Saturday, October 4, 2014

Giants Play Two Games, Win One

I remember thinking when Anthony Rendon got that two-out hit in the 3rd to score a run that it was a key moment. That this game was going to be one of those World Cup soccer things, you know, "one-in-and-done." Sure enough Nationals starter Jordan Zimmerman overpowered the Giants after that, only to walk rookie Joe Panik with two outs in the 9th. The Giants had gone 0-for-20 before then, so even though it brought Buster Posey to the plate it still seemed like a vain effort. And a wasted brilliant start from Tim Hudson, who had only the one lapse and otherwise matched zeroes with Zimmerman. Nats manager Matt Williams took out an ad in Second-guessers Wanted however, and brought in his closer Drew Storen to get the final out. Buster promptly cracked a single and Pablo Sandoval dug out an opposite-field double to bring home the tying run. Buster was thrown out at the plate in a very close play that required review and the game went to extras. I was "oh-no-ing" well before I saw the relay, he could have been out by a lot if it had been on the line. As it was Wilson Ramos had to make a sweep tag and he pulled it off with an inch at best to spare. I guess you can't fault the aggressiveness there, a lot of guys with "an extra step" would have scored. They hadn't done anything on offense for most of the game, so you can understand going for the win with the tie in hand.

So, the epic struggle went on into the night. The Nats scored a run in the 3rd and that was it. They played 15 more innings and could not put something on the board against the Giants. It was an awesome display of bullpen power, with Yusmeiro Petit earning MVP (most valuable 'penner) with a spectacular six scoreless. Washington has a great relief corps as well and they kept the Giants quiet for another long stretch. It got to the point where you knew it would be one of those games decided by a bomb. Brandon Belt, bless his heart, launched a massive home run to lead off the 18th and victory was in sight. Rookie Hunter Strickland blasted his way through the bottom of the 18th to get the save and the Giants went up two-nil in the series. Boch has a lot of faith in that kid--after he got tagged twice yesterday I admit I was scared to see him get the ball. But Strickland quickly asserted himself and showed great poise in a tense situation and got the outs to end it. Way to go, Hunter!

The Giants and Nationals played a nine-inning game that ended in a 1-1 tie. The Giants scored with their very last chance and just missed taking the lead. Then the Giants and Nationals played a second nine-inning game and the Giants hit a home run in the final inning to win 1-0. It was an extraordinary night of baseball that went past the stroke of midnight and featured great pitching and clean fielding coupled with some dramatic scoring moments. And the best thing is that the GIANTS came out on top.

Giants used everyone except Joaquin Arias (and Tim Lincecum). Madison Bungarner gets the ball on Monday in San Francisco with a chance to sweep the number one seed and advance to the LCS.




JC Parsons said...

Nine more wins to go!

I saw every pitch. I saw magic everywhere ( I fear Rendon may be Rumpelstiltskin ) I lived through the whole amazing thing. This team is writing a fable, a legend. Please, Zo, report back soon, details are essential!

Am I over using the word "magic"? It just sounds so much nicer than grit and perseverance, which are probably much more descriptive. It also does a disservice to the incredible hard work put in by guys like Hudson and Petit. And consider how poorly "magic" sums up the patience and poise of Brandon Belt as he navigated what must have been a personal hell of a season.

So you see, I need some help with the adjectives and such. Get to it gang. We have a whole day off and we just witnessed HISTORY.

JC Parsons said...

Here's a weird one to start with: Anybody else get the notion that Jayson Werth is a GMO version of Hunter Pence. Neater, more marketable, maybe even a little better, but lacking character, panache and nutritional value ( of an emotional nature, not caloric ). Or maybe Hunter is an earlier clone version of an "improved" Werth.
Just wondering....

Brother Bob said...

How about "Epic?" Aside from being agonizingly long, it was a magnificent game, virtually mistake-free on both sides. Matt Williams looked bad by pulling out Zimmerman (I yelled "Thank you!" when he did) but in hindsight it was a reasonable move. It was Storen who fucked up, but maybe Posey and Panda would have gotten hits anyway.
Hudson was wonderful. He induced one grounder after another.

JC Parsons said...

Mistake free is kind when describing Williams. Getting tossed in a game like that is about as lame a thing a manager can do. It protected and fired up no one. It established them as whiners. Almost every close pitch, they whined if it was a strike. Especially Harper. Actually, the ump got just about everything right, including Posey's slide.

I big post season story line for the Giants will once again be WHAT A STUD MANAGER BOCHY IS and what a big advantage that gives us. He made Williams look like a rookie manager, ummm, which he is, right?

M.C. O'Connor said...

I've thought the same thing about Werth, how he is like a version of Pence from some other universe, you know, like that "I'm Captain Kirk" alterna-verse from Star Trek where everyone is bad and Spock has a goatee.

And I was shocked by Williams' behavior. Sure, Cabrera lost his marbles on those two borderline-but-most-likely-strikes pitches, and I expected him to come out and back his guy, but getting tossed was indeed stupid. The ump called a good game. It was a big zone and helped both staffs, but it was consistent and there were no real bad ones. He's only a second year ump and I thought he kept his cool real well. Like you say he nailed the play at home and that was millimeters in a fraction of a second.

