Saturday, September 12, 2009

Post-season sayonara

6 7 4 4 3 5
Game Score 44

Hiroki Kuroda joined the swelling ranks of Cy-Young-vs.-the-Giants pitchers last night, smothering our hapless linuep with ruthless efficiency. Some fool with a blog opined recently:

" . . . we can get him out of the game with some smart, patient approaches at the plate . . ."

Whoever wrote that clearly has not been watching the MMIX Giants. Let's see how it went. First three batters--3 pitches, 5 pitches, 3 pitches, 3 outs. The next four batters managed two hits, an RBI groundout, and 3 outs on 8 pitches. In the third inning it was 3, 5, 3, and 3 outs. The fourth? 3 batters, 10 pitches, 3 outs. The fifth? Same story, but only 8 pitches. Then it was 3 up and 3 down on 4, 2, 3 in the 6th, and 3 up and 3 down on 3, 1, 5 in the 7th. In the 8th, things finally improved. Olympic Nate made an out on 2 pitches, but John "Dirtbag" Bowker roped a triple on his 3rd pitch, Ryan Rohlinger drove in the run after a 6-pitch marathon, and Buster Posey battled to a 5-pitch strikeout. Hey, that was BUSTER POSEY finally getting some action. Let's see some more Buster, eh? The contest was already decided, but Travis Ishikawa and Kevin Frandsen managed to put two hits and a run together in the 9th off reliever Ramon Troncoso, who needed 22 pitches to end the game. Mr. Kuroda only required 86 for his 24 outs. I have to give a nod to an improving Eugenio Velez. Even though he was 0-for-4 he managed to see 16 pitches. Considering that was almost 19% of Kuroda's total, I have to like it.

In all, a par-for-the-course display by one of the worst offenses in baseball. Matt Cain was not at his best either, in fact, the 109-pitch, 6-inning, 27-batter slog could be called his worst start of the season. I blame it on that hideous fucking red cap he had to wear. No matter. It was a big game in a big series and he didn't get it done. And, truth be told, you have to give the LAtriners credit for battling, working the counts, and getting the big hits with men on.

I hate writing an obituary for a team with 21 games left to play, but the long string of wonderful luck we've had this season is running out. We've never had the bats to truly be competitive, something that we knew going in to this season, but the pitching has been so good, even better than expected, and the team has done well. I'm happy about that, but I have the sinking fear that Brian Sabean will get credit for the work done by Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, Brian Wilson, and Pablo Sandoval, and our baseball-ignorant, bow-tied CEO will give him an extension. We'll trot out another offense next year of has-beens, hackers, old fogeys, and overpaid mediocrities to "support" our stellar youngsters, and we'll be writing this same fookin' obit a month earlier. Tell me it isn't so, O My Brothers.


Zo said...

It is so. If the measure of a successful team is to exceed expectations, then someone, Bochy and/or Sabean will be rewarded. If the measure is to put butts in seats, then again, the Giants have provided a good season and the management will get the credit. The blogosphere may as well work themselves into a rage now, because I would bet on contract extensions for both.

On the radio last night, just for those who couldn't hear it, Duane Kuiper was beside himself at the Giants' failure to announce Posey's debut on the PA. There was at the time, a lot to announce, but apparently the Giants were too busy showing old people kissing to let fans know that the "future face of the franchise" (Kuiper's words) was in the game.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Yeah, I expect you're right. I'm not a fan of Bochy, but I can live with him and his Bakeresque joy in old cronies. Sabean is something else. I think the G.M. is way more important than the manager, and we need a new one. Trouble is, Sabean would probably get replaced by some G.M.-version of an aging, over-hyped, overpaid free agent.

JC Parsons said...

I always feel a little unfaithful saying this, but...I am super disappointed in Matt Cain. How can he ever be considered a great Giant, IF HE NEVER BEATS THE doggers???? I'm sorry but 0-7 is not exactly a small sample size. This game was Matt's second or third MEANINGFUL game in his career and he BLEW CHOW AGAIN. I guess I just expected too much...but if he's a solid #3 type starter that's OK. Right???

I think Zo is right about the extensions. shit...

M.C. O'Connor said...

I think we should trade him and rid the team of his loser mentality. We don't want any chokers around next year when we go for the big prize.

JC Parsons said...

Does the sarcasm mean you are happy with Matt having his "worst start of the season" for the biggest game of his career to date?

Oh yeah, its just luck anyway.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Am I supposed to infer from a bad start that Matt is somehow "not up to the task"? That's he's lacking in some way? Has some character flaw? That--heaven forbid--he's not "clutch" or a "gamer"?

Everyone who survives long enough in this game can be a hero one week and a goat the next. I know who Matt is--he's a good pitcher. He's a Giant. He's going to be a good pitcher and a Giant next year. I'm happy about that. Very happy. Get some good players together and hopefully even a great one or two and good things happen. We are lucky to have him.

Matt's pitched nearly 200 innings this year of mostly fine baseball with some ups and some downs. I just don't put a whole hell of a lot of stock in "he's x & y vs. so-and-so." Match-ups, and ERAs in ballparks, and career-against numbers, and all sorts of other statistical oddities are fun and quirky but not, to me, particularly revealing.

I feel like I'm supposed to care about stuff like that, having been weaned on it, but I find more and more that I don't. I was disappointed that Matt didn't throw a shutout. But I want him to throw a shutout EVERY time he goes out! I was bummed he got beat by the LAtriners, of course, but that's the way it goes sometimes.

"Wins" take a whole team, not just one guy. If we had tied or won that game by scoring some runs, we would be praising Matt's grittiness for "keeping it close without his best stuff" or some other sort of sportswriter-ism. Don't get me wrong, I like sportwriter-isms and baseball mythology and whatnot, I just don't take it all that seriously.

Anonymous said...

What I think can be inferred (and it sounds like you are going here too) is that Matt may not be a GREAT pitcher, but a good one.

"Everyone who survives long enough in this game can be a hero one week and a goat the next." Every normal player, but not so much for the truly great. When has Tim been a goat?

"I was bummed he got beat by the LAtriners, of course, but that's the way it goes sometimes."
That's how it goes EVERY TIME. He gave up 2 runs in the first and took us out of the game immediately. I'm not saying he chocked...I'm more worried that he just isn't good enough to win the BIG games against good opponents.

"If we had tied or won that game by scoring some runs, we would be praising Matt's grittiness for "keeping it close without his best stuff" or some other sort of sportswriter-ism.
There is no way I would have been happy with his matter what the final score was. I'm looking for personal growth and development, not stats.

BTW I hold Tim to this high standard as well, actually even higher. Am I so wrong to think Matt is also a superstar pitcher? I know he's good, but shouldn't we be expecting him to ascend to the next level?? His general performance this year points to greatness...isn't time for him to shine in the BIG matchups and important games???

OK no more picking on Matt. Tim better be awesome tonight or I'm going to hear about it.