Results tagged ‘ World Series ’

What this title means to one Giants fan

To understand what this
title means to me, you have to understand my journey as a San Francisco Giants
fan. So as I watch the victory parade on the TV, I’ll share my parade as a
Giants fan. It’s lengthy, so indulge me.

 

While the Giants have been
in San Francisco for more than a half century, my allegiance to the team
reaches back 37 years, to a summer day in 1973 when I attended my first
professional sporting event during Helmet Day at Candlestick.

 

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I can remember sitting in
the upper deck at The Stick, eating a drumstick ice cream and watching little
people running around the field. I was five years old.

 

It was shortly after this
game that my brother, almost three years my senior, explained to me to be a
true sports fan, you had to have a favorite team. Linked to that day, to that
helmet, and to the fact that my brother rooted for the L.A. teams — Dodgers,
Rams, Lakers — the natural choice was for the San Francisco Giants.

 

A year later, my family
moved from Sacramento to Southern California, in the L.A. suburb of Simi
Valley.

 

It was not easy being a
Giants fan in the heart of Dodger Country.

 

My dad regularly took my
brother and I to Dodger Stadium. We were even made members of the Dodger Pepsi
Fan Club, which earned you six general admission tickets to games against
low-profile teams a season, as well as a cheap Dodger windbreaker (that I never
wore.)

 

Every time we went to Dodger
Stadium, someone would ask me “Who are you rooting for?” My reply
“Who are the Dodgers playing?”

 

My dad tried to get me to at
least one Dodgers-Giants game each season. I especially remember my dad taking
my brother and I out of school to attend a midweek Businessmen’s Special at The
Ravine.

 

These games rarely turned
out well for the Giants. It got so bad that I stopped wearing my Giants apparel
to the games, because I grew weary of being berated by Dodger fans in the
parking lot after the game.

 

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And so it went. Every year,
enduring fourth-place finishes, rumors of the team being moved to Denver or
Toronto, watching All-Star games and hoping to see Jack Clark get one at-bat or
Greg Minton one inning of relief.

 

But by the early to
mid-1980s, things began to change, at least for me. The Giants were still not
competing for division titles,  but they
were at least beating the Dodgers during games I attended. By 1986, the Giants
started winning more games than they lost.

 

Finally, in 1987, it
happened. A division title. I remember listening to the clinching game in San
Diego on the radio. I had to listen to the Padres broadcast because KNBR was
drowned out by a powerful Southern California station at 690 on the radio dial.
I remember Don Robinson pitching. I remember John Kruk hitting a deep ball to
the opposite field. Jeffrey Leonard making the catch at the wall, and the
Giants were NL West champions.

 

I remember thinking anything
that happened in the NLCS vs. the Cardinals was a bonus. I was just happy the
Giants were in the postseason. But as soon as the games started, I found myself
screaming at the TV set when something went against the Giants. My dad would
bark at me from the other room that he would turn off the TV if I couldn’t keep
my volume down. It was funny because my emotional-filled passion for sports was
inherited from him.

 

But after five games, the
Giants found themselves one win from the World Series. But then they went back
to St. Louis and forgot to pack their offense. The Giants were shut out in
Games 6 and 7, and the 1987 was over.

 

In 1988, I attended my first
Opening Day game. I got two tickets for the Giants vs. Dodgers at Dodger
Stadium, but then had trouble finding someone to go with me. So I took my
sister. Dave Dravecky beat Fernando Valenzuela. Another Giants win.

 

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In 1989, the Giants were
driving to another division title. They were six games up on the Padres with
six games to go, and opening a three-game set at Dodger Stadium. I wanted to go
to the games and watch the Giants clinch. But responsibilities at school and as
sports editor of my college newspaper kept that from happening. The Giants got
swept, and only clinched the division after the Reds beat the Padres in extra
innings after the Giants’ third loss to LA. The Giants celebrated in the
clubhouse.

 

Taking on the Cubs in the
NLCS, there was no satisfaction in simply making the playoffs. This time, the
Giants needed to get to the Series.

 

The thing I remember about
the 1989 postseason is that I could never seem to sit at home and watch any of
the games. Game 1 in Chicago I watched on a black-and-white TV in the newsroom
of my college newspaper. I watched Game 2 in the same way, interrupted by an
evening class that I had.

 

For Game 3, I was in Fresno
to attend the Fresno State-Oregon State football. My brother attended Fresno
State, and I had attended Oregon State the previous school year. I listened to
the game while sitting in the stands at Bulldog Stadium, while catching
glimpses from a portable TV being held by a fan sitting in front of me.

 

For Game 4, I had to work at
the part-time job I had at an ice cream shop. I hooked up a TV in the back, and
would run back between scooping ice cream to check on the game.

 

Game 5, I was back at
college, back at the student paper, trying to get out a sports section while
following the action. Late in the game, I headed down to the campus radio
station where they had a color TV and watched Will Clark lace a two-run single
off Mitch Williams. With that, the Giants were in the World Series.

 

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I went into the 1989 World
Series with no illusions that the Giants would beat the powerful A’s. I was
hoping they could steal some games, and maybe catch some breaks.

 

For Game 1, I was in
Portland, Ore., to cover the Cal State Northridge-Portland State football game
for my college paper. Radio reception was impossible in Civic Stadium, with its
concrete roof over the grandstands. The PA announcer would give updates from
the Series game, but the sound system at Civic was so bad it sounded as if the
updates were being given by Charlie Brown’s teacher. It wasn’t until after the
football game ended, and I left the stadium that I learned that the Giants had
lost 5-0.

