Sunday, October 10, 2010

Brooks Conrad 3, Braves 2

The unfortunate Brooks Conrad, substituting for the injured Martin Prado, has had a series to forget: four errors in three games with three of them coming in today's game. His first error--dropping a Cody Ross pop fly--let in the Giants first run in the 2nd inning. His third error--failing to stop Buster Posey's smash up the middle--let in the go-ahead and ultimately winning run in the 9th inning. A dazzling start (Game Score 80) by Jonathan Sanchez, who had a no-hitter through the first five innings, looked to be for naught when pinch-hitter Eric Hinske burned Sergio Romo with a two-run homer with one out in the 8th. The Giants spent the afternoon wasting scoring chances after scoring chances, clinging to a 1-0 lead behind the brilliant work of their southpaw starter, who only allowed two hits and one walk along with eleven strikeouts. Despite Romo's ineffectiveness on Friday, Ol' Boch gave him the ball again in a big situation and the young righty gave up a huge hit that looked to be the game-decider. With the Braves up 2-1 in the 9th, Travis Ishikawa (pinch-hitting for Romo), worked a one-out walk. The Braves were also without closer Billy Wagner, and used four pitchers in his stead. Freddy Sanchez was overmatched by Craig Kimbrel's fastballs, but he stroked a single on a slider that stayed over the middle of the plate. It was as clutch a hit as the Giants have had all year. Aubrey Huff then hit a liner to right off lefty Mike Dunn that tied the game. Posey's hard hit grounder off Peter Moylan "split the wickets" at second base and FSanchez motored home with the winner. Brian Wilson got the save despite an infield hit by Brian McCann.

Agony and ecstasy in Atlanta today. Fortunately for the Giants the Braves have some key injuries and those were the weak links. The offense was terrible from the get-go, consistently making outs when hits were needed, but managed to pull it off (with a little help) when the game was on the line. I was confident JSanchez would pitch well, and he was outstanding, I was also sure that Mike Fontenot would get a big hit, and his triple off Heyward's glove was huge.

Madison Bumgarner gets his chance tomorrow. Giants starters have been terrific--only two runs (one earned) in 23 innings. Let's get some runs for the youngster and save Tim for the Phillies, whaddya say?

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.


p.s. Amazing, improbable, ridiculous. Tortuous. Infuriating. Dramatic. Your 2010 San Francisco Giants!

13 comments:

frankcontreras said...

Best title all year in my opinion. I never stopped believing! Go Giants!

P.S.: I literally went "YES YES YES YES YES" like Harrelson from the White Sox booth.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3ALwKeSEYs

Great, great win. Thank freaking god for Brooks Conrad.

Brother Bob said...

Jon Sanchez took another step toward stardom yesterday. He came up huge again in a very important game.
It seemed he took a page from Lincecum's playbook, using effective wildness, with lots of balls way out of the strike zone. That must be unsettling to the opposing batters.
Oh, rather a nasty bit of business with our lad Romo, wouldn't you say? Bit of a disappointment. Ah well, he's a stout fellow, stiff upper lip and all.
How's that, Frank?

Ron said...

THIS POST IS IN 2 PARTS, BECAUSE IT IS APPARENTLY TOO LONG TO BE 1 PART

Dear Frank Contreras

Rather than let the bad feelings of the last couple of days linger unspoken, I would like to provide a little background to my Saturday outbursts.

I have been a Giants fan since 1967, when, at the age of 9, I moved back to the Bay Area after living overseas. Since then, particularly during the period from 1967 through 1989, I have attended well over 500 Giants games & watched or listened to many thousand others. I met many of my good friends, including Mark, Sue, Jon, & Brother Bob, in the bleachers at Candlestick Park. I have known Zo even longer.

In 1987, all of us & various other Friends attended our very first Giants’ post-season game (Game 3 of the NLCS against the Cardinals on a Friday night), the first post-season game in San Francisco since 1971. Mark was there, too, but was not at his first post-sesaon game, because he got to go to one of those 1971 games. It was very exciting, & I was interviewed on the radio at the game. The line score of that game bore an eerie resemblance to the line score of Friday night’s game against Atlanta. Jon immediately proclaimed it ‘The Death Game’ & predicted the Giants’ ultimate demise on the premise that ‘Championship teams do not blow 4 run leads at home & get away with it’. Jon’s statement loomed like a hammer, even though we all attended exciting Giants’ victories in Games 4 & 5 at home. Jon was ultimately proved correct, when the Giants then traveled to St. Louis & failed to score a single run in either Game 6 or Game 7.

