Sunday, October 02, 2016

Wild Finish

It does seem a little like 2014, doesn't it?  The Giants fade badly towards the end of the season and barely make it into the playoffs as the second wild card team.  But there were also signs in the last few games of a resurgence, especially in hitting.  And then...

Well, this year the Giants finished the regular season doing something they haven't done since before the All-Star break: win four games in a row.  They got the wild card with a 7-1 win over LA on Sunday, behind yet another masterful 3-hit pitching performance, this time by Matt Moore.

And they needed to win all these games, because St. Louis matched them.  Sunday they came back to batter the Pirates, but before that game was over, it was all over for their season.

Now it's on to New York to play the Mets in the wild card game on Wednesday.  I expect the Mets will be favored.  Besides MadBum's big game experience, the Giants have a better defense and a suddenly hot Brandon Belt and Buster Posey.  Romo's resurgence as closer--he was the official closer in their 2012 championship season--has steadied the bullpen and injected some confidence in the team that if they get a lead, they'll keep it.  That was key in 2014 as well.

If the Giants get into a series, their starting pitching gives them a real chance.  But they have to get past the Mets first, and especially show that their second half inability to hit superior pitching is also a thing of the past. And Mets starter Noah Syndergaard (100 mph fastballs, 94 mph sliders) is one of the best.

Update: I guess I was wrong about the Mets being favored in the wild card game, at least by ESPN "experts."  About twice as many picked the Giants.  However only one--David Schoenfeld--picked them to take the series with the Cubs, and only he picked them to win the World Series, with Brandon Belt as the projected MVP.

I should add for the record that this game was the last broadcast by Vin Scully, who did the Dodgers games for 67 years--roughly half the time MLB has been around. Which means if I had been a Dodgers fan, he would have been their voice for my whole life (assuming I waited until age 3 to start listening.)  It was also 80 years to the day that (as he recalls) he first became a baseball fan--and specifically a Giants fan.  Now that famous voice is gone, except when Jon Miller does his eerily exact imitation.

Also retiring this year is Lee Jones, the producer of Giants radio broadcasts.  I've recently become acquainted with the way retiring people can be completely ignored by their employers.  But the Giants have more class than that--they put the ball in Lee Jones' hand for a ceremonial first pitch.  Good for him.  

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