 

During Game 2, I had a
flight home to Southern California to catch. As luck would have it, I had to
make a connection in San Francisco. So I walked into a bar at the airport and
watched as the Giants scored their first run of the season, and cheer went up
in the bar. Then the A’s got out of the inning, and cheer went up in the bar.
“What the…?” was my reaction, until I remember the Giants were
playing Oakland. I got on my flight to Burbank, got off the plane in time to
hear the final out, and the Giants had lost 5-1.

 

The off day between Games 2
and 3 was my birthday. But there wasn’t any celebration. I had contracted food
poisoning from something I ate on the flight home, and spent the day violently
ill. But after taking a second day off from school and feeling better, I
thought at least I would be able to sit at home and watch a Giants game for the
first time in the postseason.

 

The pre-game show started,
then suddenly cut out. I looked over to my father and asked “Did he say
‘earthquake’?” Then I looked over at the weight on the cuckoo clock in our
living and it was swaying slowly. Nearly 400 miles away, I knew that earthquake
was a big one.

 

When TV reception came back,
there were reports of pancaked freeways, a collapsed section of the Bay Bridge
and fires in the Mission district. But my thoughts were singular: “Yes,
but are they going to play the game?”

 

Of course, they didn’t. And
the Series would be tabled for more than a week. There was talk of moving the
games to Southern California (a great idea, I thought) or even cancelling it
all together (even better idea).

 

But 10 days later, the
series started again. I had to cover a high school football game for the LA
Times that night. I walked the sideline, listening to the game on a transistor
radio as things went from bad to worse for the Giants.

 

The next night, I was at Cal
State Northridge home game, again with my radio, hoping against hope that the
Giants could win one game. They didn’t.

 

In the early 1990s, I had
relocated to the Pacific Northwest and things weren’t looking good for the
Giants. There was serious talk about the team moving to St. Petersburg. But
then a group led by Peter Magowan stepped and saved the Giants for San
Francisco.

 

Then came even more big
news. Barry Bonds had just signed the biggest free-agent contract in history
… with the Giants. The Giants?!? I never saw it coming and could hardly
believe it. But for the next 15 seasons, Barry would be the face of the Giants,
for better or worse.

 

In 1993, the face looked
pretty good as the Giants were running away with the NL West. But then the San
Diego Padres traded Fred McGriff to the Braves, and Atlanta made a fierce
charge.

 

The Giants headed into the
final weekend with 101 wins, but no division title. And three games against the
Dodgers.

 

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The Giants won on Friday
thanks to a pair of homers from Barry. They won Saturday thanks to another
clutch save from Rod Beck. On Sunday, the Braves won again, meaning the Giants
needed to win to force a tiebreaker game on Monday with Atlanta. With Bill
Swift set to pitch that game, I liked our chances. But first, they needed one
more win in LA.

 

But rookie Solomon Torres
wasn’t up to the task and things quickly deteriorated. Disappointment was
compounded by the glee the Dodgers displayed in ending the Giants’ season.

 

Then came the strike and
more Giants struggles. But by 1997, the Giants were back in the playoffs,
taking on the Marlins in their fifth year of existence. The Giants lost two
games in Florida on the Marlins’ final at-bat, then lost Game 3 in San
Francisco, and that was that.

 

The 2000 season brought a
new ballpark, Pacific Bell Park. The Giants lost their first game in the new
home — to the Dodgers — but rebounded to win the NL West again. Back in the
playoffs, the Giants opened with a win over the Mets.

 

In Game 2, JT Snow had a
huge 3-run home run in the ninth to push the game to extra innings, where
Edgardo Alfonso’s home run gave the Mets the win.

 

In Game 3, it was Benny
Agbayani’s home run in the 13th that beat the Giants. In Game 4, the Giants
were limited to one hit by Bobby Jones, of all people.

 

The 2001 season brought
Barry Bonds’ chase for the single-season home run record. But his 73 home runs
couldn’t get the Giants in the playoffs as they were eliminated in the final
weekend.

 

But a late-season push in
2002 got the Giants back into the playoffs as the wild-card. I remember just
hoping for two things: 1) the Giants could be the Braves so I wouldn’t have to
hear how Dusty Baker couldn’t win in the playoffs; 2) Barry hit, so I didn’t
have to hear how Bonds flops in the postseason. I got both as the Giants beat
the Braves in 5.

 

The NLCS against the
Cardinals started out well, with the Giants winning two in St. Louis. Now,
suddenly the World Series was within reach. Benito Santiago hit a huge home run
in the eighth inning of Game 4 after the Cardinals walked Bonds (again!). Then
in Game 5, there was Kenny Lofton singling home David Bell from second in the
bottom of the ninth for the pennant. I can remember yelling at the TV
“Run! David! Run!” And just like that, the Giants were back in the Series.

 

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I went into the Series
thinking the Giants could beat the Angels. But my first goal was for the Giants
to win a game — one game — after watching get swept in 1989. The Giants got
that win in Game 1. But after losing in Games 2 and 3, I started to think they
wouldn’t win the Series.

 

But Kirk Rueter had a big
game in Game 4, and then Giants poured it on in Game 5. Just like that, the
Giants were one win from a World Series title.

