On the bright side for the Giants, there wasn't an earthquake in Game 5. So at least that part of their agonizing postseason history was avoided.
There was, however, an avalanche of missed opportunities, from which the Giants now have to dig out.
San Francisco missed a golden chance to get to the World Series and unleash a wild party in the streets. But the Giants couldn't close out the NLCS at home, against an injured
"With this club, we don't do anything easy," manager
True. The Giants adopted the slogan "Giants baseball: torture" -- coined by team broadcaster
A week ago, no one in the Giants clubhouse would have predicted that getting past the Phillies would be easy. And they all would have been right.
"We've made this tortuous all year long," said
And now the Giants' hard past comes into play.
And the 1987 and 2002 heartbreaks. Twice in their San Francisco history the Giants have boarded a plane with a 3-2 series lead, trying to close out a series on the road. Twice they've failed.
In 1987, in St. Louis the Giants' pennant dreams were dashed due to a misplayed ball by their own
No one on the Giants roster -- save for a few members of the coaching staff -- was involved in those past series. No current player could recite the details. And they work in a city where the team's past failures are not woven into the daily fabric of life -- though they certainly became talking points in the bars and on the airwaves beginning Thursday night.
Will moments from Game 5 be etched into Giants' franchise heartbreak?
The Giants' posture on Thursday night was worry-free. "If you'd told us before the series started that we'd be in this position, I think we'd all take it," Huff said.
The Giants go into Philadelphia knowing they can win there: the Phillies' Game 1 loss was their first in an NLCS game played at Citizens Bank Park. The Giants also have defeated the next two scheduled Phillies pitchers:
The Giants have
The Giants still feel this is their series to lose. "We have a lot of confidence going back there,"
For the moment. But there's been a definite shift in series momentum. A long unwanted flight back east. And a bunch of missed opportunities.