Final Four

giants.gif phillies.gif rangers.gif yankees.gif

I’m glad Texas won because I’m a big fan of Cliff Lee since watching his performance in last year’s World Series.  He’s the coolest cat to ever wear a baseball hat.  Also Texas has Bengie Molina as their catcher, and I wish good things for that guy.

I’m glad the Yankees won because if you’re going to make it all the way to the World Series, you want to conquer a dynasty.  Beating the Mariners in the World Series doesn’t have the same ring to it.
I’m glad the Phillies won because I’m a Phillies fan since rooting for them in last year’s World Series, and also because of the same reason I’m glad the Yankees won; if you’re going to take the NL Championship, it should be from a dynasty, and the Phillies are definitely becoming a dynasty.
I’m glad the Giants won because…well der.

Braves-Giants Game 4: Onward

Well I was right about the close games, but wrong about it taking five.  Giants are off to the Championship after winning game 4 in Atlanta:

My grandma decided to fall down in her shower the other night, so I had to miss most of the game to go visit her.  Geez, doesn’t she know it’s the playoffs?  How rude.  Anyway, got to listen to the tying and winning run on the radio on the commute home, which was actually the way to go because you get to hear the announcers you’re used to rather than the strange TBS personalities that just don’t seem right.  
Got home in time to hold my breath and watch Wilson get the three last outs in his typical dominating, yet torturous fashion.  I swear he does it on purpose, letting the opposition taste the bases just a little bit before going in for the kill.  Makes it more dramatic.  Makes us love him more too, I think.  He knows it. I want this shirt.
Once again it was tainted with another possible error as what may have been a second out turned into an opportunity for a winning RBI from Cody Ross.  I guess it’s lame for me to complain about good/bad calls when they’re in the Giants favor, but I just don’t like the ambiguity of it all, regardless of who comes out on top.  
Glad we won it in four, but sucky that we weren’t at home when it happened.  Kind of depressing to see a stadium full of sad faces.  Especially sad to see Bobby Cox saying goodbye to the crowd.  Look like he had shrunk three inches after the game was over. 
The series is over, thank god.  Was definitely not my favorite, but ultimately the Giants came out on top and they’re moving on the Championship round.  Woo hoo!  The Phillies are certainly scary but I’m looking forward to playing them anyway.  Funny how when I first started this blog and starting paying closer attention to baseball in general, it was around this time last year when the Phillies were playing the Dodgers in the NLCS.  Now they’re playing the Giants in the NLCS.  Let’s hope they fair better than the Dodgers, eh?

Braves-Giants Game 2 & 3: Blind Luck

Unlike the Yankees and Phillies, who have swept their opponents and are on their way to the Championship Series (again – congrats!) the Giants are 2-1 against the Braves and need one more.  I should be somewhat happy (at least we’re ahead) but I’m not.  Let’s recap:

GAME 1 – Giants score the only run of the game because an error by the umpire let’s Posey stay in scoring position when he should have been out.
GAME 2 – Start off really strong (for the Giants) with a 4 run lead by the 2nd only to lose it in the end by a failed bullpen lead by Romo.
GAME 3 – Giants again score first, thanks to an error by Brooks Conrad, only to lose the lead towards the end because of Romo again, only this time they come back and take the lead again because of another error by Brooks Conrad.  
To me it feels like we’re back in April.  Starting pitching is ridiculously awesome, the bullpen (*coughROMOcough*) keeps giving it up, players are stranded on base over and over (how many bases loaded scenarios did they waste this weekend?) and every game is decided by one lucky or unlucky run.  
When they went into this, I was living off the high of winning the NL West, and truthfully didn’t care if they got any farther.  Why be selfish right?  Well now I want them to win.  Maybe not take everything, but I want them to beat the Braves.  I don’t want to get schooled by the Wild Card (sorry Twins!).  I want to make it to the Championship.  
More importantly, I want them to play better then they’ve been playing.  I know they’re better.  They need to dominate a game like I know they can.  I want to see 14-2 tonight.  I want to see hitting tonight. I want to see a win because they deserved it, not because they got lucky.  
Because luck isn’t going to beat Philadelphia.  
Shave off your stupid beard, Romo.  It’s not working.

Braves-Giants Game 1: Teeth Skin

I talk Giants with a co-worker fairly regularly, especially lately of course.  Passing  my desk on his way out the door yesterday, we speculated on how this Braves series is going to go, and I made a prediction that it’s going to go all five games and every game is going to be a 1-0 victory.

