The Week That Was in Baseball: October 15-21, 2012
How the Giants & Tigers Got to the World Series • Hot & Cold Players Vs. One Team
Can't Timmy & Buster Just Get Along? • The Trading of a Manager
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Singin' in the Rain
The Giants played comeback baseball for the second straight series, having fought back from a 2-0 deficit in the NLDS with three straight wins at Cincinnati to clinch that first-round series over the Reds; down 3-1 with against the Cardinals, the Giants got the performance of Barry Zito’s life in Game Five when the 34-year-old southpaw, much maligned through the course of an underperforming, well-paid tenure in San Francisco, tossed 7.2 shutout innings at St. Louis to bring the series back west for two home games. From there, superb starting pitching from Ryan Vogelsong (Game Six) and Matt Cain (Game Seven), timely early-inning hitting and dreadful Cardinal defense paved the way for the Giants to finish the comeback with, respectively, 6-1 and 9-0 wins over the final two games to advance.
Having ducked spotty area showers through eight innings, Game Seven took a direct hit from a downpour in the ninthbut as Fox’s Tim McCarver mentioned, not even a monsoon was going to force umpires to send the tarps out with the game so close to ending. All too poetically, Hollidaythe man so verbally bullied by Giant fans for flattening Scutaro in Game Two attempting to break up a double playpopped the final out to the rebounded Giant second baseman, who fought a muddy infield and thousands of falling raindrops coming down with the ball to close the series.Scutaro was named the series MVP for knocking out 14 hits, tying an all-time postseason series recorda performance all the more eye-opening given that, at first, he didn’t look like he’d bounce back from Holliday’s crunching blow the way Buster Posey never got up after getting railroaded by Florida’s Scott Cousins early in 2011. Meanwhile, Holliday hit a weak .200 with five hits (all singles), played shaky defense in left field (a persistent problem for Holliday in his postseason career) and endured payback by getting hit by Cain midway through Game Seven after the Giants had coasted out to 7-0 advantage.
These Things Even Out Over Time
A Historic Habit
Grow Up, Timmy
The Consolation Prize
Gee, And Those First Three Innings Looked So Good
We've Never Seen That, Either
Mr. Brock, is That You?
Those Weren't ImpostorsThey Really Were the Yankees
The Tigers wrapped up an impressive four-game sweep of the Bronx Bombers for their 11th American League pennant with tremendous ease. Some will say that when Derek Jeter, the heart and soul of the Yankees, broke his ankle in Game One, his team’s World Series hopes were carried off the field with him.
But give the Tigers credit. That they easily deconstructed the team with the AL’s best record, the majors’ second highest run total and the highest number of home runs throughout all of baseball was staggering. Detroit never trailed at any time in the entire series; only four other teams had managed to pull that off in a best-of-seven series, most recently by the Boston Red Sox against St. Louis in the 2004 World Series.Starting pitching was sensational, running up a streak of 37 straight innings without allowing an earned runa major league postseason record; ace Justin Verlander, making his only ALCS appearance in Game Three, allowed a ninth-inning run to the Yankees to end a 23-inning scoreless streak that tied a team record set back in 2006 by Kenny Rogers.
A Team Full of Mr. Mays
Forget Bonds' RecordGo for Wilt Chamberlain's Instead
There's Still Merit for the GW-RBI
And the Meek Nearly Inherited October
The Comebacker’s Greatest Hits
Who Owned Who?
Mike Trout (Angels) owned the Rangers. The slam-dunk AL Rookie of the Year and (maybe) MVP was never busier than against Texas, hitting .338 with two doubles, three triples, six home runs, 16 walks and seven steals in 74 at-bats.
Eric Hosmer (Royals) owned by the Tigers. A sophomore bust, Hosmer was simply DOA against Detroit, collecting a mere five hits (four singles and a double) in 51 at-bats with just two RBIs.
Chris Davis (Orioles) owned the Blue Jays. No player hit more home runs this season against a single team than Davis, who knocked nine out of the park against Toronto; three of them came in one game on August 24 at Camden Yards.
