Questions

Man post-post season is ridiculously boring, isn’t it?  Even Jane Heller has been reduced to move reviewing.  There could be news if someone would actually do something, but so far there’s just unanswered questions, like…

1) Will Aubrey Huff and Juan Uribe like their offers and come back next year?
2) Will Jonathan Sanchez, Andres Torres, Cody Ross, Mike Fontenot, Ramon Ramirez, Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez and Chris Ray come to arbitration agreements?  
3) Will Zito learn to pitch again or will they downgrade him to an 8 bazillion dollar bench warmer?  
4 Will Pablo Sandoval be playing next season or will he eat himself out of baseball during the break?  
5)  Will Mark DeRosa…do…um…anything?  
Heck, I’m so bored I’m even watching to see what happens to Jeter and Werth!  I think they should come to the Giants.  Yeah right.

Giants-Rangers Game 4: Rookie Sensation

Who knows what this Bumgarner guy is going to do?  That’s what I was thinking going into this anyway.  I like the guy, but he hasn’t been ridiculously dominate or anything, and this is the World Series, and the potential tie-winning game for the Rangers.  So what’s he going to do?  How about this?

Pitching IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Madison Bumgarner, W (2-0) 8 3 0 0 2 6 0 2.18
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/1/2010.
The Giants shut down the Rangers for the second time this World Series.  The fifth highest scoring team in the majors in the regular season, and they’ve been shut down twice.  Yes yes Media, I know I know; their bats disappeared.  Funny how that keeps happening when the Giants are in town.  
I knew it was going to be a good night when it seemed like the innings where Texas was pitching took forever whereas the innings where the Giants were pitching were like one, two, three.  I think Tommy Hunter averaged about twenty pitchers per batter, seemed like.  Stands to reason he only lasted four innings, the dude must have been tired.  
Bumgarner, on the other hand, lasted eight, and probably could have went all nine, but I guess since it’s the World Series and all, Bochy decided to play it safe and bring in Wilson for the last inning.  The guy has to do something this series, right?  
Considering the scores of the first two games, not a great deal of offense from the Giants last night, but in a shut out, I guess you only need one run.  Top of the 3rd, Aubrey Huff takes his new job as DH seriously and knocks one out of the right field, driving in Torres and making it a 2-0 game.  Freddy Sanchez was surprised:
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I was too.  Can’t remember the last time Huff hit a homer.  He used to do it regularly.  So there was the game winner.  In the 7th, Torres doubles in Renteria and in the 8th Buster Posey remembers who he was and slams another one out of the park, making it a 4-0 game. 
So one more to go.  I am on egg shells of course. Do not want to jinx anything.  Thirty-eight of the last 44 teams to have a 3-1 in the World Series went on to win, so good odds.  But still, there were those eleven who thought the same thing. 
I hope they win tonight, even though they’re still stuck in Texas.  Seems unlikely we’ll beat Cliff Lee twice, but a lot of things have seemed unlikely this season.  That’s kind of the Giants thing, to do the unlikely.  It’d be great if Lincecum clinched it, being Mr. Franchise and all.  Plus, I have to go out of town first thing Wednesday morning, and I want a day of celebration, which would have to be Tuesday.  So yeah Giants, do it for me, would ya?
WORLD SERIES WIN COUNTER
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Giants-Rangers Game 2: Cake Walks

I am completely confused as to what’s going on.  This is not Giants baseball as I have come to know it.  20 runs in two games?  Not that I’m complaining, mind you, it’s kind of nice actually.  Is this what games are like for other fans?  Lots of runs, great defense, no torture?  I could get used to it, but on the other hand, the pessimist in me is waiting for the other shoe to drop.  

