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Resolved: good pitching beats good hitting

Nov 2, 2010, 8:44 AM EDT

San Francisco Giants v Texas Rangers, Game 4 Getty Images

That’s a retrospectively-applied cliche that is ignored the moment someone hits a good pitcher — like, say, Cliff Lee, who certainly qualifies as “good pitching” — but check out what Giants pitchers did to these guys in the playoffs:

  • Jason Heyward: 2 for 16, 0 RBI
  • Ryan Howard: 7 for 25, 0 RBI
  • Chase Utley: 4 for 22, 1 RBI
  • Josh Hamilton: 2 for 20, a homer and one RBI
  • Vladimir Guerrero: 1 for 14, two RBI

Howard got some hits, but basically, if you could swing a bat, you didn’t do any damage against the Giants in the playoffs.  As the winter goes on you’ll hear a lot about whether the Giants should re-sign Aubrey Huff, Juan Uribe and all of their free agent hitters, but the way I see it, they’re gonna be just fine with Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner and that pen.

  1. Jonny 5 - Nov 2, 2010 at 9:00 AM

    I’d say the Phills had the best chance at beating the Giants, and blew it. They had the pitching staff, all they needed was a run here, and a run there, and it would have been Philly advancing. SF just dominated Texas. It was kinda unnerving for me to watch actually. I mean damn, Philly is going to have to go through them to get to the WS next season??

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 2, 2010 at 9:07 AM

      The Phils were the only ones with the pitching to really matchup. In the four wins, the Giants starters threw 29.1 IP of 36 possible innings, with a 1.53ERA and a 8BB/23K ratio. Even more absurd is that in wins 2, 3 and 4, the starters gave up 1 ER total. Damn!

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 2, 2010 at 9:19 AM

        I’m thinking there has been a slight transformation in baseball myself. Unless some of the big hitting AL teams grab up aces, It’s going to be NL pitching dominance at the big dance for awhile. I’m thinking NY does everything it can to do so. They were embarrassed by the team that was embarrassed in the WS.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 2, 2010 at 9:57 AM

        Yanks are in a bad situation here*. Baltimore has Tillman and Matzus, Boston has Lester and Buchholz, TB has Price, Garza and Davis: all good pitchers well under 30. Yanks have Hughes and no one since they refused to let Joba stay as a starter. In the minors, they have some good prospects (Banuelos, Brackman and Betances) but they are a few years away.

        *even if they get Lee, they still will have a problem a couple years down the road as the Johnsons, Felix’s, etc get signed to long term deals when they are still under team control.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 2, 2010 at 10:12 AM

        Well, they still have the teams who need to save $$$ and they usually trade off big $$$ guys and even toss in some $ in the trades. That’s got to be their focus beyond Cliffy.

  2. mcsnide - Nov 2, 2010 at 9:07 AM

    Yup, that’s why your Braves won 5 World Series in the 90s. Billy Beane was right about the playoffs. So let me rephrase your statement: good pitching beats good hitting, except when it doesn’t.

    • tomemos - Nov 2, 2010 at 11:20 AM

      Here’s a fella who’s so anxious to show how smart he is, he didn’t actually read the first sentence of the article.

  3. willmose - Nov 2, 2010 at 9:10 AM

    In golf they say, “Drive for show, putt for dough”. In baseball, pitching and defense is just as fundamental. Yes, you need hitting, but great pitching and defense hides a lot of 0-fors.

  4. soccermom17540 - Nov 2, 2010 at 9:19 AM

    I didn’t want to believe my husband when he said SF in 5 because I just “knew” that hitting would do it this time around. Well, guess who had to say “you are a genius” last night . . .

  5. jangocat - Nov 2, 2010 at 11:10 AM

    I guess Craig didn’t notice the Giants scored 20 runs in the first two games….

