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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

3 teams, 6 games, 2 spots

September baseball. There's nothing like it. Every day another team adds an "E" for eliminated in the standings. The circuit of 30 gets carved down to 8. In the American League, the teams are all but locked in. The only suspense is who is going to win the AL East? The tyrants of baseball, the New York Yankees? Or do the scrappy Rays from Tampa take it? The answer?

WHO CARES!? We're Giants fans here. We only care about the AL when we meet them in the World Series. Twins, Rays, Yanks, Rangers? Let them go play their 2nd rate baseball. We have real strategery to deal with here in the National League! You know, in the league where pithchers who participate in the game actually have to hit! Where there's more to managing than picking your nose and grabbing your crotch!

The Giants have a real dad-gum chance of making the playoffs. They lead the NL West by a full game for the first time since April, a time when hope lingered for every team (except the Pirates). They went into their personal house of horrors (Colorado) and took 2 of 3 while all but ending the Rockies last surge. Though, the Rockies are a lot like those monsters and villains from scary movies. They're never really dead until you cut off their head and take out their heart. And even then, they might come back. And the Rockies, while virtually being eliminated (the Braves would have to win the wildcard, the Giants would have to go 1-5, and the Padres would have to go 2-4 for the Rockies to sneak in) STILL are mathematically alive. Which means they're not dead. Yet. But Rocktober Part III looks to be coming to an end unless something ridiculous happens (it better not).

Which leaves the field to 3. The Phillies have already clinched the NL East. The Reds will clinch with their next win or the next Cardinals loss. And although the Reds seemingly are ready to go in the tank, they'd have to lose the remainder of their games and the Cards would have to win them all for Cincy not to see the postseason for the first time since grunge was cool and the original Melrose Place and Beverly Hills 90210 were primetime hits. Think 1995. And even with Dusty chewing on his toothpicks in the Reds dugout, ready to give the game ball to Johnny Cueto in the 7th inning, I don't see that type of collapse coming. That's 2 spots already accounted for in a 4 horse race.

Which leaves our beloved Giants.

The playoff picture gets messy now. The Giants are in first by a game and the Braves lead the Padres in the wildcard by a half game. I outlined the scheduling in the last post and right now, the Braves look the best. They have 2 left with Florida then 3 against the Phillies. But the Phillies have nothing to play for. They're in. And they pretty much have homefield locked up. So expect to see the Phillies field spring training like line-ups against Atlanta in the final weekend of the season. Meanwhile, the Padres and Giants will be going at it to determine who wins the NL West. Right now, both teams have patsies. The Diamondbacks come to SF and the Padres are taking on the Cubs in the Litter Box. And although the Cubs won a nail biter tonight 1-0, they're not a very good team. Sure, the Cubs and Dbacks can pretend they're playing their toughest because they're both trying to impress their front offices for next year but let's be real, neither team is good. The Padres and Giants should both dispatch these teams with ease. Which sets up the weekend series.

I've been pretty constant in my assertion that the Giants will be eliminated in that series. That disaster is setting itself up. The heartbreak kids are going to be able to bring more heartache to this city. The opportunity is there. The Giants never have it any other way. Well, they do. They'll win 100 games, then flub up in the Division Series. But they are the best at ripping their fans hearts to shreds. And it's all set up again.

The question is, can they, for once, avoid kicking us in the nuts?

2 spots left. 3 teams in it. The Braves did it to us in 1993. They can do it again. The Padres? Well, to be honest, we've never really had any beef with the Padres. It's hard to have beef with the Padres. They're just so... boring. But, they have an opportunity to make us hate them like we've hated the Rockies, like we've hated the Dbacks, and how we always and forever will hate those fucks from LA. You'd like to see some guys get hot. The pitching as a whole is hot. But it'd be comforting to know at least a bat or two was smoking. They're not, of course. Why make things easy?

So I'm cautiously hoping for a miracle while fully expecting sadness. It's not that I'm negative. It's just that I'm a Giants fan. I've been conditioned this way. But man, I really want to see THIS team in the playoffs. I have a good feeling about this squad IF they can make it. But of course, 6 games left and only up one is a lot like scoring a TD late in the game but leaving just enough time on the clock for the other team to kick a game winning field goal.

Monday, September 20, 2010

12 Games Left

So there's 12 games left in the season. And although I'm convinced the Giants will still provide heartbreak by getting eliminated in the final series of the season, I can't say I'm not living and dying with every pitch despite that inevitability. However, it's becoming more clear that the Giants path to October will have to be the division title. The Braves have a tough road to hoe facing the Phillies 5 more times (they lost tonight) but if the Phillies clinch the division prior to the last series of the year, I highly doubt they'll put their "A" line-up out to face Atlanta while we have our showdown against San Diego (where the Rockies will inevitably clinch the NL West... just trust me guys and prepare for it like I have).

It's been weird rooting for the Dodgers so much lately. Of course, the Dodgers being the Dodgers, they've helped make things difficult for SF by losing pretty regularly to people we need them to beat. I'm still in utter amazement they came back and beat the Rockies yesterday. And speaking of those Rockies, someeone needs to pitch Tulowitski in over and over until his hands go numb. His Bondsian assault on September is not what baseball needs right now. Do we really need to see that ugly Kenny Powers-esque mullet in highlights every night? No. Please stop hitting homers Troy.

So let's look at the Final Four, shall we.

