The Giants have this Mets series wrapped up all pretty with a bow and stuff, so you might be better off going outside and doing something instead of watching this afternoon’s game. Even the feeblest baseball teams are incredibly difficult to sweep in a 4-game series, and ones with Johan Santana pitching the fourth game are even tougher to vanquish. Or at least you’d think.
Today doesn’t matter much. If the Giants lose it will probably be 3-2 with Jonathan Sanchez giving up 3 runs (and 13 baserunners) over 5 or 6 innings, with a lot of missed offensive opportunities and not enough bunting and why did Aaron Rowand get sent up to pinch hit in the eighth and you know all the rest. And if they win it’s gravy. Sure, it’s nice gravy, like the kind they give you with biscuits at Cracker Barrel, but today’s game won’t make or break the season. Tomorrow night’s game, and the 3-game series that it starts, just may. And the Giants’ fortunes have changed so dramatically over the past couple weeks, the thought of a 20-year-old lefty with a funny chin-beard leading the charge sounds like fun.
The youngest readers may not remember this, but the Giants drank the Dodgers’ milkshake for quite some time. Brian Johnson gave us the most replayed moment, but there was also Barry Bonds’ pirouette and finishing ahead of the Dodgers seven straight seasons (1997-2003).
Since 2006, the Giants are 31-49 against the Dodgers, including a 1-5 mark this season. And even though the Padres have been in first place since forever and destroy the Giants on a bi-monthly basis, and the Rockies routinely hand San Francisco their most painful losses, the Dodgers are the team that dictates how the Giants feel about themselves when they look in their mirrors.
That’s why a quiet confidence and focused play are needed more in the next three days than at any time for this franchise since 2004. Why it’s incredibly important that they erase this idea that a guy like Vicente Padilla can scare the Giants. Why they have to do everything in their power to score first, to quiet the buffoons who populate Dodger Stadium and after years of supremacy over their rivals to the north, have developed a violent arrogance that causes Giant fans who dare to make the road trip to decide between wearing orange and black or not getting stabbed.
Perhaps it’s the Buster Posey afterglow (really, an opposite field homer at AT&T at night?), maybe it’s the stirrings of a Panda who looks to be awakening from a 2-month hibernation, but this team finally looks like a squad ready to steal back the mojo the Dodgers have held for six-plus years. The Dodgers used to be the team who’d spend on bloated old veterans like Eddie Murray, while the Giants would trot out Barry Bonds, Jeff Kent and a couple scrappy outfielders and run the Dodgers off the field. They’d play harder, but lately the Dodgers have looked like the aggressors while the Giants waited for 3-run homers that never came.
But the vision of Posey last night, every bit matching the cockiness of Brian Wilson as he ran out to congratulate the closer after that 97-mph fastball made Angel Pagan look small, shows this isn’t the same team that let the Dodgers sweep them at home just weeks ago. This week could be fun.
— KNTV (NBC) insists on using cheap (read: non-HD) channels for their supposed HD telecast, but why? Doesn’t Comcast own NBC? Comcast has the super slow-mo, while NBC 11 is either too afraid to ask to borrow Comcast’s cameras or Raj Mathai doesn’t want us to see how many gray hairs he has.
— Maybe it was the week away from sports on TV and the radio, but I had absolutely no idea that Juan Uribe was going to need a 3-for-3 performance last night to pull his average over .250.
— Chris Ray’s windup is weird. It engenders no confidence whatsoever. Unsubscribe.
— If Santiago Casilla is pitching in a playoff game that the Giants aren’t leading or trailing by at least 7 runs, we’re all going to suffer heart palpitations.
— Guess what I’m saying is, even though Jeremy Affeldt and Sergio Romo have been steadier as of late, do you think Wilson can become the league’s first closer/long reliever?
— Maybe it was the wine we had at Kabuki while watching “Inception” (good movie — I’m not going to prattle on about the end or my thoughts on the director or summer movies in general, just watch it), but after we got back and started watching the Giants game I taped Liz couldn’t stop laughing about what SHE decided the F.P. in F.P. Santangelo stands for. I told her it stands for Frank Paul, but she kept giggling and saying that instead it means something that rhymes with “Duck Penis.”