Friday, October 15, 2010
Giants. Phils. In the Words of Mills Lane...
It's 24 hours before the most anticipated postseason pitching matchup of the 21st century, and I have a worry. Several of them, actually. I worry that the Giants and their often-slumbering offense will be powerless against the man who no-hit the team that scored the most runs in the National League. I'm worried that the powerful Phillie lineup far outclasses that of the Giants'. I'm worried that our soon-to-be robot overlords are already predicting a Phillie rout. I'm worried that even the Giants' awesome starting pitching can't match the Phils' "Aces Three". I'm worried that Olivia Munn won't return my creepy texts. Wait, forget that last one.
Screw it. Enough with the manic depressive diatribe. If there's one thing the Torture Giants of 2010 have taught us, it's to never count them out, and to expect the unexpected. Swept by the Dodgers at home in late-June? No problem. Lose a crucial series to the Padres in August after your third starter talks a bunch of crap in the newspapers? Pssh. Lose a devastating game on a ninth-inning, bizarro broken bat triple by Carlos Gonzalez? Feh, just win six of the next seven. A clueless Jose Guillen acquisition threatens to derail the season? Just cut him from the postseason roster and let his malcontented ways take care of themselves.
Even in the ALCS, after blowing Game Two, the surprises continued. When Eric Hinske homered in Game Three, we all got those Giant playoff flashbacks. I'm sure you're all-too familiar. Instead of caving to the ghost of Bobby Jones, they battled back, with the help of a Bobby Cox brainfart here and a Brooks Conrad there, and won the series. Even when it looked like Derek Lowe was going to Halladay them in Game Four, they fought back behind the strength of my new favorite Giant, Cody Ross, to win the series. By now we should know to never count them out of anything.
I'm sure you've heard writers in the past few days state that the Giants' playoff chances are zilch. Don't listen. It's the same mantra that's been repeated by doubters all year. If it isn't that they have no offense, it's because their GM is an idiot. If it isn't because Bengie Molina is their cleanup hitter it's because they're paying a fifth starter $18 million this year. When people said they couldn't beat the Padres, the Giants blew right by them When they said that the Giants couldn't hold back the Rockies, they went into Coors Field and took it to them. When people said that Jose Guillen was a worthless piece of doo-doo on a stick...well, they were right on that one.
I won't make a prediction for this series because, again, I don't want to jinx this team, but I will predict the obvious: this isn't going to be a Phillie steamroll session. Philadelphia's bats have traditionally struggled in Mays Field (.568 OPS in the three games this year -yeah, yeah small sample size), and the big power alleys might help squash the Phils' power advantage. If the Giants can win just one game in Philly, the Phils could come back to SF clawing at the wall in frustration as the fly balls that land ten rows deep at Citizens Bank are caught at Mays Field.
Regardless, it should be a fun series, and I'm cautiously optimistic. I'm prepared for the oncoming bouts of stomach butterflies and torrential profanity, followed by heavy drinking and the inevitable drunken lecture to the terrified waitress at the bar as to why she's the reason the Giants can't hit Roy Oswalt. Then crying may ensue. Ah playoff baseball, how I've missed thee.
The Giants have that feel this year. That vibe. A lot of things have gone right so far. Why would it stop now? Or have those "It's Magic Inside" ads lied to me?