Sunday, August 30, 2009
Tied for the Wild Card: It's a whole new ballgame
I'd like to begin by saying the following:
If it were even possible for me to love the game of baseball and the San Francisco Giants any more, well it happened.
I have re-fallen in love with this game and this team.
It's some serious man love.
What we've seen from this ragtag group of youngsters, out-of-their-prime veterans, and scrappy perfomers is simply mind boggling.
More specifically, if your brooms are still in their closets, you should really consider taking them out and bungee cording them to your mailboxes in front of your house... perhaps attach them to your roofracks of your cars as you drive around; an even more redneck version of the window flag.
5-1 on the Homestand, a sweep of the Rocks
Lincecum gave us what we needed on Friday. A true Timmy-esque shutdown job.
Zito threw the gem of his tumultuous Giants career on Saturday, going 8.1 innings of one run ball. He was truly masterful, save of course the bomb he gave up to the Hawpester in the 9th.
No one knows what Romo and Affeldt were doing in that game, but we pulled it off, and it was amazing.
Kung Fu's HR's on Friday and Saturday were incredible, especially considering his injury.
Things just looked like they were inevitably going the Giants way, even with the blowout they sustained against Arizona on Thursday and the near 9th inning meltdown on Saturday. There was a certain confidence about these guys that somehow permeated the physical and media barriers that separate us from the team. It's like exuberant confidence by osmosis.
This team is the embodiment of what the baseball gods smile upon from their perch.
From the beginning of Sunday's game, I will admit, I didn't feel a good vibe. Cain did not look sharp from the get go. The abominable call at first base with Cain covering didn't help my uneasiness.
Then there were those back to back jacks from Helton and Tulo.
I was squirming in a major way at that point.
When you're only down 1 game in the Wild Card race, it seems difficult to have two season-turning plays. Of course that is generally reserved for seasons that need to be turned around.
Not in this case.
The oft-maligned Edgar Renteria, a guy making $8 million this year and next, a guy that Sabean haters target mercilessly, showed up in a big way.
Before his at bat in the 6th inning, I stared at the television graphic of his stats with serious disdain. 3 home runs.
I muttered, "This would be a great time for your 4th homer you bum."
Boom. RBI Double off the wall. Giants down 4-2. I'll take that.
The bottom of the 7th came around with the Gyros down 5-2.
One thing led to another, and Edgar came up with the sacks full of Gigantes.
Instead of saying out loud what I'd muttered an inning before, I simply thought about it; and I definitely wasn't the only one. Bases loaded, down 3? What else do you think about?
Boom, just as we were all praying for the unthinkable, there it was. Grand Salame time. He almost hit the ambulance parked behind the left field wall!
Not only did this incredibly clutch swing of the bat give us a 6-5 lead, it renewed all kinds of hopes and dreams. Naturally, it renewed our dream of winning the game and sweeping the Rockpile for a share of the wild card. More importantly though, it renewed our faith in a player who for so long this season has disappointed us in so many ways.
Renteria has not been horrible. He has had timely singles and such. He's made a couple good plays. He went after Russell Martin in a brouhaha.
His best quality, not surprisingly, is his "clutchness". Look at this magnificent table below that I've put together for you. If you are reading this in an email newsfeed, you have to click here to see it.
Don't freak out, those stats are correct. A lot of the situations overlap.
But seriously, look at those numbers. Obviously your approach at the plate is going to be different without runners on, as you'll swing aggressively, but c'mon, there's no denying that this man does his best work when it counts.
Renteria has 24 ribeye steaks this year with runners in scoring position (RISP) and two outs. That, my friends, is the definition of clutch.
The game, and more importantly the season changed today with one swing of the bat from Edgar.
Quirky game notes and observations:
-- If you didn't catch this stat on CSN or in the papers, Barry Zito is now 105-4 when he gets 4 runs of support or more.
-- Zito this year has received 1 run or less of support in 12 out of his 26 starts and has received ZERO runs of support in 9 starts. Unconscionable.