It started out like a normal Giants game.  No runs for the first four innings, both Cain and Wilson (C.J. Wilson, now our Wilson) shutting out the competition.  Then Edgar Renteria decides to relive his past World Series experience and knocks one out of the park. 1-0, still a normal Giants game.  That run ultimately won the game BTW, but let’s keep going.
Bottom of the 7th, Juan Uribe, the other “old guy” on the team with post-season experience, knocks a single into right field and Cody Ross scores.  2-0 Giants.  Okay now, from past experience, the goal now is to keep those measly two runs and prevent the other guys from catching up by using our awesome bullpen to shut them down, sealing the deal with Brian Wilson.
But then the 8th happened.  Like this:
  • O’Day now pitching, strikes out Torres.  One out.
  • Freddy Sanchez up, strikes out.  Two out.
  • Buster Posey, single to second base.  Still two out.
  • O’Day replaced by Derek Holland. Nate Schierholtz walks.  Buster to 2B.  Still two out.
  • Cody Ross walks, Posey to 3B, Scheirholtz to 2B.  Bases loaded.  Still two out.
  • Aubrey Huff WALKS.  Posey scores.  Scheirholtz to 3B.  Ross to 2B.  Still two out.  SFG: 3, TEX: 0.
  • Holland out, Lowe in.  Walks Juan Uribe.  Scheriholtz scores.  Ross to 3B. Huff to 2B.  Still two out.  SFG: 4, TEX: 0.
  • Renteria singles to LF, Ross and Huff score.  Still two out.  SFG: 6, TEX: 0.  
  • Lowe out, Kirkman in.  Aaron Rowand triples to RF, Uribe and Renteria score.  Still two out.  SFG: 8, TEX: 0.
  • Andres Torres doubles to LF, Rowand scores. Still two out.  SFG: 9, TEX: 0.
  • Freddy Sanchez strikes out swinging.  Three out.

The Texas bullpen just died or something.  Giants score 7 runs in one inning, two from walks.  It was like one of those cake walks at the community fair, where everyone is just walking around in circles waiting for the music to stop.  It finally stopped after 7 runs.  Of course, as I said above, only 1 run was needed to win this game, so the 8th inning was just icing, but an icing that certainly boosted confidence and hopefully sucked some life out of Texas.  I guarantee you there will be a pitchers meeting before Game 3.  

Fear the ‘Fro again, people!  Matt Cain performed another shut out, keeping his post-season 0.00 ERA intact.  I’m so glad the world gets to see how awesome this guy is.  (Well, the world that’s watching, because y’know.. the Yankees and Red Sox aren’t in it this year.)   Ian Kinsler almost knocked one out of the park in the 5th, but he was about 10 cents short and the Ranger remained scoreless.  
Series Date Tm Opp Rslt Inngs IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
2010 NLDS g2 Oct 8 SFG ATL L,4-5 GS-7 6.2 7 1 0 2 6 0 0.00
2010 NLCS g3 Oct 19 SFG PHI W,3-0 GS-7 7.0 2 0 0 3 5 0 0.00
2010 WS g2 Oct 28 SFG TEX W,9-0 GS-8 7.2 4 0 0 2 2 0 0.00
21.1 13 1 0 7 13 0 0.00
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/29/2010.
Matt Cain everyone!
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Speaking of awesome pitching, and I don’t think I ever have spoken about this guy, but how sick is Javier Lopez?  His crazy pitching style had me from the beginning, but I always overlook him in my posts because he generally only pitches for one or two at-bats.  But they’re always smoking.  He takes out left handers like a freakin’ ninja with Chinese throwing stars.  His sideways looking bullet eliminated Hamilton’s last chance to get something going in the 8th.  It was a beautiful thing.
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So the Giants are 2-0 so far.  Everyone around here is getting all cocky again, just like they did in the NLCS. I hate that, personally. I guess I’m too negative to celebrate before anything is official.  Of course, all the premature back patters were right about the NLCS, so maybe they’ll be right about the World Series too.  I heard on the way to work this morning that a 2-0 lead has happened 51 times in World Series history, and of those 51 2-0 teams, forty have gone on to win the title.  Pretty good odds, but how much you want to bet the Giants were one of those 9 teams who didn’t make it?
Not to be negative though.  Be positive. But not too positive.  Everyone keep wearing the same hats, sweaters, lucky socks; whatever you’re doing keep it going.  Don’t change your routine now.  We’re in Texas now.  Enemy territory.  Don’t look ahead, focus on the next game.  Keep your cool, your determination, look for those lucky breaks to feed on.  Wait…who am I talking to?
GO GIANTS

WORLD SERIES WIN COUNTER
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Giants-Phillies Game 4: Mirror Universe

Yesterday’s Game 4 was the opposite of Game 3, lackluster pitching, stellar offense and horribly torturous.  