 

On the night of Game 6, my
wife and I had a standing invitation for dinner at the house of my church’s
pastor. I wanted to cancel, but my pastor and his wife told us to come over and
we’d all watch the game together. Greaaaaaaat.

 

But things started out well
enough for the Giants. Shawon Dunston homered. Kenny Lofton doubled, stole
third and scored on a wild pitch. Barry took Angels heralded rookie Francisco
Rodriguez deep. In the seventh, Jeff Kent singled home another run and the
Giants were 5-0.

 

Russ Ortiz was sailing,
limited the Angels to a pair of singles. But in the seventh, Ortiz gave up
back-to-back one-out singles, and Dusty Baker took Ortiz out after 98 pitches.

 

Felix Rodriguez came in to
face Scott Spiezio, who kept fouling off pitch after pitch, working the count
full. Then he got pitch he could pull and dropped into the seats in right just
inside the foul pole and beyond the reach of RF Reggie Sanders. That made it
5-3 Giants.

 

In the eighth, Tim Worrell
came in and could not get anyone out. It started with a home run to Darin
Erstad. Then a single to Tim Salmon, a single to Garret Anderson on a flare to
left. And error by Barry Bonds allowed runners to move to second and third.
Robb Nen was called on to face Troy Glaus. And even though Glaus had been the
Angels biggest hitter in the series and there was an open base, the Giants
pitched to him. Glaus raked a double to left-center and the Angels led 6-5.

And there I was in my pastor’s house. I couldn’t swear (though I wanted to). I couldn’t throw something across the room (though I wanted to). I just sat and simmered, muttering “Why were we even pitching to him?”

After the game was over, I quietly got up and went to the bathroom. And sat for a couple of minutes. When I emerged, Melanie, the pastor’s wife, said “I’m impressed, Tim. If that had been the Padres, Scott (the pastor) would have been yelling and screaming.” (My pastor grew up in San Diego).

My wife said “I’m actually surprised Tim didn’t.”

I did my best to be pleasant the rest of the evening. When I got home, I took the videotape that I was using to record the game out of the VCR (yeah, 2002 was a long time ago), and threw it in the garbage. I didn’t sleep well that night.

 

The next day, Game 7 went bad quickly. The
Giants got a run in the second, but the Angels answered back with one of their
own. Then Livan Hernandez couldn’t get anyone out in the third, giving up a
single, single, hitting Tim Salmon with a pitch, then giving up a
bases-clearing double to Anderson and that was
enough. The Angels won 4-1.

I watched Game 7 at my brother’s house. You know, the Dodger fan. When it was over, I looked over at my niece, who was almost 3 at the time, and just said “Uncle Tim needs a hug.”

She obliged.

 

In the offseason, Dusty
Baker left. Jeff Kent left. But the Giants made good moves to replace them and
went on to win 100 games in 2003.

 

Again, the Giants faced the
Marlins. Jason Schmidt pitched the Giants to a Game 1 win, but the Marlins
bounced back to take Game 2. In Florida, the Giants pushed across a run in the
top of the 11th. But in the bottom of the 11th, sure-handed Jose Cruz Jr.
dropped a pop fly by Jeff Conine, setting the stage for Ivan Rodriguez’s
two-out, two-run single to win it, 3-2.

 

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In Game 4, the Giants fell
behind 5-1, but scored four in the sixth to tie. But the Marlins tallied two in
the eight to take a 7-5 lead. The Giants scraped across a run in the ninth. But
then JT Snow was thrown out at the plate to end the series.

 

That was the last postseason
appearance until this season as the team plunged over the next few years. They
won 91 games in 2004, but were eliminated by the Dodgers on the final weekend.
Then the losses mounted: 87 in 2005, 85 in 2006, 91 in 2007 when Barry Bonds
completed his pursuit of the all-time home run record. Then the Giants turned
the page and began building for the future: 72-90 in 2008, and 88-74 in 2009.

 

That brings us to this
season…

 

Best celebration sound bites

World Series Giants R_Mart(3).jpgHere’s a sample of some of the best post-game comments by the Giants.

—-

Fox’s Chris Rose, handing the World Series trophy to Tim Lincecum, asked: “How does that look?”

Lincecum: “Shiny.”

—–

Buster Posey: “It’s
crazy to think with all the great baseball players who have come
through San Francisco, there hasn’t been a World Series championship The beautiful thing about the organization is, you’ve got guys like
Will Clark here. You’ve got J.T. Snow here. You’ve got Shawon Dunston
here. When we get back to San Francisco, we’ll have Willie Mays and Willie McCovey
and Gaylord Perry. The list goes on and on. It’s so humbling to have
won the first World Series in San Francisco. It’s unbelievable.”

Aaron Rowand on Edgar Renteria twice telling Andres Torres before Game 5 he would hit a home run: “He told Andres he was going to hit one and he did it. He Babe Ruth-ed it, I guess.”


Former general managing partner Peter Magowan, who saved the Giants from moving to St. Petersburg in 1992, on erasing past failures: “It
does. It erases it. I don’t think a day goes by that I
don’t think about the ’02 World Series. I still think a lot about ’62,
to say nothing about all the other near-misses. This does knock it all
away.”

J.T. Snow, former Giants 1B and current coach, express sentiment of SAN FRANCISCO Giants fans:

Someone said of the title: “It’s been a long time.”

Snow: “A long time? It’s been never!”

—-

Former Giants 1B and current special assistant to the GM Will Clark: “We’ve
had a few little skeletons in the closet because of the last few (World
Series) teams, but these guys buried them right here.”

