Thursday, October 28, 2010
HurriCAIN Matt & Company 2 games away...
I cannot say enough about Matt Cain. He shut down a team, that on paper is totally "unshutdownable". Just look how they managed to make a game of it on Wednesday after they'd been left for dead.
Cain was a steady hand on the wheel, guiding the Giants to within two measly games of their first title in San Francisco.
He isn't flashy. His biggest quirks are his high socks, funny puffball of a haircut, and his subtle Southern drawl. He is a blue chip talent with a blue collar attitude and work ethic. That is a set of qualities to be desired in any setting.
Cain has been steady all season long, a guy we could rely on when Sanchez, Timmy and Zito had their ups and downs. Without him, we are definitely not standing where we are today... two games away.
Thoughts & Observations
-- CJ Wilson pitched pretty damn well. Other than that HR he allowed to Renteria, he basically shut us down. He didn't have his best stuff, but still made it work. Impressive start.
-- Edgar Renteria may have earned $6MM of his $8MM dollar salary in the past two games. Hell, maybe all $8MM. His defense has been flawless (save for a mishandled throw on a steal attempt by Andrus), and he was the catalyst for a blowout of a Game 2 win. It really proves that you can't teach "clutch", and playoff heroes like him are still capable of doing it late into their careers.
-- Ron Washington was badly outmanaged by Bruce Bochy tonight. I know, it doesn't sound like something anyone would say... but it's true. Bochy made all the right moves, and Washington, well... uh...
Washington made his biggest mistakes with his bullpen. With Cody Ross coaxing an impressive walk out of starter CJ Wilson, Washington went to his veteran lefty Darren Oliver to face Aubrey Huff. Sure I get it, lefty on lefty. Okay. Oliver got Huff to ground out.
With righty O'Day ready in the bullpen, Washington opted to keep Oliver in the game to face Juan Uribe. This was the first head scratcher of many. I get that O'Day allowed that HR to Uribe on Wednesday, but he's a better option than Oliver, who immediately gave up an RBI double to Uribe.
Fast forward an inning.
O'Day gets two quick outs and allowed a single to Buster Posey. With Schierholtz on deck, Washington, burned by not playing lefty/righty matchups in the previous inning, decided to go with 24 year-old Derek Holland to face Schierholtz.
Holland couldn't find the zone and walked 3 consecutive Giants, including Cody Ross, who hit directly after Nate. Where was Ogundo? Where was Mark Lowe then? I didn't get any of it, and neither did Krukow and Kuiper.
Holland may be rendered useless now after being hung out to dry like that. It was reminded me of Brooks Conrad in the NLDS.
And hell, Bruce Bochy burned Mike Fontenot as a pinch hitter in order to get Rowand in there for a better matchup against the new lefty. And look how that worked out. Rowand hit a triple. That sealed the game as a real laugher.
Ron Washington just seemed totally overwhelmed and it looked like he second-guessed himself throughout the entire game. He didn't have guys ready to go with the bullpen, and seemed totally rattled by previous backfires.
He will rebound by Game 3, but it might already be too late.
-- Javier Lopez is an absolute monster. I did not come up with this nickname, but "The Silent Assassin" fits him well. He's like a biological weapon-- mustard gas or something... or carbon monoxide. The enemy knows we have him, but they don't realize they're choking to death and dying until it's too late.
Boom. Sit down Josh Hamilton. Love Javier Lopez.
-- Some sweet stats here:
-- The Giants have now scored 50 runs, 30 of which have come with two outs
-- Of those 50 runs, 20 have been scored in the first two games of the World Series
-- The 4 consecutive walks by Holland and Mark Lowe set a World Series record
-- Matt Cain has now thrown 21.1 innings in the playoffs and has yet to allow a run
-- Opponents are hitting .171 off of Cain this post season
-- Jonathan Sanchez and Colby Lewis go head to head in Game 3. This game has to favor Texas, because Lewis has been pitching very well, while Sanchez, has been... well... "Bad Sanchez". I expect him to be on a VERY short leash.
In addition to a rabid crowd, the Rangers have a serious home field advantage. They've got their short porches, and their DH, as well as their comfort zone. The sheer confidence boost the Rangers will get from being at home will be significant.
Look at Ian Kinsler. That ball he hit in Game 2 would've been a HR in Arlington. He got A&T'd, and it gets guys down in the dumps when they think no matter how hard they hit the ball, they have no chance at a round tripper.
As for the DH, I've already opined that it should be Sandoval. There simply is no way around it. Burrell doesn't like it, and he will be replaced defensively anyway. With righties Colby Lewis and Tommy Hunter going in Games 3 & 4, Panda looks like a good bet to me, unless Bochy gets a wild hair up his nose and DH's Aubrey Huff in favor of the defensive Ishikawa at first.
Also, Vladdy Guerrero gets a chance to redeem himself doing what he does best... hit.
-- So now we finally hear why there was no Jose Guillen on the playoff roster. Apparently, Guillen has been linked to some sort of HGH/Performance Enhancing Drug investigation and the Giants were ordered by the commissioner's office to exclude the right fielder.
Although Guillen and HGH go hand in hand, it is fairly shocking that MLB would basically find a way to suspend a guy before he's been formally charged. The Player's Union I'm sure will have something to say about that.
As it turned out, the Giants didn't need him at all, although he would make a swell DH in Arlington. Just imagine if Guillen WAS included on the roster. He'd possibly have stolen at bats from Cody "Boss" Ross. God only knows what would've happened.
Although he was a good late season addition and we only gave up Kevin Pucetas, I cannot say anyone misses him, and Cody Ross did more in his spot than anyone else could have.