Programming note: For comprehensive Giants-Cardinals NLCS coverage, watch “October Quest” tonight at 6:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.
SAN FRANCISCO – Playoff success has come so quickly for so many players inside the Giants clubhouse.
Then there’s 39-year-old Tim Hudson, who was savoring Tuesday’s 3-2 victory over the Nationals for reasons many of his younger teammates simply can’t relate to.
The Giants wrapped up their National League Division Series in four games against Washington. In doing so, they advance to their third National League Championship Series in the past five seasons.
But this is the first time in Hudson’s 16 major league seasons that he’ll play past the divisional round.
He lost four consecutive ALDS series with the A’s from 2000-03.
Two more rounds of heartache came when his Atlanta Braves lost in NLDS play in 2005 and 2010.
As champagne flew everywhere in the Giants clubhouse Tuesday night, Hudson stood in a corner of the room and reflected on his experience of finally winning a postseason series.
“I’ve always wanted to get out and compete, wanted to win,” he said. “That’s why I still play, it’s why I came here. God works in crazy ways, and this could be something special for us.”
Hudson signed a two-year deal with the Giants last winter. He might be the oldest player on the current club, but he’s a rookie when it comes to postseason success.
Consider that his catcher, Buster Posey, was just 12 years old when Hudson made his big league debut with the A’s back in June 1999. Posey, now 27, already owns two World Series rings. So do Tim Lincecum (age 30), Sergio Romo (31) and Pablo Sandoval (28), among other Giants.
Posey, who admired Hudson’s career from afar while growing up in Georgia, takes great satisfaction in seeing his teammate get to a League Championship Series for the first time.
“It’s really cool,” Posey said. “I pitched a lot in high school, and … I don’t wanna make him feel old, but I remember watching him when I was a kid. To be a teammate of his is a lot of fun, and I’m excited for him that he gets the opportunity to play one step further than he’s been.”
Right-hander Ryan Vogelsong, who held the Nationals to one run over 5.2 innings Tuesday, said Hudson indirectly provided him motivation taking the mound.
“I know personally for me, today I had a lot of thoughts about getting Hudson to the next round,” Vogelsong said. “You know, he’s never been past the first round, and it was weighing on my mind pretty heavy today that I needed to come out here and throw a great game to get Huddy to the next round.
“That just speaks to you about what we have in this room. Its’ not about you and it’s not about I. It’s about us.”
Hudson is 1-3 with a 3.19 ERA in 11 postseason games (10 starts). He came through with one of his best efforts in Game 2 of this NLDS against Washington, when he gave up just one run over 7 1/3 innings.
Where he slots in for the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals isn’t known yet, though it’s conceivable he could take the ball in Game 3 at AT&T Park.
Hudson gave consideration to re-signing with the A’s last winter but said the Giants simply felt like the right fit.
“Just from competing against these guys over the years,” he explained. “They know how to win when it matters. There’s something different whenever this team gets into the playoffs. They know what buttons to push, guys know what to do in certain situations, and that’s all that matters.”