MLB Network’s Matt Yallof asked how the brown-haired Brian Wilson could have a beard that is so dark black.

Wilson: “Day games. It’s the tan.”

And finally, Willie Mays, who watched the game with friends from his Peninsula home: “Oh,
man, I don’t get overly excited about baseball, but looking at these
kids and how excited they were, I had some tears in my eyes.”

They must be Giants!

This lineup the San Francisco Giants put out in Game 5 — and all season long — will not go down as the one of the greatest lineup in history, not even Giants history.

But this lineup was not about one guy. It was about every guy in the lineup. It was a lineup that you just waited for someone to do something, because you knew the pitching was going to keep it close.

Take a look at this lineup, where they came from:

1, ANDRES TORRES, RF: He’s 32 years old. A journeyman outfielder. Drafted by the Tigers in the fourth round in 1998; played parts of 2002-03 with the Tigers; when the Tigers sent him to the minors in April 2004, he opted for free agency; signed with White Sox, played in minors in 2004; signed with Rangers, played in minors and briefly with Rangers in 2005; played in minors for Twins, Tigers and Cubs the next three season; signed with Giants in 2009; became a full-time starter in late April of 2010.

2, FREDDY SANCHEZ, 2B:
Acquired in a trade with the Pirates in 2009; appeared to be bust when he could not stay healthy late in 2009; signed a two-year deal in offseason, but started 2010 on the DL; made his 2010 debut on May 19.

3, BUSTER POSEY, C: Came to spring training in 2010 with thoughts of making the big club; was sent to Triple-A Fresno because Giants wanted him to work on catching skills; made his 2010 debut on May 29; played first month in majors mostly at 1B; became everyday catcher when Bengie Molina was traded to Texas in early July.

4, CODY ROSS, LF: Placed on revocable waivers by Marlins in August; Giants, now heavy on OFs after recently adding Jose Guillen, put a claim on Ross, largely to keep rival Padres from claiming him; spent most of first month with SF as late-game defensive replacment; got more starts toward the end of September; started every postseason game.

5, JUAN URIBE, SS: Went into last offseason looking for multi-year deal; when he didn’t get one, re-signed with Giants for one year; expected to fill utility back-up role behind 2B Freddy Sanchez, SS Edgar Renteria, 3B Pablo Sandoval; opened season as starting 2B in place of injured Sanchez; eventually became everyday SS when Renteria was injured.

6, AUBREY HUFF, 1B: Giants went into offseason looking for left-handed power hitter to play 1B; went after Nick Johnson, who signed with Yankees; went after Adam LaRoche, who turned Giants down to sign lesser deal with Arizona; Giants sign Huff, who went on to lead team in HRs, even playing some OF when Posey got called up and played 1B.

7, PAT BURRELL, OF: Released by Tampa Bay on May 15 after 1+ unsuccessful seasons with Rays; signed to minor-league deal with Giants two weeks later; went to Fresno for a week; got called up to Giants on June 5; hit 18 HRs for Giants.

8, EDGAR RENTERIA, SS: Signed two-year deal with Giants prior to 2009. Spent two injury-filled seasons with SF; made three trips to DL during 2010 season; played only once in Giants’ final 14 games of the regular-season; started only 8 games after August 10; suffered torn biceps tendon in Game 2 of NLDS vs. Atlanta.

9, AARON ROWAND, CF: Signed five-year deal prior to 2008 season; beaned in cheek by LA’s Vicente Padilla on April 16; went on DL; hit well after initially after coming off the DL May 2, raising average to .333 on May 7; then went into tailspin; average dropped to .227 by end of May; lost starting CF job to Andres Torres; made only 12 starts after August 1, none after Sept. 16.

Compare that to the opening day lineup

1, Aaron Rowand, CF: (see above)

2, Edgar Renteria, SS: (see above)

3, Pablo Sandoval, 3B: Hit into league-high 26 DPs; hit over .300 first month of season, but didn’t have same power numbers; average began to dip by mid-May; spent most of postseason on the bench

4, Aubrey Huff, 1B: (see above)

5, Mark DeRosa, LF: Homered on opening day in Houston; average quickly dipped under .250, never rose above that; admitted in early May that surgically-repaired wrist was not right; season ended on May 8.

6, Bengie Molina, C: Re-signed with Giants in offseason after failing to get multi-year deal elsewhere; hit well out of gate; average above .300 thru mid-May; then started to dip; dropped to .250 by June 1; traded to Texas on July 1.

7, John Bowker, RF: won starting job after red-hot spring; but as in previous stints with big club, could not sustain hitting; average dropped below .200 by April 19; lost starting job; optioned to Fresno in early June shortly after team signed Pat Burrell; traded to Pirates on July 31 for Javier Lopez.

8, Juan Uribe, 2B: (See above)

Giants baseball: Rapture!!!!

World Series Giants R_Mart(2).jpg

It’s over. They’ve done it. And I’m still trying to make sure it’s real.

The San Francisco Giants are World Series champions.

Fifty-six years in the waiting for Giants fans, 52 years for San Francisco Giants, and 37 years for this Giants fan.

The only thing that would make this better is if I had put $100 on the Giants to win the Series back at the start of the season.

I don’t know what the odds were, but I’m pretty sure you could have got good odds on that happening back in March.

And if I had put another $50 on Edgar Renteria being the Series MVP, I’d be sitting on a pretty big winning pot.

