The seventh inning proved to be the poison that took down Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League division series. The sixth inning Wednesday night proved to be poisonous for the San Francisco Giants in Game Two of the World Series. In more than one way.
Some put it this way: The Kansas City Royals only have to win four out of the next six games, and they may only have to deal with Madison Bumgarner in the fourth of the six, if the World Series gets that far in the first place. Makes it sound simple enough, right? All they have to do otherwise is keep the San Francisco Giants from swarming forth right out of the chute.
Is it unreasonable for Cardinals fans to ask themselves whether their team is trying, literally, to throw this National League Championship Series to the Giants? Bad enough the Cardinals lost Game Three on a walk-off throwing error. Putting the Giants on the threshold of the World Series with two bad throws in Game Four’s sixth inning is worse.
At what cost will the St. Louis Cardinals’ National League Championship Series-evening win Sunday night prove to have come? As great as it looked when Kolten Wong ended the game with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the ninth, that’s about how horrible it looked when another swing earlier in the game sent Yadier Molina out of the game—and out of who who knew what else—with an oblique strain.
Sorry to disappoint you. It’s not that Madison Bumgarner’s Wednesday night masterpiece was anything resembling boring, but that masterpiece plus the Giants’ bludgeoning of the Pirates in the National League’s wild card game wasn’t exactly the kind of hair raiser the Royals and the Athletics raised up the night before.
Now, this is a novel position for the San Francisco Giants to assume. They’re not used to being up two games to none in a postseason set this year. This could be the start of something . . . weird?
The way they got into this position was probably weird enough even by the standards of a Giants team that’s spent at least half this postseason benefitting from the transdimensional. Can you remember any team winning a World Series game with nothing but a double play and a sacrifice fly to score the only two runs they proved necessary?
Alex Rodriguez in his post-American League Championship Series sweep grief vowed to come back like it was 2007. Barry Zito, starting Game Five of the National League Championship Series with his San Francisco Giants a game away from winter vacation, came out to the Busch Stadium mound in St. Louis Friday night and pitched like it was 2002 and he was nailing his Cy Young Award.
This is going to be a very large and hard pill for Dusty Baker to swallow. It’s bad enough that he couldn’t find a way for his Cincinnati Reds to push the San Francisco Giants down, back, and out of the postseason in this fifth division series game. But he’s entering the history book on the dime of the franchise he once pulled to within five outs of a World Series title a decade ago.
Did I say it was going to hover well and large over the Cincinnati Reds, when Brandon Phillips ran them out of what should have been a bigger first inning Tuesday, and Scott Rolen got so eager trying to field a short hop he chested the San Francisco Giants into a tenth-inning, life-saving Game Three win?
If I didn’t quite say that, Game Four may compel its saying just yet, with Pablo Sandoval tacking on the exclamation point with his mammoth two-run bomb in the top of the eighth, and Tim Lincecum merely signing off on what may yet prove these Reds’ death sentence.
As has been pointed out several times already, sometimes cruelly, it isn’t as though the San Francisco Giants have been strangers to the tentacles of actual or alleged performance-enhancing substances even if you don’t mention the name of Bonds. Or even Jose Guillen. And with Melky Cabrera suspended, at a time when he was the Giants’ no questions asked best option in left field, we’re going to see what this year’s Giants are made of.