Saturday, May 21, 2011

Willie's Timing?

Not that we're a superstitious lot, mind you, but didja notice that since Willie Mays' 80th birthday, which the Giants celebrated by beginning a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies, the club is 11-3 overall and 8-0 at home? They've taken over first place in the division, and they have a chance now to sweep the crosstown rival Oakland A's with a win tomorrow.

Such are the pleasing thoughts engendered by Tim Lincecum's latest masterpiece, a complete-game three-hit shutout win this afternoon.  He struck out six without walking anybody, which is a testament to pitching right at your opponent's strength. Billy Beane's A's are famous for plate discipline, deep counts, and walks, with the inevitable strikeouts accumulating on the side. Lincecum was having none of that. He worked hard-- 133 pitches-- but he pitched his game, not theirs. Needless to say, last week's debacle in Denver didn't mean a thing. We've said it before and we'll say it again-- this, folks, is the guy you want on the hill when you have one game you must win. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Could Be Worse-- Could Be Raining

Well, it is raining and has been raining and will be raining for a spell yet here in beautiful lush green Virginia, which is taking on a decidedly Seattle-ish look these days. And it was raining the other night in Chicago, enough to postpone the Giants-Cubs game and push Tim Lincecum's scheduled start back one day, to last night in Colorado, and we can all see how well that worked out, can't we?    

Needless to say, the Temptations' "I Wish It Would Rain" has been shoved to the back of the ol' playlist, while "Sunny Afternoon" by the Kinks is quickly moving up the charts here at Sodden-Death Acres.

Lincecum allowed fifteen baserunners last night while recording seventeen outs, and of the six ghastly walks he issued, only one was intentional. He struck out only three, which is not surprising when you see that his ball-strike ratio was 51-67.  You know how some football coaches will just burn the game film after a particularly ugly and out-of-character loss? Time for Bruce Bochy to fire up the old barbecue pit.

Heaven only knows how many runs the Rockies might have scored if they'd been able to run the bases with some degree of success! They had three runners caught stealing, another picked off base, and a fifth thrown out at the plate trying to score (thankyaverymuch, Andres Torres).  As for our beloved Giants, they grounded into four double plays and were 50-50 on steal attempts, so we can hardly afford any more snide comments.

Bright moments: four total bases, a homer, and the aforementioned assist from the .340-hitting Torres (and a belated welcome back to ya, buddy); Nate Schierholz continuing to hit (two-run shot, two walks, two-eighty-six on the season and batting fifth in another of "Boch's" creative lineups); two hits including a double from Miguel Tejada, who has finally hoisted himself north of the Mendoza Line; the Giants still holding a sliver of a half-game lead over these Rockies even after the loss. And Jonathan Sanchez sallying forth to do battle with Ubaldo Jimenez tonight. Eternally optimistic, we remain.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy 80th birthday, Willie Mays!

August 16, 1965, Candlestick Park, bottom of the fourth. Against Mets righthander Tom Parsons, Willie hits a line drive to right center that just clears the fence. It's one of 17 homers he hit that month, 52 for that MVP season, and 660 for his matchless career, and we were there, nine years old. What's YOUR best Willie Mays memory?

Another time... same place...  Candlestick, 1970, against the Cincinnati Reds. Bobby Tolan hit what should have been a home run to right center, and 39-year-old Willie, running full speed, leaped OVER Bobby Bonds, caught the ball as it was going over the fence, then tumbled to the ground and was completely still for 5 minutes before getting up and calmly jogging away. We saw it live on TV and couldn't believe what we'd seen. If anyone has a video of this unbelievable catch, please upload it to YouTube! We can't find it anywhere, and every baseball fan should see it.

Says Buster Posey, "Happy 80th birthday to Willie Mays, one of the greatest baseball players of all time and a true ambassador of game. Thank you for helping me understand the honor and privilege it is to play for the Giants."

Class act, that Buster.  Happy birthday, Willie, the Greatest of 'Em All!