The Top 101 Plays in the San Francisco Giants Dynasty (Part One of Four)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

So, here's what this is.

1. I'm of the mind that, more likely than not, this generation of Giants will not win another World Series.  3 is already, to use the language of Raising Arizona, more than we can handle. Speaking for myself, I do not deserve a 4th.
2. This list focuses entirely on the World Series winning teams.  Other seasons had big moments, but that's not this.  
3. The starting point is the same Win Probability tool I used in ranking Bonds's top 25 homers.  Every plate appearance that improved the Giants chances to win a game 33% (in a game the Giants actually won) is included (except for two games at the end of a season which, given the Giants position in the standings, were close to meaningless).  You'll see each WPA % listed.
4. I then added playoff games and the games from the 2010 pennant race; given the importance of those games, the 33% floor was relaxed. 2 regular season games that didn't meet the criteria were added; they'll make sense when you see them.
5. Ordering the list was challenging.  Hard to place how a lower leverage spot in a key game should be placed against a higher leverage spot in a less important game.
6. The Panik/Crawford double play in Game 7 of the 2014 Series is not on the list.  It wasn't even the most important double play of the game.
7.  I've done a lot of Giants related writing here.  I've profiled every team in 133 years.   I've ranked the top 100 moments in Candlestick Park history.  And there's other stuff.  Not my first day.

Here we go.

1  101. 43% Sep 30 2012 
    9 games up with 4 left, theoretically something to play for as we were three games from the best NL record, so this isn’t an exhibition game, but also not really as meaningful as most regular season games, that drops it to bottom of list.  One out in the 9th inning in a 5-5 game in San Diego - Hunter Pence hits a two run homer off Huston Street to dead center, we’ll win the game 7-5. Street's first blown save of the season.


    100. 0% June 25 2014   
     No hitters aren’t that important, even though they feel good – and Tim Lincecum’s second, against the Padres in the middle of our June free fall, was particularly impactless (except on Lincecum's arm throwing 148 pitches) – but Will Venable’s grounding out to second to end the game goes here. 


    99. 36% Apr 23 2014 
      We lost the first two of a series in Denver and were a game out of first place in late April, we trailed 6-5 in the 7th when Brandon Belt hit a two run homer to right off Rex Brothers to give us a 7-6 lead, we’d go on to win 12-10 in 11. 


    98. 37% April 11, 2010 
     Third home game of the season, win takes the series against the Braves and gets us to 5-1 -- we're down 2-1 in the 6th, Kenshin Kawakami on the mound with two out, Pablo Sandoval and Aubrey Huff both reach, Mark DeRosa comes through with two strikes with a single to right, scoring both, giving the Giants a 3-2 lead and we go onto win 6-3


97. 34% May 4, 2010 
     We came in 14-10, second place, starting a series in Miami, we're tied 3-3 in the 8th, two on, two outs, Juan Uribe doubles to left off Chris Leroux to score Sandoval/Molina, we go up 5-3 and would go onto win in 12 9-6.

      96. 36% May 4, 2010 
     Same same as #97. Down 6-5 in the ninth with 2 outs, Aaron Rowand homers to left off of Leo Nunez who eventually became Juan Carlos Oviedo (but not during this pitch, that would bump it a few notches) to tie the game, we’d win 9-6 in 12.

      95. 37% Apr 20, 2012 
      Start of a 7 game road trip and a chance to get over .500 for the first time in the young season, 2 on 2 out in a 3-3 game in the 10th inning – the Mets Frank Francisco gives up a single to center to Hector Sanchez that scores Melky Cabrera with what will be the game winning run.  


      94. 38% April 9, 2010 
      Home opener. Trying to stay unbeaten to go 4-0, two outs in the 13th, Juan Uribe on third after a walk, a steal, an error, An Aaron Rowand infield single off Kris Medlen scored the winning run to walk off the Braves. 


      93. 38% April 13, 2014 
      Rubber game in an early season series against the Rox, Brandon Crawford breaks a 4-4 tie with a 10th inning leadoff walkoff shot into the Cove against Rex Brothers. 

      92. 34% May 21, 2012 
      In Milwaukee for the first game of a 7 game road trip, the Giants came in 7 games out of first place, Hector Sanchez led off the top of the 14th with a homer against (not our) Juan Perez that put the Giants up 4-3, a lead that would be the final score. 


      91. 37% May 29 2014 
       6 games up in the west and 16 over .500 before the end of May as we went into St Louis having won 6 of 7.  4-4 in the 8th with runners on the corners and 2 out.  Michael Morse scored them both on a double off Trevor Rosenthal, we’d go on to win 6-5.

