Kudos to Brian Sabian, Bruce Botchy and the SF Giants.
Last season I ripped GM Brian Sabian for being asleep at the wheel while the Giants had a terrible offense while players like Vic Martinez or Alex Rios were moving past them. Then the offseason was zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!--except for signing a guy who was reported to be slow and couldn't field and hit OK a few years ago (Aubrey Huff.) Going into this season we could count on one guy in the lineup hitting, ONE, --Pablo Sandoval.
So while Pablo had a bad sophomore year, GM Sabian made the most during season changes I've ever seen for a good team. He got Pat Burrell and Jose Guillen from the scrap heap, and they made everyone wonder why they were on the scrap heap in the first place. Sabian had a good bullpen but he picked up a couple of specialists around the trade deadline that make this bullpen the deepest I ever recall. Of course the move of the year was bringing up Buster Posey, who should be rookie of the year, and Madison Bumgarner who gives the Giants one of the best 1-5 rotations of all time. (That's 1-5, find a better staff with a #4 Bumgarner and #5 Zito; I didn't say the most cost effective #5 starter.)
Meanwhile, everyone is wondering what drunk wrote the scouting report on Aubrey Huff, who has fielded well, run the bases with abandon, and gotten clutch hit after clutch hit. In the things balance out department, Sandoval may have had crushed panda fan hopes, but Andres Torres came out of nowhere to electrify the crowd.
So since the season began the #5 starter, catcher, first baseman, shortstop, left fielder, center fielder, and right fielder have changed. Bruce Botchy infuriated sports call in folks by flipping the lineup every day, but for half the season he had the 1962 Mets lineup (or 2010 A's lineup), and even with its makeover it still has significant flaws at the end of the season (little speed, so so batting averages--though now they'll take a walk.) Manager Botchy's experimenting showed good results.
Though they haven't clinched yet-I expect the celebration in the next couple of days. How will they do in the playoffs? On one hand they can't manufacture runs with little team speed and many .260 hitters in the lineup with mediocre power. Likewise, their defense (albeit c, 2b and cf) has very limited range until Bochy can run the defensive team out there. On the other hand they have a real deep starting staff, a really deep piching staff, and get opportunistic home runs--all important things in the playoffs. The Phillies, the best team in the NL, doesn't have a good relief staff. So who knows. The Giants look alot like the Tigers of the late 1960's--and we know what happened there--Tim McCarver is still whining about how they beat his super team Cards in the WS.
Finally--after listening to TBS when the Cubs were playing the Padres (good god)--THANKS THANKS Krukow & Kuiper for being interesting and irreverent broadcasters, and telling the story of the whole season.