Wednesday, October 27, 2010
If you have been paying any attention to the World Series coverage on any of the big TV stations like ESPN or MLB Network, you know that the Giants are underdogs heading into the World Series. What else is new?
Of course they are! Why shouldn't they be? The Giants cannot match the hitting of the Rangers, and you can make an argument that the Rangers have the better pitching staff.
These two teams matched up in the 2010 World Series are from opposite sides of the baseball spectrum. The Rangers tend to win games by 5 or more runs with their big bats that complement their big pitching, and the Giants tend to win games by 1 or 2 runs while scoring no more than 5 runs a game. You can credit that to the Giants consistently good pitching, or that the teams they have played just were not hot enough offensively, as it seems the national panel of "baseball experts" has taken to it.
"The Phillies were not hot offensively coming into the NLCS. The Rangers are hot right now."
On ESPN.com, you can find a list of all the baseball analysts ESPN has to offer. Only 4 of the 20 chose the Giants to win the World Series over the Rangers.
In their defense, how can you make an argument for the Giants to win? They don't score runs, most of the times their pitching is spot-on, but when it's off, it's off as we witnessed with Jonathan Sanchez in Game 6 of the NLCS.
What the baseball analysts at ESPN didn't take into account is the "wildcard factor."
I'm talking about timely hitting, a bullpen that can carry the team if needed, and an ability to win the close games. The Giants have that. They showed it against the Braves and Phillies.
But the Giants didn't have a choice because this is the style of baseball they play. Torture baseball. For better or worse. Good pitching mixed with timely hitting, and the ability to close out close games. It's all they know.
The Giants were counted out in the Phillies series as well. The Phillies had the better hitting and the best all-around pitching. Problem was they didn't have timely hitting, and that was ultimately their downfall.
So no matter how much ESPN counts out the Giants in the World Series, pay no mind. The Giants have been counted out before, and they're used to it. This team seems more like a team of destiny, and they will find a way to win. It just hasn't hit us yet.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Did you expect it to happen any other way?
The entire 2010 San Francisco Giants season would have been a lie had the NLCS clinching game not come down to a tension-driven, palm-sweating, ulcer-forming torturefest.
The San Francisco Giants are headed to the 2010 World Series, and well-deserving of it.
Let's face it. This is a team of misfits, forgotten by their respective teams who have found home in San Francisco. I'm talking about guys like Pat Burrell, who Tampa Bay basically payed to go away; Andres Torres, who is a career minor-leaguer and had 3 hits last night; Aubrey Huff and Freddy Sanchez, who have never been in a playoff situation before; Cody Ross, who was placed on waivers by the Florida Marlins and picked up by the Giants just so the division-leading Padres couldn't snag him. Now he is your NLCS MVP.
"They're idiots!" as Joe Buck so fondly called them. But these idiots with dyed black beards and forgotten players are headed to the World Series. Enough said.
Leave it to this team to clinch a trip to the World Series in the most nerve-racking way possible, though.
Jonathan Sanchez getting yanked in the 3rd inning certainly wasn't a good sign. Neither was the fact he left the Giants in mental disarray after he and Chase Utley sat down and had a tea party in the middle of the diamond.
Ok, it was a benches-clearing brawl, but it sure felt like two chicks going at it.
Yet the Giants did it. This time, they did it behind the heels of their bullpen. 7 innings of 0 runs, including Jeremy Affeldt, who hadn't even pitched in the Braves series, turning the tide for the Giants by going 2 innings of no-hit ball.
And how big a breath of fresh air did you take after Juan Uribe flipped the bat and thew those hands up? He knew it and every Giants fan who has ever witnessed a Uribe homer knew it. That ball was gone.
'Destiny' is a good word for it. Or 'Torture.' Or both!
How about a 'torturistic destiny?' Works for me.
But never has torture felt so good.
One final note. The fans of Philadelphia really showed their true colors last night, booing the Giants off the field after winning the game. Rude and disrespectful to a team who has shown nothing but class during these playoffs.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Joe Buck and Tim McCarver are the worst. There's no doubt about it, Buck hates the Giants and any team that isn't a legitimate favorite, and McCarver just isn't bright.
