Wow, Sunday really sucked. I mean, really, really sucked.
There we were, just cruising along, thoroughly enjoying another gem by Zeets, shutting out the Blue Bastards on the field and shutting up the criminals in the stands at the same time. Then, just like that, we were punched in the gut. It wasn't even a normal punch in the gut, it was a sucker punch, totally out of nowhere. Just like that, the game was over. We were still left breathless and confused, just like at the end of the Sharks game last night. It's like, are you effing kidding me? A bottom of the 8th pinch hit dong by The One Who Shall Not Be Named, followed by a hockey playoff game where we outshoot the opposition 50-16, and end up scoring the only goal of the game on ourselves in overtime?
Sunday, April 18th, was one of the worst Bay Area sports days in recent memory.
As for the Giants, this first Padres game represents the first true challenge of the year. Until the Dodger series, where we easily could've swept, there has been little to no adversity in this young 2010 season. As the video below (at 1:08) will reinforce, the Giants were indeed "Drivin' along, drivin' along", until we hit a truck tire in the middle of the road." Let's just hope we bought our brake pads from Callahan Auto instead of the other guys.
As we know, how a team rebounds from sucker punches, and the fashion in which they respond to injuries dictates how far they go. Mental toughness, resolve, and a short memory are all huge parts of a successful baseball team, especially because it is one long-ass haul.
With Rowand on the DL with those pesky facial fractures, DeRosa's tender hammy, and Romo's confidence shaken, the San Diego series will be huge.
It's not so much what we've lost in Rowand, but how we'll replace him, and how we're able to keep chugging along. Monday in San Diego, it will be the Geno Velez show, and I assume Schierholtz and Torres as well against the lefty Clayton Richard.
Velez has been a huge surprise with his hitting thus far. The guy affectionately known as A.U., Geno, The Somali Pirate, and the Pharaoh has 4 extra base hits, 7 RBI, and hitting .350. Not only that, but the guy has taken a few walks, and is sporting a stat nerd-arousing .435 on base percentage. I never thought I'd say this, but I'm comfortable with A.U. playing every day until Rowand returns.
Back to the Dodgers series for a minute.
The fact that no Dodger was drilled is totally unacceptable. Whether that waste of life known as Vicente Padilla intentionally drilled Rowand in the head is beside the point. It's baseball etiquette. You hit one of our guys, we hit one of yours. Hell, even throw it totally behind them, and if it's a close game, hit them the next day. I was wholly shocked that Zito, who plunked Prince Fielder in spring, didn't nail Matt Kemp or that jerkoff Casey Blake during Sunday's game.
If the plunked Dodger became enraged, began gesturing wildly towards the mound while spewing expletives and the benches cleared, that's what I refer to as a team-building exercise. Even without a brawl, any "Us Versus Them" activity breeds unity, and it no longer becomes about retaliation, but about trust in one another and the bigger purpose of survival as one unit.
Try finding a stat for that.
Despite technically dropping two of three from the Doyers, I still saw a ton of character from these guys in each game. As I said before, there's something different about this team, and I no longer believe we're ever out of a game-- not like last year.
Let's plow through San Diago and get back on track!
Quick note: BOCHY! FREE JOHN BOWKER! LET THE GUY PLAY! HOW WILL HE EVER HIT LEFTIES IF YOU NEVER LET HIM TRY! PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASSSSEEEE!