Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Castoffs Strike First

If anyone was gonna take out Cliff Lee, it wasn't going to be these guys.

You know, you can predict just about anything. People make big bucks telling you who is going to win elections,which stocks will go up, and just how bad the weather is going to spoil the family picnic. But nobody can tell you with an certainty what will happen in a baseball game.

Cliff Lee is unbeatable in the postseason? He didn't get out of the fifth inning. The Giants don't have the offense to contend with Texas? An 11-run Game One begs to differ. And now the Giants have a leg up in the 2010 World Series.

It wasn't pretty, not close to it. A Lee-Lincecum pitching duel it wasn't. The teams combined to use 12 pitchers, they committeed six errors, and from an artisitc standpoint set baseball back about a century. And jeez was it fun to watch as the Rangers lirterally got knocked off their, uh, Cliff. Yeah, I couldn't resist.

Now admit it, the way that game started off you were proably having the same thoughts I did. A single, a walk and a full-blown brain fart had the Rangers up 1-zip before the first Cha Cha Bowl had been sold. Then Freddy Sanchez wasted the first of his four hits with a baserunning blunder the likes of which we had not seen since Ruben Rivera. When The Freak got tabbed for another run in the second, I started mentally composing one of those "well, it was a good season" kind of posts.

Then the Giants started squaring up Lee. These weren't dunkers. Lee got slapped around like Farrah Fawcett in the first half hour of "The Burning Bed." For a night Sanchez decided he was Honus Wagner, Aubrey Huff found some extra juice in the rally thong, and Juan Uribe.....

Juan, I apologize.

I didn't want this guy. I thought he was a wasted salary last year and bringing him back was a mistake. I bashed him all year as he fell into periodic funks. And as I lamented the fact that the Giants didn't have a guy who stepped up when it mattered, this is the guy who got it done.

A three-run blast was only part of it. The third-to-first twin killing that eneded the first inning stopped the bleeding. A great diving stop and throw added to the highlight reel. He had the game-winner in two of the four wins over Philly. Juan came to play.

While I'm doling out apologies, Edgar Renteria still shouldn't be allowed near the plate in a crucial situation but his stop up the middle was the moment I thought "we're gonna be okay." Now there were still plenty of defensive miscues, charged and uncharged, but you just had the feeling that the Giants were going to find their way out of the woods.

So I find myself struggling. I've become very accustomed to looking for the hidden land mines in paradise. Now I'm starting to think not "how are they gonna blow this?" but "who is going to make the play?" It's a different hero every night, and maybe that's appropriate from a bunch of guys nobody wanted.

Put this in your pipe and smoke it. There are, at the most, six games left in the campaign. The Giants play .500 ball and they're scrounging up floats for a parade down Market Street.

Not bad for a bunch of muts.

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