Therefore, I hope that you can understand that my emotions were running pretty raw, when I sat down to post comments on Saturday morning. That game was like 1987 Game 3 all over again. Pablo Sandoval’s performance this season has been atrocious, & all of his defects were out in full view in that game. Even the National TV announcers were ridiculing him for ‘starting his swing before he left the on-deck circle’. The formula to get him out is so easy now – get a strike, then pitch miles outside of the strike zone, because he’ll swing at it. The error was predictable, too.

Obviously, I am not the only person who has come to the conclusion that he is a detriment to the Team right now & should be out of the starting lineup. I like Pablo Sandoval – he has a lot of talent. But, it was very clear that his approach to the game needed to be modified, or the League would quickly catch on to him. His conditioning was a problem last year, he was told to do something about it, he is paid a lot of money, & he did not comply. I believe that his lack of conditioning affects both his offense & his defense. His plate patience was a problem last year – he has now ignored 2 batting coaches, who have tried to get him to swing at strikes. If you’re going to be a free-swinging, bad ball hitter, you need to hit better than .260, & you’d better drive in some runs.

I spent around 10 years with Johnnie LeMaster as my favorite player – needless-to-say, that meant enduring a lot of abuse from a lot of sources, some of the most vocal being my own Friends. My other favorite Giants (such as Kevin Mitchell or Omar Vizquel) were a little more mainstream. Jon Parsons spent many years refusing to watch Chili Davis bat, either at the game, or on TV. He would simply leave the premises. My persistent denigration of Darrell ‘Shithead’ Evans really precipitated some of our Friendships – I was known as the Darrell Evans Hater, when Mark came up to me, & introduced himself on Opening Day 1982. My point is that this is a group where emotions can run pretty high, both positive & negative. Players who help the team win (Rick Reuschel) are prized; players who are overpaid (Dave Roberts) or are a detriment to winning (Matt Herges) or both (Aaron Rowand) endure a lot of abuse. Sometimes, the prized & the abused can be the same person at different points during a single season. We can be a bit fickle, too.

Ron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ron said...

This is not the ‘Raising Matt Cain Giants’ Pep Squad’. This can be a pretty emotional forum where catharsis occurs, & hyperbole (both high & low) is employed. When Friday night’s game reminded me of the single most painful Giants’ game I have ever witnessed in person, my anger welled up. Jon’s voice was in my ear – there was no way for us to proceed – we could not proceed – the Series was over. It wasn’t all Pablo Sandoval’s fault, but he played a huge part.

I don’t apologize for calling him fat – he is. I, many of my relatives, & some other Friends, happen to be overweight, too, but we don’t get paid a lot of money to play a sport in which top conditioning contributes to success. I don’t apologize for saying that he sucks – in 2010, he has sucked, especially compared to the promise of his 2009 season. I never said that he was dumb – I don’t know where you came up with that. I believe that he will listen during the upcoming off-season & will turn his career around in the right direction. The 2011 version of the Panda will be a player worthy of our whole-hearted support. The current model is faltering badly. We are facing some of the best pitchers in the game, & they all know how to get him out.

Thankfully, Brooks Conrad, who I had never heard of until about a week ago, has single-handedly kept our hopes alive. Aside from our starting pitchers, no one in a Giants’ uniform has covered themselves in glory in this series. Yet, we have 2 chances to advance. I hope with all of my heart that we do – if nothing more, it would help erase some of the memories of the finality of the 1987 Game 3 loss. It would please me greatly, if, when his number is called again, Pablo Sandoval makes a contribution to that success.

I welcome you to the blog with the knowledge that your Giants’ fandom & persistent positive spin is heartening. But, as the grizzled vets that some of us are, we have our passions & our sensitivities – sometimes we dump them out there in rather dramatic ways. However, we are united in our desire for a Giants’ World Series victory. That could still be in the works in 2010.

GO GIANTS!!!

Ron said...

PS I am totally on-board with starting Bumgarner tonight. First, he has earned it. Second, I was a little bit leery of Tim pitching on short rest. Even if he would have been studly (likely), the long-term injury risk would have existed. I am happy with the way things are working out in our starting rotation.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Darrell Evans and Chili Davis were good players. Maybe not as goo as we expected them to be, but certainly well above average. Bill James thinks Evans is the most under-rated player of all time. Both went on to win World Series rings with other teams, too. We were a tad irrational in those "good old days." If we had guys who could hit as well as either Davis or Evans right now we wouldn't have to depend on Brooks Conrad.