But that’s the way it’s gone for this group. The only thing we can expect is the unexpected.

EDGAR THE MVP?!?!?

Edgar Renteria started the season hot and he was still hitting .320 on April 30 when he strained his groin. He rested the injury for five days before returning on May 6. Then he aggravated the injury and went on the 15-day DL.

The Giants activated him from the DL on May 22. On May 26, he strained his hamstring, and he went back on the DL.

He was activated on June 16, but struggled after returning from the DL.

On August 11, he landed back on the DL a left biceps strain.

He was activated on September 1, but only because rosters were expanded.

He started only seven games in September and none after Sept. 17 because of an inflamed elbow.

He played on Oct. 1 to show he was ready to be on the postseason roster. There was some talk about leaving him off the postseason reason. But there were no better options, so Renteria was put on the roster.

Then in Game 2 of the NLDS, Renteria came in as a pinch-hitter in the 10th and dropped down a bunt single. But the Giants couldn’t get him home. On the first ball put in play in the 11th was a groundout to short. On that play, Renteria suffered a torn biceps tendon. But he played on.

He started Games 2, 3, 4 and 6 of the NLCS. He started all five games at short in the World Series, delivering a key home run in Game 2, going 3 for 4 in Game 4 and then the huge three-run home run in Game 5.

Renteria became the fourth player to have the game-winning RBI in two Series clinching wins, joining — get this — Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Yogi Berra.

Well done, Edgar.

TWO-OUT MAGIC

And, of course, Renteria’s three-run blast came with two outs.

Just like the Giants have done all postseason. In the Series, 17 of 29 runs scored were with two outs.

FOX: YOU GUYS STINK!

Giants fans were flying high. Edgar Renteria just hit a 3-run homer, giving Tim Lincecum a three-run cushion.

It’s the bottom of the seventh. Nelson Cruz just homered to make 3-1 San Francisco. After a walk, the Rangers have a runner on first and one out. The Giants are seven outs away from the World Series title.

Then Fox went and did it. They threw up a graphic: World Series fact: The last team to come back from a deficit of three runs or more in the seventh inning or later: Game 6 of the 2002 World Series.

That graphic went up, and I actually averted my eyes for a moment.

After Lincecum struck out David Murphy, Joe Buck commented on that graphic, noting that “it’s not a graphic that Giants fans want to read.”

My wife, not the keenest baseball observer, wondered why Giants fans would be upset by that graphic, because the Giants were leading at the time the graphic went up. She didn’t catch that the Angels rallied against the Giants.

So she asked me to clarify. I simply mumbled “I don’t know.”

BOCHY AND A TOUCH OF TORTURE

I don’t want to be the guy who is second-guessing Bruce Bochy. The Giants manager has made all the right moves this postseason.

But when Brian Wilson came out in the ninth, I winced. Lincecum had only thrown 101 pitches at that point. He could have throw 120 or more. He had mystified Josh Hamilton and Vladimir Guerrero all night. They were the first two up in the ninth.

I agreed with Tim McCarver. I would have let Lincecum face those guys. If either got on, then go to Wilson.

And if Bochy was going to go to the pen, why not go with Javier Lopez to face Hamilton, then go to Wilson.

But Bochy called on Wilson, and what happened? Wilson set the Rangers down 1-2-3.

That was back-to-back 1-2-3 outings from Wilson in Texas.

Yeah, yeah, Wilson did push Nelson Cruz to a 3-2 count.

But then he reared back and blew it past Cruz.

Torture no more. Only Rapture!!!!!

Lineups are in for Game 5

The lineups are in, and Bruce Bochy must be reading More Splash Hits.

Well, sort of.

Pat’s bat is in the Game 5 lineup, but not his glove.

Pat Burrell will be the DH in Game 5, batting in the No. 7 hole.

Here’s the lineup:

RF Andres Torres

2B Freddy Sanchez

C Buster Posey

LF Cody Ross

3B Juan Uribe

1B Aubrey Huff

DH Pat Burrell

SS Edgar Renteria

CF Aaron Rowand

 

Mitch Williams on MLB Network said he was surprised by the move, saying Burrell didn’t like to DH in the AL and his production as a DH led to him being cut in Tampa Bay.

But his production as the Giants left fielder in this Series who warrant getting him cut by the Giants if it continued for several weeks.

So there’s nothing to lose putting Burrell as the DH. If he can put the bat on the ball, he could change the game with one swing. Also remember it was Burrell’s walk in the fifth of Game 1 that contributed to a big inning against Cliff Lee.

I think Bochy wanted to put his best defense in the outfield. Against the lefty Lee, that’s Ross, Rowand and Torres. So then your DH options are Burrell, Pablo Sandoval (who hit .227 with 1 HR from the right side), Travis Ishikawa (who hit .111 against LH pitching) or Nate Schierholtz (who actually hits .294 against LH pitching).

Given those options, an uncomfortable Burrell is the best bet.

QUESTIONS WITH LINEUP

Bochy and More Splash Hits were in agreement with many aspects of the Game 5 lineup: Burrell at DH, Burrell hitting deep in the lineup, Rowand hitting No. 9.

But like he did in Game 1 against Lee, he’s moving Aubrey Huff down to the No. 6 hole.

The numbers say Huff is the same hitter against RH pitcher or LH pitchers.

He hit .296 vs. LH pitching this season, .287 vs. RH pitching. His on-base percentage is .378 vs. LH, .388 vs. RH. Slugging is dead-even, .506 vs. .506.

