Bruce Bochy, who just so happens to manage the reigning World Series Champion San Francisco Giants, says that his team is not the favorite to repeat as NL champs. He says the favorite title has to go to the team he knocked out of the postseason last year.
"Because of track record, I think you would have to look at their staff as the best in baseball," Bochy told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I think everybody in the National League would tell you the road to the World Series has to go through Philadelphia, with the quality of their staff."
While Bochy certainly isn’t wrong to point out that most everyone in the NL sees the Phillies as favorites, but his statements reveal what the defending champs seem most puzzled how to deal with. Expectations.
"Last year, I don’t know when we were favored to win, ever, and we got it done," Bochy told the San Francisco Chronicle. "For us, it’s not what other people think. It’s what we think. We certainly believe in ourselves, in what we’re capable of doing. We’re not caught up with what the expectations are or the predictions."
The Giants relished playing the role of the underdog last season. The "torture" they liked to go on about so often last season is over. They aren’t the lovable underdogs anymore. While they certainly boast a pitching staff full of blue chips, their lineup was stocked with journeyman who just came up big time and time again in the postseason. Several of those journeyman are gone.
They can act like the Phillies are the big bad wolf… but the fact it is that the Giants are the team wearing the rings right now. It’s hard to play the underdog when you’ve got those.