After facing elimination in six straight games, the San Francisco Giants beat the St. Louis Cardinals 9-0 Monday to win the National League Championship Series. The Giants now head to the World Series to face the Detroit Tigers. We preview the series.
On Why Barry Zito is a Class Act
"Just put the money aside and think about the human factor. He was getting just pummeled by everyone – the press, the fans – in his first couple years with us. And through that period, Barry, and I've seen a lot of players operate differently, Barry said 'This is not, this is on me. I need to get better.' He didn't say this is the pitching coach, this is the manager, this is the ballpark, this is the league, you know, all the different excuses that could be used. He said, 'I've got to get better. It's on me.' And at the same time he was a great teammate. When he was left off the 2010 roster and the post-season, he was there at every game rooting them on. We land in Washington D.C. to play a game, just typically during the season – where does he go? He goes to Walter Reed Hospital, because he has a Strikeout for Troops charity. He's just a really, really terrific guy. And so to see him save the season in Game 5 in St. Louis was just, it was just a flash of bright light on the whole organization, the whole clubhouse."
– Larry Baer
On the Difference Between this Team and the 2010 Team
"This year it's a very different personality. They've changed the whole lineup except for Buster Posey… every position has a new player different from 2010. It's not the wild men, it's not Aubrey Huff in his thong and Brian Wilson and his beard, and not Cody Ross or Pat Burrell, I mean these guys who were so colorful — [this is] a much more work-a-day group, I think more defined by the Buster Poseys, the sort of straight-ahead, hard-working Southern boy…"
On Buster Posey's Lack of Postseason Offense
"One theory is that he's just tired. During the season, that's another thing that Bochey did so well was resting Buster, giving him time at first base. He's caught all but, I think, one of the playoff games. It is hard work back there…"
"These two teams probably have very, the best, [most] advanced scouts in the world. So they are charting, particularly the last month of the season, they send scouts out to watch the teams they might be playing in the playoffs, so it's possible the scouts, charting Buster Posey, have found something. I think it's quite possible they've found something that they're pitching to with Buster."
On Why Buster Posey Deserves a Break
"He is very much the gravitational center of that clubhouse, and that's a lot of work. That means he's got to sit back there, and he's not just doing physical work, he's doing mental work, working with the pitchers because he has to have the scouting reports on all the other teams' hitters because he's calling the pitches… I think he's doing a fine job defensively, which is a big, big part of this, and a big, big part of the reason they won this series."
– Mark Purdy
On What to Look For in the Series Against Detroit
"A couple of things: one, the National League has home field advantage, so there'll be four games potentially in San Francisco – that means no [designated hitter] for the American League, and that's always a huge advantage for the National League, so that's the first thing. Second thing is Justin Verlander is a terrific pitcher, but he can't pitch all the games. The Tigers bullpen is really a problem…
Jim Leland has had such trouble, he doesn't know who the closer is going to be. He said he was going to put a suggestion box outside his door, let people put suggestions in there. That's how messed up they are. You don't generally see that in a playoff. So, in today's world of pitching, they're not going to go nine innings every game. This one may depend on the Tiger bullpen as much. So I think the Giants are in it, all right-handed pitching again against the Giants, a lot of strike-out power pitchers for the Tigers. I think this is a seven-game series, I don't think anyone's going down three to one in this one. I think it's going to be a back-and-forth series."
Mark Purdy, sports columnist for the San Jose Mercury News and the Bay Area News Group
Marty Lurie, Giants pre-game and post-game host for KNBR 680
Dan Fost, author of "Giants Past and Present," freelance writer
Larry Baer, president and CEO of the San Francisco Giants