I just checked out of the hospital because the Giants gave me several heart attacks this past week.
I mean, come on.
A 1-0 win in Game 1. A complete "Here I Am" moment from Big Time Timmy Jim. 2 hits. 14 K's. And he scribbled his name atop of the Giants franchise record books for most strikeouts by a Giants pitcher in the postseason. 9 tense innings. And a 1-0 victory. Little did we know that was going to be the LEAST exciting game of the series.
A 5-4 predictable heartbreak. Raise your hand if you thought the series was over after that game. (SFGiantsGuy raises his hand, looks around room, sees other raised hands). The Giants were fulfilling their own destiny with this loss. A 4-0 lead. Everyone feeling great. Cain cruising. A 4-1 lead in the 8th. Then an error. Then a 2 run double. 4-4 ball game. Before we even knew what was happening, Rick Ankiel drove a stake through Giants fans hearts and had them (me) thinking sickenly of Game 6 2002. The doubts creeped in. Same old Giants. Same old heartbreak. But then...
A remarkable turnaround. A once in a (Giants) lifetime comeback in October. A stunning counter punch to the Game 2 knockout punch, a 3-2 victory handwrapped by the Braves, with love, from Brooks Conrad. Thanks Brooks. And with that, the Giants had their swagger return. Just one more game to win. And a sure bet to return to SF at worst.
Then Game 4. Baseball world, meet our rookies Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner. Say hi, guys. Bets on a 1 run game? Clearly it had to be. And another 3-2 victory and one that may have been the most impressive of the series. Giants trail early 1-0. They're getting no hit. Then Cody f'ing Ross turns up, hits a game tying homer and gets the Giants believing. No sooner does he do that but McCann (the scariest guy in the Braves patchwork line-up) returns the favor and gives the lead right back to the Braves. But the Giants, playing looose with Timmy on the horizon at home if all else fails, mount a ho hum come from behind victory to send Bobby Cox packing for good. Cody Ross is the unofficial NLDS MVP and may have earned himself the starting RF job in SF next season just for helping them advance.
What a series. Giants starters? 3 ER in the NLDS. Suck on that Philly.
And now we have the privilege of facing the 2 time defending NL Champs. And you know what? I feel confident. The Phillies are not going to underestimate the Giants. But don't you get the sense they feel like they already have a ticket to the World Series?
They're in for a rude awakening. I'm not saying the Giants are going to win the NLCS. But I am saying this series is going to go 7 games. The Giants beat Halladay, Oswalt, AND Hamels this year. The season series was split 3-3 and the only reason it wasn't 4-2 in favor of the Giants is because Jayson Werth took a Brian Wilson fastball, ran it out to right field, and dropped it in the one place in the entire field where a ball would blow a game.
And oh yeah, then there's these stats:
Halladay, Oswalt, Hamels against the Giants this year? 1-2, 6.12 ERA.
Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez vs the Phillies? 2-1, 1.96 ERA.
Take your time to digest that. The Giants pitchers in the past couple seasons have had no problem shutting down the Phils offense.
I really think this series goes the full seven. People are saying the Giants have a chance but all seem to expect Philly to get by pretty easily.
This will not be the case. The Giants are going to give the Phillies all they can handle.
My theory is simple.
Halladay, Oswalt, and Hamels are all strike throwers. They're not exactly the type of pitchers that the Giants have trouble against. The Giants really struggle against pitchers who move the ball out of the strike zone and fool batters. The Phillies Big Three come after you with wicked stuff but for the most part, they throw strikes. This bodes well for the Giants. It's why I think they did well against Halladay in April.
So game on Philadelphia. SF is primed to give you all you can handle.
Don't Stop Believing. This could be the season...