Thursday, October 23, 2014

Speaking of Giants and Lakers

The morning after, the SF Giants were putting the best face on their 7-2 loss that they could.  The 5 runs charged to five different pitchers in the 6th was freakish.  Without it, a different game.  And their loss was not even as bad as the unexpected margin of the first game, which they won 7-1.

While it's true that inning was unique, disastrous late innings weren't unprecedented or for awhile even rare for the Giants this season.  Their bullpen imploded to begin their midseason plunge from comfortably in first place to struggling for the second of two wild card spots.

But this game was worrisome for a couple of other reasons: Hunter Strickland and (speaking of freak) Tim Lincecum.  Strickland let the game get away, and given Lincecum's solid innings that followed, we'd probably not see the young fireballer again in the World Series, at least in a pressure situation.  But Lincecum left the game with a back injury, and Giants fans await the word on whether he can pitch again.  All of this calls the Giants bullpen into question.  Bochy will have to do some fancy managing to cope with it.  Friday pregame update: Lincecum not seriously injured, stays on the roster.

Doubts are also being raised about Jake Peavy, but while not commanding, his start was decent: two runs through five full innings.  He might have pitched out of serious danger again in the 6th, though Bochy's decision to lift him made sense at the time.  If I were Bochy, I'd have no qualms about handing him the ball.  Strickland is something else.  He's shown himself susceptible to pressure, and that's not going to lessen.  If Bochy has an alternative, he may well have thrown his last pitch in this World Series.

The Royals are going to come into San Francisco confident and fired up.  They won the game they pretty much had to win.  Now the Giants have to counter.  The third game is a big one for them.  I've got a good feeling about Tim Hudson's start.

Meanwhile in the NBA, the Lakers' bad luck (or some would say comeuppance) continues.  After a controversial ESPN piece saying that the reason the Lakers couldn't score a big name free agent was that nobody wants to play with Kobe Bryant, it's announced that Steve Nash is hurt and will not play this season, again.

Meanwhile the Lakers can't win in preseason, which isn't surprising, with pretty much a brand new team.  I don't buy the Kobe story, at least not completely.  After Dwight Howard got burned by baby Buss' bungling in hiring a coach, and with Kobe coming back from injury at 36, the Lakers lost their luster--no free agent in his right mind who had a choice would have gambled on them, not if they want to be on a team that looks like it could contend. The Lakers will have to prove that this year.  I expect Kobe to come back strong, but that's yet to come.

If the Lakers were seriously counting on Nash to be their starting point guard this year, they remained delusional.  Nash is a formerly great player, but his competitors are bigger, stronger and faster now.  He's pretty much admitted that he's sticking around for the money, and the Lakers are paying him big time.  He could probably contribute as an assistant coach.  But his days as an impact player were over.

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