So it all comes down to one game. Winner stays, loser walks. I’m not even going to bother telling you what I think is going to happen. There are so many variables, and on a per-game level, you really can’t predict ball. So instead, let me just tell you what I noticed from last night’s game:
1) “Peak of Maturity” my ass.
We like to joke about Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy’s affinity for veterans, and we spend a ton of ones and zeros on the Internet excoriating them for wanting to play Aubrey Huff. To a certain extent, however, that image is outdated, as the Giants are actually driven by youth. Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Pablo Sandoval, Madison Bumgarner, and Brandon Crawford are all 25 or under. Cain is 27 and Lincecum is 28. And each and every one of them was drafted or signed originally by the Giants. And the only player over 35 who has a large role with the club is Marco Scutaro.
At some point, while we were all busy pointing and laughing, the Giants went and got young(ish) on us, which means they may still have a couple runs left in them with this core as long as they don’t blow out their pitchers’ arms first. I love it when teams play against type (especially when it trips up Tim McCarver), and Sabean’s accumen actually has me pretty impressed these days.
2) Closers are everywhere!
Speaking of McCarver, he tried to make some kind of cockamamie point about how Brian Wilson’s absence somehow demonstrated that it’s hard to find a replacement closer. Dude, it could not be easier to find a replacement closer. Take a league average or slightly better reliever who throws hard and strikes out somewhere between seven and ten batters per nine innings. Put him in at the end of the game. Ta Da! You have a new closer! It’s what the Giants did with Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo. It’s what the Yankees did with Rafael Soriano. It’s what the Tigers are currently doing with Phil Coke, as Jose Valverde has been passed over. It’s remarkably simple to find a good closer, far easier than to find good color announcers, apparently.
3) This is not how you field a ground ball:
(H/T to Bay City Ball)
4) Holliday takes a holiday.
Matt is like Christmas or New Years or Halloween. He’s an indespensible holiday. Not like Earth Day or Flag Day or Columbus Day. And if he’s really going to be out for game seven with a bad back, as seems likely given that he was receiving an MRI during the game itself, the Cardinals are going to suffer immensely on both offense and defense. The Cardinals have a ton of redundant options to go to on their bench, with Matt Carpenter ready and willing, and Allen Craig’s positional flexibility. And, of course, anything could happen in a single game. But it’s hard to look at the Cardinals lineup and really worry about anyone in it except Carlos Beltran.
5) Hats hurt your brain.
I can only conclude that this woman would not have forgotten the words to God Bless America, if her brain had not been burdened by so much extra weight on top of it:
Next time, lady, try something simpler, like a regular baseball cap. Or, better yet, stop singing God Bless America in the 7th inning stretch. Does that piss you off like it does me, Canada? Or does it piss you off for entirely different reasons?*
*Regardless, at least we didn’t have to hear Lil Wayne “sing” Take Me Out to the Ballgame. Yeesh!
6) The Ivy is Magic
Or it’s got cryogenic properties, because when Kerry Wood pulls Andre Dawson out of that wall of ivy, Hawk hasn’t aged a day since he retired. That commercial was really funny the first thousand times I saw it. And as Kirsten Brown points out, if Wood really does inspect that ivy every day, why hasn’t he found Dawson before this? Does he just suck at the job, or is he lying about doing it after every home game? People want to know!
7) Game Sevens Kick Ass
In fairness, this series hasn’t taught us this yet. But it will. And shortly.