Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cained again

On most Friday night Giants playoff games you'd find me at home with my HDTV and the dish tuned to channel 419. Last night, however, Pyrate Technics ("Straight Outta Weed, CA") performed the Green Show at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, and it couldn't be missed. Hustling down the hill afterward to The Black Sheep, we found the game in progress with Matty & the Bhoyos up 4-0 in the 4th. It looked good. Get through the 7th, get the door-slammers in the game, head to Atlanta up two-zip. That's The Formula™, you know: pitch well, hit just enough. Unfortunately, the Giants failed to hold the lead and wound up not scoring again. The game ended in the 11th, which means the Giants put up nine shutout innings after scoring in the 1st and 2nd. That's a whole game's worth, for those of you counting. That, my friends, ain't gonna fly.

Matt Cain gave the Giants a steady 6-2/3 with one unearned run on 7 hits, 2 walks, and 6 strikeouts (Game Score 62). He even supplied an RBI single! It wasn't Freak-azoid dominance, but it was classic Matt, solid and dependable, a return to what we are used to after that forgettable start a week ago against the Padres. After a 102 pitches and two-out single in the 7th by Omar Infante, Ol' Boch pulled him for sizzling southpaw Javier Lopez, who promptly struck out lefty phenom Jason Heyward. Surging Sergio Romo started the 8th, and immediately surrendered two ropes to Derek Lee and Brian McCann. That's the first chink to appear in the bullpen armor in a long time! Ol' Boch, surprisingly, went straight to Brian Wilson. After an error by Pablo Sandoval that led to a run, Alex Gonzalez crushed a long double and just like that the game was tied. Much has been made of Bonehead's decision to use Wilson for six outs (see Only Baseball Matters and El Lefty Malo for opposing views), but that wasn't the game-decider for me. Wilson was well-rested and had an off-day coming, he should have been able to get out of the inning. The error hurt, but Alex Gonzalez is only a short step up from Edgar Renteria. Getting beat by him in that situation really stung.

The Giants had a man on 2nd with 2 outs in the 6th and failed to score. They had men on 1st and 3rd in the 7th with only one out and failed to score. They had the bases loaded in the 10th, again with only one out, and failed to score. Giving away easy 1-2-3 innings and not converting scoring chances will come back to haunt you. The pitching can't always be perfect (sorry, Tim, but there's a reason people call you The Freak). The bullpen breakdown was a shocker, no doubt, but it's not like it was outside the realm of possibility. Atlanta is a good club. They fought back and got some big hits. Last night's sucker-punch loss isn't just about relief pitching. It's also about our criminally inadequate offense. I suppose it is foolish to expect anything else but nail-biting, tortuous, one-run affairs, but goddamn they get old! The Yankees have scored 11 runs in two games. The Rangers have scored 11 runs in two games. The Phillies have scored 11 runs in two games. The Giants have scored 5 runs in two games, and only 14 runs in their last FIVE games! Do we want to play with the Big Boys or not?

The Braves have seized the home-field advantage, but the Giants will throw a very tough young left-hander tomorrow. Jonathan Sanchez has already flashed some big-game credentials, and when he's got his good stuff going he's a very hard man to beat. There's no reason why the Giants can't nut-up and get cracking. The hitters have had their drought, the 'pen has had its hiccup, the time is now to put it all together and get a big win. We'll worry about Game Four later.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

18 comments:

Brother Bob said...

If Romo does his job we win. I blame the beards. He and Wilson should just shave the damn things off. They look ridiculous. And bench Sandoval. And ditch the orange jerseys. Their mojo wore off long ago and now they have a substantial losing streak going with them. Just wear the standard jiz-colored home uniforms.

M.C. O'Connor said...

So "French vanilla" was just a euphemism?

Ron said...

Most of the giggly 'this is just the latest version of Giants' torture - we're going to blow it off & come back & win' babble is being written by people who weren't born yet or old enough to remember the famous Friday night game against the Cardinals in '87. The similarities are quite remarkable. That game last night was an absolute abomination, not just a hiccup.

We have one single solitary clutch hit by one of our hitters in 2 games, 20 innings to be exact. We all know that Ross's RBI single on Thursday should have been fielded. The other RBI we have was by Matt Cain. The batting with runners on has been a total disaster. We have no clutch hits in any inning with an inning number greater than 3 - wow.

