Saturday, October 2, 2010

SD 4, SF 2: So It Goes...To Sunday

The Giants had their 2nd chance to clinch the NL West today, and they failed to do so. They must win tomorrow to avoid a 1 game playoff against the Padres in San Diego on Monday. I would have loved for the Giants to win today, but now that they have lost, it's just as well that they wait till tomorrow, when Kruk and Kuip will be calling the game. Because as bad as this game was, (and we will certainly get into how bad it was) the real loser today was FOX's MLB coverage. Just a few words on it, if you please.

FOX was already getting killed last night and this morning for forcing a majority of their national viewers to watch the meaningless Red Sox/Yankees game. I'm sure a vast majority of baseball fans would rather see either game today that had playoff implications. But that's only the beginning of how clueless they are over at FOX. I mean, the announcers are bad enough, but then again, most announcers for any company are terrible, so that can't really be avoided. Still, the David Eckstein love that was being thrust upon us today sounded so foolish and out of place, you'd have thought it was parody. So while we had to deal with a very subpar boradcasting team during this pivotal game, at least there were laughs to be had. What was not a laughing matter was what started happening in the middle innings. It's what made today's game possibly the worst viewing experience I've ever had watching a baseball game on tv. 3 times, between, say, the 5th and 8th inning, FOX inexplicably cut away from the Giants game to a split screen situation, where the Atlanta/Philadelphia game was prominently featured, along with Dick Stockton's voice, while the Giants/Padres were shoved into a little corner and told to be quiet for 5 minutes. I've never seen anything like it. One minute I'm watching my team play, and the next I'm getting up to stand right in front of the tv so I might be able to see what's going on. The worst was when the Giants were coming up to bat in the bottom of the 8th, trailing by 3, and FOX decided it was the perfect time to show the top of the 7th inning in Atlanta. Now, I understand that game in Atlanta is important, but the one between the Giants and Padres is arguably MORE important, and if FOX is going to force us local viewers of a team to watch their awful broadcast of our game, at least LET US FUCKING WATCH IT! Okay, that's all. Now to the awful game itself.

It was a terrible game for Barry Zito from the start. He walked in 2 runners in the 1st, and barely got out of the inning without more damage being done. He allowed 1 more run in the 3rd inning, and had given up 5 hits to that point. When he walked the pitcher to start the 4th inning, Bochy wasted no time taking him out. And it was the right choice. The runner he walked scored, but the bullpen shut the Padres down for the rest of the game. One of Zito's runs went unearned because of a terrible play by Pablo Sandoval. Sandoval, someone who clearly loves playing the game and is a great force for positivity and energy in the clubhouse, seems to always try to do too much in pressure situations, and in this case he turned a great play into a terrible one, stopping a line drive from going into left field, but then rushing his throw to 2nd base. It was way off the bag, and a run scored.

Barry Zito did not help his situation with the San Francisco fans today. Of course, it isn't his fault that he is being paid so much money. But that DOES always factor into the feeling that surrounds him. And while he has been vastly overpaid these 4 years, he at least has been able to pitch, and pitch at an average to slightly below average level. But games like this hurt. When he has to leave in the 4th inning because he walked the pitcher, criticism becomes more than justified. Matt Cain pitched a bad game last night, but he also nearly no hit the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field last Sunday. Zito has yet to do something like that in his Giants career. Today, he faced a terrible offensive team, at home, and he failed completely. It could have cost him his place in the postseason rotation, if that is something that even exists next week. Zito, pitching only 3 innings today, will finish the season with 199 IP, falling short of 200 once again. He has yet to pitch 200 innings for the Giants, and it has nothing to do with injuries. Zito has been completely healthy. He just hasn't pitched well enough to stay in games long enough to get to that mark.

While Zito pitched badly, the bullpen was able to hold the Padres afterward, but it didn't matter, because the Giants offense was terrible until the very end of the game. Before Juan Uribe's solo HR in the 7th inning, their sole hit was an infield grounder that Mike Fontenot beat out. Tim Stauffer had their number. If we wanna be positive, there is the issue that San Diego could be facing a very tired bullpen. Both of these games could have been blowouts, and instead Bud Black had to use all his favorite relievers. Mike Adams the set up man has been used in 5 straight games now, Bell the closer in 4. And Bell looked tired in the 9th inning, when he managed to get Jose Guillen to ground into a double play (!!!!!) to end the game with the tying run on 1st base.

Obviously Black will use Bell and the others like Dusty used Robb Nen in 2002, working them to the end. And it would be the right decision. But it's very possible that this could hurt San Diego tomorrow or on Monday, god forbid there is a game on Monday. Anyway, I look forward to tomorrow's game wholeheartedly. I just don't see how this team gets swept at home on the final weekend of the season. It can't happen, right? And if it does, there's always Lincecum on Monday. And don't forget, if Atlanta loses tomorrow, the Giants and Padres are in no matter what. But we want the division. So fuck that. Let's win tomorrow!

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