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Giants fans could relate to the Astros dilemma last night. One out away from a loss, tying run on base, and the team needed a pinch hit like it never had in franchise history. With this in mind, the manager scanned the bench, and came up with Jose Vizcaino. Jose Vizcaino! Phil Garner recognized the gravity of the situation, shattered the glass case, reached inside, and pulled out a fire extinguisher filled with spring-loaded paper snakes. Jose Vizcaino! Lest any Astro partisans think I'm poking fun at their team, this all ties into to the Giants. Playing some of their most important games in franchise history, the Giants used Shawon Dunston as the DH. Shawon Dunston! Sometimes you go to play with the team you have, not the team you want.

Of course, both Vizcaino and Dunston came through. Viz will get more attention from clutch groupies, but they both reinforced their manager's faith in a losing effort. It's easy to be hyper-critical when watching your own team, but comforting to know that flawed teams also get a shot.

Comment starter: What would need to happen for the Giants staff to approximate what the White Sox received this year from Buehrle/Garland/Garcia/Contreras? It seems the rawest of the raw materials are there with Schmidt, Lowry, and Cain, but that too much would need to fall into place both in the offseason and during the year. I don't look at the White Sox and see a team so incredible, so dominant, the Giants of 2006 have no chance to emulate their success. The White Sox are a very good team, but their success is more encouraging than intimidating.