What a difference 24 hours makes. A day ago I was flying high and so were the Giants. Now, pure disgust. If the Giants intend to advance any farther in the postseason derby, their effort on Game Two cannot be repeated.
If going into this series you had told me it would be 1-1 heading back to The Big Phone, I'd have taken it. But to have the opportunity to go up 2-0 and put a foot firmly on Philly's throat get away like this? That's beyond disheartening. If there was a way to screw up, the G-men found it.
It was the misfit Jonathan Sanchez that showed up early, aided by some shaky defense and a home plate umpire with his head parked firmly in his rectum. It was a complete and utter disintigration of the bullpen that turned a tight game into a frustrating evening. And it was, once again, an offense that couldn't score at the Moonlight Bunny Ranch with a fistfull of Fifties that made everything else academic.
Nobody expects the Giants to be perfect. Anyone even considerfing that thought is bound to be disappointed. As I've said repeatedly, this is a very flawed team. They'll go as far as pitching and luck will take them. Game Two featured far too little of both.
This one took a turn for the ugly very early. Three walks from Sanchez in the first inning (including one that wasn't) plus a Giants error gave Philly its first lead of the series. The Giatns aren't buit to come from behind. Heck, they're barely built to come from ahead. Gift runs aren't part of a winning equation.
An assist goes to home plate umpire Dan Iassonga (dissect his last name to get what he was on this night) who swallowed his toungue on, uh, ball four to Rollins. Again I voice my rage against the PitchTrax system. If it works, let it call balls and strikes. If it doesn't, get rid of it. The technology and the umpires rarely agree, and all it's doing now is pissing me off. When an obvious strike results in the go-ahead run, I don't care if it's the first inning of the fourteenth, it ain't right. Human element? Screw that. Let the game be decided by the players, not the opinion of some guy who's still belching that morning's 13th donut.
Another assist to Mike Fontenot, who pretty much played his way out of the line-up with a throwing error in the first and a brain fart in the fourth. Was he waiting for an invitation to catch the damn pop-up? Yes, Sanchez pitched out of the jam, but it added throws to a total that was already excessive.
And can someone besides Cody Ross get a friggin hit? He's homered three times in two games, for a total of three RBIs because nobody else can get on base. All of four hits in Game Two? The only other offense this consistently inept loses on a nightly basis to the Globetrotters.
The top of the line-up simply isn't producing, and the worst offenders are Torres and Huff. Torres is now a glorious 1 for 10 in the NLCS thanks to Game Two's four-strikeout performance. I never thought I'd say this, but it's time to give Rowand another shot. And Bochy might as well give Panda another chance at third for all the good Fontenot has done so far.
It's also clear that the late-season sucess of the bullpen may be been a mirage. We've seen Romo and Ramirez each fold twice and Affledt was ineffective. The Giants basically have Wilson's ulcer-inducing antics, Lopez for a hitter or two, and a lot of chuck and duck. That works against the Padres. This just in, the Phillies have an actual offense.
The Giants have managed to wrest homne-field away from Phildelphia. Now they have to keep it. Cain will take the hill on Tuesday, and there's no reason to think he won't pitch well. But if the Giants don't discover some offense and plug up a leaky defense soon, the arms aren't going to matter.
Pivotal game on Tuesday. I do not believe the Giants can lose it and go on to win the series.
Time to fish or cut bait, guys. Are you the real deal or just a sidebar story to the 2010 season?
We're about to find out.