  6. gogigantos - Nov 2, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    I don’t know where to post this, maybe many times
    Man oh man, this feels good,,,,,
    It’s all in the breaks, and some dominant pitching doesn’t hurt. It was a good post season. Texas crushing the A.L. was awesome. Nolan Ryan busting out some geriatric heat is way cool. Halladay’s no hitter is for the ages. But, the breaks, he is beaten on a gimpy leg by some destined Giants led by a mystically freaky Lincecum learning a slider in the last couple months, and some castoff named Ross. The mighty Lee, acquired on borrowed money?, is beaten twice!? Renteria adds rises from the ashes and adds to his legend?! Ross and Renteria werent’ even starters in September! In any championship there is magic and beauty. The highlights belong to SF. Anybody harping or whining about some other’s failings is not seeing the beauty of something achieved and won. I don’t know if anybody reads Murray Chass anymore, but why is a great old writer so hung up on harping on the negatives, the failings of individual’s when the team game gives us beauty. It ends on a great match-up that met all the hype of a duel for the ages. The Giants had better at bats, something to say for a team that didn’t seem to take consistently good at bats until the post season. The mighty Lee lost not giving in to one he maybe should have let pass. Always the underdog, nobody seemed to notice that this was the best pitching staff in the N.L. This is a young pitching staff for the ages. Is it because they call him Freak that he is assumed to be the lesser of Halladay and Lee? Not after this past month, eh. Two CyYoungs and thrice leading the N.L. in strike outs, maybe he is for real. He was most real and nearly unhitable today. Still, it takes magic and fortune. Of the first 50! runs the Giants scored in the post season, 30!!!! came with two outs, this from a team that reportedly couldn’t score. Fortune smiling on a team suddenly taking great at bats that, as a team, they had not done before. This team got better as they faced the next challenge. I’m not gonna go on. I am gonna bask in a dream I had truly come to believe would never come true. But, as I watched this team grow through the season, and blossom in the post season, I came to believe. As I watched Lincecum and this squad, I got a stronger and stronger feeling we were gonna win??! The wheels were not gonna come off this time and my heart would not be broken and all would somehow be strange in the universe. “And a child shall lead them” Leading in was talk about the Rookie of the Year winner. The serious hardware has been won don’t you think? Lincecum Posey is the first all Golden Spikes post season battery. How young are Bumgardner and Posey together, I am barely younger than the two combined! This was good ball, this was a solid beat down from a monster young pitching staff. This was a gift long thought never to come, and it that it came so unexpected and executed so well makes it all so so so much sweeter. Baseball is beautiful, and this is sweet.

    • shandbi - Nov 2, 2010 at 6:26 PM

      @gogigantos-So well said… I had a premonition at the beginning of the year, it was right before the pitchers report. It was Zito celebrating winning the WS with the team. It was him with his cap on swilling a bottle of champaigne. When he was left off of the roster I panicked but there he was last night, swilling his champaigne, EXACTLY like my dream…
      I LOVE the Giants and my kids and grandkids LOVE the Giants. We are all so deliriously happy.
      Thanks again for a such a well said comment…

  7. philiplewis1 - Nov 2, 2010 at 6:42 PM

    As a 39 year long Ranger fan, it was tough to sit in that stadium last night and watch the continuation of the beating administered in the first 3 wins (thank you Colby Lewis for a 1 game reprieve). However, I’ve enjoyed watching the Giants rise to prominence and they give most MLB teams hope that you don’t have to be in NY, Boston or Philly to compete. The SF organization is to be congratulated on their amazing accomplishment – but don’t expect the Rangers to look so “done in” next year if they make it back to the WS. The Tampa & NY wins were so emotionally draining, I just don’t think they had enough left to compete on the level that the Giants were on. Whether Cliff Lee is back or not, this is a team that will be heard from over the next few years. Best sign I saw last night at the game “Maybe Nolan should run the Cowboys”

  8. burtkauf - Nov 2, 2010 at 8:36 PM

    Good steroids beat good hitting

    • leiwilson - Nov 2, 2010 at 9:43 PM

      right burtkauf. wonder how steroids explains the ranger’s pitchers walking all of those giants hitters. or Vlad and all of that bumbling and fumbling in the outfield.

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