San Francisco won the series tonight behind a strong pitching performance from Madison Bumgarner (clearly a starter for the NL’s all-name team), and the Giants advance to the NLCS for the first time since 2002. It was an extremely tense series, and while I’m glad the Giants won it, I wasn’t spectacularly impressed by the quality of the baseball. Or umpiring.
In truth, the series was really decided by: Tim Lincecum, and the Braves giving away two games to the Giants’ one. And even Lincecum got help—in his duel with Tim Hudson, he got his single piece of run support only because the umpires missed Buster Posey being caught stealing second base. In game two, the Giants were on the brink of breaking the series wide open but had a bullpen meltdown, an error, and a nightmarish GIDP by Buster Posey in the 10th to present the game to the Braves. In game three, the Braves insisted on being even more gracious hosts by committing three errors, two of which led to runs—that’s two error-driven runs in a one-run loss. Finally, in tonight’s game, the Braves made an error in the 7th to help the Giants score (although they probably would have scored anyway, but with the extra out wouldn’t have been able to get another run to go ahead).
But, as always, a win’s a win, and San Francisco picked up three of them by the narrowest of margins. Next up: the Philadelphia Phillies, who looked rather imposing in their sweep of the Reds. San Francisco’s pitching is great, but the Phillies have Halladay and a better offense.
Meanwhile, in the opposite league, the Yankees swept Minnesota and are resting up, calmly awaiting either Tampa Bay or Texas… and are, of course, favored to win it all.