So far so “good.”  
To paraphrase Wayne Campbell, “Giants Baseball…Torture!” is not just a clever slogan.  How many games this season have been a 1-0 victory?  That’s not rhetorical, let’s count…one…two..three…okay only three.  Really?  Seems like more.  There’s also been three 0-1 games, so maybe I’m lumping them all together.  
Anyway, hard to complain about a win, but I’ll give it a shot.  It’s hard to “suffer” through a 1-0 game, there’s always nail biting, fidgeting and lots of pacing accompanying each pitch to the opposing team, knowing that all it takes is one good hit to tie up the game or flip the lead around.  It’s hard to watch players stranded on base or an awesome triple by Buster Posey being reduced to a waste.  It’s hard to watch a pitcher having to carry a game without run support.  
But then that’s drama, which is why we’re watching, eh?
As we all knew he would, Derek Lowe pitched a ridiculous game, pitching 5 innings and allowing only 4 hits and 1 run.  On any other day that’d be enough, but he was facing The Franchise yesterday at his very best.  Tim Lincecum pitched a complete game, his fourth for the season, shutting out the Braves and allowing only two hits with 14 strike-outs, which is apparently a Giants post-season record and third best record in MLB history (don’t quote me on that last part).  I love it when Lincecum has a good day at the office.  
I also speculated to my co-worker yesterday that I thought whomever made the first error was going to be the team that lost, which again turned out to be true.  But I can’t decide if the Braves made the first mistake, or the umpire Paul Emmel.  
Posey steals second in the 4th (his first stolen base…awww) and the umpire calls him safe.  ERROR maybe because it’s possible he was out  I couldn’t really tell last night, even with the umpteen instant replays, as they never seemed to show the foot and the tag on camera at the same time for some reason.  But this photo that’s been floating around the web doesn’t scream “safe” to me:
On the other hand, I think the photo is an optical illusion, (so why did I even post it?) because Conrad didn’t tag Posey’s arm, but instead brought his hand all the way down to Posey’s waist.  So I’m still not sure if he was safe or not.  Judge for yourself.  
So now Posey’s on second and Lowe strikes out Burrell and Uribe.  Up comes Sandoval and they decide to walk him.  ERROR because next up is Cody Ross who singles to left field and drives in an RBI Posey, which ends up being the only run of the game.  Maybe the Braves should have pitched to Sandoval, who probably would have struck out swinging over his head, per usual.  I guess the panda hats are scarier than they look.
While I wish the winning run, the only run, wasn’t tainted I’m glad the Giants came out on top and Game 1 is behind us.  Lincecum was better than anyone could hope for and August seems like years ago.  Now bring on Game 2: Cain vs Tommy Hanson.  How’s ol’ Tommy look?
Aubrey Huff 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000
Pat Burrell 2 1 0 0 0 1 0 1.000
Travis Ishikawa 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 .000
Buster Posey 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Cody Ross 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 .000
Freddy Sanchez 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Pablo Sandoval 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Andres Torres 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .333
Juan Uribe 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/8/2010.

Atlanta vs San Francisco

So who’s gonna win?  How the heck should I know?  The Giants I mean.  Definitely!  

But let’s look at stats, because much like religion, that’s what baseball people go to when they have no real control over things.  I’m no jerk statistician, but I’ll take a crack at it anyway, because what else do I have to do while impatiently waiting for Thursday?  

Er..uh…so what do I look at?   The obvious would be who’s “the best” overall?  As the Braves are the Wild Card, I already know that answer, but let’s rub it in anyway:
Rk Tm W L W-L% last10 last20 last30
1 PHI 97 65 .599 6-4 15-5 23-7
2 SFG 92 70 .568 7-3 12-8 20-10
3 CIN 91 71 .562 5-5 10-10 14-16
4  ATL 91 71 .562 5-5 10-10 14-16
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 10/6/2010.
Giants eek by on the W-L column and last 10 and last 20 win record, and destroy in the last 30 games played column with a 20-10 record.  Giants win.
How about Giants vs the Braves specifically this season?
Whoops!  3-4 record?  I thought the Braves were the underdog?  Um…oooOOOooo I know, how about this?
Whew, that’s better!  2-1 record against Atlanta at home, which is where this goddamn epic battle is going to begin.  I wish it was a 3-0 record but I’ll take it.  
How about pitchers vs batters?  I’ll just stick with the first game because I don’t have all day: Derek Lowe vs Tim Lincecum.  
Derek Lowe:
Juan Uribe 2 1 0 0 2 2 0 .667
Pat Burrell 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .500
Matt Cain 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000
Mike Fontenot 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Jose Guillen 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000
Aubrey Huff 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 .000
Travis Ishikawa 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Edgar Renteria 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000
Cody Ross 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 .500
Aaron Rowand 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .333
Freddy Sanchez 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .500
Jonathan Sanchez 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Pablo Sandoval 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .333
Andres Torres 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 .500
Eli Whiteside 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/6/2010.

Tim Lincecum:
Alex Gonzalez 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 .333
Brian McCann 2 0 0 1 2 1 2 .400
Eric Hinske 1 0 0 1 1 1 2 .200
Rick Ankiel 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000
Melky Cabrera 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .167
Brooks Conrad 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000
Matt Diaz 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .333
Diory Hernandez 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000
Jason Heyward 1 1 0 0 0 1 2 .200
Omar Infante 3 1 0 0 0 0 2 .429
Jair Jurrjens 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000
Kenshin Kawakami 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000
Martin Prado 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 .333
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/6/2010.

HR 3 0 Braves
RBI 5 2 Braves
BB 4 6 Giants
SO 15 6 Giants
BA .244 .220 Braves

So the Braves “win” 3-2.  But which of those stats are most important?  I guess batting average is probably important, and the Giants have the worse average against Derek Lowe.  On the other hand, Derek Lowe hasn’t faced Posey yet and he’s got the best batting average of the team.  
All-in-all…I still have no clue.  The stats seem depressing, but then you can still find a silver lining when you’re not reading what you want.  And it’s the playoffs, so everybody’s stats are going to be too close to make any real determinations, I would think, as if you could regardless just based on stats alone.  From an overall perspective, the Braves are obviously the underdog in this series, but if you look at their work specifically against the Giants, I’m not so sure… 
So who’s gonna win?  How the heck should I know?  The Giants I mean.  Definitely!