Boch did everything right and kept getting the guys out there he wanted. We are sure lucky to have him. I remember thinking he was just another old retread when we got him and he certainly proved me wrong. He has a great feel for the moment--that challenge in the first game was spot-on and made a huge difference. Last night, using the 'pen perfectly and still having a position player and a pitcher "just in case" was also perfect. Obviously the guys have to perform,and they did, but with Boch you feel confident that if they do the Giants will win. He seems to be on top of everything but not a meddler. He's not one of those "gotta make something happen" guys. He has a better game sense than that and I think the players appreciate the vote of confidence.

And what awesome contributions from the rookies! What can you say about Panik's walk? Huge, huge play. Turned the whole game around. And Hunter Strickland was so cool and focused. Wow!

Ron said...

First shout on that game to Dan! In a way, I think that your getting those 2 incredible games was some payback for having had to go through the 2010 Championship run in a Hospital room. You deserved that enjoyment!

Second shout out to Susana. First, partially because I am leaving right now for a Conference in Vancouver, BC, she took a CPR Class with me at my Yoga Studio. We both needed to re-up, but our Studio Owner had said that the heat would be turned off - it wasn't, so, with doors open, it only got down to about 95 ... & we worked hard. Then, after getting home in the 4th inning of a rapidly moving game, we made plans for a dinner date. As the game wore on, that plan evolved from a romantic spot on the lake to a pizza place up the street to Susana making me quesadillas which I ate in the bottom of the 18th. But, she was totally cool about it ... I love her!!!

Petit was unbelievable in the biggest appearance of his career. Obviously, several others were fantastic, including Hudson, Sandoval, & Belt.

Go Giants!!!! Win this before I get back (Thursday morning)!

ogc obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

I think epic captures it better than magic. Magic would have been Posey just beating the tag in the top of the 9th. I mean, 18 innings, no-doubt about it homer as Belt casually dropped the bat because he knew he crushed it, but first, Petit outlasts the Nats with 6 shutout pretty much shut down innings, then our future closer closing it down.

This was a long gauntlet of a game that went on and on without much action, until there was action. That's epic in my opinion.

M.C. O'Connor said...

It was something special, that's for sure. Can't believe I watched the whole thing. I wonder how many stayed for all 18.

Just reading a Baggs tweet that some are criticizing Boch for not PR-ing Posey in the 9th. Baggs' line was "only if he's the tying run" seems obvious. You don't take out Buster--he's the best player.

ogc obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

MC, totally agree, the Giants in that situation was mainly hoping to get a tie game, the odds of scoring from 1B was pretty low, even with Sandoval up to the plate, since there was already two outs.

If Bochy had PR for Posey and Sandoval only singled to get one run and then Pence made an out, he would have been burned at the stake for taking out our best player when we eventually had another 9 innings of play.

In hindsight, its easy to say that PR for Posey was the best move there, but when the decision point came up, the odds of an double from Sandoval was less than that of him getting a single, triple or homer, three cases where pinch-running for Posey would do nothing extra for the team but take Posey out in a potential extra inning game.

Of course, Bochy didn't know that it would be another 9 innings of play, but at least he planned for that possibility, throwing Petit first and then having Lincecum at his disposal next, and even Vogie could go too, if necessary, as Peavy could pitch on short rest in Game 4 if necessary.

It is stuff like this, or Lincecum in 2012, or Zito and Sandoval in 2010, for examples, that makes me so glad that Bochy is our manager.

And he's even great in the regular season, my research has found that he is far and away the leader in games above .500 in one-run games, as well as winning percentage (well, excluding managers with a few seasons), showing that when it comes to 1-run games, Bochy's head is indeed indicative of his prowess. He won my heart late in the 2010 season and I've been behind him 100% since.

M.C. O'Connor said...

FanGraphs has a story about the ump and his strike zone in the 18 inning game. The author uses a lot of charts and GIFs to claim that the ump's inconsistency was a major factor in ruining Washington's night. I took a look at it and saw a pretty damn good zone, better than many I've seen. His major point was that the ump flip-flopped in the 9th on the Panik PA and called balls that were called strikes all night. They were close pitches, but I don't think he makes his case. Yeah, I'm a Giants fan, but I'm also a grown-up. Umps have variation in their calls. Teams get "lucky" on some and not others. Fer chrissakes, how is that different from any other ballgame? Finally the author claims the Giants benefited by getting more of the "edge of the zone" calls in their favor. While that's true, it's also true the Giants work the edges (that's both Petit's and Huddy's whole game) all the time and create those chances. It's also true that Buster is a good pitch-framer and helps his pitchers. Not sure you can say that about Ramos.

Seems like the ump, from the data, did a good job, and that matched our eye test. Seems like the Giants exploited what the ump was giving them better than the Nats. And it seemed like the Nats let the calls get under their skin and it hurt their performances. You don't score for 15 innings you get a little testy. Seems like the FanGraphs author had an axe to grind and stretched his "data" to fit his hypothesis.

I'd really like to see MadBum and the lineup close the door tonight with a loud goddamn bang.