It started as I left work, so I got to listen to it on the radio on my commute home, which is always a nice way to stave off the boredom of the drive.  Sanchez scores off an RBI from Posey in the 1st and I instantly think “uh oh” for some reason.  I have no stats or research to back this up, but I always feel like when the Giants score early they end up losing it.  Still, first run on the board, so let’s try and be excited, shall we?  
Bottom of the 3rd, again Buster drives in Huff to score with a double to center field.  Well alright, maybe this will be okay!  Let’s do this!
Top of the 5th, everything falls apart and the Phillies score 4 runs.  Ack.  The crappy post-season announcers start patting themselves on the back because their team is now winning and start spouting off stats like how the Giants haven’t score more than 3 runs in game since Game 2 against Pittsburgh in 1975.  “Can that be right?” I thought to myself but figured it probably was.  So we’re out then right?  Darn.
Somewhat answering back, Huff drives in Torres with a single to center field.  Okay well they’ve hit their cap.  Still losing.
Bottom of the 6th, Pablo Sandoval of all people hits a double and Burrell and Ross score.  WHAT THE HECK?  That’s more than 3 runs!  We’re ahead again!  OH MY GOD are we going to do this?
Top of the 8th, Jason “the Jesus” Werth hits a double and Ryan Howard scores, tying the game.  I get pissed at this point.  I hate tied games after the 7th.  I loathe them.  I hate the idea and possibility of extra innings.  Extra innings are so damn torturous and seemingly never ending.  And yet here we are, probably going into extra innings.  At this point I admit, I was a bad fan and took a break.  Dishes needed to get done anyway, kids needed to be put to bed.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to come back.  But the wife was uncharacteristically light with the cooking hardware and dishes were done relatively quickly, and back again was I in front of the television, nails digging into sweaty palms.
Nothing happens for the Giants in the 8th, nothing happens for the Phillies in the 9th.  The status quo remains, extra innings are looming, I need to turn this off but I can’t.  The Phillies bring in Roy Oswalt for the 9th.  NOT HIM!  He schooled the Giants in Game 2, we’re never going to get anything now.  The only saving grace, I thought to myself, was that if we lose tonight, at least they had to wreck their second starter to do it.
But wait, he’s on two days rest and they’re hitting off him.  Single by Huff!  Single by Posey, Huff takes 3rd!  They bring in Uribe.  He hasn’t played all night, his wrist is jacked, but I knew he could do it.  Hindsight is 20/20, but I was feeling it. I was positive. I don’t know why, I’m rarely positive.  But Huff was right there, it wouldn’t take much.  He could do it. UUUU-RIBE! sacrifices one to left field and Huff slides into home.  
GIANTS WIN!
giantswin.jpg
I feel like I need to burst with opinionated ravings but I also want to just shut up and let it ride until it’s done done.  No jinxes.  Everybody keeps asking me today if I’m happy and excited, and yes of course, but my answer is always “we still got one to go” because I don’t want to get ahead of this.  
Lincecum vs Halladay rematch tonight.  I’m trying not to cave to superstition (because I easily could) but whatever everybody did on Game 1 of the post-season, do it again.  Lincecum needs to be on fire.  I want a win tonight.  I don’t want another away win, where the celebratory Giants are surrounded by sad faces and crying managers. I want to see orange rally rags and panda hats and chicks with beards.  
Tonight will be the hardest game the Giants have had to win all season.  But it’s going to be the hardest game the Phillies have had to win all season too.  

What’s in a Stat?

I’ve decided statistics mean nothing.  They’re fun and all, and god knows I’m somewhat hooked on them now, read them, post them, do more with them than I ever thought I would when I first started this blog…but yeah they mean nothing.  With each and ever game, you never know.   You can pretend to know, but you never know.  You can look at the Cubs, just as a for instance, and notice they are 17 games back, 5th in their division, with a win-loss record of 48-67 and say to yourself, “ppfffftt…easy series!”  And then they come into town and make you struggle like you’ve never struggled before!

bigheadache.pngGiants ultimately take the four game series with a 3-1 record, but MAN! were the Cubs tougher than I thought they would be.  They made the Giants earn every freaking win.  There was no easy game.  Everything involved that “skin of their teeth” expression.  A win is a win, and we did good, but I am so glad those guys are going home.  And it makes me wonder: are we slumping again or did they just happen to bring their A++++ game? 

