Thursday, October 11, 2012

And The Band Played On

The Giants continued their magical season with an extraordinary win against the Reds today. I think I typed that sentence yesterday. And the day before. If I didn't, I said something similar. I don't quite know how to describe this team other than to say that they are winners. They win ballgames. Buster Posey, immortal among the living, hit a grand slam to make it 6-0 and they hung on from there. Six pitchers, 173 pitches. It wasn't Matt Cain's finest work, but he did what he had to do which was out-pitch Mat Latos. With the Giants lighting up their nemesis (better the enemy you know, eh?), Matty had to keep the lid on and get it to the 'pen. He succeeded, mostly, into the 6th inning. The strike 'em out and throw 'em out double play was huge, and then George Kontos came on and got an out on one pitch. The 'pen took it from there and with the help of a great catch by Angel Pagan got the job done. It was scary at times. Very scary. One could not help but think of a certain 5-0 lead with everything on the line that evaporated in a heartbeat, but we didn't have to suffer that particular sort of agony today. The Reds and their fans get that role this off-season. No schadenfreude for me, though, I've been to the very top and to the very bottom as a Giants fan, and I know what if feels like to root for a good team and watch it make history. I mean not good history, like stuff you hope everyone forgets. Sorry to descend into melancholia, but a game like today's puts you through the wringer, and all the emotions come out. I was at work, fer chrissakes, and all I had was GameDay, and I stopped looking at it when Sergio Romo had two on, one in, and one out. He rose to the moment in a marathon duel with Jay Bruce for the second out, and nailed it down by striking out Scott Rolen. The Reds go 2-13 with runners in scoring position. What a performance by the entire team to defeat an impressive foe.

After Sunday night's terrible game, Zo said YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE, thus earning RMC's Hunter Pence Award for inspirational words.

We did. And the Giants came through with some thrilling baseball.

On to the championship series!


p.s. @JC: you da man, you rescued me in the 9th!


nomisnala said...

Jon Miller is a bit of a jinx. As soon as he got out Philips, Miller said the Reds now have not had a baserunner against Romo in ten at bats. And then he goes on to walk Cozart and give up back to back hits. I must say the ball 4 on Cozart looked like it caught a lot of the strike zone. At least with Bochy we did not blow a 6 run lead. Maybe we learned something from Feliz Rodriguez, that something is to change your pitches once in a while and do not throw all the same stuff, or the batter will catch on. I wonder if Romo's last pitch, a back up pitch moving in on Rolens, was intentional, or a mistake? Nevertheless, it worked.

Shankbone said...

I thought that pitch to Cozart caught a lot of strike zone as well. At least Romo didn't pull a Latos and pout. That last pitch did have one advantage even if it was hanging - it was moving at a slower speed. That was one helluva ninth inning.

JC Parsons said...

@MOC My pleasure dude. When Buster hit his masterpiece I just had to share the moment with you, even though it meant leaving a class full of goofy sophomores doing a lab involving hot plates and boiling water. No causalities. I got to see the ending during my prep on the classroom TV. A few students got to see me go through the torture of the ninth. It made a bit of, shall we say, an impression on them. The thing that surprised them the most was how I bolted out the door to see you again when the final out was made. I'm sure your class must have been a little shocked, ah?

Brother Bob said...

This was a remarkable acheivement. I gotta get to the airport. Flying to San Diego to do some Grandpa duty.

Ron said...

So many guys with 5-letter names starting with 'P' to choose from, but I've got to go with Angel 'The Man' Pagan as my NLDS MVP.

Sure, Posey is God-like & got big hits, & threw out runners in crucial situations, & is, generally, the savior of our civilization as we know it. But, that's too easy a pick.

Sure, Pence gave 'The Clubhouse Speech', has started a new dugout huddle trend that has been picked up by the Orioles, & continued playing, when he had a severe leg cramp.

Sure, Panda finally got some big post-season hits, including hitting one into the Ohio River.

Yes, Pagan got some nice hits & made awesome plays, including that miraculous catch in the 8th inning yesterday. But, the biggest play he made ... perhaps the biggest play of the whole series ... was stepping out of the batter's box after 5 pitches in the 1st inning of Game 1. Johnny Cueto violated a cardinal rule of baseball by not finishing his pitching motion, got hurt, & was history to the Reds. Although, Cincinnati made lemonade out of lemons that night, it disrupted their pitching pattern for the entire series. So, crack a cold one, Angel ... you did it!

PS Every time I watch the Posey Slam, I have to do it 3 times. First time, watch Posey. Second time, watch Hanigan. Third time, watch Latos. Solid entertainment. Buster Posey!!!!!

