chemistry going."
But what about what those guys can do on the mound?
Yes, it will be a while before the Giants can use Cain, who won Game 7 and allowed just three runs over 12 1/3 innings in two NLCS starts. And Bochy will have to give the ball to Tim Lincecum at some point in this series despite his horrid regular season and more struggles in Game 4 of the NLCS (4 runs, 6 hits, 3 walks in 4 2/3 innings) in his only postseason start so far.
But Lincecum has shown some flashes of his former Cy Young-winning form this year and may only have to do it once in this series to help secure another championship.
Throw in excellent postseason performances so far from Vogelsong (2-0, 1.42 ERA, 18 strikeouts in 19 innings) and Zito (1-0, 1.74 ERA) and the staff is more than capable of competing with Detroit's Justin Verlander-led rotation.
And the Tigers' arms won't have a cakewalk themselves with Pagan and Scutaro setting the table for the likes of Posey, Sandoval, Hunter and Belt.
Mix in a solid bullpen of Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez -- a quartet who all feature earned run averages under 1.60 this postseason -- to a confident roster and you have all the makings of another World Series-winning team in San Francisco.