Quick thoughts on a Thursday before MLB Playoffs get started

Finally those coin-flip games are over and we can all start looking at a full series. Madison Bumgarner was dominant last night while beating the Pirates 8-0, and it was a sigh of releif in this wild 2014 season. The Giants once again looked like a dominant lineup that could get contributions from anywhere. 

It's almost as the emergence of Joe Panik has made the sting of losing Angel Pagan easier to bear. In his postseason debut the rookie Panik went 3-for-5. He didn't score a run but was right there in the middle of late inning rallys just keeping the line moving.

What can I say about Brandon Belt? That guy has the best plate discipline of any Giants hitter since Barry Bonds. His walk in the 4th inning right before Brandon Crawford's grand slam might have been the at bat of the game. How he took that 2-2 pitch I'll never know.

You just have to feel good for Crawford. After a season in which he struggled at both the plate and in the field, to have a moment like this must be so redeeming for him. He had a great September driving in 16 runs and it looks like it's rolling over to October.

Hunter Pence may not have broken out of his slump but there were some encouraging signs. Specifically his single in the top of the 4th inning to follow Pablo Sandoval's lead off single. In the 4 plate appearances that Pence put the ball in play he saw 5 pitches total, when he walked to lead off the 6th inning he saw 6 pitches. Still, 11 pitches in 5 at bats is not ideal. I really hope Pence can find it in the NLDS.

The postseason versions of Sandoval and Buster Posey showed up again against the Pirates. Pablo did his damage early while Posey got his swing going late. Early on you could see Posey's frustrations with hitting fly balls that were easily caught. He made an adjustment and was able to help the team add to the lead and put it away.

Personally, I hate the Wild Card game and all it's funkiness. We saw two nights ago in the AL version how anything can happen. Now that this is over with it's time to look ahead to a playoff series. Thankfully, the Giants coin came up Bumgarner last night.

I'm going to dive deeper in to the Giants-Nats series later tonight or tomorrow before Game 1. These were just some quick thoughts before I head out for the day. With a nod to my buddy @chaseparker22 below are my picks for these playoffs split in to "head" and :heart" categories.

The Giants are in this year's dance, do you really expect me to be fully objective?

NLDS: Nats over Giants, Dodgers over Cardinals
ALDS: Orioles over Tigers, Angels over Royals
NLCSDodgers over Nats
ALCS: Angels over Orioles
WS: Dodgers over Angels (I'm so sorry. I picked Dodgers back in April on the Atf Podcast)

NLDS: Giants over Nats, Dodgers over Cardinals
ALDS: Orioles over Tigers, Royals over Angels
NLCS: Giants over Dodgers (How much fun would this be?)
ALCS: Orioles over Royals (All orange and black, plus I want to see Giants hit in Baltimore)
WS: Giants over Orioles (Posey gets first WS MVP)

That's all I have time for this morning. I can't wait to enjoy the ride of this year's Giants team with everyone. Here we go again.

Eric Nathanson

@2outhits on Twitter