Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"Torture" Does Not Fit the San Francisco Giants Anymore

Manny Burriss had just stolen second base and reached third in the 11th inning of a 3-3 game in San Diego on Sunday. Catcher Chris Stewart came to the plate, got the sign and proceeded to squeeze home the sprinting Burriss for the lead and eventual win.

However, as I watched this rare and nerve-racking event unfold before my eyes, I could not help but think for a second.

I expected that to happen.

The term "torture" that was coined by the Giants' play-by-play man Duane Kuiper last season has become a phenomenon in San Francisco and even carried a life of its own nationally during the World Series last season.

Headlines following the Giants' World Series win read "Torture Never Felt So Good."

As we enter Torture 2.0 in this second half of the 2011 season, we are sure to encounter much of the same one-run games and stunning walk-offs of epic proportion that we saw towards the end of last season and continued through this season.

Is it really torture anymore, though?

We have seen so many incredible wins for the Giants between this season and last, whether they were one-run games or walk-off victories. However, at some point, we expect that, right?

In some manner or another, we are expecting San Francisco to squeeze home the eventual winning run, or we expect Brian Wilson to walk a few batters before striking out the next three.

That is what you will get out of this team, a ton of one-run games mixed with a little drama because good pitching and lackluster hitting leads to close games. It's science.

Last season, it was torture because we simply did not know what to expect.

When Wilson loaded the bases in the ninth inning of a one-run game, we were not sure if he could get out of it.

This season, if the game is tied, we expect the Giants to score that next run and win the game.

It comes with a new confidence in this team. The confidence in the Giants that they will deliver when it matters most.

We witnessed it last season, and the confidence we have this season will lead to less torture and more success in the months to come for this team.

We expect it to happen that way.

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