We end as we began, with a partial decade.
The Senators/Rangers had won exactly one postseason game in the first 49 years of their existence, but this year they won the first two rounds handily, outscoring their opponents 59-32. The Giants, whose forte was winning the close ones, outscored their first two opponent by only one run, 30-29. Who would win, the unstoppable Rangers’ offense, or the Giants’ immovable pitching? The Giants scored 20 runs in their first two games, and the Giants took it in 5. 56 years of futility had ended.
This was a Series for the ages, and I missed it, being out of the country on business. (There isn’t a lot of baseball televised in Buenos Aires.) The Rangers were up 3 games to 2 and 7 runs to 4 after 7 1/2 innings of game 6, and up 7-5 with two out in the ninth, before David Frees’s triple tied it up. They scored 2 in the top of the 10th, and were within an out of winning 9-8 before Lance Berkman tied it up again, Freese (what’s with that guy?) led off the bottom of the 11th with a walkoff home run. The Rangers, in the tradition of teams whose hearts were broken in game 6, went quietly in game 7.
The Giants had a ridiculous first two rounds, losing the first two games of the NLDS horribly before winning the last three, and falling to down 3-1 in the NLCS before winning another three in a row. Detroit won the ALCS 4-0 behind their rotation of Verlander, Fister, Sanchez, and Scherzer. And then the magic started: the Panda hit three home runs off Verlander in game 1, making it a rout. The next three games were close, but at the end the Giants had swept.
The Red Sox played the Cards again (see 1946, 1967, and 2004). Each was, unusually these days, the best team in its league (97 wins), and both had won the first two rounds without much trouble. David Ortiz has an insane Series (.688/.760/1.188), and the Sox won 4-2, giving them 3 championships in the last 10 years (also in the last 96 years.)
The Royals had not made the postseason since their one and only championship in 1985, and made it only as the second wildcard. They won a game for the ages in Oakland to advance to the ALDS, and used their weapons of bunting, base-stealing, defense, relief pitching, and this thing they hadn’t bothered with all season called hitting home runs to sweep both it and the ALCS. But, as Hilaire Belloc meant to write,
Whatever happens, we have got
The Bumgarner, and they have not
And that was that.
Overall, the Giants went 3-0, the Cards 1-1, the Red Sox 1-0, and Texas 0-2, with Detroit and Kansas City 0-1.