The 2014 postseason run has a lot of obvious MOMENTS, all-caps, for us to remember for the next eight or nine decades. Brandon Crawford's grand slam! Brandon Belt's 18th-inning home run! Michael Morse tying the game! Travis Ishikawa winning the pennant! Madison Bumgarner doing everything! I suppose every successful postseason run has those moments, but 2014 seemed overstuffed with them. I'm not complaining.
There's a chance that most of them wouldn't have happened, though, without the Giants winning Game 4 of the National League Division Series. And by "winning," I mean "letting the other team get sucked into a wheat thresher." Surely you remember a few things about that game, considering it sent the Giants to the NLCS. Look, here's one of those all-caps moments:
That was the most memorable moment of the game, which capped off a memorable postseason series. But, quick, without thinking, can you remember how the Giants scored all of their runs?
Okay, some of you are good at that. Some of you remember who was coming up when J.T. Snow crashed into Pudge Rodriguez, and some of you remember Tony Torcato's middle name, so of course you're going to remember each snowflake of a run during the postseason. Me, though? My brain is decaying rapidly, and I've taken to wearing all three replica-ring giveaways on a daily basis just to remember the Giants winning the championships in the first place, not because I'm some sort of weirdo living in the past, ha ha, no. As such, when I went to look at what the Giants were doing a year ago, I scrolled down to the play-by-play and started giggling.
It was all nonsense. You should be reminded of this nonsense. Here's everything that led to the Giants three runs, in order:
1. Brandon Crawford singles
It was a legitimate single! It traveled about 160 feet in the air, and even though it was slapped to the opposite field, Dee Gordon-style, it was still struck well. It came off a tough lefty in Gio Gonzalez, and it came in a two-strike count. Good job, Brandon Crawford!
That was the last time the Giants hit the ball well.
2. Juan Perez takes an awful swing that leads to an error
The Giants started Juan Perez in spots throughout the postseason, which led to them winning the World Series. This is why I hate doing traditional postseason previews.
Here's the moment the ball made contact with Perez's bat. It looks painful.
Owwwwwwww. Because baseballs aren't usually hit like that, this particular one spun away like a screwball, and Gonzalez couldn't pick it up. Juan Perez was all ...
Matt Williams was all ...
3. Ryan Vogelsong bunts for a hit
Really, it was more of an error, considering that it happened because of miscommunication between Gonzalez and Anthony Rendon, but it was a hit according to the rulebook. Counting Crawford's 160-foot single, the Giants had now hit the ball 160.001 feet in the air for the inning. The bases were loaded with one out.
4. Gregor Blanco walks on four pitches
This isn't the Giants getting lucky. This is the Nationals melting down. Blanco has never been particularly effective against left-handers, but Gonzalez was either rattled after the fielding breakdowns or he was a mechanical mess. A run scored, and the Giants took the lead.
5. Joe Panik grounds out to second
It was a chopper right in front of the plate. So now the Giants are up to 160.002 feet in the air on the inning, most of which came on one single to start the rally. And they have a 2-0 lead.
Buster Posey came up with two men in scoring position, but he grounded out on the first pitch.
This is what Joe Panik looks like when he's getting ready to hit.
1. Joe Panik singles
It was a similar hit to Crawford's in the second -- a slapped looper, hit well enough to get down in front of Bryce Harper. It came off Teddy KGB ...
...who was tipping his pitches because of something to do with his Oreos.
That was actually left-handed specialist Matt Thornton, and with Hunter Pence on deck and Tyler Clippard on a boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Matt Williams left him in to face Buster Posey. This is akin to Bruce Bochy leaving Javier Lopez in to face Nolan Arenado with Troy Tulowitzki on deck because ... you know ... you can't ... well ... hey, listen, so, anyway that's what Williams decided, and I'm sure he had his reasons.
2. Buster Posey singles
Because he would hit .448 if he got to hit against Matt Thornton for the rest of his life. He crushes lefties. There probably wasn't a lot of time or need to research this stuff before the postseason, so ...
3. Hunter Pence walks
Aaron Barrett, mildly soiled rookie, ran the count full. His first 3-2 pitch was down the middle, and Pence almost hit it back to his homeworld, but fouled it straight back instead. His second 3-2 pitch wasn't even close.
Since Clippard was on a boat and the postseason rules allowed only two relief pitchers on the team, there was nothing Williams could do.
4. Pablo Sandoval doesn't swing at a wild pitch
I mean, it was right in his wheelhouse.
A run came in, making it 3-2. The Nationals decided to intentionally walk Sandoval, and then Barrett threw a wild pitch on the intentional walk, with Posey getting thrown out at the plate after a perfect play from Wilson Ramos. And you thought the Giants were lucky.
The Nationals made three quick outs against Sergio Romo, and other than a two-out walk to Bryce Harper in the ninth -- probably a good idea! -- they never got another baserunner.
The Giants were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position for the game.
On the Brooks Conrad to Madison Bumgarner Scale of Good Fortune, where 1 is Brooks Conrad levels of "here, just take this win, we're not using it" and 10 is someone doing outstanding things because they're outstanding, this entire game gets a solid 3. It's not as bad as Conrad's error, but it's a little more of a gift than Barry Zito shutting down the Cardinals.
That's what you were doing 365 days ago. While I'm still mopey about the Giants missing this postseason, at least we can appreciate the gifts we've been given. And that game might have been the biggest gift of all.
Just wait until Tyler Clippard comes back from his seafaring adventures and hears about it.