Pitching and defense formula works again for Giants
Published: Saturday, October 27, 2012 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, October 27, 2012 at 10:39 p.m.
Excuse me for feeling confused. I attended Game 3 of the World Series Saturday night in Detroit, but I could have sworn it was Game 2 in San Francisco. I have the feeling I’ve seen all this before. You know, the Giants winning 2-0 and all that.
The games, or the game — help me here — go like this. The Giants pitch great. In this case, Ryan Vogelsong becomes a late-in-life Don Drysdale and makes the Detroit Tigers look like chumps, just like Barry Zito and Madison Bumgarner did. And Tim Lincecum comes in and looks like the superstar he used to be, and may be again. And the Giants’ pitching is the story of this, so far, lopsided series. Both Will Clark and Ron Wotus called Giants pitching “nails,” which, I assume, is a good thing. The Giants certainly have been sticking nails in the Tigers’ claws.
And the Giants manage to get just enough runs in a scrappy, unspectacular fashion. They got two in the second helped by a stolen base and a wild pitch. And Pablo Sandoval gets another bunch of hits — it’s like he was dormant and now he’s alive again. And Gregor Blanco makes another great grab — this time running a mile and catching a foul fly ball from Jhonny Peralta in the bottom of the ninth for the first out. (I always think Peralta’s first name is a typo.)
And, give them credit, the Tigers’ pitching in Game 2 and Game 3 was world class, certainly nothing to complain about or criticize. And that doesn’t even matter. That’s how dominant Giants’ pitching has been.
And we’ve waited for the Tigers’ hitters to make a stand, but they don’t — the Tigers hitting with a swollen reputation that has been dead on arrival. Prince Fielder was involved as usual in a Tiger-killing play, Fielder hitting into a double play in the first with two on and one out. And Quintin Berry hitting into his own DP with two on in the third. And Berry and Miguel Cabrera — Cabrera, for heaven’s sake — failing in the fifth with the bases loaded. Careless, wasteful hitting. Cabrera and Fielder, I won’t even give you their batting averages against the Giants for fear of a slander suit.
And we’ve seen Sergio Romo pitch the ninth inning, never getting close 90 on the gun, Romo throwing those sliders that dip and weave and jump. And he retires the Tigers so easily it’s unfair, and the Giants win. Again.
We’ve seen this.
It’s like both teams are following a script. From the Tigers’ point of view, the drama is a stark tragedy about the inevitability of defeat. In the drama, some superior force is controlling the Tigers. And that’s true. It’s just that the force isn’t the gods, or Fate or Nemesis. It is the San Francisco Giants.
Or maybe someone kidnapped the real Tigers. Yes, that’s a theory. Someone kidnapped them and they’re being held captive in a warehouse in Daly City, and the bad guys put actor look-alikes in the place of the real Tigers.
There’s more in the We’ve-Seen-This-Before Department. We’ve heard Bruce Bochy play down the whole on-the-verge thing. Here’s the latest version: Well, it’s a good situation, but there’s nothing been done yet. It’s a good number just like I said about two. Now, it’s three but that’s not the Series. So you have to keep going about your business as usual and come out ready to go and don’t think about where you’re at, but go out and try to win.”
And we’ve heard Jeremy Affeldt talk the same cautionary line. He said the players won’t even mention they are one game from winning the World Series because, “It’s so obvious.”
He also said: “Hopefully our mindset is you’ve got to win four games, and we haven’t done it yet. We were down 2-0 to Cincinnati. They’re in that same situation. We know their mentality — we’ve had that mentality for two series. Until they say you win it, you didn’t win it. They’re not going to back down. We’re not going to back down. We still have to win.”
And we’ve certainly heard Tigers manager Jim Leyland do his stoic best. Here’s the latest version: “Well you don’t really have to tell (the players) anything. They can count. We know they’re down three games to zero. There’s no secret formula or message for them. They’re big guys and they know we have to come out and win a game. You don’t think about the four. You think about one and that’s basically what we were thinking about tonight.”
Here’s a bonus Leyland quote because he’s just so good. Asked if it was deflating, Cabrera popping out to short with two outs and the bases loaded in the fifth, Leyland fired back: “Well, that wasn’t deflating. That’s just baseball. (Ryan Vogelsong) made a big pitch at a big time. Obviously, we’re not going to talk about one at-bat, taking away from how great Miguel Cabrera is.”
I’m sure we’ve heard and seen all this before. And I’ll tell you one more thing. If it’s the same story tonight, this time produced and directed by Matt Cain, you and I definitely know what that means, even if no one — and I mean no one — on the Giants is saying it.
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