Pablo Sandoval practically added his name to the World Series MVP trophy when he clubbed three home runs in Game 1 against the Detroit Tigers, so it was no surprise to hear him named MVP of the Fall Classic after the Giants swept the Tigers on Sunday night.
Sandoval was as deserving as a World Series MVP can get. The two-time All-Star hit .500 (8-for-16) in the World Series with a team-high 4 RBIs and 18 total bases. He also made history in Game 1 by becoming the fourth player in MLB history to hit three home runs in a World Series game.
Sandoval was also the team’s overall postseason MVP. His 24 hits were one short of tying a postseason record. He led the Giants with the 24 hits, 6 home runs, 13 RBIs, and 47 total bases. Sandoval posted a 1.098 OPS against what’s supposed to be the best pitching in baseball.
While Sandoval was the clear offensive standout for the Giants throughout the playoffs, San Francisco had many pitchers truly elevate their games during the postseason.
Jeremy Affeldt pitched 10.1 innings without allowing an earned run all postseason. He was particularly impressive in Game 4 when he struck out Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and Delmon Young in the 8th inning.
Sergio Romo pitched 10.2 innings and only allowed one run in the postseason. He went the World Series without allowing a baserunner, and the NLCS and World Series without giving up a run. His slider developed into a nearly unhittable pitch.
Ryan Vogelsong was the Giants’ best starting pitcher during the playoffs. He went 3-0 while the Giants won all four of his postseason starts. He had a 1.09 ERA in 24.2 innings of work and did not allow more than one run in any of his starts.
Matt Cain didn’t have his top stuff throughout the postseason, but he was asked to do more than any other Giants pitcher. He never allowed more than three runs in any of his five starts, and he was on the hill when the Giants won each of their series-clinching games. He was their ace, and he proved to be dependable when it was win or go home time.
Barry Zito deserves recognition from us for his contributions to this team. Two years after being left off the postseason roster and being declared one of the biggest free agent busts in baseball history, Zito proved he still could provide positive contributions to the club. He started the team’s improbable comeback by shutting out the Cardinals over seven innings in Game 5 of the NLCS with his team down 3-1 in the series. He then beat the Tigers in Game 1 of the World Series, and he even delivered an RBI single off Justin Verlander for good measure.
From all the arms on the pitching staff to Pablo Sandoval, Angel Pagan, Marco Scutaro, Buster Posey, and Gregor Blanco’s contributions, it really was a total team effort in the postseason. I really thought this team was done when they were down 3-1 against the Cardinals and their last hope was Barry Zito. But they never gave up, and they won it all. The San Francisco Giants were deserving champions.