Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Greatest Giants Game Ever



OK, maybe not ever, but damn close. I'm exhausted and exhilarated by this extraordinary game, an epic 6-5 slugfest that featured seven doubles but no home runs. Where 11 pitchers gave up 11 runs. Where the Giants scored in five different innings. Where Pablo Sandoval had the biggest hit of his life and then hit into a double play on his very next at-bat. Where Juan Uribe bested Roy Oswalt with a gutty, gritty, gigantic walk-off winner.

And where Buster Posey had a game for the ages, seizing his own page out of the Big Book of Giants Lore with a 4-hit, 2-RBI night and a highlight-reel play at the plate to save a run.

Charlie Manuel said after the game: "They found a way." Yes they did. The Giants found a way to win. MadBum looked good early, striking out 6 of the first 12 batters he faced, but ran into a Phillies buzz saw in the 5th. Santiago Casilla made it worse, and the Giants found themselves down by two runs, a seemingly impossible task. They clawed back with a run from Aubrey Huff and Andres Torres in the bottom of the inning, and got another shot in the 6th with a leadoff walk from Pat the Bat. Cody Ross plunked a ball over third base that he turned into a double with some heads-up baserunning, and that set the stage for the Panda's heroics. He stroked a ball down the right-field line that was probably fair, but called foul, and looked for all the world like he'd whiff in short order. Instead he blasted a high fastball from Chad Durbin into left-center and the Giants had the lead back. Naturally, the home squad failed to score another run. Sandoval on 2nd, no outs, zip. Next inning? Bases loaded, one out, zip. I was beside myself with anguish--I knew, I just knew that the Giants would pay for those lapses, and they did. Jayson Werth drove in Ryan Howard (a big run off Lopez-Romo) to tie it up in the 8th and crank the TortureKnob™ to 11. Fortunately the local lads didn't panic. They knew they could win a Battle of the Bullpens. With Bochy wisely going to his big stud Brian Wilson in the 9th, the Phils countered with Game Two star Roy Oswalt. It's not that it was a bad move--the Phils have some issues with their relief corps and needed a stud. But Aubrey Huff spoiled things with a single to right with one out. Up came Posey, the young superstar who turned the season around for the Giants, and he delivered a memorable at-bat and a huge hit to put the winning run at third base. Juan Uribe, oozing veteran savvy clutchness, somehow roped a low, outside, off-speed pitch deep into left field for the game-winning sacrifice fly, and the magic that's been inside all season long spilled all over Mays Field. Huff crossed the plate to a wild celebration, and the Giants had a victory, a remarkable, improbable victory that puts them one win from the World Series.

Tomorrow the Giants send out their best with a chance to win the pennant at home. The Freak. The Franchise. Big Time Timmy Jim. This is it. The lads have shown the champs that they can hang with them.

Now they have to show the champs they can beat them.

Get it done! GO GIANTS!!

--M.C.


Chart from FanGraphs.

3 comments:

Ron said...

I don't know where to start, there are so many topics. Great, great win!:

- Posey's 9th inning AB was phenomenal. Werth's play probably didn't save a run (after all, Huff was running), but saved Posey getting to 2B. In that case, what would have happened? Intentional BB to Uribe to face Cody Ross with the bases loaded? Conclusion: Werth's play didn't really amount to anything.

- When they showed Will in the crowd, sitting next to Neukom, the inspiration for Matt Cain's now legendary post-Game 3 hair suddenly became clear. Matt's just engaging in the time-honored tradition of sucking up to the boss. Wait a minute, was Cain sporting a Neukom, or, was Neukom sporting a Cain?

- Aside from Wilson, bullpen issues contine. I was a bit surprised to see Bochy go to Casilla early in the game. I had thought Casilla was working his way up to late inning set-up dude. After that performance last night (Casilla & Romo), unless all lefties are coming up, who do we go to for a shutdown 8th inning? Mota? Ramirez hasn't been reliable, either.

- That was the first time this post-season that we have scored more than 4 runs in a win. Friday night against Atlanta was the only other +4 offensive outburst.

- Why did the Phillies try to unload Werth around the trade deadline? He has been a top performer for them for several seasons. He dug out a tough pitch to tie the game up last night. He seems to do everything pretty well. It somewhat sickens me to type this, because of his previous team affiliation. Hopefully, tonight is his last game of the season. He's a bit scary.

- What a weird situation - yanking Rowand in a double switch a few seconds after his incredible throw to the plate. Talking about the highs & lows. I never saw his reaction, but he had to be a bit miffed. He has made important contributions to both games in which he has played.

- Is Renteria now hurt, after his HBP/foul ball? If not, do we still bat him lead-off? I'm still inclined to push Ross up there, but am interested in other opinions on this.

- Ishikawa & Schierholtz look quite over-matched at the plate right now. I realize that they've had to face some tough pitchers, but they need to amp up the grit factor, especially because they keep getting key late inning AB's.

- Bumgarner lost it quickly, but, overall, I think that he should still be proud of his performance. He certainly didn't look intimidated by anything or anyone.

- Torres tonight?

- Let's close this thing out at home!!!!!

Brother Bob said...

We have at least 3 games left to play, possibly 10.

Ron said...

Game 5 line-up:

CF Torres
2B Sanchez
1B Huff
C Posey
LF Burrell
RF Ross
3B Sandoval
SS Uribe
P Lincecum