I've seen this movie before.
Set your wayback machine for 2003. The 100-win Giants took Game One of the NLDS from Florida behind a masterpeice from Jason Schmidt. Then a sloppy Game Two evened the series, the G-men flew to the East Coast, and when they next returned to San Francisco it was to clean out their lockers for the winter.
Same stuff, different year.
Handed a 4-1 lead and a clean inning, needing just six outs (there's those six friggin' outs again) to send the Giants to Atlanta up 2-0, the bullpen completely soiled the sheets in a 5-4 extra-inning loss to the Braves that, given the way the Tribe plays at home, may have just ended the Giants season.
Speaking of reruns, this had a real Game Six vibe to it. I walked out of Anaheim Stadium that night knowing that the Giants still had Game Seven, but the series was over. I feel the same right now. I know they had a chance to put a good team away and coughed it up. Those chances have to be seized -- you may not get another one.
What else could they ask for? A 4-1 lead. Chipper Jones and Martin Prado on the shelf. Billy Wagner goes out after throwing three pitches. This is like having the head cheerleader in the back seat of the car begging for attention, and you decide to go back to the condo early to finish your homework.
Make no mistake about it, this game was a gift. And if the Giants hope to advance beyond next Monday, they need to play a much better brand of baseball than we've seen the last two nights.
The flaws that have plagued them all year were in full view during Game Two: impatience at the plate, the inability to add on runs, the repeated stranding of runners who could be scored by a meaningful out, the defensive miscue at the worst possible time (and the inability to recover from same), and more of those goddam double plays. This was the kind of game that wrecks a season and leaves you crying for the GM, manager, first base coach, clubhouse guy, scoreboard operator and the guy who makes the garlic fries to be fired. It absolutely never should happen.
With all of the talk about their pitching, has anyone noticed the Giants, in effect got shut out in Game Two? The last nine at-bats yeilded not a thing. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. As usual, the Giants tried to sit on a lead, and this time it backfired.
There were plenty of culprits, but none more glaring than the Panda. So far in this series, Pablo Sandoval has been about as useful as a conscience at a GOP convention. The only thing he's hit hard in two games was Buster Posey. His error in the eighth turned out to be the differnece maker.
Two errors. Two unearned runs. This Giants team is not good enough to give runs away, and they literally gifted half of the Braves' total in regulation. Atlanta didn't do near as much to win this game as the Giants did to lose it.
Sandoval had help, however. I've stated before how distrustful I am of Sergio Romo. He is, for lack of a better description, a gimmick pitcher. He relies on deception, and he falls into funks where he simply can't fool anyone. His poor outing set the stage for Pablo's foul-up, and the rest is yet another a sad futility footnote in Giants history.
I'm also more than a bit gacked at Posey. With a chance to be hero (and Bob Brenly on TBS talking about his great clutch approach going to right ) he goes pure rookie and tries to pull two straight change-ups after Farnsworth had just walked the bases full. Farnsworth had about as much control as that idiot ski jumper at the start of Wild World of Sports, but Posey bailed him out and tried to pull an unpullable pitch -- ending the Giants best threat in three hours.
Then Ramon Ramirez, who had been outstanding in San Francisco after nearly being lynched in Boston, rolled back the calendar three months. Boston Ramon showed up, settting one on a tee for Rick Ankiel and putting the failed-pitcher-turned-slugger in the Giants Book of Woe right next to Steve Finley and Ryan Spilborghs.
Dammit. This is what they do. They get your hopes up, and they find a way to crush your soul in the most gut-wrenching fashion imaginable.
Sanchez on the hill Sunday. We better see a new Giants team (prefereably one without Sandoval in the line-up), or this postseason party is gonna be over before we ever find the punch bowl.
The Giants have to find a money player (or eight) who isn't part of the starting rotation.
They went looking for one tonight. They're still looking..