On Sunday night, the SF Giants finished off a four-game sweep over the Detroit Tigers to win the 2012 World Series. Without the help of some former KC Royals players, the Giants would not have been successful.
Following the World Series celebration, MLB Network analyst Kevin Millar called lefty reliever Jeremy Affeldt the MVP Game 4.
Why would a reliever be the MVP?
Well, Affeldt entered Game 4 in the 8th inning with the score tied at 3-3. He walked pinch-hitter Avisail Garcia. However, he proceeded to strike out the Tigers 3-4-5 (Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and Delmon Young) hitters on 12 pitches. Only Fielder was a left-handed hitter.
Affeldt then struck out lefty Andy Dirks (another left-handed hitter) to lead off the 9th inning before giving up a LONG fly ball to Jhonny Peralta that chased him from the game. The ball was caught on the warning track in centerfield only because the park is HUGE and the wind knocked it down. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said after the game that when he came to take Affeldt out he said “You scared me. I have to take you out.”
So how did the Giants get to Game 4 with the help of some former Royals?
The Giants took a 3-0 series lead by dominating on the pitching front. That included Affeldt, who entered in the top of the 9th inning of Game 1 and got a ground out to end the game (on just one pitch).
Fellow lefty Jose Mijares (the most recent former Royal) made his World Series debut in Game 1 with 1/3 of an inning. He threw just three pitches in inducing a ground out.
Despite the fact that Gregor Blanco went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in Game 1, his defense was the talk. He made at least two diving catches to rob the Tigers of hits. His defense was on display once again in Game 2, as his throw to Marco Scutaro nabbed Fielder at the plate to keep the shutout alive.
However in Game 2, Blanco showed off some offense. He went 2-for-3 and his bunt with two on base in the 7th inning led to the Giants first run (which scored on a double play ground out).
In Game 3, he showed off some more offense and his speed (and defense), as he delivered an RBI stand up triple in the Giants two-run 2nd inning (he went 1-for-4 in the game). He then scored the Giants second and final run two batters later. Blanco then went 1-for-4 in the title-clinching game.
Following the celebration, many were calling Blanco the unsung hero. He came out and replaced suspended All-Star Melky Cabrera and played excellent defense in left field. I think he made a Gold Glove caliber play every night of the World Series.
Joaquin Arias once again entered on defense late in all four games at third base for the MVP of the series, Pablo Sandoval.
On the Tigers side, Octavio Dotel pitched in Game 2 and allowed the second Giants run to score in the 8th inning. With runners at the corners and one out, he walked Buster Posey to load the bases. Hunter Pence then hit a sac fly off Dotel.
He pitched again in Game 4, with the results much better. Dotel pitched 1.1 scoreless innings of relief. He walked one and struck out one and threw 11 of his 18 pitches for strikes.