I do not want to see Pablo Sandoval's fat face one more time this entire season. First, he practically flattens Buster on that pop-up - even with TBS's weird muffled crowd & field microphone system, everyone in the world heard Buster call him off loudly. Then, he botches the key grounder. The formula for getting him out has become almost elementary - everyone is just itching to pitch to him, because they know that he'll swing at anything. Send him to a diet camp for the next few weeks - maybe, he can earn his spot back next season.

I am disgusted right now. We have a slight chance to come back & win this thing, but, things have become unnecessarily difficult. I have no confidence in our hitting.

I guess that it's up to Jonathan Sanchez again - he is THE MAN, especially with his new-found triples power.

Zo said...

Of course we lost - it was an orange Friday. Mark and Jon screwed that pooch some time ago (no orange Friday wins since). Unfortunately, it may take the marketing folks a couple of years to catch on.

Brother Bob said...

I could swear there was a synthetic pitch sound effect. "Whoosh pop." Did anybody else notice that? Or do they actually have some sort of mike that picks it up? That was driving me crazy for a while, then I ignored it.

Anonymous said...

First of all, the popup should have been Sandoval's ball all the way. The catcher needs to give way to the easier play for the first baseman. Blaming Sandoval for that one is a bit of a stretch. The fault was with our future offensive franchise Buster Posey. Giants pitchers just tossed a few too many fat pitches, while the Braves young bullpen was getting the giants to swing at pitches they did not even see.

Anonymous said...

I meant third baseman not firstbaseman, one too many tonight after that game I guess.

Ron said...

I agree that it is normally the 3B's ball, but, if he doesn't take charge, & someone else calls him off, he needs to give way. The bottom line on Sandoval is that he is a shitty fielder & a useless, predictable hitter (& very fat). He has no place on an ML field. He is dragging us down. You can only get away with looking like David Ortiz, if you can hit like David Ortiz (in his prime). Note that Ortiz hasn't played in the field much in a long time. Sandoval needs to hit the bench, then get left off of the NLCS roster, if we can scrape our way through.

JC Parsons said...

I was hoping no one would remember when the orange magic died...thanks Zo.

That really was a complete team loss. The pitching and hitting failures are well documented but don't forget two errors that each led to runs. All we needed was a base running blunder for the complete set. We almost hit for the loser cycle, if you will.

I, too, am pissed at Pablo. However, I remember that we all loved him this time last year. Isn't he the same "fat" flawed player? Except now he sucks? If we had any other prospects I might feel differently, but right now there is no way I give up on the Panda.

frankcontreras said...

Ron, your words made me sad. That is all.

Ron said...

Sorry to be a downer about this. However, I was never on the Panda Express (is that a trademark violation) last year. I'm not a fan of out-of-shape players.

I hope that everyone else is right, & I am wrong. I'd love to see us plow forward. We need clutch hits from many, early in the game & late.

frankcontreras said...

I too wish he could spend more time exercising, however, he's always been a big guy. Genetics are involved with obesity too. No one ever went on Babe Ruth's case about being overweight either. He was big last year, he is big this year. Weight is not the biggest factor in his down season.

I'm just saying, it's not fair to blame one person for a team loss. Buster is the one that killed the rally and everyone is excusing him for that and colliding with Pablo in the first inning.

Pablo is the player that made me realize that this was my team. I will never attack him.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I think you have to bench Pablo at this point. That's not giving up on him, that's just reality. Matt Cain got sent to the bullpen early in his career after struggling. He turned it around. I think Pablo is a valuable player and can perform at a high level again. He's going to have to work really hard to get there, so we'll see. But he should sit today, and maybe the rest of the series. That means we get to see Edgar "Clutch Daddy" Renteria instead.

Ron said...

Renteria @ SS & Uribe @ 3B makes more sense to me, but everything else (including Extra Baggs) seems to be saying Uribe @ SS & Fontentot @ 3B. We'll find out in a few hours.

M.C. O'Connor said...

"Way to go" Fontenot is primed to get a big hit today. Channel some Mark Lemke!!

frankcontreras said...

I can understand benching him, however, Fontenot really isn't much of an upgrade (if at all) offensively or defensively at 3rd (today's triple excluded). I'm just saying that I don't like all of the "fat ass," "piece of shit," "dumbass" comments. He's our guy damn it, stop talking about him like he's a Dodger.

M.C. O'Connor said...

We are always harder on our own guys than anyone else.

frankcontreras said...

Yes, pushing our guys on is fine, but attacking his character, weight, intelligence is effed up. I never do that. If you're always negative and mean, that won't solve anything. Positive reinforcement people!