Game six, last of the ninth — AT&T Park showing some of that electric feel in the crowd. (Jen Mac Ramos)
Down three games to one. Your team’s got Barry Zito going for them on the mound in an elimination game.
That’s the end of that, right? No hope, no positive thoughts, no nothing.
Then something happened. You could say it’s because the Giants had luck on their side. Maybe #RallyZito had some magic in it. The fans were actually loud enough. Who knows? But the Giants had it these last three games. Continue reading
Barry Zito does his best Powder imitation. (Photo by Sara Showalter)
A thoroughly hypothetical work, with apologies to Mr. Zito for the undoubted inaccuracies. I freely admit to being one of the many doubters mentioned a couple times in this piece, and to that, I can only say “Way to shut me the hell up.”
So you’re a big-league baseball player – already an achievement, at any level. You’re one of the elite, one of the best few hundred people on the planet at doing what you do. And then to be a starting pitcher? That’s practically mythological. The few, the proud, standing on center stage, every move dissected. In the parlance of baseball, you win and lose the game.
And as it turns out, even among the best of the best, you are on another level. You’re part of one of the game’s great rotations, contending year in and year out, and in one glorious year, you are awarded the title of Best Pitcher In Your League. Hundreds of people pitched thousands of baseball games that year. According to the professionals of the sport, you were better than any of them; maybe just as good as one other guy. What a rush that must be for you. What a mountain you’ve climbed. And of course, that comes with other rewards. Continue reading
Giants, left, is defeated by baseball, right. (Illustration by Mac)
Just how awful was it?
Well, if you’re going by the way everyone talked about the game, it was over the minute Tim Lincecum threw his first pitch.
And I’m going to be straight up honest here: I totally napped throughout the last five or six innings of the game. I can’t even figure it out. That’s probably a good idea in retrospect. It was that bad.
It was the kind of bad where you wish you were watching another game instead except then you realize, “This is the only series that’ll be on until the World Series starts.”
And you feel like you’re going to bang your head against a wall. But don’t do that. That’s not gonna end well. The Giants are already that much of a headache. Continue reading
Ryan Vogelsong don’t give no cares. (Flickr/Dinur)
The 2010 Giants fought their way to the NLCS, only to come up against unstoppable killing machine Roy Halladay, the greatest pitcher in baseball. They had no chance to match the Phillies’ powerhouse offense. Then Cody Ross snuck up behind Halladay and beaned him with a fistful of quarters.
Those same Giants somehow managed to make it to the World Series, where they were met by Cliff Lee, an invincible demigod of postseason pitching. Pundits speculated on what miracle it would take for the Giants to win 4 of 5, as they obviously had no chance in either game against Lee. The Giants’ entire offense mugged Lee in a stairwell, and then when he came back for another round Edgar Renteria was waiting. Continue reading
We all know that feel, Madison. (Flickr/bsv1990)
Oh for the love of.
That was not fun.
Yeah, the Giants managed to battle back a little. That was good.
But it wasn’t enough.
The Cardinals are a scary good team. It was obviously not going to be a cakewalk for the Giants. Which is fine — they’ve proven themselves before and battled back in the NLDS.
But, this. Man. It’s quite scary to think about how much the Cardinals can do when you least expect it.
It also doesn’t help when you’re expecting it to be a nailbiter — in the sense that it could be a 1-0 game, not 6-0 quickly and then rage-demolishing your nails.
I’ll admit — I ended up tuning out the rest of the game following the 5th inning. Both bullpens just shut everything down and featured some good relievers. It was also a sign that the Giants offense would not get anything done along the way.
So game two is tomorrow. It’s still early in the series to lose hope. Best of seven, after all. (But I’ll still be hiding under the table.)
I don’t know about you, but I’m scared of the Cardinals. After Friday night’s game where they came back and beat the Nationals? Eeeeesh.
The Giants have faced teams that seemed to overmatch them. Same can be said about a lot of other teams. It’s also just … very nerve wracking.
Madison Bumgarner’s set to start game one. Ryan Vogelsong’s on the mound for game two. Solid, decent, what more can you ask for when Matt Cain can’t be the game one starter? Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito are reportedly available out of the bullpen for games one and two.
As far as pitching goes, it seems to be pretty decent. A couple of reliever changes are possible, but I wouldn’t expect for Sergio Romo, George Kontos, Jeremy Affeldt, and Javier Lopez to be off the roster. Continue reading
The first five innings of this game were really all about Ryan Vogelsong. Facing the National League’s most potent offense, he was very very good Ryan Vogelsong, as opposed to just good Ryan Vogelsong, shutting the Cardinals offense down with the help of solid defense behind him. The Giants offense scored a few runs, seemed like if the bullpen didn’t cough one up, the Giants would manage to get a win out of it, you know, the usual.
Then things got wacky.
The ghost of 2010 Brooks Conrad haunted the Cards’ infield defense, the Giants just would not stop hitting, and next thing you know, George Kontos is (INEXPLICABLY*) pitching with an eleven run lead in the eighth. But nope, to tie a bow in the clownshoes, Marco Scutaro had to hit a grand slam off of Mitchell Boggs, who was only pitching to get some work in anyway. Continue reading
I have a few friends who are fans of some currently-dreadful baseball teams. Every time I get to complaining about the Giants, they’ll tell me something along the lines of “Hey, I’d love to root for a team around .500!” They have a pretty good point, of course – I mean, Royals? Astros? – but there’s something to be said for the power of expectation. Call us spoiled, but Giants fans are rooting for a top 10 payroll team coming off of several stellar first-round draft picks. We’re banking on playoffs, not a few more years of development followed by possible playoffs. Continue reading
Coming into tonight, Madison Bumgarner had a streak of winning in his last 8 starts at home, dating back to August 9, 2011. By the end of the game, the streak was broken.
The Giants lost 4-1 to the St. Louis Cardinals, who didn’t even need to deploy Carlos Beltran and his barking knee to beat the home team. The team continues to be mystified by runners in scoring position, going 2-for-11 in such situations. Maybe Bam-Bam needs to have guys stand on base during batting practice, since obviously the guys have no idea how to hit in games when presented with extra guys standing around out there.
How to summarize the Giants batters tonight? Maybe something like this:
This includes two strike-outs each for Charlie Culberson, Brandon Crawford, Nate Schierholtz and Emmanuel Burriss. Yikes. Continue reading
The Giants look to face the reigning World Champions in their only visit to San Francisco this season.
What is to be expected from this series?
Well, one team’s gonna win, that’s for sure. Maybe it’ll be the Giants, but with the way they play games, who knows?
Otherwise, clownshoes, clownshoes, clownshoes.
Someone’s also gotta set up a bubble wrap roll next to the tarp so that there’s easy access to it.
Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain are scheduled to pitch in the series. Jaime Garcia and Adam Wainwright go for the Cardinals.
No word on if the lineup will make sense today or not.