Against Lee in Game 1, Huff was 2 for 3 with a double and RBI.

In the postseason, Huff is 3 for 8 with two RBI against LH starters.

But Bochy goes with Buster Posey No. 3 (that’s fine; that’s where he should be); Cody Ross No. 4 (team leader in postseason HRs; fine) and then Juan Uribe.

Don’t look now, but Uribe is hitting. 140 this postseason. It’s just that every hit Uribe has this postseason has counted — his home run in Game 6 of the NLCS, his 3-run homer in Game 1 of the World Series, his dunker for an RBI single in Game 2.

So if Bochy is moving Huff out of the No. 3 hole, then put him in No. 5 spot with Uribe No. 6.

But most of Bochy’s moves have worked out this postseason, so we’ll see.

OUTFIELD ALIGNMENT

The other major difference between the MSH’s lineup and Bochy’s was Rowand in CF and Torres in RF.

I put Torres in center because he’s the better center fielder. All the numbers say so.

Range Factor favors Torres over Rowand 2.66-2.54. The league average for RF is .259.

Total Zone fielding runs above average (which basically counts the number of runs saved above or below the average CF) Torres wins again +7 to +2.

Torres has kept 42.9 pct of runners from taking an extra base. Rowand 39.2 pct.

Rowand does have an advantage is catchers thrown out at home in the postseason. Rowand threw out Carlos Ruiz in Game 4 of the NLCS. Torres could not throw out Bengie Molina on a sac fly in Game 1 of the Series.

Bottom line on why Bochy went with Rowand in CF. That’s where he’s comfortable. Rowand has not play anywhere but centerfield since 2004 when he was with the White Sox.

Torres played 84 games this year in CF, 43 in RF and 37 in LF.

ON FINAL STAT

A lot has been made about how good Cliff Lee has been this postseason. But all of his preview four postseason starts have come on the road — two in Tampa Bay, one in New York, one in San Francisco.

So how has Lee pitched in Arlington?

He’s 2-2 with a 3.12 ERA in seven starts.

 

Huff Daddy and the DH

OK, trivia time!

In the Giants’ previous two trips to the World Series in which a DH was used, what four players did the Giants use in the DH spot?

While you stew on that, how about the Giants’ DH on Sunday. Aubrey Huff came threw with a huge two-run home run in the third inning that gave the Giants the early 2-0 lead.

Huff led the Giants with 26 home runs. But it seemed like a long time since Huff Daddy went deep. And it was — Sept. 25 at Colorado.

But Huff has been contributing this postseason in little ways.

In the NLDS and NLCS, Huff was 10 for 39 (.256) — all singles. But he did knock in four runs and score four runs.

In the first three games of the World Series, Huff was 4 for 10 with two doubles, two runs and two RBI. On Sunday, he finally went deep, rocketing Tommy Hunter’s first pitch to him in the third for a two-run shot down the right-field line.

It was the first home run by a starting National League DH in the World Series since 2002. Do you remember who that was?

Shawon Dunston.

“And he told me about it, too,” Huff told MLB Network Matt Yallof. Dunston is now a bench coach for the Giants.

Well, Aubrey can tell Dunston that the Giants won the game when Huff went deep as a DH. (If you don’t remember which game Dunston hit his home run in 2002, we won’t remind you).

It’s great the Giants had an experienced DH to put in that spot Sunday. It’s nice to have some experienced hitters to go to as potential DH. In the Giants’ previous trips to the Series, the question was “Who do we have to DH?”

OK, trivia answer time. In 1989, the Giants used Ernest Riles as DH in Games 1 and 2 in Oakland. In 2002, they used Tsuyoshi Shinjo (remember him?), Dunston and Pedro Feliz as DH. All three of those players batted in the No. 9 spot at the DH.

So even though Pablo Sandoval didn’t do anything as DH in Game 3, he was at least a better option than what the Giants had in 2002

So who is the DH Monday against lefty Cliff Lee?

Well if it’s our call, it’s Pat Burrell.

Bruce Bochy said Burrell would be back in the lineup in Game 5 after sitting Sunday. But does that mean he’s in left field?

Burrell said he doesn’t like to DH and struggled in the spot with the Rays. But he’s been struggling at the plate in this series while playing left field. So I don’t know what the Giants are risking with Burrell as a DH. He needs to focus on his hitting. That’s why he’s in the lineup. And Cody Ross made some great defensive plays in left field in Game 4 that were huge.

Bochy went with the defensive alignment behind Madison Bumgarner in Game 4. He should keep that same mindset in Game 5.

Besides, what are the other options? Bochy started only one lefty in Game 1 against Lee — Huff, who went 2 for 3. So the other two RH options to DH would be Aaron Rowand, who would likely get the start in the OF if Burrell is the DH, or Pablo Sandoval.

Sandoval hit .227 with 1 HR as a right-handed batter.  Rowand hit .211 with 4 homers against lefties this season.

I like the idea of Rowand in left, hitting in No. 9 hole, than Burrell in left and Sandoval at DH.

So here’s my lineup for Game 5:

CF Andres Torres
2B Freddy Sanchez
1B Aubrey Huff
C Buster Posey
RF Cody Ross
DH Pat Burrell
3B Juan Uribe
SS Edgar Renteria
LF Aaron Rowand

No tricks, just a San Francisco treat

Madison Bumgarner was great, the Giants made Tommy Hunter work and got to the Rangers bullpen early and Aubrey Huff gave the Giants the early lead.

