There’s an old saying–no it’s not a platitude, it’s just a saying–it goes like this: some days you’re the tiger and some days you’re the lunch. The GIANTS spent the first 2 weeks of the 2015 Regular Season being served up as the local MLB Blue Plate Special. But these last few games? They proved they’re not on anybody’s menu. They’re not tigers either. They are GIANTS–they sweep Tigers. And Dodgers–they sweep Dodgers too. They did this week anyway.
It sure is good to see our boys in orange and black start acting like their World Series Championship selves. Matt Duffy continues to prove himself as one of our best prospects, and Justin Maxwell is as advertised–a great addition to our team.
Let’s face it–these last few weeks have been trying for loyal GIANTS fans–we will not tolerate cheap, vicious, or unrelenting criticism of our guys–nor should we. Faithful GIANTS fans have been through rough patches before. But we remain resolute, faithful, and unwavering. We believe—because the GIANTS have always–sooner or later–given us good reason to believe. Sure we’ve had bad patches–we’ve suffered through June Swoons and July Droops–but we remain ever hopeful, ever positive. It’s why we get caught up in the platitudes I talked about the other day. But I’ve vowed to drop those–like a bad drug habit, they’re just a crutch. Platitudes? We don’t need no stinking platitudes.
The GIANTS came into this 3-game series against the Dodgers on an 8-game skid and the Dodgers rode in on a 7-game high. You know the old saying “the higher they are, the harder they fall”? This one’s gonna leave a mark. Lincecum pitched a helluva game that included 5 strike-outs, the offense manufactured 6 runs from 13 hits and 2 walks, but the GIANTS’ defense won the game–the infield turned double plays like they were Vanna White standing in front of a Wheel of Fortune puzzle. One DP stood way out among the crowd. See all of them for yourself, and see why Kuip called the last one “one of the finest double plays you’re ever gonna see”:
In the top of the 8th, Maxwell caught a fly ball in deep right foul territory after a long run that was so impressive, even Puig–who hit the ball–applauded. When he went into the slide to catch the ball, he jammed his knee so hard into the cement wall, they called for an injury delay. Maxwell’s turn to bat at the bottom of the inning left me to wonder if he would be able to run the bases should he get a hit. I needn’t have worried–oh, he got a hit alright–he hit a homerun.
“OK, we won a game yesterday. If we win today it’s called “two in a row”. And if we win again tomorrow, it’s called a “winning streak”…It has happened before!” Lou Brown, Indians Manager, Major League II.
Wednesday’s game was billed as the Battle of the MVPs. The NL MVP vs the WS MVP. It was as much an anticipated game as Game 1 of the Fall Classic. And everyone had an opinion. Naturally, they concluded this game would go to Kershaw because in their opinion, during the regular season, he’s the best in the biz. Those who bet on Kershaw came away disappointed. Problem is the ones who bet on Bumgarner were disappointed too. The pitching matchup ended up a draw. If you want to split hairs–and I don’t, because it causes split ends and a bad case of the frizz–Kershaw gets a slight edge because he gave up fewer hits: Kershaw gave up 3, while Bumgarner gave up 6; and more strike outs: Kershaw whiffed 9 batters, Bumgarner 6. They each gave up 2 earned runs. My hair is frizzing up already. Doesn’t matter though–that’s personal stats and Madison is all about the team.
The game wasn’t without controversy–the GIANTS played in the lead through 6, the Dodgers tied it up in the 7th–and in the bottom of the 9th, the GIANTS loaded the bases. Gregor Blanco reached 3rd, despite Mattingly’s efforts to have him called out for interference after Blanco ran into Roberto Kelly, our 3rd base coach. The safe call held, and Maxwell hit a sac fly to bring Blanco home for the walk-off win.
The final score: GIANTS 3, LA 2
The GIANTS spent two-thirds of the 3rd and final game of the series playing from behind. Vogelsong pitched a solid 6–giving up 2 runs–both 2-out solo HRs. The Dodgers kept a 2-0 lead until the 6th when Brandon Belt hit an RBI single scoring Panik, narrowing the game to a 1 run lead. Casey McGehee, on a 3-1 count, hit a single in the 9th and Duffy was brought in to pinch run. Crawford came up and hit one of his famous triples, plating Duffy, tying the game and sending us into extra innings. Angel Pagan was the 1st hitter in the GIANTS half of the 10th, he got a base hit and with Brandon Belt at the plate, Pagan stole 2nd. Belt drew an intentional walk, Maxwell followed with a base hit–scoring Pagan for back-to-back walk-off wins, and the sweep.
The final score: GIANTS 3, LA 2
If the GIANTS keep it up, we’re gonna need a bigger broom.