I understand that people are about as interested in other people’s favourite teams as they are in other people’s fantasy teams, but bear with me through the first two paragraphs.
When the 2010 MLB playoffs began I had little interest in cheering for any team specifically. If I were to have come across a Barbara Eden in a bottle a few weeks ago, I would’ve wished for three things to happen: 1) The Yankeees to lose; 2) the Phillies to lose; and 3) exciting baseball.
Something else has happened since then. A team from San Francisco, which on paper, absolutely doesn’t belong in the World Series, has stolen my baseball heart.
I don’t know if it’s the panda bear costumes, the rally thong superstitions, the bearded closer, the Josh Brolinesque manager or the incompetent GM who has seemingly bumbled his way into putting together a winning team, but there’s something about this Giants team that appeals to me.
I found out last night while watching the Texas Rangers beat the San Francisco Giants that I have become a bigger fan of the Giants than of baseball. A mere baseball fan would’ve looked at last night’s result, which included Mitch Moreland’s second inning three run home run, and cheered for the fact that the baseball season will be extended by at least one extra game. But a Giants fan would be disappointed with Jonathan Sanchez’s disastrous outing, Pat Burrell’s million strikeouts and the realization that winning the World Series might be a little bit more difficult than it seemed after Game Two.
Count me as disappointed and count me as officially on the bandwagon.
Tonight’s Game Four is scheduled for 8:20 PM EST which only reminds me of how awesome it was to actually finish watching a ballgame by ten o’clock last night. I understand the benefit of starting a Sunday night game after all of America has eaten itself into a coma through six hours of football and an hour of highlight packages showing them what they missed while getting seconds on the chili con carne, but I’d love to see the market research numbers that suggest later start times, even when a West Coast team is in the World Series, is the way to go.
Enough whining though. We had enough of that over Bill Miller’s strike zone last night.
The Giants face an interesting dilemma tonight over the DH position. Even though Pablo Sandoval’s OPS splits against right handed pitching are superior to any other option, it’s almost a given that he won’t be in tonight’s starting lineup after looking lost at the plate in Game Three.
From Bruce Bochy:
We have a couple other options I mentioned, you know, Huff DHing, Ishikawa going out there or even Pat Burrell.
This isn’t an entirely new problem for the Giants whose DHs went 2 for 22 during interleague road games this year. Travis Ishikawa playing first base and Aubrey Huff hitting in the DH spot seems like the best option if they’re not going to send out Sandoval again.
The lineup swap would mean better infield defence, which benefits starter Madison Bumgarner’s game, and Ishikawa has preferable splits against right handers, just not as preferable as Sandoval’s.
Getting on base four times in only nine plate appearances off the bench during the playoffs, Ishikawa has earned himself a nickname from third base coach Tim Flannery. From the Silicon Valley Mercury News:
“He’s Smoky,” said Flannery, a reference to famed pinch hitter Forrest Harrill “Smoky” Burgess. “My uncle Hal Smith played on the Pirates with him, told me all about him. He’s a lot like Ishi, too. Off the field, he didn’t cuss, smoke or drink — a very spiritual man.”
Awesome. Is there anything that the Giants do that isn’t interesting?
As always, you can join in the discussion during the game with The Score’s live blog and follow me on Twitter so that we can live chat as the action unfolds. Afterwards, stop by Getting Blanked for a list of stray observations and the very best Tweets from the game.
And uh, go Giants!