Giants have 12 games left. They're going off on their final road trip. 3 against the all of a sudden red hot Cubs. Then 3 season defining games against the Colorado Humidors. And seriously, is anyone buying that the Rockies aren't doctoring their balls somehow? I'm not. Which is why they'll win the division. We finish the season with the "on vacation" Diamondbacks and the destined for 3rd Padres. 6-6 likely doesn't get us into the playoffs. 7-5 probably doesn't either. Meaning the Giants need to go 8-4 or essentially not lose any of their remaining series.

The Padres have a brutal schedule. They have 3 in LA (not terrible as the Dodgers are firming up their offseason vacations), then 3 at home against the NL Central leading Reds. They have 4 against the Cubs at Petco, then finish off on the road against us at AT&T. That's 6 games on the road and 7 games at home. But they face 2 contenders.

As mentioned, the Braves have 5 left with the Phillies. 2 more in Philly then 3 at home. In between the two Philly series, they squeeze in 3 at Washington and 3 home games against Florida. The Marlins are spunky. And always play hard. They're no pushovers. The Nats are pretty much done and the Braves should dominate them but they already lost a series to Washington earlier this month. So if the Rockies win the NL West, this is the slim chance the Giants have at gaining games on the wildcard leaders.

And finally, the Rockies. Those fucking purple clad Dinosaur mascot humidor cheating douches in Colorado. They have 3 away games at Arizona. The Rockies are terrible on the road and them being on the road would usually be a good thing. Except they're facing the Diamondbacks. Who's stadium is like Coors Field lite. Which means the Rockies will sweep them. Because they don't lose at "home". After feasting on the Dbacks, they have us at Coors. I can't remember the last time the Giants ever won a meaningful series in Coors. But I can remember when they lost one. Last year. And it was in Coors where Neifi fucking Perez took Robb Nen deep that time in 1998. In short, I fucking hate Coors Field and so should you. The Giants certainly do. It's most likely here where the Rockies take over 1st place in the West. After that, they have the worthless Dodgers in their homer haven meaning more wins and then finish the season off in St. Louis. Of course, that series will be meaningless as the Cards will have been eliminated and the Rockies will merely have to show up to clinch the NL West. Likely on the 2nd to last game of the season.

September baseball is fun. It's excruciating. And I'm much happier when the Giants are contenders in the month then when we're getting a look at all our "great" prospects like Todd Linden and Tony Torcato. But contending in September usually means a whole lot of tense games, bi-polar reactions to everything and anything and everyone in my life, and inevitably... heartbreak.

But we have 12 games left that mean something. And although I expect the worst... I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Ok, so I got a lot of flak for my last post. I was criticized for being too negative. Especially since the Giants immediately turned things around and won the series against the Rockies and have now crept back to 1 game back of the division and the wildcard.

Let me clear some things up here. I'm a Giants fan. I am a HUUUUUUGGEEE Giants fan. There is nothing I want more (besides money and women) than a Giants championship. But being a Giants fan for 30 years has jaded me. I want to believe like my optimistic Giants fan friends, those poor naive innocent optimists. But I can't. Why? Because I'm a Giants fan!!! I've already recited all the ways the Giants have broken our hearts when they've been in contention the past decade plus. Why would this year be any different? Because the clubhouse chemistry is so good? No.

This team has been frustrating, amazing, scintillating, and yes Kuip, torture to watch this season. So many good story lines. So many things to feel good about (except you Zito and Sandoval). And man, would it be great to hear about Aubrey Huff in the playoffs for the first time as a regular. Or Posey getting a taste of October in his first full season.

And I'm not a "sky is falling" dude. I actually think the Giants would have as good a chance as any team to reach the World Series IF they made the playoffs. But that is a big IF. Why? Because while the Giants have begun striking fear in the Padres, they've simultaneously opened the door for the Rockies to squeeze in.

The Rockies are the Giants biggest nemesis. Don't get me wrong. The Dodgers are our arch rival. But the Rockies are our nemesis. Remember 1993? All they had to do was beat the Braves once in the entire season and the Giants would have gone to the playoffs. Instead? They lost 13 games to Atlanta. If you pay attention (and seriously, go back and look at it), the Rockies almost always have a hand in f'ing the Giants. The Rockies love to play the Giants tough down the stretch. But when the Giants need them to win against other playoff hopefuls, they almost always lie down. Don't believe me? Look it up. Seriously.

It would be poetic in that Romeo and Juliet kind of way if the Giants stormed all the way back to knock the Padres off their perch only to be passed up by the Rockies. And trust me, it's going to happen. The Rockies have the most favorable home schedule the rest of the way. The Rockies play ricockulously well at Coors Field. I think they mess around with those damn humidor balls personally. The Rockies came back from a 5-0 deficit today to beat the Reds... ON A STEAL OF HOME!!! If that doesn't just reek of good omens, I don't know what does (it almost perfectly wipes out Darren Ford's wild pitch score against Ubaldo!).

The Giants are playing well right now. They're playing really well. They're doing what they need to do to get to October. The only problem is... so are those damn Rockies. And the Rockies live to eff the Giants out of the playoffs. And I just can't help but feel that's going to happen again. Because it's like clockwork. Just like how the Giants almost always bring heartbreak. Combine those two elements and I see reason to be concerned.

I'm enjoying the ride. I live and die with every pitch. But I just can't allow myself to start believing. Because if I start believing, I'm setting myself up for the heartbreak that is almost sure to come...

On a side note, the McCourts spend $150,000 on haircuts per year. Just another reason to hate those lovable Dodgers. May they never be relevant again...