The torture is coming. Playoff games. Every mistake magnified. Every positive contribution glorified beyond recognition. Pacing around an empty room. Trying to ignore banal small talk in a crowded bar. Hugging a total stranger who smells like a warm circus, just because your favorite sports team did something positive. Honing in on an easily identifiable flaw of your team, and just pounding it into a ground with every single comment you make.
The torture is coming.
Take a load off, though. Forget about all that. Here are #s 10-6 of the top-ten improbable Giants comeback victories of the season. When you win the division on the last day of the season, it’s important to marvel at each one.
10. - May 30 - Diamondbacks
Apparently, the Diamondbacks had a below-average bullpen this year. Well, that’s just my gut feeling. I’m not sure if a bullpen ERA of 5.74 is below average, and I don’t have the time to check out the stats. Maybe it is.
The Giants went into the ninth down by two. Ishikawa and Torres got on base, and Freddy Sanchez singled home a run. Pablo Sandoval tied the game with a fielder’s choice to send the game into extra innings. After two quick outs, Uribe, Whiteside, and Torres had three straight singles. Maybe the most underrated win of the season.
9. and 8. - May 4 and May 9 - Marlins and Mets
Aaron Rowand used to be good. Seriously. No, not for the Giants, really, but in his career. He won a championship, ostensibly against teams filled with pitchers who were in secret, slider-fearing cults. I feel bad for him now that he’s on the bench. I would write unspeakable things for $60M. Like, things about your mom or praise for the Lakers, maybe in the same paragraph. So I can’t judge him for taking the money; I would have too. When I grumble about Rowand, I’m really grumbling about the management decision to sign him and the manager’s decision to play him long past his expiration date.
But, man, did he have a road trip in May. Twice he brought the Giants back from the brink with a late-inning home run. He might not make the postseason roster, but he deserves a little respect.
7. - August 6th - Braves
The most undeserved win of 2010. In the ninth inning against Billy Wagner, Huff was hit by a pitch -- a curiously common theme of Giants late-game comebacks in 2010 -- and the Braves committed two errors shortly after. One run in, game tied. After three walks and a sacrifice fly in the 11th inning, the Giants won. Of course they did. I don’t think the Giants hit a ball out of the infield other than the sac fly.
6. - September 10th - Padres
In the seventh inning, Aubrey Huff was hit by a pitch. He stole second. He took third on a grounder to shortstop, which makes no sense. He scored on a groundout that was almost a double play. That was the only run scored in the game. It technically wasn’t a comeback, as it was a tie game, but it counts as a comeback because the Giants were down 0-8 in the these-damned games category to the Padres. On September 10th, a scoreless game against the Padres felt like a five-run deficit against any other team. That’s not me talking; that’s sabermetrics.
So this was the game the Giants out-padred the Padres. It was probably then that they started thinking, hey, wait a minute, this brown-bedecked team isn’t made of magic and pixie mucus. We can do this too. After this revelation, the Giants then had the confidence required to win the division. Science.