In the first game of the 2010 World Series, the Giants shortstop was Edgar Renteria, a seasoned postseason veteran. He is out of baseball. Their current shortstop, Brandon Crawford, spent much of that season with the Class AA Richmond Flying Squirrels.
Their third baseman in that first game against Texas was Juan Uribe, a utility man who hit a three-run homer that night. Uribe, though, was essentially in the lineup because Pablo Sandoval, who had an outstanding rookie season in 2009, slumped badly the following year. In the final three games against the Cardinals this October, Sandoval — who re-established himself in 2011 and now hits third — sparked the offense by going 5 for 15 with two doubles and a homer; he helped make up for the slumping Posey (4 for 28 in the NLCS).
Their first baseman that night against the Rangers was Aubrey Huff, who smacked three hits in Game 1 but now comes off the bench, a 35-year-old role player. Their first baseman now is Brandon Belt, who was a 22-year-old working his way from Class A to Class AAA in the summer of 2010 and watched the World Series from the Arizona Fall League.
“I’m totally amazed that I’m here now,” he said Tuesday.
The second baseman then, Freddy Sanchez, had back surgery earlier this summer and may not play again. Their second baseman now, Marco Scutaro, was acquired in a July trade with Colorado and tied a league championship series record with 14 hits against the Cardinals.
“I love playing with him,” right fielder Hunter Pence said. “It’s amazing how much he’s meant to this team in the time he’s been here.”
They might not still be Giants
Same for Pence. In 2010, the Giants right fielder was Cody Ross, a seemingly minor midseason acquisition — picked up off waivers from the Florida Marlins — who lifted them the entire postseason. This season, San Francisco acquired Pence in a July trade with Philadelphia, which had acquired him the previous summer from Houston. He has, somehow, become the emotional leader, the guy who gives football-style pep talks before some games.
The center fielder two years ago was Andres Torres, a drifter who had recently spent three years in the minors. He eventually was part of an offseason trade with the Mets to bring in Angel Pagan, who will lead off and play center field Wednesday.
And the left fielder back then was Pat Burrell, a veteran who was replaced in the series by Nate Schierholtz. Burrell has since retired. The Giants’ left fielder Wednesday will be Gregor Blanco. That spot is available for Blanco because Melky Cabrera, the MVP of the All-Star Game, was suspended for 50 games in August for violating baseball’s drug policy. Cabrera has not been with the club in the postseason.
So there was turnover within the Giants’ turnover.
Consider, too, that the 2010 closer, Brian Wilson, has missed almost the whole year after elbow surgery, and that left-hander Barry Zito was left off the postseason roster in 2010 but will start Game 1 of the World Series. Thus, the Giants have swapped most of their team. The only thing that’s the same: The results.
“I’d say it’s similar in some respects,” Bochy said. “Two years ago we made some changes. We tweaked the lineup. We brought Buster up [from the minors]. We had Pat Burrell help us out, Cody Ross. Similar with this year. We made some changes, tweaked the lineup. . . . We’ve gone with a set lineup, and that’s made it easier than in 2010.”
It is a set lineup for this October. But who’s to say, after the next 10 days, who will be on the Giants or the Tigers in the future?
“I realize that being here twice in the last three years is a great accomplishment,” Posey said Tuesday. “. . . We need to enjoy these opportunities that we have, because baseball’s a crazy game. You don’t know how many opportunities you’ll have like this.”
Because the next time — be it in two years or six — chances are someone else will be in that role.