Giants-Phillies Game 6: Onward

I painted all day Saturday. 
The wife and I just bought a new house, so my weekends have been
replaced by manual labor in an effort to make the house her own.  Labor makes me tired and I almost forgot that
Game 6 was even happening that day, but I managed to wake up and tune in to see
the Phillies score 2 runs off Sanchez in the 1st. 

Off to Game 7, eh? 
God damn it. 

I was tired, it had already been a long day, and the idea of
three hours of torture to cap off my evening did not appeal to me at all.  I turned on Star Trek.  This will be easier.  Captain Kirk always wins, even when he’s in
Philadelphia. 

It started off good. 
I managed to sit back, relax and enjoy watching the exploits from where
no man has gone before.  But then the
back of my brain started scratching. 
“Hey, what if something awesome is happening right now?  What if the Giants have hit eight home runs
in a row or something?  You’re missing
it!”  I brushed it off and kept watching,
but “what if…?”

I cave and flip to the game, “just briefly” I tell myself,
and it’s tied up 2-2.  I convince myself
that a tie is worse than losing, and it will probably go 12 innings now just to
get to Game 7 anyway.  I flip back to
Trek.  Captain Kirk isn’t doing so well
but I’m confident he’ll come through. 

I start switching back more frequently.  Every time there’s the briefest lull in Trek
action, I use it as an excuse to “let’s just quickly see how it’s going.”  Still 2-2. 
Over and over again, it’s still 2-2. 
Every time I switch back, there’s a new pitcher; Sanchez, Affeldt,
Bumgarner (BUMGARNER?) and it continues to remain 2-2.  

By the 8th inning, I’m watching more baseball
than Trek.  It was more torturous to not
know what was going on than it was to just watch the torture.  UUUU-Ribe hits a home run.  Captain Kirk will have to go on without
me.  Game 7 gets farther away.  Can we hold them? 

Lincecum is brought in to try.   Lincecum! 
One day of rest and coming in to help close?  Ridiculously unusual, and I’m not sure if it’s
a great idea, but I’m glad to see him anyway. 
He strikes out Werth.  But then
Victorino and Ibanez get on base.  Oh
no.  Then they call in Wilson.  Oh no again. 
This is too early for him isn’t it? 
It’s only the 8th. 
They should only bring him in when there’s three outs left, not
five!  Double play-YES! 

Three more outs and the World Series. 

Wilson’s back. Good, it has to be Wilson.  Ross Gload grounds out, two more to go.  Jimmy Rollins walks, oh no.  That’s okay, Wilson always has to have a
little drama, it’s part of his charm.  Palanco
grounds out.  ONE MORE TO GO.  Utley walks. 
OH NO.  There’s drama and then
there’s drama, Wilson.  Ryan Howard steps
up.  The crappy Fox announcers talk about
how he hasn’t done anything for the Phillies all post-season.  “Thanks for the jinx”, I think to myself, wondering
if this will be the moment where he decides to snap out of his funk and hit one
out of the park to keep his team in the game. 

pennantclinch.jpg

Strikeout!  Giants win
the NLCS!  World Series bound! 

The Giants come rushing off the bench and everyone jumps up
and down as the quietest stadium I’ve ever seen in my life watches their
victory.  My wife and mother-in-law were
all watching at this point, and even they commented that it seemed a shame no
one else was celebrating.  Were there no
Giants fans there?  Probably but
considering the massive sea of red, they must have been few and far between.  I didn’t expect fireworks or even applause
really, but man was that moment quiet. 
It’s a real shame they couldn’t have won it in San Francisco. 

Nothing against the Rangers, but they weren’t officially in
it until the other day and haven’t really been on my radar.  The Phillies have been the team to beat since
the Giants made it into the post-season. 
They’ve been to the World Series the last two years and have clinched
their division consecutively since 2007 and they were number one in the
National League this year.  They were the
hurdle the Giants had to get past as soon as the regular season was done.  Hats off to you Phillies, MUCH respect.  You didn’t make it easy.

Off to the World Series. 
Giants vs Rangers.  Posey vs
Molina.  “Haven’t won a World Series
since NY” vs “Haven’t won a World Series ever.” 
I know little about the Rangers, other than Molina’s been hitting and
Cliff Lee is full of win.  I’ll look into
them later.  Right now let’s just bask in
the joy of winning the NLCS. 
Aaaaaaahhhhhhhh….

P.S.

Congrats to Cody Ross for being selected MVP of the
NLCS.  You da man!

bossross.jpg

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.  

Well…

Going into this series, on the losing streak we were riding, against a division leader and last season World Series contender, I was praying to at least win won game.  So the fact that we won the series should be making me happy, and it is for the most part, but man that last game was a heart breaker! 

We beat them with Sánchez and Wellemeyer starting, but not Lincecum?  Oh the…well not irony, but… heart break!  Said it twice. 

Don’t know who to blame really.  Want to blame someone, but who? 

I was following the game on MLB.com’s cool “Game Day” digital thing while following posts on Twitter.  Man were they hating Bochy!  Everyone was blaming Bochy for taking Lincecum out in the 9th.  We were winning at that point.  Timmy had only given up three hits and two runs in 9 innings, we were ahead!  How dare Bochy take the freak out and replace him with Wilson!  They got two hits off him and that’s how they took over the game and we lost.

brucebochy.jpg Well yeah, I guess you could argue that, but I think Lincecum was tired.  He got lucky with Dobbs and he walked Victorino.  Utley and Howard were coming up.  I could see why Bochy would want a fresh arm to finish off the game. 

Of course, it kind of reminded me of the last Dodgers game where Bochy replaced Zito, who seemed to be doing just fine, with Romo because Ramirez was coming up, and then Ramirez ending up hitting the game winning home run.  So…maybe Bochy should put more faith in his starters? 

But hell, he gave Tim eight innings.  That’s a lot.  And Wilson had given up zero runs in his last seven games, so it’s not like Bochy picked a sucky replacement.  Just an unlucky one.  I hear Werth is good, so y’know…he’s bound to hit regardless of how good a pitcher he faces.

We had the game, we only need two outs, the Phillies just rallied or got lucky and fought us off.  It could have happened to Lincecum too, and then everyone would be bitching that Bochy should have replaced Lincecum in the last inning with someone fresh.

damnedifyoudodont.jpgIt’s just one of those things.  I can’t find myself blaming anyone in particular. 

Then the game went to what seemed like the longest set of extra innings every.  We tied in the 10th, and got eeked out by one in the eleventh.  Bummer. 

The other Twitter bitch fest was geared towards Euginio Velez.  I guess he should have caught that ball.  Didn’t seem that easy to me though.  I mean, he hit the wall for crying out loud.  Maybe Romo should have been able to strike out Valdez in the first place, seeing as the guy’s only had two hits in his last six games.

And here’s another thing, summed up quite nicely by my favorite Twitter quote of the evening:

“Only the Giants could get 17 hits and not win a game on extra innings.” – @artsyfartsyalex

Totally!  How come it takes us 2.83 hits to get a run and the other team 1.14?  What’s better?  Shooting 200 arrows at a target and getting three bullseyes or shooting four arrows at a target and getting three bulleyes?  The latter of course, duh! 

hitthetarget.jpgPeople say our team can’t hit.  Oh we can hit.  We just can’t score! 

But there’s more blaming again. Really we had the game in the 9th, and the Phillies just took it from us.  Good on ya Phillies.  We take your first place standing, you take ours. 

Let’s move on…to the Rockies!

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!