a+++.jpgSpeaking of the Cubs, their logo stirs me for some reason.  I have a Cubs memory that I cannot remember.  It is maddening.  Something about their logo and my childhood.  But I can’t remember.  All I can remember is that I can’t remember something I’m supposed to remember.  Perhaps…I think…MAYBE…I had a Cubs hat when I was a kid.  Why did I have a Cubs hat though?  As I’ve said before, I didn’t grow up in a sports obsessed family.  I didn’t grow up in a family that came from Chicago either.  Why would I have had a Cubs hat?  It makes no sense, and yet I cannot shake the vague recollection that it’s true anyway. And even if it is true, and I am recalling correctly, why do I care or remember it at all?  Why does it affect me so?  I wasn’t a hat person, I’ve never been a hat person.  Why do I have such fond almost-memories of a Cubs hat?  What happened with that hat?  I do not care about the Cubs, I don’t follow the team, I don’t care about its roster or standings, and yet…they have those hats…

cubshat.jpgSo, we’re back to 2.5 games behind and we’re finally going to face the Padres again, the scary, consistently number 1 team in the NL West.  They destroyed us before, but so did everybody else, and we have been issuing much payback since post-All-Star break.  Can we do the same with the Friars?  Our bullpen is tired, Andres Torres didn’t get his break yesterday, Jonathan Sánchez is inexplicably talking smack and I can’t say that I’m not worried.  This next series feels like the true test as to whether we’re playoff worthy. 

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Well Shut THEM Down

More Star Wars?  Yeesh.

c-3po.jpgKudos to Matt Cain for paying back the Dodgers by making the D-Backs suffer.  Eight innings, allowing zero runs and only three hits with nine strikeouts, earning his eighth win of the season. 

cain.jpg
And then Wilson follows him up by finishing them off in the ninth and earning his 27th save. No hits, no runs, no loading bases; weird but perfect outing for Wilson.

wilson.jpgAndres Torres was on fire both offensively and defensively, slamming one out of the park in the third inning off of Rodrigo Lopez, and then at the bottom of the same inning, he prevents Chris Young from doing they same with a great snag off the wall.  (Get out your magnifying glass, because no one takes pictures of the good stuff!)

torres.jpgFairly straight forward game, which was a nice breather from the twists and turns of the last series.  So um…yep!  Don’t know what else to say about it.  Let’s do that three more times!

By the Book

Craziest game I’ve ever witnessed (not that I’ve witnessed many)!  First off, it was 5-1 Dodgers by the third inning, and yet I was somehow not freaked out.  Not that I was cocky enough to think we had it in the bag, but I knew we’d score more runs.  First half of the season, we would have stayed at one run, but not this new team. 

ateam.jpgBut that’s not even what was crazy.  Here’s what was crazy:

Lincecum’s Wild Pitch

He was having another control issue day.  Only made it to the fourth inning. His comeback after the All-Star game apparently didn’t last, oh well.  But he throws a pitch that is so completely out of control, it flies over his head and he can’t even figure out where it went!  You gotta see it to believe it! 

missingball.jpgBack and Forth Drilling

I’m thoroughly confused as to what even happened at this point, but here’s what I think happened:

  • Tim Lincecum beams Matt Kemp.  Retaliation for Vincente Padilla breaking Aaron Rowan’s face in April?  Tim says it was an accident and lack of control. (Given the aforementioned wild pitch, I tend to believe him.  After all, Matt Kemp didn’t break Rowan’s face).  Kemp kind of veers towards Lincecum, not really looking at him or say anything, but still to the point where umpire Adrian Johnson steps between the two, escorting Kemp to first base, after which both benches are warned not to escalate anything.

  • One inning later, Bautista makes Russell Martin duck and cover, Dodgers bench coach Bob Schaefer cries foul apparently too loudly and gets ejected. Meanwhile, Martin jogs close to the mound and snarls some nastiness at Bautista.  It’s on!

  • Seventh inning now, and Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw strikes Rowand with the first pitch.  Everyone goes nuts except Rowan, who takes it like a pro and heads to first base.  Both Kershaw and manager Joe Torre are ejected, I assume because of the “no retaliation” warning? 

In other words, your typical Dodgers/Giants game? 

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Rally by Technicality

So now it’s 5-4 Dodgers, top of the 9th, 1 out , bases loaded, and my favorite oddity of the night occurs.  Assistant manager Don Mattingly approaches the mound to talk to his peeps, as managers often do when things are close, but unlike most managers, he leaves and then comes back for some additional thoughts.  And Bochy gets him. 

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Apparently there’s this rule 8:06 that “prohibits managers or coaches visiting the mound from supplementing
their visits by making a U-turn. If they do so, the pitcher must be
removed.”  So the Dodgers are forced to bring in a pitcher cold and the Giants score two more runs, thanks to Torres and Posey.  So kids, bitch about Bochy if you want, he won that game.

mvp.jpgThanks to some rule breaking in our favor, we took the series!  It’d be nice to finish them off with a sweep tonight, but a series win in Dodger Town ain’t nothing to sneeze at!