Sports blogs the way they were meant to be

Sign In

Now we have a Series. I might have actually rubbed my hands and giggled like a mad scientist, or at least a mad scientist living vicariously, when both starters came out and it became a bullpen game.

This, I thought, is going to be interesting. The Royals have a great bullpen, as we all know. The Giants have Bruce Bochy pulling the bullpen strings, which is usually good stuff. But it all fell through the sewer grate when Peavy came out -- or perhaps before Peavy came out -- in the sixth inning.

Meanwhile, the Giants did decent bat work with runners on base, even though the numbers don't look great (1 for 8). They hit some balls decently into outs -- I'm thinking in particular of Michael Morse with two on against Kelvin Herrera, hitting a shot right at shortstop Escobar for the final out. And before Morse, Brandon Belt had a good at-bat against Herrera, too, made him throw a lot of pitches, but the final contact wasn't quite square enough and he flew out to left field.

Jake Peavy had a bizarro start: Everything he threw got crushed in the first two innings, then he looked like Greg Maddux in innings three through five. A bloop single for Cain to start the sixth, a cautious walk to Hosmer, and after 60+ pitches, Bochy came to get him. Perhaps he should have let Javy Lopez pitch to Hosmer, but in hindsight (whatever that's worth) perhaps he should have let Peavy pitch to Billy Butler, despite Butler's ownage of Peavy, instead of calling for Jean Machi. Because Machi was awful.

Will he pitch again this Series? Something was really weird about that at-bat. His trick pitch, his out pitch, his ground-ball double-play pitch is the forkball. He threw two fastballs to Butler, didn't come close, then threw a fat 2-0 fastball that Butler lined into left for the go-ahead single.

Then Hunter Strickland. Yeesh. He was flawless in Game 1, seemed to have corrected his problems, but they returned tonight. The Salvador Perez double was on a decent pitch, but on 1-2, you don't make a decent pitch to Perez, who swings at everything but is no Pablo Sandoval. You throw it six inches outside. On the Infante home run, well, excuse my broken record: fastball middle in.

Worst of all, Strickland totally lost his cool, nearly provoked a brawl -- sorry, this is baseball, I mean a "brawl" -- and turned his own failure and frustration into fodder for the Royals' clubhouse corkboard. Maybe this is why a guy with an electric arm bounced around so much before the Giants nabbed him. When the heat turns up, his proteins misfold. Or, if you prefer, he can't bring the zen. Million dollar arm, ten cent head, if you like the old horsehide bromides.

I don't know. But this postseason has been an interesting little data set for our upcoming hot stove marshmallow roast. Let's just say this: Thank goodness Santiago Casilla is still going to be under contract, because the closer-in-waiting might be waiting and waiting for his make-up to catch up with his giddy-up.

Sorry about that.

I'll write what I wrote after Game 2 in St. Louis. The Giants are coming home with a split in their back pocket. I'm good with that. I like the Giants' lineup right now, a lot. They pummeled Shields, they had good at-bats against Ventura, a guy throwing 100 with a wicked 12 to 6 cruve. Now they get Jason Vargas and Jeremy Guthrie for the Royals, who might pitch the games of their lives, or might not. Here are some things to look for:

-- The Royals outfielders in Mays Field. Knowing that configuration is a huge home-field advantage. Ask Randal Grichuk.

-- With no DH, will Michael Morse play left field against the lefty Vargas, or perhaps even against the righty Guthrie? The swings I've seen look pretty good, though perhaps late on the hard stuff, but it might be hard to keep his bat out of the lineup at this point. I doubt his defense is any worse than Ishikawa's. It's going to be tempting for Bochy. My guess: Morse starts Games 3 and 4 because Bochy prefers Ishikawa pinch-hitting late against the Royals' right-handed power bullpen.

-- Who's going to come out of the Giants' bullpen? Machi looks gassed. Strickland looks hornswaggled. Tim Lincecum looked good for two innings, but do you trust him in a tighter situation? Apparently he tweaked his back, so maybe this is moot, but what does he do next? Come in when Hudson or Vogelsong has hit the wall in the sixth or seventh, with two men on and one out? Or a man on third and a strikeout sorely needed? It's going to be fascinating.  

Some say the Chinese have a curse: May you live in interesting times. OK, it might not be a Chinese curse at all, but there apparently is something akin to "better to live as a dog in an era of peace than be a man in a chaotic period," and that's good enough. 

It also translates to "better to sweep a World Series than go seven games and develop ulcers," but hey, you can't win 'em all in every even-numbered year.

# continue reading
Madison Bumgarner won his first World Series game four years ago on Halloween. Tonight he pulled another ghoulish trick: He used his 93-MPH death ray to suck the soul from James Shields and usurp his nickname. Not that Bumgarner needs...
# continue reading

We're All Here Together

Vote 1 Vote
Why, hello, my San Francisco Giants. You're still here. So are we. How nice!We didn't expect you here. Angel Pagan is not here. Marco Scutaro...nope. Matt Cain isn't here... well, not on the field at least. (photo credit: Beck Diefenbach/Chronicle)Tim...
# continue reading
So many names from the past five years bring tears to my eyes when I think of them doing things no one expected them to do in October. Andres Torres. Santiago Casilla. Ryan Vogelsong. And now, Travis Ishikawa. People who...
# continue reading
You won't find any errors on the Giants' side of tonight's box score, but they made plenty of mistakes. Four of them in particular: Every home run the Cardinals hit tonight was a bad pitch.And it really shouldn't have mattered....
# continue reading
Did you notice? When Mike Matheny was being sprayed with champagne, the cameras caught a glimpse of a home-sewn Clayton Kershaw doll in Matheny's locker? With tiny pins sticking out of it? Rewind the DVR. Look again. Otherwise, I have...
# continue reading
I spent half of Saturday's game listening to the radio in my dining room. I walked out the door after the first half ended, stunned and elated, although I didn't realize---no one realized---we were in fact at the halfway point....
# continue reading
Nine straight post-season wins. I call it "The Zito Streak." Never forget, my friends, never forget. Jake Peavy probably pitched as well as his reconstructed right arm and 33-year-old stuff and home-plate umpire on crack would allow against the Nationals....
# continue reading
Here we are. The regular season is over, and the roll-the-dice season is upon us. Who's going to win, Pirates or Giants, is a ridiculous question in a sport whose prime directive---Hit tiny hurtling sphere with slim conical protuberance---doesn't always...
# continue reading
Is it over yet? Can we come out now? Heading into Wrigleyville, the Giants actually gained two games on the Dodgers over the weekend. Angel Pagan is back. Michael Morse is hot. Joe Panik is giving the team stability at...
# continue reading
Or, to a lesser extent, Cole Hamels or David Price. No, really. Go for it, guys. The addition of one of those pitchers wouldn't guarantee the Dodgers the division title this year, because pitchers throw with arms, and arms are...
# continue reading
Jake Peavy, Cy Young Award winner! San Francisco Giant. We all hope he channels a little 2012 in his two-plus months with his new club. That was the last time he was both good and healthy. He could go on...
# continue reading
It's the second half, and to celebrate I wrote a... a... what's it called? A post! I wrote a post! It's been a while. Then it was a while before that, and so on. No, I haven't semi-retired. I've got...
# continue reading



Header photo courtesy of Flickr user eviltomthai under a Creative Commons license.