Thanks to the San Francisco Giants doing the almost unthinkable and winning three straight at Great American Ballpark — a place the Giants and their fans have much better feelings about now than ever before — I’m going to have quite a busy little Sunday coming up.
In my case that never means Bed Bath and Beyond and/or Home Depot, because my wife and I rent an apartment and I can barely put together Ikea furniture or hang a picture. No, this jam-packed Sunday will include…
- Driving my wife to the starting line for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon early in the morning.
- Waiting for her at the finish line.
- Taking her home and possibly carrying her up three flights of stairs.
- Driving to Candlestick Park to watch the San Francisco 49ers play the New York Giants.
- Get postgame interviews, see if Jim Harbaugh finds a way to tackle Kevin Gilbride for what he said about Justin Smith.
- Race home (traffic permitting) to watch Game 1 of the NLCS, which I’ll probably have to record.
- Watch Game 1 of the NLCS and get nervous all over again, just like yesterday morning when I’m pretty sure my heart was beating 250 times per minute from the 7th inning on.
So like last Sunday, I’m hoping that when I get home there will be some Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria pizza waiting for me. I’m thinking I might like to try the New Haven White Clam pizza since commenter “devnull” recommended it highly in the BASG meetup post from yesterday.
Since we know what it’s like to win a World Series, the fans aren’t in “happy to be there mode,” even though the Giants were expected by virtually no one to escape Cincinnati victorious. If 2010 taught us anything, it’s that in order to win series against very good teams the Giants need contributions from up and down the roster.
That’s what they got against the Reds. Even the players who struggled contributed something to the team’s collective efforts. So in alphabetical order, let’s run down the list. Here is (at least) one contribution from each Giant.
Jeremy Affeldt: This one’s easy. 3.2 innings, no earned runs allowed. Hopefully his wrist is okay after a Gregor Blanco foul liner sent him tumbling down the dugout stairs.
Joaquin Arias: Three hits in six plate appearances, including two doubles that started rallies in Game 4.
Brandon Belt: That catch he made while flipping over the rail and into the stands in Game 1 was both frightening and wonderful.
Gregor Blanco: Narrowing it down to just one contribution is really hard — let’s go with the 2-run home run in Game 4. Pretty amazing that he was maybe the most productive offensive player for the Giants and he didn’t steal one base. No doubt Blanco will have a huge role next year, but there will be plenty of time to look forward to 2013. Right now, Blanco is a force on offense and defense (one who should not be removed at any time the rest of the way, in my opinion).
Madison Bumgarner: Four solid innings until everything went to crap. He seems tired, but anyone who gives up on him now is a fool.
Matt Cain: Better than Mat Latos in Game 5. Enough said.
Santiago Casilla: Pitched in all five games, and suffered through a headcold in the process.
Brandon Crawford: If his career ends up as long and successful as I think it might, we’ll look back to Game 5 as the afternoon when everything changed. For all he did yesterday, the hit off Aroldis Chapman shows how much his game has evolved since April.
Aubrey Huff: A living reminder of what happened in 2010. Huff’s at-bats weren’t anything special in the NLDS, but he could’ve given up on his baseball career months ago.
George Kontos: The ladies love his looks, Bruce Bochy and Dave Righetti love 3.2 scoreless innings with only two hits allowed — and no walks. Not bad for the guy’s first postseason experience.
Tim Lincecum: Picked a pretty good time to pitch his best 6.1 innings of the season. Whether how he handled his relief role shows how strong his ego is or that he doesn’t have an ego at all, it doesn’t matter. Timmy’s back. And he’ll get at least one more start in 2012 for his efforts against Cincinnati.
Javier Lopez: Two games, two batters faced, two outs. He should get more chances in the NLCS.
Jose Mijares: Went from hurling his glove against the dugout wall after failing to record an out in Game 2 to striking out Joey Votto in Game 4.
Guillermo Mota: Hmmmm … well, he struck out Zack Cozart in Game 1 and the single he allowed to Brandon Phillips didn’t lead to a run. So there’s that.
Xavier Nady: Walked in Game 1 to keep hope alive in the 9th inning.
Angel Pagan: The leadoff homer in Game 4 was fun, but his diving catch in Game 5 was the best thing he’s done all year. The reaction afterward was a nice touch, even though it scared the bejeezus out of everyone watching.
Hunter Pence: It doesn’t matter what you think about clubhouse chemistry and motivational speeches. If the players think Pence’s speech mattered, it mattered. Pence also went 4-for-12 in the last three games (no extra-base hits).
Buster Posey: I think he sees the ball pretty well off Latos.
Sergio Romo: Finally the unquestioned closer, Romo usually strikes out more than one batter per 4.1 IP (a lot more), but he kept the ball in the park and won the toughest battle we saw all series — the one against Jay Bruce.
Hector Sanchez: If you were looking for good omens, you could do worse than Sanchez walking twice(!) in Game 4, his first postseason game. The kid is fearless.
Pablo Sandoval: I’m not sure how you quietly go 7-for-21 with a home run as far as the one he hit in Game 4, but that’s what happened.
Marco Scutaro: Had a nice Game 4, with a bunt that led to a sac fly and a double that scored Joaquin Arias before Sandoval drove in Scutaro with that ridiculous home run.
Ryan Theriot: Sorry Lou Seal, but you have been replaced.
Ryan Vogelsong: The best start of any Giants pitcher in the series, a performance that kept the Giants in a do-or-die game when Homer Bailey looked nearly unbeatable. Pretty good for Vogelsong’s first postseason action.
Barry Zito: We’ve seen worse from Zito on the mound than what he did in Game 4, but spraying Lincecum in the face with champagne during the clubhouse celebration was one of my favorite moments of the 2012 season. The path to future celebrations begins again on Sunday.