If there is one thing baseball expects from the postseason it is that games will be tight and tense affairs. The San Francisco Giants clearly didn't get that message last night.
The Giants strolled into their National League Divisional Series with an 8-0 thumping of Pittsburgh Pirates in their Wild Card playoff.
The kicker for the Giants domination was Brandon Crawford’s grand slam homer in the fourth inning, while Brandon Belt took three runs with an RBI single in the sixth and a two-run single in the seventh to make the victory comfortable for the visitors.
The packed-out PNC Park was left in stunned silence as their team had no answer to the power or dominance of their opposition at the plate.
Bumgarner the Great
If the Giants' batting line-up was not enough to get Washington Nationals nervous, Madison Bumgarner surely will.
The starting pitcher threw a complete shutout game and conceded just four hits, striking out 10 and giving only one walk.
Pittsburgh are by no means slouches at the plate, according to MLB.com they ranked fourth in the National Leagues for runs, but when Bumgarner throws 79 strikes from 109 pitches there is very little the Pirates could do about it.
Nats up Next
The Giants travel to Washington to begin the best-of-five Division Series on Friday and will be full of confidence when taking on the side who posted the best regular season record in the NL.
When it comes to the postseason, San Francisco are a different outfit entirely.
The Giants are in no mood to stop either with the performances of Bumgarner, Crawford and Belt as evidence. The impressive thing about this side is their strength in depth. Even though the trio took the plaudits the steady backup of Joe Panik, who went 3-for-5, and Buster Posey, who contributed two hits including an RBI single in the eighth, shows this team can bat deeper than many of their opponents.
The challenge for the Nationals will be to get on top of Giants batters before they start striking the ball with real menace.
Although Washington won’t have to face Bumgarner in every game of the series the Giants possess Tim Lincecum and Yusmeiro Petit who can tear apart a batting line-up.
The Giants-Nationals showdown is predicted to be a spectacular contest but one which is anticipated to be a lot closer than the Wild Card game. But with the Giants in hot form they could miss that memo too.