Friday, October 1, 2010

SD 6, SF 4: Torture 'Til the End

I hadn't been this excited for a Giants game since probably 2002, when of course the Giants were playing in the World Series and I was an 11 year old kid listening to the game on the radio on my CD player. Remember CD players? Of course the Giants also went to the playoffs in 2003, but it was definitely no 2002 World Series. Anyway, this game felt big and it was exciting. There's a joke in there somewhere. Every single pitch mattered, every single runner on base was crucial. But early on, it was looking like the game was not going to live up to my lofty expectations.

Throughout the month of September, getting great pitching from the Giants was pretty much a given, which is why Matt Cain's bad start tonight came as such a surprise. Cain has pitched in pressure situations before, so it wasn't the pressure getting to him. And I doubt Cain was thinking about the really fun birthday party he was going to have after the game. It was just one of those games and it came at a horrible time. In 4+ IP, Cain gave up 9 hits, 6 ER and 3 home runs, including Adrian Gonzalez' 3-run homer in the 3rd that really opened the game up. The Giants had shown the ability to come back this year, but coming back from being down 6-0 seemed like a tough task.

Right at the beginning of the game though, it seemed like Clayton Richard also didn't have his best stuff. His command wasn't great and the Giants were hitting the ball hard, they just had nothing to show for it. It was only a matter of time before they got a couple of breaks. Freddy Sanchez drove in the Giants' first run, bringing in Cody Ross in the 5th to cut the Padre lead down to 6-1. In the 6th, Aaron Rowand hit a pinch-hit 2-run homer. Boring. Happens all the time. Also in the 6th, with runners on 2nd and 3rd, Andres Torres hit a ball so weak that it scored a run. The Giants were now within 2 runs, down 6-4.

Guillermo Mota pitched perfect 7th and 8th innings to keep the Giants within 2 runs, and Heath Bell was in to pitch for the Padres in the 9th. The first hitter of the inning, Freddy Sanchez, walked. Aubrey Huff then lined a pitch to right field and Freddy Sanchez completely misread it. Normally, the ball by Huff probably would've hit off the wall, but Will Venable was playing the line, and caught the ball. Sanchez was already on his way to 3rd, and the Padres easily completed the double play. It was an awful, unnecessary risk taken by Sanchez at a terrible time. The Giants needed baserunners, and in one play all of their baserunners were out. Buster Posey grounded out to end the game.

This game was on it's way to being extremely depressing, but fortunately the Giants fought back. Coming into the series, it was extremely unlikely that the Padres were going to sweep the Giants at home, and it still is. Still, this game was painful because you have to figure that tonight was the Giants' best chance to win. Matt Cain has been our best starter this year and in the next 2 games the Giants are going with Barry Zito and Jonathan Sanchez, two guys who have struggled with consistency. And the worst part is if the Giants do manage to clinch tomorrow, the game is going to be called by awful FOX announcers who make awkward comments and just don't know what they're talking about. It won't be as exciting as it would be if Kruk and Kuip were calling it. Thinking optimistically, I do have some confidence in Zito. If the pressure affected the Giants in ANY way tonight, it won't affect Zito. He's pitched in more big games in his career than anyone on the staff and the Padres don't exactly have an intimidating offense. The Padres still have to win 3 more games in a row to go to the playoffs. The Giants just need 1.

1 comment:

  1. It looked cursed from the start -- so many errors and WTF moments, then like you said.. We had a glimmer of hope... and that's where we went wrong.

    Just one... Don't force a "game 7" atmosphere, today is the day....

    Lord please make today the day.