Listed on the Giants official roster as standing 5 feet, 10 inches, Marco Scutaro is tied with reliever Sergio Romo as the most vertically challenged of the National League champions.
But boy did he come up big against the Cardinals.
By now, unless you were caught up in some other televised drama Monday night, you know all about Scutaro winning the NL Championship Series MVP award. He tied an NLCS record with 14 hits, scored six runs and drove in four. And oh yeah, he caught the last out of the series, looking up into the driving rain and snaring the ball to secure the win.
“I was just like praying, ‘Please, you got to catch this ball,’” Scutaro said after the game. “It was kind of tough. I was kind of concerned. The flight of the ball, the rain kind of stopped it a little bit. Another minute, I don’t think I would have a chance.”
He almost didn’t have a chance to play at all, after Cardinals resident WWE hopeful Matt Holliday admittedly slid late into second to break up a double play in Game 2, and nearly broke up Scutaro in the process.
Suffering “only” a strained left hip, Scutaro delivered a crushing hit of his own (of the legal variety) later in that very same game. And he kept delivering throughout the series. He had at least two hits in every game except Game 5, when he was limited to just one. But he made up for it in the series finale, collecting three hits and a walk.
His 14 hits tied Hideki Matsui (2004), Albert Pujols (2004), and Kevin Youkilis (2007) for most hits in an LCS. And his 10-game hitting streak ties Cody Ross and Alvin Dark for the longest in Giants postseason history.
And to think he didn’t even start the season in San Francisco. Acquired by the Giants at the trade deadline in July for minor-leaguer Charlie Culberson, the Giants took on just $2.1 million of Scutaro’s salary. Little wonder then that the trade flew under the radar in the wake of division-rival Los Angeles breaking the bank to acquire a bunch of Boston retreads.
But while the trade was overlooked at the time, it may have been the best deadline move of the year. Scutaro batted .362 for the Giants and put up a .859 OPS in 268 plate appearances, far eclipsing his numbers in Colorado (.271/.684). And after struggling to a .200 average against the Reds, Scutaro exploded against the Cards and became just the fifth mid-season pickup to ever win a postseason MVP award.
“It took him about a day and a half to feel comfortable around here,” Ryan Vogelsong said after Game 7. “And it took him all of about 20 minutes to start hitting around here.”
For several years, Scutaro was known to area fans as the jack of all trades for Oakland, filling in as needed in the infield, and even occasionally the outfield. He also had stops in New York with the Mets, Toronto, Boston and Colorado.
But now, the about-to-be-37-year-old will always be known as a Giant.
Here’s to Marco Scutaro and his perseverance. A little guy standing tall on one of the biggest stages of his life.