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Year of the Pitcher Ends with Giants’ Victory

Posted on November 03, 2010 by Dean Hybl

Tim Lincecum capped the "Year of the Pitcher" with eight strong innings in the final game of the World Series.

In a perfect ending to the “Year of the Pitcher”, the San Francisco Giants received back-to-back great pitching performances to secure the first World Series title for the franchise since 1954.

It wasn’t quite the showing of the 1966 Baltimore Orioles, who held the Los Angeles Dodgers without a run for the last 33 innings of their series sweep, but it was almost that impressive given that the Rangers were among the top offensive teams in baseball in 2010.

In holding the Rangers to five runs over the last four games, with four of them coming in their only victory of the series, the Giants demonstrated exactly what took them from floundering team to World Series champion over the final three months of the season.

After seeing their record fall to 41-40 on July 4th, the Giants rallied to go 51-30 over the final three months of the season. During that stretch, 20 of their victories were in games in which their pitching staff held the opponents either scoreless or to one run.

Though Tim Lincecum will not claim a third consecutive Cy Young Award, the performance of the young hurler during the World Series proved that he is indeed a staff ace.

Lincecum didn’t have his best stuff in the opening game of the series, but he did pitch well enough to keep the Giants in the game until the offense was able to overcome the mastery of Cliff Lee. Then, with Lee looking to keep the Rangers alive and potentially start to put doubts in the heads of the Giants, Lincecum regained his top form in surrendering only three hits and one run during eight masterful innings to clinch the title.

Throughout World Series history there have been many previously unknowns who have emerged on baseball’s biggest stage. The latest to join that list is San Francisco pitcher Madison Bumgarner.

The 21-year-old from Hickory, North Carolina looked like an experienced veteran during his World Series debut in game four. The lefty allowed just three hits in eight innings to give the Giants firm control of the series.

Matt Cain didn't allow an earned run in 21.1 post season innings.

Perhaps lost in the glow of the final performances by Bumgarner and Lincecum was the important effort of Matt Cain during game two of the series.

It would have surprised no one for the Rangers to get their offense going in game two and send the series back to Texas in a deadlock. However, Cain made it clear from the beginning of game two that it would be him, rather than the Rangers, who would be making a statement on this night.

That statement was a steady reminder that pitching was the story of 2010 and would be the story of this World Series. Cain scattered four hits in seven and two third innings to set the tone for the remainder of the series.

While Bumgarner and Lincecum garnered most of the headlines and media discussion, Cain quietly put together an amazing post season as he allowed only one unearned run in 21 and a third innings over three starts. His presence as a steady innings-eater for the Giants is certainly as significant to their ascent as the performance of any other member of the staff.

In baseball’s year of the pitcher, it was fitting that the team with baseball’s best team ERA would find a way to win the World Series title. The Giants proved that timely hitting, solid defense and great pitching can still serve as the recipe to win a championship.

As baseball continues to distance itself from the steroid’s era, watch for more teams to use that recipe in the years to come.


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