I’m trying to think of a sport that handles long games well. By the 14th inning, this game got pretty dull and you knew it was going to go until someone hit a home run. Soccer gets dull too by the second overtime, and penalty kicks are worse. Maybe hockey? College football? And what playoff system best enables the best teams to win? It’s obviously not baseball, and I say that as a Giants fan. Maybe NBA basketball?
After praising Bochy for his aggressiveness and making fun of Don Mattingly last night, I feel bad for Matt Williams. Bochy pulled Tim Lincecum in game 5 of the WS in 2010 with him cruising, but Brian Wilson had no trouble and there was no controversy. Maybe it’s different when Drew Storen is your closer? That was a tough situation for Williams–Panik had just hit a ball that was almost a game tying homer. Posey was up. If he homers, Williams is blasted for leaving Zimmerman in. Biggest problem for Nats is that they don’t have a reliable closer right now. By game 4 or 5, maybe it will be Zimmerman?
All the screaming on twitter about the home plate umpire expanding the zone against Nationals hitters was on calls that looked like strikes. The calls that I’d love to see again were with Panik batting with 2 outs in the 9th. Those also looked like strikes from Zimmerman who was suddenly being squeezed. But I won’t know if Zimmerman was being squeezed because FOX didn’t show the strike zone box. Why? They always show the strike zone box, and tonight of all nights they really needed it. Where did it go? (Addendum: August Fagerstrom shows compelling evidence that Zimmerman was squeezed on the Panik pitches). And why doesn’t FOX show who is warming up in the bullpen?
After the Giants went ahead 2-1, everyone on the bench was laughing, looking relaxed, and getting ready to celebrate. No one seemed to be doing what I was doing on my couch–staying exactly still in the spot that enabled Belt to homer and debating whether to just turn the tv off because I absolutely knew that Rendon would walk and Werth would walk off to win it. Professional athletes across the sporting world seem to be totally totally shocked when they lose at the last second, as if it could never happen. And baseball, where it’s so easy to come back from one run. And they had Strickland out there to close, a guy who gave up 2 home runs the previous day.
As a homer, I will admit that I’d have even been more excited if Timmy had come in to close it. I really thought someone was going to send Strickland’s pitch back to the 3rd deck. Timmy would have walked the bases loaded and lost the game on a wild pitch, but it’d have been exciting to see him back on the mound in the playoffs. And if Barry Zito got his moment in 2012, Timmy is going to get one this year… Gotta believe.
Great Giant pitching performances that I can think of since 2000 that lasted more than 5 innings…Jason Schmidt, Russ Ortiz, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong, Barry Zito, Jake Peavy, Tim Hudson, and …. Yusmeiro Petit.
photo by Jason Evans