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Texas Cain-Saw Massacre

October 28, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

(It was between that and “Walk ’em Texas Ranger.” Cain was more significant, though.)

The Giants are up 2-0, and San Francisco is euphoric. After that eighth inning, the Giants may not have just beaten the Rangers, but they might have demoralized them.

Big game Matt Cain was fantastic. 7.2 shutout innings. He has pitched 21.1 innings this postseason, and he hasn’t given up a single earned run. How long will he go unnoticed? Probably not much longer. Outside Northern California, Matt Cain has been known as “the other guy,” Tim Lincecum’s partner in crime. The kid has a better career ERA than Cliff Lee, CC Sabathia, and Chris Carpenter. He has the eighth lowest-ERA of any active starter who’s thrown more than 1,000 innings. A reporter asked Buster Posey what Matt Cain is, if Tim Lincecum is “The Franchise;” I didn’t hear Posey’s answer but Hank Schulman said he’s “The Bulldog.” Bulldog, indeed.

Everyone will remember the eighth inning, but the fifth inning really set the tone. I’m not too big on omens and stuff, but as Brian Wilson put it, “That wall was designed perfectly for tonight.” In Arlington, Kinsler’s double is a home run.  Cain quickly got Murphy to line out to shortstop and got Treanor to ground out; after intentionally walking Moreland, he got Wilson to ground out. Consider how different this game this might have been had Texas grabbed momentum. Instead, Renteria got a hold of an inside fastball in the bottom of the inning and drove it for a home run to break the scoreless tie.

— Bruce Bochy has always been known as a great bullpen manager. Now, he has a phenomenal bullpen with 5 very reliable arms and one pretty reliable arm. That’s a lethal combination and the whole country’s seeing it.

— Ron Washington doesn’t have much a bullpen outside of Neftali Perez, but still, he did not manage with the sense of urgency required in the World Series. There’s no excuse for leaving Derek Holland out there to throw 12 balls in 13 pitches . Nobody was even in the bullpen after Holland threw four straight balls. None of Holland’s pitches was even close…

— Bruce Bochy has made all the right pitching moves. He’s picked the perfect line-up for every  game. He’s pinch-hit the right guys at the right time. We’ve heard a lot of Bochy bashing since 2007, but I think he’s now become one of the greatest managers in franchise history.

— Every pitch, every moment, every hit is so big in the World Series. Torres and Sanchez quickly struck out in the eighth and Posey came up. Posey was 0-3, but he flipped a ball to shallow center field to keep the inning going. Then came Derek Holland and you know the rest…

— You’ve been hearing this a lot, but the Giants have gotten something big from almost everyone on the roster. They’ve pretty much filled out the Bingo card. Rowand’s had a couple big moments — the throw from CF against the Phillies, tonight’s triple. Whiteside hasn’t done anything but the Giants have really used 23-24 guys, something very rare in championship teams.

— Everyone in the lineup has been flat-out grinding out at-bats against the Rangers. Those balls in the eighth inning were not tough to take, but earlier in the game, even when they were making outs, the Giants took a lot of pitches. Very different from the quick ABs we were complaining about early in the season.

— SF is 13-26 with RISP in the World Series, 7-13 with RISP & two-outs

— Hitters are 0-17 with RISP against Cain in the playoffs.

— Steve Perry singing “Lights” (Journey) in the middle of the eighth inning was probably one of the coolest things ever.

— I’m so happy for Edgar Renteria. This guy’s body has abandoned him all season. But despite a completely torn biceps tendon in his left arm, he’s playing like he’s 25 again. Last night, he started the game-tying rally by legging his way to first when Michael  Young mishandled his ground ball. And today, all he did was hit what was the game-winning home run.

— Lost after the eighth inning known as “Walk ’em, Texas Ranger,” is Javier Lopez getting the job done again. He came on in a two-run game to face Josh Hamilton. In two pitches, he got Hamilton to fly out to Schierholtz. (Remember, many were speculating that the Giants shouldn’t even pitch to Hamilton after his monstrous ALCS. Hamilton is 1-8 in the World Series thus far.) Lopez has appeared in 9 games this postseason. Of the 17 batters he’s faced, only two have gotten on base — 1 hit, 1 BB.

— Being the underdog is pretty awesome. When you’re the favorite, there’s nothing to prove; it’s all expected. When you’re the underdog, you can prove that your starters really are that much better than the other team’s starters, your bullpen’s way better than the other team’s bullpen, and that your hitters know how to party.

— Apparently, Jose Guillen was left off the Giants’ playoff roster at the direction of MLB, following the news of an investigation that his wife received shipments of HGH. What a blessing, right? I predicted that Bochy would go with Guillen even though he shoud go with Ross. The Giants said Guillen’s absence was related to a neck injury. While you have to take them on their word, but if it wasn’t for this whole PED thing, maybe there would be no “Ross is Boss.” We probably wouldn’t have beaten the Phillies. Heck, we might not have beaten the Braves. I’m not an omen guy, but…

— We’ve been saying this for two seasons. (People forget that the Giants were actually in the thick of the Wild Card race until the end of 2009.) If the Giants get in, they could be dangerous — this pitching staff could take them anywhere. Case in point, today: Good pitching beats good hitting, and bad pitching… makes okay hitters look great.

The Rangers are not done. They might be a bit unnerved after the catastrophe that occurred late in the game, but with the exception of a couple big innings in which their wheels fell off, the Rangers have been right there. If they’ve been dispirited at all, their spirits will rejuvenate entirely when they’re back at home in Arlington. Again, I like the Giants’ chances. They need to win 2 of the next 5. But if you learn anything in baseball, it’s that “It ain’t over till it’s over.”



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