So much for a weekly update. How can I ignore one of the most epic Giants/Dodgers games in several years? Easy answer? I can't. The Giants/Dodgers game tonight was one of the best Giants victories in years. It should become an instant classic in the Giants/Dodgers rivalry. And more importantly, it introduced many young Giants (and some new veterans) to this rivalry and what it's all about. It was slated to be an epic pitching match-up. Lincecum vs Kershaw. Two great young pitchers. Ours, a righthanded 2 time Cy Young Award winner who seemed to have righted the ship in his first two 2nd half starts. Theirs, a flame throwing lefty who had embraced the mantle of being the ace of the Dodgers staff at a mere 22 years old. Like most NL West games, I expected this game to be a low scoring affair settled likely in the late innings with the starters garnering no decisions after pitching beautifully. Wrong.
Lincecum: 4.2 IP, 5 ER, a reverse eephus pitch, and a Kemp beaning.
Kershaw: 6.0 IP, 4 R, 2 ER, a Rowand beaning and resulting ejection.
This game had it all. Timmy was not Timmy. He looked like Wild Thing out there. He had no idea where the ball was going. His velocity was down. He was not fooling Dodgers hitters when he was in the zone, which was rare. Kershaw was staked to leads of 3-0 and 5-1 and couldn't lock it down. He let the Giants back into the game (with the aid of a Manny Ram, er, Xavier Paul dropped sac fly off the bat of Pat the Awesome) and after plunking Rowand, it DID become a bullpen game. Both bullpens are erratic so I was expecting more fireworks. Somehow Denny Bautista and Santiago Casilla managed not to hit any Dodgers. That in and of itself was amazing. But really, down 1 run going into the 9th against an all-of-a-sudden hittable Broxton, I still wasn't sure how the game was going to turn out. Raise your hand if you picked "Rowand would lay down his first successful sac bunt since he was a Phillie and that Bruce f'ing Bochy would outsmart Torre and the entire Dodgers coaching staff and cite some obscure rule about double visits to the mound on one trip" as the turning point to what was already an insane game. Well, I did. I knew that was going to happen. Obviously. But I also thought Lou Seal was going to pop up as a pinch hitter and hit a grand slam, so... you win some you lose some.
Despite all the madness, the Giants still had to actually win the game. That meant Andres Torres had to not hit into a double play (a nearly impossible task for a Giant hitter) and as soon as I saw it leave earth I knew it was at the very least a sac fly and I jumped up off the couch in exhilaration. It wound up being a double and scoring 2, including the lead run and an epic comeback was complete. After Freddy Sanchez disappointed yet again in an RBI opportunity, the Savior Buster immediately got him off the hook with an RBI single. And here's a sidenote: What an impressive rookie class. I can't remember such a strong rookie class with so many guys with legitimate star power. Our very own Buster Posey (and let's not forget about Madison Bumgarner), Jason Heyward, Stephen Strasburg, Mike Stanton, and Ike Davis? Mike Leake who skipped the minors altogether. And Aroldis Chapman is chomping at the bit to get to Cincinnatti. But I digress...
With a 7-5 lead, the Giants still needed 3 outs. With B-Weez down for the count after pitching 4 consecutive games, Bochy had Romo or Affeldt to choose from. He went with Affeldt. And despite terrible numbers in save situations, Affeldt got ASU grad Andre Ethier to strike out with the tying runs on base on a full count.
Just an all around epic game and a memorable first game the day this blog launched. I don't want to say I'm good luck or anything, but SF Giants Guy is 1-0 and probably responsible for one of the best Giants/Dodgers games in forever.
And how about home plate umpire Adrian Johnson? This was a rookie umpire. One of his first assignments is this game. A Giants/Dodgers rivalry game. Bean balls. Warnings. Ejections. And an obscure rule that may have turned the game (though the way Broxton has been throwing of late, it might not have changed anything). Welcome to the league Adrian.
And last but not least, Bruce Bochy does not have a lot of fans here in San Francisco. Tonight, he was arguably the MVP of the game. It's not often we get to see Bochy outmanage the guy in the other dugout, but tonight he essentially outmanaged the entire Dodgers dugout. Kudos to Joe Torre, who not only got Kershaw and himself ejected, but likely earned his best starting pitcher a suspension.
What. A. Game! Giants 10 games over .500 for the first time this season. Zeets for the sweep tomorrow. Again I leave you with...