Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Giants Win Ulcer-tastic Game Four

One positive note to the years when the Giants miss the playoffs: I can actually enjoy baseball. With nothing at stake I can just relax, kick my seat back, and take in a good match of this fine game they call baseball. No pressure, and none of that annoying nonsense known as "emotional investment".

Years like 2010, though, when the Giants are in the playoffs? Yeesh. I'm super-excited that my team is playing deep into October, obviously, and I'm ecstatic they're one win from the World Series, but when the actual games are being played, I'm not sure you can characterize what I go through as "enjoyment". When I'm pacing around my apartment during every tense moment in the game, sweating and mumbling, popping Pepto Bismols to ease my churning stomach (I wish I were kidding), I look more like a maniac on the verge of a complete breakdown than a fan having fun watching sports. I'm like Billy Beane as portrayed in Moneyball, only without the goofy white box and with no chairs to throw. Brian Wilson said after the game tonight that he had an ulcer forming after all of this. You and me both, buddy.

Game Four tonight was the most antacid-laced of the NLCS, a see-saw battle that ended with the Giants winning, only after it looked like they were poised to break our hearts yet again. After being handed an early 2-0 lead, Madison Bumgarner suddenly lost it in the fifth inning as the Phillies' bats finally woke up and hammered out four runs. You knew the Giants would come back and tie, as they did, against crappy Joe Blanton and a shaky Phillie bullpen. Holding the lead they got, however, was another matter entirely.

Sure enough, they blew it, thanks to a Sergio Romo hanging slider, something that is becoming frighteningly common in these playoffs. Luckily Romo settled down, Brian Wilson did his usual brilliant pitching while looking like a total scary bastard, and Juan Uribe came through...again...with the game-winner. As Aubrey Huff (no matter where this guy goes after the season or how the rest of his career goes, he is going to be freaking adored by Giants fans forever, with good reason) chugged home with the winning run, the butterflies in my stomach turned into goosebumps. As painful and crazy as it is, I wouldn't want it any other way.
If there was one major advantage the Giants had going into this series it was their edge in bullpen strength, and that certainly manifested itself tonight. It spoke volumes to how little faith Charlie Manuel had in his bullpen that he was willing to bring in Roy Oswalt on limited rest rather than leave it up to Brad Lidge or some other ne'er-do-well on that relief staff in crunch time. The Phils' relievers are so unreliable (except Ryan Madson, but he had already been used) that their manager had to grab at straws in order for his team to stay alive. Sure enough, the Giants got to the now-hittable Oswalt and won the game. Give Manuel credit though, for doing something unorthodox because, really, who else was he going to turn to going into extra innings with the series on the line.

So are the Phillies phucked? Hardly. They still throw arguably the best pitcher in the NL out there tomorrow and then two more ace-caliber pitchers after him. They're up against the wall and they're battling in a street fight with a plastic knife, but they're aren't finished by any stretch. There are too many postseason stories of the ace pitcher tossing a masterpiece game to get his team back in the series. The Phils can't be written off at all. There are plenty of ass jawbones laying around the streets of San Francisco, I'm sure. No one wants to see this series go back to Philadephia, where anything can happen in that bandbox full of moronic jackasses (or did you not see this?). Plus, wouldn't it just be nice to clinch it in front of the home fans?

Luckily, the Giants have their own (little) big gun in Tim Lincecum to combat Halladay. Two aces matched up with a chance for the Giants to win their fourth pennant in the San Francisco era. Who in their right mind wouldn't watch this? I know I'll be ready with my Tums.

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