Monday, October 04, 2010

Sort of Nice

It took three games but the Giants won the division with a 3-0 victory over San Diego. And to add to the injury, San Diego also lost the Wild Card spot to Atlanta. But even though they came to life long enough to beat the Giants in two games--most ominously by getting to their starting pitchers--the Giants fought hard in those games and forced the Padres to use a lot of their relievers, and their tired arms were a factor in Sunday's game.

Now the Giants play Atlanta, and I will take great satisfaction if they can win that series, since it was Atlanta that spoiled the postseasons for the last great Pittsburgh Pirates team, the one with Bonds, Bonilla and Van Slyke, the Outfield of Dreams. Apart for rooting against any team with a Native American mascot, I have that special animus for Atlanta. And while the Giants have the better pitchers, nobody can take this series for granted.

It was a heady, happy day in San Francisco, and the Giants fans were beautifully delirious--they packed that field-- the stands were a sea of orange. Not so much in Pittsburgh, however, where the Baltimore Ravens scored a touchdown with 32 seconds left to win in Pittsburgh. The defense took responsibility, but after the defense held inside the 5, the offense had only to get a first down to win the game. But they didn't, with some dumb penalties and conservative play calling. Also the kicker missed two forty-some yard field goals earlier, which didn't help.

So now a bye week and Big Ben is back. How much of a difference would he have made Sunday? Last year they failed to get first downs like that, too, so it's hard to say. Cleveland is his first opponent, and that game seemed like a gimme, except that the Browns beat the Bengals on Sunday, and they're not everybody's punching bag anymore. Still, it probably is going to come down to the Steelers and the Ravens (both 3-1 now.) They play once more in the regular season, and it wouldn't surprise anyone if they played once more in the post.

So a great day in SF, but not in Pittsburgh: averaging out to sort of nice.