Team of destiny or just the better team? Giants finish off Rangers, win 2010 World Series

Following their 3-1 win in Game 5 of the World Series on Monday night, somewhere in this country someone started writing about how the 2010 San Francisco Giants were a team of destiny this postseason.

But their status as 2010 World Series Champions has nothing to do with destiny. They were just the better team.

In the NLCS, people expected the Giants to lose to the Phillies, who had the better offense, the better pitching, more experience, etc. But when the Giants knocked off the defending NL champs to reach the World Series, people expected them to succumb to the mighty Rangers, who had the better offense, a pitcher in Cliff Lee who never loses in the postseason, etc.

But it was the Giants who came up with the clutch hits. It was the Giants’ Bruce Bochy who outmanaged the Rangers’ Ron Washington. It was the Giants’ pitching staff that turned in one of the most dazzling performances that we’ll ever seen in a Fall Classic.

A team of destiny? The Giants were just flat out better. The Rangers, with all their power and with all their Cliff Lee, were absolutely dominated in four of five games. And that’s a good Rangers team, mind you. They didn’t get to the World Series by accident and something tells me that this won’t be this group’s last crack at a championship. They’re also a classy bunch from their manager (who heaped tons of praise on the Giants in his post-game presser), down to the grounds crew that let San Francisco fans celebrate on the field hours after the game.

But back to the Giants. It was rather humorous to listen to people use the term “lucky” when it came to this club in the postseason. Do you know what they had to do in order to get to this point? First off, they had to beat Mat Latos and the Padres on the final day of the regular season to clinch a playoff berth. There’s nothing lucky about winning 92 games, I don’t care if San Diego choked over the final two months or not.

There’s also nothing lucky about beating Derek Lowe (twice), Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels, C.J. Wilson and Cliff Lee not once, but twice, including once with the series on the line.

Think about that for a second. The Giants, with their cast of misfits, went through some of the best pitchers from this decade in order to win a World Series. Luck had nothing to do with that. Luck also had nothing to do with this team being able to clinch every series on the road (Game 4 at Atlanta, Game 6 at Philadelphia, Game 5 at Texas).

It’s hard to put into words how good Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Brian Wilson were against the Rangers. They shut down Josh Hamilton, they neutralized Nelson Cruz, Ian Kinsler and Michael Young, and they made Vladimir Guerrero, who is one of the best pure hitters the game has ever seen, look like a complete fool at the plate. The Rangers’ offense was non-existent, but only because the Giants’ pitching made it that way. Hamilton and company must have felt like they were trying to hit a beebee with a toothpick.

San Francisco Giants' Edgar Renteria hits a three RBI home run off the Texas Rangers in the seventh inning during Game 5 of Major League Baseball's World Series in Arlington, Texas, November 1, 2010.    REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

But San Francisco’s pitching was only half the story. For Edgar Renteria, a guy who the Giants considered leaving off the postseason roster because of a biceps injury suffered earlier in the year (not to mention he was also ineffective), to win the MVP award was improbable. For all intents and purposes, he was a bad signing by GM Brian Sabean two years ago. But the guy made it count when it mattered most, hitting .412 in the Fall Classic, playing an impeccable shortstop and hitting the biggest home run of his career. In the seventh inning on Monday, Lee should have never thrown a 2-0 fastball in that location in that situation but credit Renteria for putting the mistake over the wall. If he decides to retire this winter, his last at bat in his second year won his team a World Series and his last at bat of his career won his team a World Series. Amazing.

But the great storylines don’t start and stop with Renteria. Nine teams had to pass on Lincecum before the Giants had the opportunity to draft him in 2006. Twenty-four teams had to pass on Cain in the first round in 2002. Twenty-nine teams had to pass on Aubrey Huff this past offseason before the Giants took a one-year flier on him. The same goes for Juan Uribe, who somehow couldn’t land a multi-year deal despite turning in a solid 2009 campaign.

Andres Torres was a nobody before coming into his own this season. The Giants didn’t trust Buster Posey to handle the pitching staff, so he didn’t come up until midseason. Now they’re both World Series Champions.

Freddy Sanchez was a batting champ in Pittsburgh but he spent most of his first year and a half in San Francisco either on the DL or struggling at the dish. Yet how many big hits did he come up with this postseason? How many great defensive plays did he make? Don’t forget that it was his two-out hit that spurned the Giants’ come-from-behind win in Game 4 of the NLDS against the Braves. This was his first postseason appearance ever and now he’s a champion as well.

Cody Ross? Wow. The Marlins saved a measly $1 million by handing him over to the Giants via waivers and he wound up becoming one of the most vital pieces this postseason. If he doesn’t take Halladay deep twice in Game 1 of the NLCS, maybe the Giants never reach this point.

Improbable? Yes. Lucky? No.

This team was just that good this postseason. Their pitching was better. Their hitting was more clutch. Their manager was perfect. Their defense was nearly flawless.

The San Francisco Giants: 2010 World Series Champions.

Headline photo courtesy of

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