The Giants eliminated the Dodgers last night, but they didn't go quietly. It was an agonizing finish as the Giants needed six relievers for the final nine outs. Ol' Boch tried to get another inning out of Barry Zito who had thrown six solid to that point, but he plunked Andre Ethier to give the Dodgers life and end his night. Still, it was a fine effort, and Zeets made his case for a playoff start. George Kontos got the biggest out of the game* when he whiffed Matt Kemp to end the 7th, cleaning up the mess Guillermo Mota made. I wonder if that is it for WillyMo. He has only been marginally effective since his return from suspension, and Kontos has the strikeout stuff so valuable in those tight post-season games. The Giants like good PR as well, and leaving the steroid-tainted Ancient One off the playoff roster gives them a squeakier image. The word last week was they would carry eleven pitchers, and with the five starters that leaves six spots for relievers. Five are obvious: Romo, Casilla, Affeldt, Lopez, and lefty FNG Jose Mijares. I think you have to take the righty FNG as well.
Ryan Vogelsong, the forgotten man, pitches a meaningless game today. Let's hope he makes his case for a playoff start. The Giants need everyone ready going forward. This year's team doesn't have über-ace Tim Lincecum making the killer 1-2 punch with Matt Cain. The rest of the arms have to contribute with quality innings and big outs. It's a different team than the 2010 champs, with a different style and different weapons. Should be fun. It will be nice to relax this evening and watch Francisco Peguero, Justin Christian, and the like.
*Mota gave up a two-run homer to A.J. Ellis and then struck out Nick Punto. Mark Ellis hit a gapper, and perhaps made the biggest play of the night when he was thrown out at 3rd trying to stretch the no-doubt double into a triple. He was the tying run, already in scoring position with one out, in an elimination game. The extra 90 feet was not worth the risk and the Pagan-Arias-Sandoval team effort made him pay. It was one of those desperation, trying-too-hard moves, and he was out easily. Shane Victorino tripled after that, but was stranded by the Kemp strikeout. Nice. Don Mattingly made my favorite move when he walked Angel Pagan to get to Marco Scutaro (he wanted the righty matchup and had career numbers to back it up). Of course Scoots made him pay with the two-run double that proved to be the game-winner. You have to love walking a guy to get to the hottest hitter on the team!