It could not have been a better Halloween for the G-men.

The Giants needed to get one win in Texas, and they got it. Now they send Tim Lincecum to the mound with a chance to clinch. Even if things don’t go their way Monday, they’ll get Matt Cain at home in Game 6. I like those chances.

But let’s get it done Monday. The Giants clinched on the road in Atlanta. They clinched on the road in Philadelphia. Let’s complete the trifecta in Texas.

The Giants increased their odds for winning a World Series title. Forty of the 51 teams to go up 2-0 won the Series (78 percent). Now, the stat to look at is this: 38 of 44 teams to go up 3-1 (86 percent) have won the Series.

BAT ON BALL

We mentioned the importance of doing the little things for the Giants. That’s what they did in Game 4.

San Francisco hitters had a great game, even though they plated only four runs.

Here’s a stat that floored me when I heard it: It was not until the fourth inning, on Tommy Hunter’s 72nd pitch of the game, that the Giants had a swing and a miss.

Really? The Giants?!? I can’t remember how many times the Giants came up this season in a contact situation and struck out swinging.

But not on Sunday. Andres Torres opened the third by falling behind 1-2 to Tommy Hunter, then fouled off three balls to work the count to 2-2 before doubling off the first base bag in an 8-pitch at-bat.

Freddy Sanchez tried to get Torres to third. He fouled off six pitches — five with the count 0-2 — before grounding out to third in a nine-pitch at-bat.

Then on the first pitch to Aubrey Huff …. GONE!

GLOVE ON BALL

Is it possible for a guy to go 0 for 4 at the plate and be the star of the game?

If so, then that’s Freddy Sanchez. Sanchez was all over the place, starting double plays, snaring line drives. Even the Rangers’ first hit of the game was on a ball that Sanchez smothered and almost recorded an out on.

And Sanchez also made a nice pick-and-tag on a stolen base attempt by Josh Hamilton.

Great game, Freddy!

NO-GANDO

If you need another reason to be optimistic about the Giants’ chance, there’s the news that one of the best pitchers in what has been a shaky bullpen for the Rangers is done for the series.

Alexi Ogando pulled a muscle on his left side while throwing a pitch to Juan Uribe in the sixth.
 
He left the game. Texas manager Ron Washington said he will be replaced on the roster.

Ogando had thrown 3 2/3 scoreless innings with six strikeouts and no walks in two World Series games.

Game 4 lookahead: Staying positive

There are lots of things that we can look back on when you lose.

And Game 3 of the World Series is no different.

But we don’t want to linger over things like, oh, another sub-par outing from Jonathan Sanchez, the idea of a Sanchez-Colby Lewis rematch in Game 7 if the series goes that deep, the fact the Giants could not get to the Rangers bullpen Saturday, or that the Giants couldn’t get on the board early, or the platinum sombrero for Pat Burrell.

No,no. We are going to stay positive.

So here are reasons to be positive about the Giants in the World Series.

  • The Giants still lead the series 2-1. If you had told us going into the Series that the Giants would be up 2-1 after three games, we’d take it.
  • If you told us a month ago that the Giants would still be playing on Halloween, we’d take that, too.
  • The Giants need two wins to take the title and have starts coming from Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain.
  • With the Giants not facing a clinching win on Sunday, I won’t have to worry watching the game on Sunday night and having to get up every so often to go to the front door and yell “Will you kids stop ringing my doorbell! Don’t you know the Giants are about to clinch their first World Series title in 56 years?!?!?!”
  • The Giants are 7-1 in their past eight Game 4s of a best-of-7 series.
  • The Giants will face Tommy Hunter in Game 4, not Cliff Lee. After making his 2010 debut on June 5, Hunter opened the season 8-0 with a 2.31 ERA. After that, he went 5-4 with 5.08 ERA.
  • Hunter is 7-0 at home, but six of those wins came in that 8-0 start.
  • In the postseason, he’s 0-1 with 6.34 ERA. He’s failed to pitch into the fifth inning in either start.
  • Madison Bumgarner, the Giants’ Game 4 starter, was 6-3 with 1.91 ERA in road starts this season. He gave up 2 earned runs in six innings in his lone postseason road start.
  • It’s Halloween Night, a night made for black and orange!!!

Lucky Giants shirt runs out of luck

I guess Sunday is a laundry day.

The final weekend of the regular season, I went to a men’s church retreat at the beach. I brought three Giants shirts to wear over the weekend, expecting the Giants to clinch the NL West Division title against the Padres.

I wore an orange Giants T-shirt on Friday (cuz it was Orange Friday), but the Giants lost.

I broke out the black “Gigantes” T-shirt on Saturday, but the Giants lost.

So I went to the white Giants shirt with orange/black trim. I remember telling a fellow Giant fan that morning “This is the winning shirt.” And the Giants won.

I didn’t think much about it. Until I put that same shirt on for Game 1 of the NLCS, and the Giants won. So I began to think maybe there was something in this shirt.

I broke it out for Game 3 of the NLCS, another win.

I broke it out for Game 6 of the NLCS, another win.

So then I kept wearing it on game day. Game 1 of the World Series. Game 2 of the World Series. Win. Win.

I had it on Saturday, and I guess it ran out of luck.

Or maybe whatever I wear really doesn’t have an impact on the games. Really, when you think about it, it’s kind of silly. A grown man worrying about what shirt to wear. I think the experience has helped me gain proper perspective.