I wish we had a 2010 version of Jack Clark.

Ron said...

We're still a tad irrational - I know that I am!

Zo said...

I'm also glad Bumgarner is starting. I would rather have Tim for game 5 if necessary. We have plenty of relief that has had plenty of rest. If we win - then it is a match-up that all of America should be watching, Lincecum vs Halladay. At least, all of America with any sense. The Chron is full of excess verbiage today, not unlike Ron. Yeah, he's a nut, but a highly passionate one. A win is a win however we get them. I'm looking for the bats to have one of their periodic, although infrequent, awakenings today.

frankcontreras said...

Ron. First off, hi. I agree with you in that Pablo has had a disappointing season and that some games have been a little hard to watch from him. However, we must keep things in perspective. Yes, Pablo Sandoval the man who was the only real threat in the lineup last year has gone downhill this year. However, if you move your biases and expectations aside, he really hasn't been that bad. His defense at third, although by no means fantastic, was exactly replacement level in the regular season. That is actually an improvement over last year (-3.4). However, his WAR went from 5.3 down to 1.9. That is almost exactly league average. He has gone from arguably one of the top 3 3rd basemen from last year to a league average one. I think we expect so much out of him that when he doesn't get a big hit, or he doesn't make a great play, it feels much worse than it would if say Buster did. You can't expect a third baseman to get to every ball that's hit to the left part of the infield. You can't expect him to always drive the runners home. You have to be realistic.

We can't just focus on Pablo, if we do, we overlook the great stories that happened this year. We literally got a shiny new middle of the order in Huff-Busta-Burrell and not to mention the best CF and leadoff hitter in the NL, Andres Torres. As a team, they have grown stronger from last season.

And I never said that you called him dumb. I said I've heard him being called those things. I'm just saying, you don't need to express your frustration in negative ways. He's arguably my favourite player, but, that doesn't mean I think he should play everyday. It also doesn't mean that I blind myself to what he's done this season. He's hitting with much less power, grounding into more double plays, and he makes the occasional error. So what? This season has been amazing regardless. I don't care about the World Series. I mean, I do, but, I'm just glad that I got to see these kids play. Just watching these guys and enjoying the ride and the friends and people that I have spoken to because of being a Giants fan is just so sweet. You know, Skeletor said some wise words in his day, I like living by this:

"Life is a journey, not a destination." Baseball is a big part of my life so the same applies.

Maybe when I grow older and the world takes its toll on my spirit and my rock-like demeanor begins to crack, I may get more frustrated at these things. However, right now, all I see are good things from this group of guys. I see the friends that I have made. I recall the good times that I have had. This has just been a great year for me (both baseball-wise and personally) that I can't complain. I mean, I'd love to enjoy as many more games as the Giants will allow, but, I've had so much that I am eternally grateful for you guys on this site for steering me in this direction. If I have to wait longer for a World Series, so be it. If I have to go through years of ineptitude, fine. But, for the first time ever, I feel like I would be okay with that.

But that's loser talk, so, GO GIANTS!!!!!

frankcontreras said...

Ron. First off, hi. I agree with you in that Pablo has had a disappointing season and that some games have been a little hard to watch from him. However, we must keep things in perspective. Yes, Pablo Sandoval the man who was the only real threat in the lineup last year has gone downhill this year. However, if you move your biases and expectations aside, he really hasn't been that bad. His defense at third, although by no means fantastic, was exactly replacement level in the regular season. That is actually an improvement over last year (-3.4). However, his WAR went from 5.3 down to 1.9. That is almost exactly league average. He has gone from arguably one of the top 3 3rd basemen from last year to a league average one. I think we expect so much out of him that when he doesn't get a big hit, or he doesn't make a great play, it feels much worse than it would if say Buster did. You can't expect a third baseman to get to every ball that's hit to the left part of the infield. You can't expect him to always drive the runners home. You have to be realistic.

We can't just focus on Pablo, if we do, we overlook the great stories that happened this year. We literally got a shiny new middle of the order in Huff-Busta-Burrell and not to mention the best CF and leadoff hitter in the NL, Andres Torres. As a team, they have grown stronger from last season.

frankcontreras said...

Sorry about that second post; it lied and said it was too big.