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-Rangers Game 1: First Down

The Giants add another pitcher’s pelt to their wall next to Jimenez, Latos, Halladay, Oswalt and Hamels.  Here’s Cliff Lee’s new post-season stats:

Rk Series Date Tm Opp Rslt H R BB SO HR
1 2009 NLDS g1 Oct 7 PHI COL W,5-1 6 1 0 5 0
2 2009 NLDS g4 Oct 12 PHI @ COL W,5-4 5 3 3 5 0
3 2009 NLCS g3 Oct 18 PHI LAD W,11-0 3 0 0 10 0
4 2009 WS g1 Oct 28 PHI @ NYY W,6-1 6 1 0 10 0
5 2009 WS g5 Nov 2 PHI NYY W,8-6 7 5 3 3 0
2010 Postseason Series Tm Opp Rslt H R BB SO HR
6 2010 ALDS g1 Oct 6 TEX @ TBR W,5-1 5 1 0 10 1
7 2010 ALDS g5 Oct 12 TEX @ TBR W,5-1 6 1 0 11 0
8 2010 ALCS g3 Oct 18 TEX @ NYY W,8-0 2 0 1 13 0
9 2010 WS g1 Oct 27 TEX @ SFG L,7-11 8 7 1 7 0
48 19 8 74 1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/28/2010.
That “L” on the last row? That’s the Giants.  Not only does nobody think the Giants are going to win this series, absolutely nobody saw them defeating Lee, especially in an 11-7 game.  The Giants don’t have offense, what was that about?
Even I’m somewhat baffled.  I’m not sure what any of it means.  I would have preferred that the Giants kept the 8-2 score they had in the 5th, that makes more sense to me.  The Giants strength all season has been their ability to keep runs at bay.  So it concerns me that after Lincecum leaves the game the bullpen gives up 5 more runs in 4 innings.  Yes, the Giants scored 11 runs and took the win, but can they do that all the time?  Are they going to have to?  They’ve only scored double digits fourteen times this season. 
On the other hand, I’ve heard the Rangers are pretty good about not giving up runs too, especially Cliff “third greatest post-season pitcher of all time” Lee, and yet they gave up 11.  So I really have no idea what to make of this game.  Maybe it was a fluke for both teams. 
I would like to think that the Rangers 3 runs in the 9th were mostly because Bochy didn’t put in Wilson right away, per usual, and I would like to think that the reason he did that was because the Giants were far enough ahead that he wanted to save Wilson and give other closers a chance to see some action.  Of course, it didn’t work out for Ramirez or Affeldt and Wilson ended up coming in anyway, but maybe those last 3 runs were “freebies” or something.  
Another “battle of the great pitchers of all time” hype that didn’t live up to itself.  Despite giving up more runs, Lee tied Lincecum in the hits department, dominated him in strikeouts and ultimately ended up with a slightly better ERA, even though he pitched one less inning.  But obviously, given the amount of runs in the game, neither star pitcher gave his best performance and the media was once again sad.
The tack-on offense was just amazing last night.  Consider that the Rangers had 8 hits off Lincecum but only generated 4 runs, while the Giants had 8 hits off Lee and generated 7 runs.  The singles and double just kept coming, and it always seem like it was when there were two outs.  Freddie Sanchez made World Series history by hitting three doubles in one game, generating three RBIs.  Posey, Schierholtz, Ross, Huff and Ishikawa all got to contribute RBIs and Juan UUUU-Ribe once again batted one out of the park with two on base.  God I love that guy.  He doesn’t always hit, but when he hits it’s always good.
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Aside from the lame Fox announcers, two things I hated about last night’s presentation: 1) They completely skipped the opening pitch by Giants hall-of-famers in favor of focusing on two igits in the press box who, by their own admission later in the game, don’t know what they’re talking about.  How come I had to watch them instead of watching Orlando Cepeda, Gaylord Perry, Juan Marichal and Willie McCovey?  I don’t even know what they said.  Who cares what they said!  2) Didn’t get to see whether or not the crowd cheered when they announced Bengie Molina.  That was a discussion around the bay area all week, as to whether that would happen.  I heard on the radio this morning that they did in fact cheer his name, and I’m glad for it. I love the Bengie, even if he’s in the wrong colors.  
Speaking of Bengie, his latest blog entry is full of warm-hearted goodness.  My favorite bit:
The first time I was up, I wished Posey luck and he wished me luck. Then I looked out at Lincecum and touched the bill of my cap, and he touched his in response.
 
I had as special a relationship with Timmy as I have had with any pitcher. Maybe because he was so young when I began catching him and I became a mentor to him. We have texted since I was traded but I had not seen him or talked to him in person until the game yesterday. I had heard he had said really nice things about me to the press.
 
When he came up to bat for the first time, I stood and told him, “I want you to know that hits or no hits, win or lose, you’re my boy.”

“Hey, Be-Mo, I love you.”

Then we both got to work.

Awesome.  

