MLB Playoffs: The San Francisco Giants — baseball’s cockroaches — live to see another game
You can’t kill the San Francisco Giants.
No matter many blows you land, no matter how lopsided the fight is, the Giants refuse to go down.
Call it even-year magic or the Bruce Bochy effect, but the Giants have won three World Series this decade not necessarily because they were the best team, but because they were the team that more so than all others refused to die.
Monday’s (Tuesday’s for the East Coast) 6-5, 13-inning win over the Cubs in Game 3 of the NLDS was the latest example of the Giants’ preternatural ability to survive.
And if the Cubs couldn’t take them out in that game, it’s hard to see how they’ll actually land the deathblow. The Giants are the cockroaches of baseball and now they have the Cubs exactly where they want them.
The Giants are undefeated in their last 10 elimination games in the postseason, and they had plenty of opportunities to break that streak Monday.
The Giants could have folded after a slow start. They could have folded after Kris Bryant tied the game with a two-run homer in the top of the ninth. They could have folded as midnight approached and the teams went to yet another extra inning.
They didn’t — they fought through the ups-and-downs and because of that, they’ll live to see another game. They’ll even carry some momentum into it.
To be fair, the Cubs were there blow for blow, but they couldn’t survive as long as the Giants — they’re not as trained at that sort of thing.
There are reasons to be concerned about the Cubs — concerns that would have existed even if the Cubs won in extra innings and ended the series in a sweep. Aroldis Chapman’s blown save is a concern, Anthony Rizzo’s 0-for-13 start to the series is a concern, the fact that pitchers have more RBI than position players is a concern.
The Cubs are exceptionally talented, but we’re about to find out how they’ll respond to pressure. Make no mistake, the Giants have nothing to lose in Tuesday’s Game 4 — with Madison Bumgarner looming in Game 5, the pressure rests entirely on the Cubs’ shoulders. They do not want a Game 5. Even if the Cubs are playing at home, a winner-take-all game is the Giants’ home turf.
The wars of attrition are ones that the Giants will win, and it’s hard to see the timbre of the series not changing ahead of Tuesday’s Game 4. The Giants are going to scrap and claw and fight for survival in every at-bat — it’s the Cubs’ job to rise to the occasion and prove that they have that same kind of winning spirit.