Cliff Pennington (A’s) owned by the Royals. A bad hitter (.215) in general this season, Pennington saved his worst for Kansas City, notching a single hit in 26 at-bats with seven strikeouts.
Adam LaRoche (Nationals) owned the Cubs. And boy did he ever, collecting hits in 14 of 27 officials trips to the plate against Chicagowith seven of those knocks sent over the fence to help set a personal best of 33.
Brendan Ryan (Mariners) owned by the Angels. Ryan (.194, three homers in 141 games) was one of baseball’s worst hitters this year, but he positively stunk against the Angels, going 4-for-44 with 15 strikeouts.
Alex Rios (White Sox) owned the Twins. In the midst of an up year, the notoriously up-and-down hitter was sky-high against Minnesota, hitting .418 in 67 at-bats with eight homers, 22 RBIs and 23 runs scored.
Jason Bay (Mets) owned by the Nationals. Actually, the free-agent bust has been owned by a lot of teams since coming to Flushing, but he was particularly off his game against Washington with three hits and 14 strikeouts in 43 at-bats.
Ryan Braun (Brewers) owned the Phillies. With the reigning MVP putting up another year’s worth of powerful numbers, someone was going to have to bear the heavier brunt in giving them up. That someone was Philadelphia, for whom Braun smacked six homers and three doubles among 14 hits in just 27 at-bats.
Billy Butler (Royals) owned by the Blue Jays. You’d think a naturally gifted hitter like Butler (.300 career average) would never slump against anyone, but a beat-up, rotten bunch of Toronto pitchers somehow found him to be no problem; he managed just one hit in 28 at-bats against the Jays.
Jered Weaver (Angels) owned the A’s. The Angels couldn’t catch Oakland in the AL West, but they won’t blame the AL Cy Young Award candidate. Weaver started four games against the A’s and went 3-0 with just a single earned run allowed in 30.2 innings.
Justin Masterson (Indians) owned by the A’s. Maybe the Angels (and the Rangers, for that matter) should blame Masterson instead. The Cleveland righty lost all three of his assignments against Oakland, allowing 19 runs on 23 hits in 14.2 innings.
David Price (Rays) owned the Orioles. Like Weaver above, another Cy Guy did all he could to forge his team past an eventual playoff opponent. Price was 2-0 in three starts against Baltimore, with just one run on 13 hits given up in 22.1 innings.
Aaron Cook (Red Sox) owned by the Orioles. Obviously not to be confused with Price, Cooka former Colorado Rockiefared far worse against the Orioles; his 0-3 record and 11.93 ERA in four starts made him feel like he was the lead in a Groundhog’s Day set around a bad funk at Coors Field.
R.A. Dickey (Mets) owned the Marlins. The likely NL Cy Young recipient won more games against Miami than any pitcher against any team this season, going 5-0 in six starts with a solid 1.80 ERA.
Johan Santana (Mets) owned by the Braves. While Dickey shined, teammate (and former Cy winner) Santana flounderedthe no-hitter notwithstandingand he was particularly shamed by the Braves, who roughed him up over three starts with a 0-3 record and 12.79 ERA.
Fernando Rodney (Rays) owned the Yankees. In an incredible year, the Tampa Bay closer was never better than against the Bronx Bombers, closing out seven games and winning another two while allowing just four hits and a walk (with 11 K’s) in 9.2 scoreless innings.
Paul Maholm (Cubs/Braves) owned by the Brewers. Three starts, three losses and an 11.68 ERA against Milwaukee; against the rest of baseball, Maholm was 13-8 with a 3.11 ERA. Go figure.
Greg Holland (Royals) owned the White Sox. The emerging closer was busy and efficient against the Pale Hose, saving six games and winning three in 12 appearances with a 1.50 ERA.Adam Ottavino (Rockies) owned by the Padres. It didn’t matter if it was a hitter’s paradise (Colorado’s Coors Field) or a pitcher’s paradise (San Diego’s Petco Park), Ottavino was equally bad in both parks over six relief appearances against the Padres, allowing 15 runs on 17 hits in 7.1 innings.
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