Bobby Cox got tossed in the second inning, the Giants jumped out to a 4-0 lead, and it all seemed to easy. Which it was, because the Giants went on to leave about 84 chances out on the field without taking advantage of a single one, and the Braves scratched and clawed back with line-drive singles and doubles, until former-pitcher/HGH-enthusiast Rick Ankiel blasted a ball into McCovey Cove.
Wait, weren’t the Giants all full of magic and stuff? Isn’t a NLCS matchup against the Phillies preordained. Clearly not, and now the Giants have to play desperately, like the Braves did last night, or else Atlanta’s going to send the Giants back to San Francisco to clean out their lockers and hold exit meetings, not to play another game at AT&T Park.
The Giants have bullpen arms, the Braves have bullpen arms. And last night, the Braves’ arms were better. The Braves offense looks pretty average, injury-plagued and featuring Brian McCann and a bunch of “whatever” kind of players (I’m sorry, and I know I’m going against sabermetric principle No. 1,243, but even though Jason Heyward is talented, I have a hard time getting excited by guys who’d rather walk than try to crush the ball … it’s great to know the strike zone and have plate discipline, but a huge dude like that, with as good a swing as he has, shouldn’t take so many close pitches with two strikes.).
But what about the Giants? The Giants sure seem prone to striking out and hitting into double plays once they get a guy to third base with less than two outs, don’t they? They aren’t going to out-talent Atlanta, they have to play harder and smarter. And if they’re going to insist on pulling pitches that are below their knees, they better hope the ground balls that follow find a hole or three.
Full disclosure: I’m at my bachelor party, and the combination of junk food, friends, family and Tecate made me care less and less about this game as the night went on, even after the pain of seeing Buster Posey ground into that DP with the bases loaded, followed by Ankiel’s shot. But waking up this morning, no amount of coffee and Gatorade can shake the worry that the Giants have underestimated the Braves. I know I did. They looked pretty pathetic this series until the latter half of last night’s game. However, with this Giants team and how they love to torture us, I knew this series would go five games. At this point, that’s the best case scenario.
Couple smartass observations I can’t leave out…
— Cox is ridiculous. Even if that was a bad call (and I’m not sure Aubrey Huff’s foot actually lost contact with the bag until after he caught the throw), why get tossed in the second inning of a playoff game unless getting kicked out of games is “your thing”? It’s obviously something he loves to do. He has the record, he’ll tell you that he doesn’t do it on purpose, but he totally does. He’s also a guy who got his wife to clam up after calling in a domestic violence incident. I’m pretty sure Cox is only considered a good guy because his teams win. I bet if you’re on his bad side, he’s terrible to deal with.
— If I have to hear Dick Stockton say someone committed an “era” in the field again, I’m gonna … I’m gonna … make fun of him again with my friends.