Sunday, October 31, 2010


One More Win

Before Game Four, there had already been speculation that Madison Bumgarner might be a better option than Jonathan Sanchez in a potential Game Seven, given Sanchez's recent struggles and his decreased velocity. Now, that debate will only intensify. Bumgarner was magical tonight, getting ahead of every hitter and completely dominating the Ranger lineup. Over the course of the season, Bumgarner had been very good away from home (yeah, yeah), but this was ridiculous. I think the Rangers had maybe a half-dozen good swings off of him all night.

As brilliant as MadBum was, he was still helped out a bunch by some masterful defensive play, a lot of which came courtesy of Bruce Bochy's lineup machinations. Benching Pat Burrell and playing Travis Ishikawa and Nate Schierholtz seemed like moves that would have second-guess artists drooling, but they worked out beautifully. With Schierholtz in right, Cody Ross shifted to left field, giving the Giants a heavy duty vacuum of an outfield defense. Sure enough, the Rangers hit about four balls to left field tonight that I doubt Burrell would have gotten to. I think Burrell still plays tomorrow, but I think Bochy will tell him to suck it up and DH while Aaron Rowand or Schierholtz play the field.

Once upon a time, in 1998, Bochy mismanaged the World Series so badly that he basically handed a superior Yankees team two games on the way to being swept. My entire impression of his managing skills came from those four games, in which his bumbling killed any chance the Padres had at winning their first title. Now he looks like a freaking genius. Every move, or every really big move, that he's made this postseason has worked out, whether it be in terms of lineup construction, bullpen usage, or by telling Jose Guillen to fuck off.

So the Giants are one win from their first World Championship in the San Francisco era. We've been here before, and we all know about the crazy and unbelievable ways this team can break our hearts. I don't have that feeling though, this time. Back in 2002 I almost wasn't ready to accept that I was finally going to actually see the Giants win a World Series (and they didn't). Now I'm prepared to celebrate.

Check out this great video of Aaron Rowand talking about his take on Livin' the Dream at the Big Series.
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