McCarver: 'He is a good two-strike hitter, but he strikes out a lot.'
As for Buck, he is a notorious hater of all things not him, but the fact he seems to throw his arrogant one-sided opinions into his play-by-play calls is simply unprofessional. Nobody cares about your opinions. Just give us the game straight without showing us how full of yourself you actually are.
But one thing he said last night struck me as an actual intellectually flattering statement to the Giants, albeit a back-handed compliment.
'The Giants are a bunch of idiots just crazy to pull this thing off," Buck said.
It seems like Buck was the pot calling the kettle black, but, of course, he was referencing the 2004 World Series Champion Red Sox who were given the name 'idiots' because of their long hair, 'don't care' attitude, and 'cowboy-up' mentality.
Now, dying your beard jet black is an idiot move in its own right, but Buck was correct. This 2010 Giants team is a bunch of idiots. Huff, Burrell, Uribe, Sandoval, these are all eccentric characters who could be referred to as something far worse, but 'idiot' is the polite term.
Between Sandoval's pre-at-bat routine, Wilson's Jim Rome interview, and the fact that Lincecum looks like a 13 year-old girl from behind is proof enough that this team is unusual.
But doesn't the fact that these idiots torture us fans and we love it make us idiots as well?
Yes, but it hurts so good.
These torture-enjoying idiots from the west coast may be just crazy enough to pull this thing off. And Joe Buck will be a witness to it all, accompanied by Tim McCarver's insightful analysis and color commentary.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
In the not too distant past, you will not find a season in which the Raiders (2-3) have looked so much better than the 49ers (0-5) this early in the season. Of course, who hasn't looked better than the 49ers? Well, the Panthers and Bills, but they don't count anyway.
Make no mistake about this 49ers/Raiders matchup this Sunday, the 49ers are the favorites. It doesn't matter what each team's record is, the 49ers are supposed to win this game.
You can call it the "Battle of the Bay" or whatever you want, I prefer "Getting Off the Shneid", if you're a 49er fan, or were one to start the season.
For the Raiders, there is no pressure on them. Coming into this season, they looked up at the Week 6 matchup and saw an automatic loss at the hands of the 49ers, who were supposed to run away with the NFC West. Now, they are thinking they can obliterate this team that is in absolute turmoil. Kick 'em while they're down.
No doubt about it, if the 49ers lose this Sunday, there will be changes. No matter what they say leading up to then. If the 49ers fail to score, bye bye Alex Smith, enter David Carr, or Alex Smith #2 as he is so fondly nicknamed.
This game is a season-changer for the 49ers. If they win, that's great, they got their 1st win. If they lose, goodbye season, hello change. That would most likey start at head coach. No matter how in love the ownership is with Singletary, there is no excuse for an 0-6 season and a loss to the Raiders at that.
Don't forget, the 49ers have a pretty favorable schedule here on out. I counted 8 favorable matchups, 5 of which are against the NFC West.
So this week is the jump start the 49ers needed. And for the Raiders, it's the respect in the Bay Area they've always wanted.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Thank God GM Brian Sabean is as vindictive as he is. Had he not picked up Cody Ross off waivers from Florida just to spite the Padres late in the season, the Giants might be headed in the opposite direction they are now.
Ross went 2 for 3 with 2 RBI's in Game 4 last night, including a HR and a clutch RBI single to put them ahead late.
With runs coming at a minimum in this series, you can make an argument that Ross was the MVP in this series, although another argument can be made for Buster Posey. We will also accept that answer.
Nevertheless, the Giants won, not that we were doubting them or anything...Torture. They gave one away in Game 2, and stole the final 2 games to win the series. Take it or leave it, it's Giants baseball.
But the Giants were supposed to be here, at least that's what we were telling ourselves. A starting rotation like that can carry a team, and it carried this one to a win over Atlanta.
But a bigger beast awaits the Giants in the next round. The Phillies, quite possibly, could be the best team to come through the MLB in some time. Pitching, hitting, you name it, they got it. Game on.
And talk about being thrown right into the jaws of this series. Roy Halladay will introduce the Giants to the NLCS real quick on Saturday. He's the best pitcher going right now. Period.