Game 1 is in the bag.  Cliff Lee defeated.  The Giants are 1-0.  We’re still making the media scratch their heads in bewilderment.  Keep it up!  

GO GIANTS!


WORLD SERIES WIN COUNTER
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Perfection

That’s what yesterday was.  I got exactly what I wanted:

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The Dodgers beat the Rockies, ELIMINATING them from playoff contention.  I’ll go back to hating you next year but for now, thank you Dodgers!
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The Cubs beat the Padres, knocking them two games back.  So thank you Cubs!  I still like your hats.  
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The Giants beat the D-Backs and maintain the number one position, thanks to the RBIs of Burrell and Schierholtz and another UUUUU-Ribe home run. 
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I miss Nate.  Now that the Giants have 285 outfielders, he doesn’t get played that much.  I think I heard on the radio that he has started in 60 games.  I don’t know about his batting, but he’s a great right fielder. His arm is ridiculous and I still remember the Phillies game where he got not one, but two batters out who had delusions of getting a double.  I’m not saying Bochy is wrong in not starting him, I’m just saying I miss him and it was nice to see him get a chance and succeed in helping the team out last night with a timely RBI single.
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So it’s down to the Padres and the Giants, which is no real surprise.  The Friars still have two more games with the Cubs to go before coming to SF.  Will they be knocked out before then?  How many games do they have to lose before it’s officially over?  One or three?  I’m horrible at figuring out these “games behind” stats.  I think they’d have to be swept by the Cubs to be completely out before SF.  What’s weird though?  Looking at their schedule, the Giants aren’t even on it.  Have they given up already?
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Our Bum vs Dem Bums

Madison Bumgarner pitches 5.5 innings and gets his third win of the season.  Not bad, minus that one teensy little home run.  Good on ya, son!  (I can call him “son” because he’s like 15 years old and I am not.)  Still need to snag your bobblehead on eBay one of these days.

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Buster and his .350 batting average continued his 13 game hitting streak, racking up an RBI in the process.  But it was our main man with the killer arm Nate Shierholtz (who’s last name is still impossible to spell) who brought in two runs with his third home run of the season.  Good on ya buddy, you were due!

natehighfive.jpgAnd since I’m talking to players as if they read this, “Hey Mr. Wilson!”  You’re awesome and all, but serious what is with the pension for drama?  Why can’t you just get your three outs?  Why does it gotta be two outs, and then loading bases for 20 minutes before effortlessly getting the third out by striking the dude out with three pitches?  Boom. Boom.  Boom.  Like you couldn’t have done that three batters ago?   I feel like you’re addicted to drama.  But…so long as the drama works out in our favor, I guess I’ll suffer the nervous sweating and nails digging into my palms. 

cantwatchthis.jpgThe Dodgers and the Rockies are on a losing streak and we’re in second place again.  We are a different team.  That said…yes we beat the Dodgers yesterday, in their home turf, but let’s not get all full of ourselves just yet.  It’s one game.  Two to go.  Game faces on, people!

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Two for Tuesday Against Phillies

Okay, I borrowed that line from an MLB.com headline.  Shame.  But we won the series!  Now how about a sweep?  Seems likely since Lincecum is on the mound tonight, but ya never know.

One lesson the Phillies hopefully learned yesterday (or didn’t learn so that they keep losing) is that if you hit the ball anywhere near Schierholtz, do not go for the double, he will get you.  Both Ryan Howard and Chase Utley found out the hard way that they were being too dang greedy.

mrgreedy.JPGSpeaking of Chase Utley though, got to hand it to him and Castro for that amazing double play.  Hate to see it, of course, but it was pretty entertaining.

castroutleydoubleplay.jpgTwelve hits, six RBIs and two home runs from the Giants, so their hitting seems to be getting better.  I especially like the RBIs, because it seems like we’ve been missing opportunities to get players on the plate home.

idhitit.jpgWellemeyer (who’s name I can never spell without looking up) got his first win this season by pitching seven innings with only three hits and two runs.  And here I was worried that the Phillies were facing us with Wellemeyer and Sánchez as starters, but they both did great!

toddwellemeyer.jpgI’m finding it weird to watch the Giants play the Phillies, because not six months ago, I was on the edge of my seat rooting for the Phillies to beat the Yankees.  I toyed with naming my kid Chase Lee, for crying out loud!  Mostly still the same guys, but now I want them to lose, though I still find myself appreciating some of their talent, more so than I have other teams we’ve faced.  I wouldn’t mind seeing Chase Utley get his 1,000th hit tonight, even though that means he got a hit off us, which I don’t want. Oh the dilemma!

onthefence.jpgNaw, I like the Phillies, but I want the sweep.  Just temporary crazy talk on my part!  We’re back to tied for first with the Padres (man those guys won’t go away) and we just knocked the Phillies down to second place behind the Mets, which just can’t make sense to anyone, but man is it satisfying.

standings20100428.jpgMaintain!  Maintain!  Maintain!