-- Zeets is 4-2 with a 1.77 ERA since the all star break. His last two starts have been against the Rocks, and has combined for 14.1 innings, 1 ER, and 11K. That's a 0.62 ERA. Yeehaw.
-- Zeets got a curtain call. Well deserved.
-- How often are we going to score 9 runs when Kung Fu goes hitless?
-- Aaron Rowand walked. Alert the media.
-- Affeldt's recovery on Sunday to escape a jam and strike out both Garrett Atkins and Carlos Gonzalez was absolutely monstrous. He was able to shake off an ugly performance in Saturday's 9th inning to throw some absolute filth up there. The backdoor curveball to punch out Atkins was disgusting, and his subsequent ring-up job of Gonzalez was enough to fire anyone up. Especially him.
If you couldn't tell he was pumped up to exorcise some mound demons in the 8th inning, well, then you were blind. He was screaming and pumping his fists in a way that would make K Rod and Papelbon look like shamed altar boys. Rock on dude.
-- Eli Whiteside? Absolute Beast. Bengie Who?
-- Ryan Rohlinger's 2 RBI single on a 1-2 pitch was absolutely huge. Busted it wide open.
-- Alex Hinshaw coming in to a huge game in the 6th inning? Not so good. Bochy, come on man... you knew better than that. If you wanted to get his feet wet for the '09 season... you accomplished that. They're so wet that he's got a case of trench foot. Not a wise substitution.
-- Anyone remember Ryan Garko and Freddy Sanchez? Our two huge acquisitions have been nowhere to be found. With Sanch on the DL and Garks mired in a slump, they've been non-existent. The very guys that were here all along are the ones winning the games. Funny how that happens.
-- Garko hasn't started since the 26th, and is 1-10 since August 24th.
-- Was it me, but did Garko's shades today look like some kind of fashion glasses? They had shiny gold stems. Almost as if they were daytripping Ray-Bans or something. WTF Garks? If you need a tip for glasses, go with the extreme orange mirrored Fred Lewis glasses or the transparent yellow/orange NRA militia glasses that Jeff Kent used to wear.
-- Speaking of Jeff Kent. Good to see that son of a bitch back at the yard in a real hat. We will never forget that you played for the Dodgers, but we will forgive you. Kent was an absolute beast for us, and is a future hall of famer. I'm glad we've all reconciled. They put his picture up on the Wall of Fame with his moustache. Excellent. True sleaze.
-- With the stakes so high, have you ever in your life seen so many mound visits between Bochy, Dave Righetti, Jim Tracy, and Bob Apodaca? I think we're talking record for a 3 game series. I swear there was a mound visit per inning. Not even including the catchers.
-- Brian Wilson threw 4 pitches to Troy Tulowitzki on Sunday. All four were 100 mph. I was counting. Pure filth.
-- If you were on a hike in Colorado and saw Todd Helton emerge from a sheer cliffside with a bloody elk carcass strung over his shoulders and a .300 Magnum elephant gun slung over his arm, would you be surprised? Mountain Man. Why he's not Coors Light's national spokesperson is beyond me.
-- Remember how Clint Barmes hurt himself a few years ago, derailing a .400 season to that point? He was carrying huge pieces of vennison up his stairs with Todd Helton and fell down. Love it.
-- New idea for a reality show. Bear Grylls, Todd Helton, and Ted Nugent shoot guns and eat wild game. That's it.
Huge series coming up. Three in Philly, three in Milwauks. It's go time boys. The road is where the playoffs are made! We come back to play the streaking Padres and the Blue Bastards de Los Angeles.
I will leave you with some inspirational quotes from Krook & Kuip from the postgame wrap on CSN.
"For those who proclaimed Tuesday morning that this team was dead, and it was over for them... they're gonna have to try again.
"The clown that said that needs to eat his words."
"I've got two words to say about this weekend: I'M IN!"
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