90. 36% June 4 2014 
7.5 up, 17 over .500, the Giants were marching hard in the first half of 2014, but trailed 2-1 in the top of the 6th in Cincinnati when (our, not Milwaukee's from two years prior) Juan Perez, 1-21 on the season hit a 2 run homer to left off Tony Cingrani to put us up 3-2, the eventual final score.  

89. 33% July 25, 2010 
We were looking for a 4 game sweep in Phoenix, a dozen games over .500 and 3 off of the lead.  2 on, 2 out in a 2-2 10th inning, someone named Esmerling Vasquez gave up a single to Travis Ishikawa to score Eli Whiteside which gave us what would be the final margin of victory, 3-2. 


88. 37% May 30, 2010 
We’re going for a sweep over the Snakes that will take us to 27-22, with two outs in the 10th in a 5-5 game, Juan Uribe and Eli Whiteside singled, and then Andres Torres walked it off with a game winning single to right off Carlos Rosa for a 6-5 Giants win.

      87. 38% Apr 15 2014 
      Dodgers in first, Giants in second a game back, bottom of the 12th, Brandon Crawford singled, took second on a groundout and third on a wild pitch – with two out Hector Sanchez singled him home off of Brandon League to win the game 3-2.
     86. 38% July 18 2012
      We opened a road trip with a win in Atlanta the night before, getting us to 10 over .500 and bumping our lead in the west to 3 games.  Tied at 3 in the 11th, one out, two on,Brandon Crawford hits a three run homer off Chad Durbin.  We’d go on to win 9-4, maintaining our lead.


     85. 36% Aug 22 2014
      Even after taking 2 of 3 in Wrigley, a division lead which was once double digits had turned to a 3 game deficit. In the 4th, the Giants down in DC 1-0, Joe Panik hit a 3 run homer off Doug Fister (Panik's first as a big leaguer) and we'd win going away to get back to ten over .500 and end a ten game Nats win streak.

                                                         User Actions
– Marco Scutaro with game winning hit in 10th - win 9-8 – Gotta Love September Baseball

84. 38% Sep 3 2012 
18 over .500 with a 4.5 game lead, the Giants open a homestand against the Snakes, in the bottom of the tenth, 8-8, Brandon Crawford at third with two out, Marco Scutaro sent everyone home with a single to left off Bryan Shaw. 

83. 35% August 6, 2010
Second game of a four game series in Atlanta, we’d lost the night before and were two behind the Padres coming in. A hit batsman and an error gave us 2 on against Billy Wagner as we trailed 2-1 in the 9th.  Chipper Jones blew a Pablo Sandoval grounder to score the tying run.  Wed go on to win in 11.  

82. 38% Aug 4 2014 
10 up in early June was 2 out in early August when the Giants went to New York, with two on and two out in a 3-3 9th, Pablo Sandoval doubled off of Jerry Mejia to score Gregor Blanco and give the Giants a 4-3 lead they’d never relinquish.  

81. 36% July 22 2014 
What had been a 10 game lead dropped to a one game deficit; it was a half game lead in Philadelphia when, down 5-4 in the 9th with Jonathan Papelbon on the mound and one out, Buster Posey homered to tie the score. The Giants went on to win in 14.

80. 39% May 8 2012 
14-15 and 5 games out after losing the first game of a series in LA to the first place Dodgers.  The Giants had a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the 8th when LA loaded the bases with one out against Ryan Vogelsong.  Javier Lopez came on and got Andre Ethier to hit into a 6-4-3 double play, the 4th we turned of the night, to end the threat.  We finished them off in the 9th snapping Clayton Kershaw's 12 game home winning streak.
79. 36% May 11 2014 
First place Giants, up a game on the second place Dodgers – in LA and trailing Clayton Kershaw in the 7th 2-1, until a two strike two run homer by Brandon Hicks that gave us a 3-2 lead in a game we’d eventually win 7-4 in 10.

78. 36% July 5 2014 
Less than a month prior the Giants had a ten game lead, but they came in here a game out in the west, trailing the Padres 3-2 Michael Morse led off the top of the 9th with a homer off Huston Street to tie the game.  We’d go onto win 5-3 in 10. 

77. 39% Aug 12, 2012 
Rubber game at home against the Rockies, ten over .500 and with a game lead in the west, we entered the 8th down 6-4, but tied the score on 3 hits and a walk – with two on and two out, Hunter Pence hit a three run homer off Rafael Betancourt, and 9-6 would be the final score.
76. 40% Apr 27 2014 
Half a game up in the west and looking to sweep the Indians, Brandon Hicks hit a three run walk off homer in the bottom of the ninth to break a 1-1 tie. 

The hits don't stop til we get to the top; that ends part 1 of the 101 greatest plays of the Giants dynasty.  Back next week with Part 2


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