Good move by Bochy not starting Lincecum for Game 4, although I don't think there was any doubt Bumgarner was your starter, no matter what he said.
Lincecum will play 2nd-tier to Halladay on Saturday, and the Giants will play 2nd-tier to the Phillies the entire series. It's how nationl TV works. It's up to them to prove America wrong, because as of now they are huge underdogs to an amazing team.
Can the Giants win this series? Can the Giants' pitching stay solid? Can the Giants score some runs??? So many questions heading into this series. All will be answered soon.
Monday, October 4, 2010
A couple years back, I attended a San Jose Giants game, the Giants Single-A affiliate. I attended partly because I live in San Jose, partly because the SJ Giants were/are a really good team, and mostly because I had caught a wiff of the pitcher-catcher duo of Bumgarner/Posey.
It was a fact back then, the Giants had a good core of young potential talent. It was just up to the Giants organization to raise these kids into superstars who could one day lead the Giants ball club to the promised land.
On Sunday, they did that.
A few years ago, the Giants promised that the young talent we saw climbing the minor league ladder would be great. They promised that the young hurlers of Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez, and Bumgarner would be the starting rotation of the future. And we sat with patience anticipating what could be. The Giants organization didn't disappoint on this one.
Just a few years later, look what has happened. Lincecum is a 2-time Cy Young Award winner, Cain was dubbed the Giants best pitcher this season, Bumgarner is a rising star pitching far more mature than his age, and Sanchez literally clinched the NL West by himself on Sunday.
Oh ya, there's also a guy name Posey who may have clinched the Rookie of the Year on Sunday as well.
So, in some ways, this year's NL West Championship is a culmination of all that. It's a culmination of the past few years of sitting and waiting for the young stars in the minors to grow into fantastic ballplayers. It's fulfillment of a promise by the Giants organization to the fans saying that this young core group would lead this team one day. That became a reality on Sunday when the Giants' young stars led this ball club to the postseason for the first time in seven years.
Sure, it seems like Giants fans have waited forever for this to happen, but we all saw it coming, Lincecum, Cain, Posey, etc. The young talent was all there. And we witnessed it bloom on Sunday, we will watch it mature in these 2010 playoffs, and we will continue to see these young players be a success for years to come.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
On Thursday, it was not if, but when will the Giants clinch the NL West. Now, in game 162, it was not when, but if. But the San Francisco Giants pulled it off on Sunday and are champions of the NL West, thus confirming the motto, "Giants Baseball...Torture."
But this one was hard fought, and no doubt did the the Giants show Sunday what they had in their arsenal for the playoffs, real good pitching mixed with solid hitters.
Today's savior, and yes there is a new one one every day it seems, is Jonathan Sanchez. Honestly, if the man starting on Thursday didnt have back-to-back Cy Young Awards, Sanchez is my man. He has been the Giants' best pitcher recently, and he will get rewarded for that by starting the third game of the Giants/Braves series that will start on Thursday at 6:30pm.
As for a 'Giants Season in Review,' ask yourself this question, would the Giants be NL West Champs without Huff, Burrell, Fontenot, Ross, and Guillen? No chance. You can say that especially for Huff and Burrell, really. Huff supplying numbers that were not expected at the start of the season, and Burrell with timely hit after timely hit.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, thank Brian Sabean. Yes, the man everybody wanted a piece of at the beginning of the season because he couldn't bring a legit bat to San Francisco. Turns out, he did get the legit bat. Huff Daddy. Credit, Sabean for signing Huff in the offseason for nickles and dimes, as well as taking Burrell "off the Rays' hands."
But all-in-all, this Giants season was a season of fulfillment. The Giants made a promise years ago when the likes of Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez, and Bumgarner were all young and full of potential, that this would be the pitching staff of the future that would secure playoff appearance after playoff appearance for this ball club. Some years later, look what happened. The Giants arguably have the best rotation going right now and can carry that into the 2010 playoffs with them.
It's just that, though. We've always said with that pitching staff, if the Giants get into the playoffs then look out. Now is the time to see what the young guns we yearned so much to see a few years ago can do in October.