Welcome to Top 5 Tuesday, a new feature where we’ll rank the top five somethings, every Tuesday. This week we look at the best moments from last MLB postseason.
The monotonous slog of the MLB regular season is over. It’s time to mainline the pure adrenaline of October baseball, and there’s no better way to prepare than by reliving the insanity of last postseason. Here are our top five moments from the 2014 MLB playoffs.
5. Travis Ishikawa’s unlikely heroics
Travis Ishikawa landed with the Giants after being cast aside by the Pirates in April and spent most of the 2014 season in the minors. After the Giants called him up in late July, they rolled the dice and started playing him in the outfield for the first time in his career, a move which paid off pretty nicely.
Ishikawa was the starting leftfielder during the playoffs and more than made up for his lackluster defense with his bat. His walk-off three-run homer in Game 5 of the NLCS against the Cardinals won pennant.
4. Salvador Perez’s walkoff hit ends Royals fans’ misery
The Royals hadn’t played a playoff series since 1985 and seemed to be one-and-done in the Wild Card game after falling behind 7–3, but Perez’s 12th-inning walkoff sent Kansas City to the ALDS.
3. Brandon Belt’s 18th-inning go-ahead homer
Game 2 of the NLDS between the Nationals and eventual champion Giants may have been the best game of the entire postseason. The 18-inning epic lasted six-and-a-half hours, thanks to Matt Williams’s decision to lift Jordan Zimmermann after 8 2/3 innings of scoreless ball and bring in Drew Storen to try and get the final out. Storen blew the save and the game went to extras.
Neither team scored again until Brandon Belt hit a solo shot to deep right in the top of the 18th.
The Giants would win the series 3–1, but not before Williams mismanaged his pitchers again.
2. Yordano Ventura dedicates Game 6 start to Oscar Taveras
Just weeks after his pinch-hit game-tying homer in the NLCS, Cardinals rookie Oscar Taveras was tragically killed in a car crash. Two days later, Taveras’s friend Yordano Ventura was pitching for the Royals in Game 6 of the World Series. Ventura dedicated his start to Taveras’s memory and pitched seven scoreless innings.
1. Madison Bumgarner somehow manages to not let his arm fall off
So it’s Game 7 of the World Series. Madison Bumgarner has already won Games 1 and 5 for the Giants. He enters the game in the fifth inning, pitching on two days rest. San Francisco leads by one. You figure he’ll pitch two, maybe three innings, just to bridge the gap to the backend of the bullpen.
No. He pitches five innings. No runs. Two hits. He throws 68 pitches, bringing his eight-day total to 291. He gets the five-inning save and the Giants win their third championship in five years. Seems like a pretty deserving Sportsman of the Year.