Record-setting effort nets Scutaro NLCS MVP
Infielder breaks mark with six multihit games in series, ties with 14 total hits
SAN FRANCISCO -- While the candidates were debating for the presidency on Monday night, Marco Scutaro was leaving no room for debate in the National League Championship Series.
The Giants second baseman ran -- and hit and fielded -- unopposed for Most Valuable Player of the NLCS, crowning what had already appeared to be a foregone conclusion with a record sixth multihit performance in San Francisco's 9-0 pennant-clinching Game 7 victory over the Cardinals at AT&T Park.If there was an instant in this remarkable odyssey worthy of being permanently frozen in the mind's eye -- it was of Scutaro standing at his position under the ninth-inning deluge, tilting his body and spreading his arms skyward.
|Marco Scutaro||S.F.||2012 NLCS||7||14|
|Kevin Youkilis||Bos.||2007 ALCS||7||14|
|Hideki Matsui||NYY||2004 ALCS||7||14|
|Albert Pujols||Stl.||2004 NLCS||7||14|
|Javy Lopez||Atl.||1996 NLCS||7||13|
|Will Clark||S.F.||1989 NLCS||5||13|
|David Freese||Stl.||2011 NLCS||6||12|
|David Ortiz||Bos.||2004 ALCS||7||12|
|Mark Lemke||Atl.||1996 NLCS||7||12|
|Tim Raines||CWS||1993 ALCS||6||12|
|Devon White||Tor.||1993 ALCS||6||12|
|Jay Bell||Pit.||1991 NLCS||7||12|
"I was just enjoying the moment," Scutaro said. "When things are going good, you've got to enjoy it, right? It never rains like that here in the Bay Area. Tonight, it did for us."This rain never felt so good. Being here, going to the World Series, National League champs, enjoying this moment with my family, all my teammates, this is unbelievable." For seven games, it rained Scutaro base hits. As the 36-year-old previously obscure veteran exulted after every hit and flawlessly executed defensive play, his spirit soared far above his mile-high altitude as a member of the Rockies until the July 26 trade that brought him to his personal promised land. Scutaro's 3-for-4 effort raised his toll to an LCS-record-tying 14 hits as he batted .500 (14-for-28) in leading the G-Men's charge back to the Fall Classic. The 14 hits tied the record for an LCS shared by the Yankees' Hideki Matsui, St. Louis' Albert Pujols and Boston's Kevin Youkilis. Coming on the heels of a quintet of two-hit games, Scutaro's six multihit games in the series set an LCS record, breaking the previous standard of five shared by five: Harold Baines in 1992, Devon White in 1993, Eddie Perez in 1999, Pujols in 2004 and Youkilis in 2007.
NLCS MVP Award winners
|1990||Rob Dibble, Randy Myers||Reds|
"It's great to see somebody get locked in and stay locked in for a series," said Will Clark, the onetime first-base great, now on the Giants' staff as a special assistant. "To see a guy go out there and hit line drive after line drive after line drive, that is a true professional doing his craft. From my perspective, it is very refreshing to see.""He was the rock for us. He was the foundation," said Giants outfielder Hunter Pence. "He started all of this. The guy's an incredible man. His importance showed it all. We feel he's the MVP. He's carried us, and it's pretty incredible." Naming rights for the NLCS MVP Award are still available, and you could do worse than making it the Brian Sabean Award. Scutaro is the second straight midseason acquisition by the San Francisco GM to earn it for the Giants. In 2010, the hardware went to Cody Ross, whom the Giants had claimed on waivers from the Marlins in late August. Ross batted .350, with three home runs, in that October's six-game victory over Philadelphia. By turning into Super Marco following Matt Holliday's memorable slide into him early in Game 2 -- the second baseman went 12-for-23 after that -- Scutaro erased a lot of personal postseason frustration. His NLCS brilliance obscured the fact he had batted .150 (3-for-20) in the NL Division Series against the Cincinnati Reds. And in his only prior chance to play for an entry into the World Series, he had gone 1-for-15 (.067) in the 2006 ALCS as his A's were swept by the Tigers. "When I woke up this morning, I just told myself that whatever happens today, I'm just going to try to enjoy this moment and just go out there and have fun," Scutaro said. "After we were up eight runs or nine, something like that, in the ninth inning, Game 7 ... I mean I just had so much stuff going through my head, just unbelievable." Scutaro will turn 37 on Oct. 30 -- between Games 5 and 6 of the World Series. Don't bother shopping for a gift. He already has it. "Just to be part of this team and just being in the playoffs and having the opportunity to live this experience for me is unbelievable," Scutaro said. "I never had this opportunity to be in a World Series. And now I'm going to be in the World Series." "And this little gift right here," he added, holding up his MVP trophy, "makes it special."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.