Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Here's your chill pill: The Giants are making the playoffs
That's right. I said it.
I've had just about enough of everyone freaking out at the drop of a hat and the change of the breeze. It's frustrating to see such freakout sessions occurring on a day to day basis. It almost becomes impossible to interact with my fellow Giants obsesseurs (is that a word? Probably not) when the world comes to an end 2 or 3 times per week.
Well here, let me help you get through this without self-medication--- okay self-medication is probably still necessary-- but how about I get you through this without the prescription anxiety drugs that achingly long for during each torturous game we sit through.
It's simple. Take one dose of this Dodgerhater Guarantee, and you will be cured: The San Francisco Giants are making the playoffs.
I've been meaning to write this for over a week, preferably after a bad loss. You know, like the one when everyone hated Cody Ross and Bochy for 12 hours?
What I try to harp on the most about the baseball season is that it is a long haul truck route. As any trucker will tell you, hauling stuff from San Francisco to South Carolina is no cakewalk. It's rife with speed traps, bad weather, potholes, bad breakfast sandwiches, worse coffee, truck stop hookers, Alan Jackson cassette tapes, and a whole lot of caffeine.
Where was I again?
Doesn't that sound like the 2010 Giants season? Maybe minus the Alan Jackson tapes, since AT&T refuses to play country unless Cain is hitting.
There are a lot of reasons I could throw at you for why I THINK they will make the playoffs, but I really think it's a simple as... This team has the IT factor.
It's a far from perfect team we're talking about, and there a number of concerns we all have-- mainly Lincecum's struggles. But, as Timmy showed Tuesday against a tough Rockies team, there's reason to be CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC.
He really is the key. More than Panda. More than Bochy. More than the bullpen.
This team can win with a two-faced Sanchez, a balky Affeldt, and a torturous Panda. The one guy that cannot falter is Timmy. His masterful 8 inning performance showed that perhaps he is getting back on track.
Unfortunately I cannot declare him "back" until he does it a couple times in a row--- much like I was reluctant to call Sandoval "back" a couple weeks ago.
These declarations almost come exclusively one good performance after a string of horrendous ones. So, that being said, I feel even more confident about my playoff guarantee after tonight.
The Padres are choking big time. It's possible they are running out of gas, as they dropped their 7th game in a row. In addition, the Phillies are not the same team from two years ago, despite their star-studded roster.
Philadelphia is playing much better as of late, but they are still averaging only 3.1 runs per game in their last 10, and dropped a bunch of games to lowly teams like Houston.
As it stands, the team everyone seemed to think was dead after a misplayed broken-bat triple by Carlos Gonzalez, is not only in the thick of the Wild Card race, but is within striking distance of the Padres, something that sounded ludicrous only a week ago.
The clutch factor of this team is really off the charts. The foundation is solid. We now have a lineup that could potentially reel off 10+ runs in three consecutive gam--- What? We did reel off 10 runs or more in three consecutive games? Okay, so we can hit, but not always consistently. Can we pitch? Yeah we can pitch. Can we come from behind? Definitely.
The biggest sign of a playoff team is the ability to do the little things right. Getting guys over, baserunning, etc. This team has its moments of failure, but my God, do they come back.
The loss to the Reds in which we briefly tied and took the lead in extra innings was an amazing show of character and heart. Even the mistaken win over Ubaldo Jimenez on Tuesday showed that somehow, some way, this group manages to beg, steal, and borrow its way to late win after late win.
It's usually not pretty. Sometimes it's lucky, but these results speak for themselves.
Back to our competition. Here's a look at both the Phillies & Padres schedules, as well as San Francisco's.
And Sweet Baby Jesus, the Phillies' calendar is uglier than sin... it looks like a ghastly ABA uniform from the 1970s.
The Phillies seem to have the easiest route to the playoffs despite 5 games against NL East leading Atlanta. However they play a bunch of games against scrappy intra-divisional foes like Florida and Washington and a home and home against the always unpredictable Mets.
As for the Padres, they have a similar schedule, but much more difficult. There are games against LA, Colorado, Cincinnati, and St. Louis-- each of which will put up a fight. Included within their schedule is an 11 day, 10 game road trip where they will hit Colorado, muggy St. Louis, and LA before returning home. In addition to that, the Madres and Gyros go head to head twice, including the final three gamer to end the season at AT&T Park.
It's all up to the Giants. They want it bad. If you don't believe me, just look at Huff and Burrell beating each other up in the dugout after every exciting play. Look at Torres hitting improbable late inning home runs and Cain giving us shutdown performances when we need him most.
Don't fret Giants fans. It's the Padres' division to lose, and they are hitting the wall when it counts the most. Have a little faith, think about long haul trucking metaphor I used earlier, get a rally cocktail and enjoy the ride to the playoffs.