Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cain leads the way

Matt Cain was outstanding this afternoon in San Francisco, keeping the defending champs off the board for seven innings. He only allowed two hits, seeming to prefer to walk (3) or plunk (2) guys rather than make a mistake over the plate. Matt consistently got the big outs--Chase Utley in the 3rd with two on and two out, Jimmy Rollins and Raul Ibanez in the 4th with two on, Utley again in the 5th with Shane Victorino at 2nd and two outs, and Victorino himself with two on and two out in the 7th. The last encounter was particularly dramatic as Bruce Bochy had jogged out for a visit after the walk to pinch-hitter Gload. Cain said Ol' Boch asked how he was doing and he replied "I'm good." Ol' Boch jogged back and Victorino grounded harmlessly to Freddy Sanchez. It was a dominating performance, particularly against that lineup. Cain worked hard as it took 119 pitches to get those 21 outs. I was really impressed by his confidence and concentration. He seemed to be able to make the pitches he wanted to all day long, regardless of the count and situation, and the Phillie hitters never got anything going. Rollins was caught on the Fox broadcast's 'Sounds of the Game' talking to the 1st base coach about the deceptive movement in Cain's fastball, saying that even though it was "right over the plate" he couldn't pick it up. Bobby Valentine (on ESPN) was raving about Cain's change-up, saying he thinks it's a new pitch he developed late in the season. Whatever it was, it was part of a devastating repertoire that kept the hitters off balance. Matt got the first batter of every inning he pitched: Victorino, Howard, Ibanez, Polanco, Ruiz, Polanco, Rollins.

Cole Hamels was perfect through three innings, but Edgar Renteria, leading off in a juggled lineup, singled to open the 4th and came home on a two-out single by none other than Mr. Mid-October Cody Ross. Aubrey Huff followed that with a single to right that beat the shift and Utley's reach. Utley allowed another run on a ball hit by Freddy Sanchez in the 5th that came up short on him. It drove in Aaron Rowand, subbing in center for the struggling Andres Torres, who'd led off with a double. The bench guys came through big time against the very tough Hamels. You have to hand it to Ol' Boch, he pulled the right strings today.

Javier Lopez pitched an overpowering 8th, obliterating Utley, Polanco, and Howard on only nine pitches. Brian Wilson got a double-play grounder to seal the deal in the 9th and put the Giants up two games to one. A tremendous start by Matt Cain, a gritty effort by the batsmen, and a clean slate for the fielders added up to a huge, huge win.

Let's keep it rolling! GO GIANTS!!


(Must click)


JC Parsons said...

That was, given the context, Matt's greatest moment. His domination of Utley and Rollins (two guys with previous ownage) was something a SUPERSTAR does. Great photo...I forgot how red Matt's "fro" is.
This pitching staff is on a mission....from God?
BTW The dog is not answering to "Cody" yet, but he will.

Ron said...

The even more fabulous thing about the way Matt pitched today was the off-balance, reaching out, tapping of weak grounders by pretty much everyone in a Phillie uniform. That shit works in any stadium, bandbox or not. Confidence-inducing stuff! Lopez & Wilson were stellar, too. We've a few people re-thinking how they looked at this series. Some more hits would be nice, though.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I don't think the Phils are going to roll over and cough blood the way the Yankees have. It is going to be an excruciating battle tonight. I have confidence that MadBum will give us some quality innings but I expect we will need someone like Casilla or Romo to get some big outs. Blanton is the weakest link, but he's no pushover. He's a good pitcher and we all know how the Giants can make anyone look like Cy Young. Torres will have to start helping. Maybe Pablo Sandoval can come up with a big hit. He could use a start at 3rd, no?

M.C. O'Connor said...

Nice piece by Jayson Stark about Matt.

Ron said...

Quick update on Zo: He is progressing slowly, still receiving nutrition via IV, still watching the games. Akemi doubts that he'll be home before Friday.

Ron said...

I agree that the Phillies are going to be tough. And, if you don't score, you can't win. Sandoval & Renteria will probably be the left side of the infield tonight. CF is a big question, though, as Torres' cameo yesterday was not very encouraging - while he did put the ball in play (progress), it was about a weak a tapper as could be imagined. I fear that Rowand would be pretty sick against Blanton, so, barring some radical move (like Huff in RF, Ishikawa @ 1B), I suppose that we're going to see Torres. I'd also consider going with Ross in CF & Schierholtz in RF, but I don't think that Bochy will look at that. Blanton has been very good at times in his career - I agree that he is not to be taken lightly. On the other hand, Bumgarner seems phased by nothing, so I'm looking for him to continue to effective.

SIR said...

Matt's hair is ORANGE! Red is a Phillies color.

Brother Bob said...

If Renteria and Rowand can be important contributors in a game like this, anything is possible.
And as for Matt; now the whole world got to look at him and realize, "Whoah, this dude is good.
Today they will all realize the same about MadBum.

Ron said...

My favorite (translated) commentary from yesterday's Game 3 en espanol: 'Home Plate Umpire Ted Barrett's strike call sounds like a wounded goat ... ni-ni-ni.' Hilarious.

Also, instead of Mitch Williams & Eric Karros at the Game, they have the '2 Mannys' (Manny Mota & Manny Acta) in the Studio. Manny Mota still looks like he could reel off a couple dozen pinch-hits a season (man, that guy used to drive us crazy). Manny Acta has very unusual fashion sense - sort of a 1950's Havana nightclub thing. The non-ex-player host seems reasonable enough.

Ron said...


SS Renteria
2B Sanchez
1B Huff
C Posey
LF Burrell
RF Ross
3B Sandoval
CF Rowand
P Bumgarner

Phillies subbing B. Francisco for Ibanez.

Rowand against Blanton seems like trouble. But, who would have thought that Cody Ross would have 4 post-season jacks & a slug of other run-scoring hits?

Bringing Sandoval back is the right move for today.

JC Parsons said...

@SIR You are so right and I was completely wrong. Obviously orange, not ... that other color.