Saturday, June 20, 2009

X (almost) marks the spot

8 3 1 1 3 8
Game Score 77

When Matt Cain gets rewarded with win number X, he'll earn an All-Star spot. He pitched brilliantly tonight, having only one tough inning, the 6th. M.C. gave up a leadoff game-tying HR to Ian Kinsler, and threw another couple dozen pitches (walking two) before getting the third out. Other than that it was "lights out." Our pathetic offense delivered 4 hits and 1 run in those 8 innings of stellar work, failing to do its part in getting the vaunted X for Big Sugar. That would have made The Tennessee Stud the leader in wins in the NL, and tied for the ML lead.

Nonetheless, the improbable, intagible Giants got a hit from their best hitter, Pablo Sandoval, to lead off the 9th, giving the team's VSC Jefe an opportunity to get a game-winning hit. Alas, he whiffed. Winn's DP ended our hopes, and extras ensued.

Superb bullpen work by Wilson and Romo was rewarded in the 11th when Olympic Nate gave Gomer an opportunity just screaming for VSC. He whiffed. Flemm then heaped praise on The Rental for his season-long clutch hitting, and he grounded out. Flemm then wondered if the Rangers would walk Pablo Sandoval with No. 1 looming on deck, sure enough, BenMo got another chance. Payback--that's all everyone was thinking about after the free-swinging catcher had K'd in the 9th. On his way to another K, a wild pitch delivered the goods. Way to go, Nate Schierholtz!

I'm tossing out the stats and the analysis tonight, and just thinking about Matt Cain. He seems to take command of games this year, pitching with more confidence and getting the big, late outs more regularly. That's all old-school newspaperman jibber-jabber, of course, or fan-boy infatuation, no hard evidence presented. But that's my take, for what it's worth. Matt's certainly had much more run support this year, tonight a galling exception, and that is a big difference as well. What a treat we've had watching this fellow's entire career. We have him locked up for next year and a club option for 2011, so we will be seeing a lot more of him. Ain't that fabulous?

You have to love the symmetrical pitching line, too.


Bob said...

For old times sake, Omar went 0 for 4.

JC Parsons said...

Matt was a stud again. This could be the year for him. He needs a high visibility, media frenzy type outing. I fully expect he and Timmy go to the All-Star. Tim may not deserve it, but he is good TV.
MOC and I were just talking about games like this one last night: all pitching, no offense. How often can we come out on top? Right now we are doing pretty good. I tend to think that an unbalanced team can survive a season, maybe even make the playoffs. MOC doesn't, which I thought was the same as saying that we can't keep it up this season. What do you think, can a bad scoring, great pitching team (US) be a contender? Is that a viable formula for any success? Is that our fate?

M.C. O'Connor said...

Here's a piece from Rich Lederer on this very topic.

Zo said...

From the interview, I take it that all pitching, no offense is unlikely to be a formula for success, but may be. The Giants have shown themselves to be capable of scoring multiple runs on occasion. If they get "lucky" -have several games in which they are able to score above their seasonal average just as the playoffs are rolling around, they could go into and (at least partly) through the playoffs. Think 2007 Rockies. Think 2000 Mets, not that they were an unbalanced team, but that they were "hot" just at the right time.

M.C. O'Connor said...

That's the way I read it, and it matches my baseball sense as well. Good teams are balanced--they do a lot of things well, or at least very few things poorly. My eyes see the Giants with a winning record, but my head doesn't believe it!

lolakatemccormack said...

Cain/Sandoval and The Freak should make the All-Star Game. Love the Blog.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Thanks, lolakate. Go Giants!