Zo said...

@nomisnala: Romo said in the Chronic this morning that it was intentional. He wasn't going to get beat unless it was on his best pitch. Still, a gutsy call to throw it.

I was also at work, wish I could have had a radio. Bruce's last at bat against Romo was torture. On the internet, you don't know what is happening when the count doesn't change. Are they making a pitching change in the middle of an at bat? Is an injury being attended to? It turned out to be foul ball after foul ball, and Romo came through.

Afterwards, since I was so discombobulated as to be ineffective at work (not that it would have mattered much, I'm a manager), I too perused the highlights. Posey's slam. Angel's catch. Crawfords' glove. Romo. After that, I perused a number of Cincinnati Reds blogs. Anger at Dusty for leaving Matos in too long. Anger at fans for leaving early in Game 4. Counter arguments to both. Anger at some ball/strike calls. Feelings of being wrung out. Feelings of having come a lot farther than anyone expected this year. The Reds put a very, very good team on the field in a division in which they had to compete against the 2011 World Champions. Someone had to win this, and it was very improbable that they lost. But they did, and we won.

Also, I don't hate Mat Latos as much as I used to now that I know that he has a cute cat.

Ron said...

As much as I love watching him play & as much as I admire him, I have no idea what it feels like to be Buster Posey. I have never worn a single piece of Catchers' gear; I have never caught so much as a 60 mph fastball in a squat; the only time I ever played Catcher was, reluctantly, for a Team for which I was 'the new guy' in a softball tournament back in 1982 in Kansas. While it went OK, I didn't want to do it again.

I have never hit a Grand Slam. I have never even hit a legit HR. Once, again in a softball game, I hit one on a field w/ no fences, but the other Team was short an OF, so I don't count that. I have been a slap-hitting CF since I was 10 years old. If I hit a 2B, it was a rarity. A 3B? Once-in-awhile. An HR? Not even in batting practice.

I don't know what it feels like to be Buster Posey - not in any baseball sense anyway.

Which leads me, once again, to Angel Pagan. I can't hit an equal number of 2B's, 3B's, & HR's, & run like a deer. But, that catch that he made in the 8th inning? That one, I know about. I have made that exact catch many times over the years. I know what that feels like. I love making that catch more than any other play in any sport.

The first time I pulled it off was probably in 1968, shagging fly balls hit by Jim Streeter's Dad, Bill, on the fields at St. Mary's College in Moraga, CA. The last time was in 2006, again shagging flies on a baseball field in (very windy) Boardman, OR. In-between, I've made that catch a hundred times, sometimes in games, sometimes in crucial situations. I've made that catch on 2 continents, maybe 3. I've had an opposing player, in a sign of total respect, tell me 'You suck', after I made that play for about the 5th time one single afternoon during a pick-up tournament in Portland, OR in 1984.

It feels great! There's grass & dirt flying, & you can smell it on your clothes all of the way into the dugout. When you make a catch like that to end an inning, you have the instant gratification of being mobbed & hugged by your Teammates, when you get to the dugout. It's the best!

While I can identify with the elation & artistry of making a catch like that, I can only imagine what making a catch like that feels like, with so much at-stake, in the deciding game of a post-season series. Elation x 1,000,000, I imagine. Heck, just watching it, especially with that memory bank full of similar experiences, was at least good for 100,000-fold elation.

Thank you, Angel Pagan! Thank you for taking me back to my proudest athletic moments! But, mostly, thank you for your part in the miraculous return of the 2012 SF Giants!!!

Go Giants!!!!! Win that NLCS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And, then, go ahead & win that World Series, too!!!!!

M.C. O'Connor said...

What an amazing series! So much credit goes to Boch for his steady hand at the tiller. The Giants have put together a great organization. Players are treated like professionals and know what their roles are and what is expected of them. Tim is a case in point--you know he wanted to start, but Boch said "I need you in the 'pen" and Tim said "whatever it takes to win."

I want to play the Nats. You want to be the best, play the best. And if it is the Cards--they are the defending champs. Play the best to be the best--I want this team to be tested because that's when they shine.

Shankbone said...

Well now, its the Cards, coming off an amazing victory. I like it. Buck and McCarver will be actively rooting for the Cards, we'll have plenty of Beltran talk, and they are the defending champs. Lets knock em off.

M.C. O'Connor said...

What an impossible game! Four runs off the closer in the 9th! Nats had two outs, no one had scored, runner on third, and couldn't finish off a 7-5 lead. OUCH.

1987--them. 2002--us.

2012--rubber match.