ST. LOUIS - The message is simple. It derives its power less from complexity and depth and more from repetition and consistency. Throughout the ebbs and flows of a long season, it remains unchanged.
Manager Bruce Bochy often reminds his Giants about expectations. They've responded by meeting them more often than most.
"I think Boch deserves a lot of credit," catcher Buster Posey said before Game 1 of the National League Championship Series against the Cardinals Saturday night. "He has a clear message in spring training of what our expectations are and what we want to accomplish . . . That's probably the basis for it."
In San Francisco, a city once accustomed to bitter collapses and October agony, postseason success has become as ever-present as the morning fog. Bochy's steady hand has played a major role.
"He's been through it so much that he's really good about the start line and the finish line," Giants chief executive officer Larry Baer said. "When you're in the middle between the start line and the finish line, don't freak out when something in the middle goes wrong, because something will go wrong."
Plenty went wrong for the Giants this season. Before beating the Pirates in the wild-card game, before dispatching the Nationals in the NL Division Series, the Giants nearly allowed their season to spiral out of control.
Through June 8, they had the best record in baseball, then hit a two-month swoon in which they squandered a 10-game NL West lead. But they recovered, winning 19 of their final 31 games to clinch a wild-card spot.
And just as they've often done with Bochy at the helm, the Giants have transformed themselves in October.
"We had a low this year in the middle," Baer said. "We couldn't win games at home. But we were able to get through that. And I think that's largely due to Bochy and the coaching staff."
Injuries have sidelined Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro. Two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum has been banished to the bullpen. Sergio Romo was stripped of his closer's role in favor of Santiago Casilla.
But the Giants have endured, relatively drama-free.
"When you talked to him, you could sort of see there were a lot of wheels turning even though he's not all that animated," Baer said. "You always got the feeling when you were talking to him that the wheels were turning."
If the Giants win the pennant, Bochy, 59, will be one of 23 managers with four league championships. And if the Giants win the World Series, he will be one of only 10 with at least three championships. Each of the previous nine managers is in the Hall of Fame.
Bochy has filled out much of his resume with the Giants.
Before his hiring in 2007, Bochy spent 12 seasons with the Padres, compiling an 8-16 record in four postseason appearances. Aside from winning the pennant in 1998 -- the precursor to a sweep by the Yankees in the World Series -- Bochy saw his teams get knocked out in the first round three times.
With the Giants, Bochy is 26-10 in the postseason, including World Series titles in 2010 and 2012. With him at the helm, the Giants have never lost a postseason series.
Bochy insists there is no "magic formula." Instead, he relies on a clear message about expectations, delivered with the steadiness of a drumbeat.
"I guess my answer to that would be, 'Hey, you go out there and you give it all you can,' " Bochy said. "You try to keep guys loose and relaxed, because they are going to be amped up, but have some fun with it, embrace this."