Sunday, September 12, 2010
Going in to the series in San Diego, I was cautiously optimistic, despite the Giants' misery against the Pads this year. In retrospect, I should have been bloody enthusiastic. I didn't take two major factors into account. One, that the Padres are truly playing like crap. I mean, you have to see it first-hand to grasp the magnitude of the Padres' current suckiness. They aren't hitting, they're making stupid mistakes (i.e. Miguel Tejada's general idiocy on Friday and Luis Durango's flub of a fly ball today), and they look like a team beaten just based on their body language. In short, they appear to be toast. That isn't to say that they won't recover and rub the Giants' faces in it, but right now they look like a spent force.
The second factor I didn't take into account for this series was that the Giants would be basically playing four games in front of a home crowd. Today was especially egregious, but all four games featured crowds that appeared to have at least as many Giant fans as Padre fans, and loud chants of "Let's Go Giants!" were rarely drowned out. Hell, on Friday, some guy was watching the game during his wedding party in a condo across the street, and he had a bunch of Giants banners strewn out.
Game 1: I didn't pick up this game until late, but I didn't really need to, because literally the second I got home and turned on the TV, Pat Burrell launched a ball to where no baseball has ever gone before, and the Giants cruised to an easy win. Four home runs, early scoring, and a near-complete game win from Matt Cain? It was pure beauty having taken on the form of a baseball game.
Game 2: An ugly one, but a win nonetheless. Jonathan Sanchez slogged through one of those starts that promotes chain smoking (he walked seven in five innings), but the Giants pulled it out thanks to Aubrey Huff's hustle (or bad baserunning, take your pick) and a Miguel Tejada brainfart.
Also in the game, Brian Wilson pulled out another multi-inning save like it was clockwork. The save stat is stupid, yes, but having a shut-down bullpen guy who can come in and throw multiple innings and then demand to have the ball back the next night is far from overrated. I used to be a prime Wilson skeptic, but I've been converted into a true believer. Any time he's employed like the relief specialists of yore, it puts a smile on my face.
Game 3: The Padres can thank three people for their victory yesterday: Tim Stauffer, the starting pitcher, Yorvit Torrealba, who hit the deciding home run, and Jerry Crawford, the home plate umpire with the asinine strike zone. To be fair, Crawford was calling it both ways and Stauffer was exploiting it nicely. At some point though, you have to stop calling pitches that are a foot off the plate strikes. Why? Because that's not a freaking strike, in any league on any planet. On the FOX broadcast, Eric Karros kept harping about the strike calls on Buster Posey, and how he wasn't going to get them because he was a rookie. That's ridiculous enough if true, but the bad strike zone was in effect for everybody, and the Giants were the recipients of some particularly bad calls. And yes, I am whining.
Game 4: I had a sense of dread going into this one, but that went away when Posey lined a home run off of Giant-killer Mat Latos, a small bit of revenge for the smashing of Dave Flemming's sun roof. All-in-all, Latos labored through four innings and the Giants cruised to an easy win, capped in hilarious fashion when Luis Durango dropped an easy fly ball in center field, allowing the Giants' sixth run to score.
What a wonderful weekend for an exorcism. The Giants chased away some major Padre demons and come away with a 7-3 road trip. They get the Dodgers after a day off tomorrow. The Dodgers have given up on their season, and it shows, but they're certainly going to show up when the opportunity arises to screw the Giants, so the next three games won't be a picnic.