So I’ll find something else to wear Sunday for Game 4 of the World Series … as I watch the game from my lucky chair.

Game 3 preview: Time to get back to work

Well, we’ve all been reveling in the Giants’ first two victories in the World Series.

I’ve even caught myself allowing thoughts of World Series championships swim around in my head on Friday. But just as those thoughts make a couple of laps, they run head-on into some bad memories. Then thoughts turn to: Is this how the Giants are going to break my heart this time?

So now is the time for the Giants, and all the Giants faithful, to take those first games and set them aside. A new series starts Saturday in Arlington, and they need to find a way to win Saturday. Take nothing for granted. Giants fans know well there are no sure things.

WHO IS COLBY LEWIS?

That’s a question a lot of Giants fans are asking. And it’s a reasonable question.

Even the Yankees, who play in the same league as the Rangers, were not that familiar with Lewis and it hurt them.

Here’s what we know about Colby Lewis.

The reason you don’t know much about Colby Lewis is that prior to 2010, he spent two season pitching in Japan. Lewis came up with the Rangers in 2002, making 26 starts and going 10-9 in 2003. But he missed 2004 after rotator cuff surgery. The Tigers claimed him off waivers after 2004 season. Lewis returned to the majors briefly at the end of 2006. He made 26 appearances for the A’s in 2007 before being claimed off waivers by the Royals, then later released after the 2007 season.

He signed Hiroshima of Japan’s Central League in 2008, where he led the league in strikeouts in 2008 and 2009.

He signed a two-year deal with the Rangers last winter, and went 12-13 with a 3.72 ERA for Texas. He struck out 196 batters in 201 IP.

His season was almost a mirror of Game 2 starter C.J. Wilson. Lewis lost seven straight decisions from last July to early September before winning three of his last four starts in September.

Lewis has been very good in the postseason. He pitched five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Rays, a game Tampa eventually won 6-3 by beating the Texas bullpen (sound familiar?).

In the ALCS vs. the Yankees, he got the win in Game 2, giving up two runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings. In Game 6, he was even better, pitching eight innings, allowing one run on three hits.

Lewis has allowed two runs or fewer in each of his last eight starts, including three in the postseason. Yankee right-handed hitters struggled against Lewis. The Giants lineup likely will have six RH bats in it.

Lewis lives on the edges of the plate, preferring to pitch away away hitters. The Giants will need to hit to the opposite field or they’ll be popping up or grounding out.

Because he lives on the edges, Lewis can sometimes lose the plate, so being patient and fouling off pitches will be key for the Giants. If they can extend at-bats and innings and get Lewis’ pitch count up — like they did with Cliff Lee — that’s how they’ll succeed. It will also hasten Ron Washington to go to the bullpen. That is the goal.

Also scoring early will be important. The Giants have scored 20 runs in two games, but they haven’t score a run in the first or second innings. Scoring early will put pressure on the Rangers.

WHICH SANCHEZ WILL SHOW?

Of the four Giants pitchers who made 33 starts this season, who had the lowest ERA?

If you said Jonathan Sanchez, you’d be right. His 3.07 ERA topped Cain (3.14), Lincecum (3.43) and Zito (4.15).

Sanchez was 4-1 in September/October regular-season starts. In his lone loss, he gave up one earned run in 5 2/3 innings.

While he led the league in walks allowed, his 6.6 hits per nine innings was also the best in the NL.

In his first two postseason starts, he gave three earned runs in 13 IP, with 18 strikeouts.

We bring up these facts because the memory of his 2+ inning start in Game 6 of the NLCS is still fresh in Giants fans minds. Sanchez has been solid this season, and not the inconsistent pitch we’ve seen so often.

Bruce Bochy called his Game 6 NLCS start as a hiccup. We can only hope so. If Sanchez can return to the form he had in the nine starts before last Saturday’s start in Philly, the Giants should be just fine.

PANDA AS DH

Pablo Sandoval will get the start Saturday as the DH.

Sandoval is one of three Giants hitters who have yet to swing the bat in the Series, along with Mike Fontenot and backup catch Eli Whiteside. Fontenot was announced as a pinch-hitter in Game 2, but was quickly replaced by Aaron Rowand after a pitching change.

The Giants are going with this lineup:

CF Andres Torres
2B Freddy Sanchez
1B Aubrey Huff
C Buster Posey
LF Pat Burrell
RF Cody Ross
3B Juan Uribe
DH Pablo Sandoval
SS Edgar Renteria

That’s 3 lefty bats with switch-hitters Torres and Sandoval and lefty Huff.

Given how Lewis has handled RH batters recently, the Giants could have squeezed in another LH bat by starting Travis Ishikawa at 1B, Huff at DH, Sandoval at 3B and Uribe at SS.

But clearly Bochy likes the defensive alignment of Renteria and Uribe on the left side, and Renteria has been swinging the bat well.

CLIFF LEE IN GAME 4?

If the Giants win Game 3, it would almost guarantee seeing Cliff Lee start Game 4 on Sunday. But if the Rangers win, it leaves room to think.

Tommy Hunter is the scheduled Game 4 starter. He was warming up in the eighth inning as the Rangers ran through their bullpen trying to find someone to get the final out.

That doesn’t mean too much. We saw Madison Bumgarner throw in the pen in Game 2 of the NLCS. He didn’t get in the game, and then still started Game 4.

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