Welcome to the first 2016 Czar’s Postseason blog of 2016.
The Playoffs – How did the Giants make it?
The Giants played the last week of September like they played the first half of the season, with confidence, good pitching and timely hitting. The Dodger’s series was exceptionally sweet. There is nothing like a sweep to finish off the year and secure the wild card. The Cardinals victory last Sunday meant that the G-Men couldn’t back into October but had to earn it – and earn it they did.
The Wild-Card – Bum at his Best
Bum against Thor on the road. This was a game for the ages. Nail-biting on every pitch until Terry Collins blinked, pulled Thor, put in his closer and we then watched him give up a 3-run dinger to that most unlikely of post-season hero’s – Conor Gillaspie, who was on the roster and playing third because of an injury to Nunez.
Was anyone surprised? No. Conor just joined Cody Ross, Marco Scutaro and Travis Ishikawa in Giants post-season lore. I want his bobblehead.
Onto the NLDS, where we are now.
Wrigley Field – Where teams have gone to die this year
The first two NLDS games against the Cubs at Wrigley field have been excruciating. First a 1-0 loss on a home run in the basket (could have and should have been caught by Pagan) after a masterpiece of pitching by Cueto against Lester (who was not untouchable – the G-Men ran themselves out of the game by being picked off and by not being able to score with RISP – sound familiar?).
In Game two last night, Samardjiza choked and gave up four runs, and the G-Men ultimately lost 5-2. An ugly game in that it appeared the G-Men reverted to their second half style with an inability to score with RISP, a lack of timely hitting and questionable relief pitching (a home run to a reliever? Spare me).
The Cubs are rated better by the national press than the Giants at every position except catcher (dissing Buster Posey is never smart). While the Giants are considered dead on arrival against the 103 wins Cubs with Joe Maddon, Bill Murray and the baseball Gods all against them, the history of the post season even year Giants casts just enough doubt that there should be serious butterflies in the stomach of every long suffering Cubs fan.
Keep in mind that the Giants and the Cubs have played relatively even this year for the season. It is not over.
Elimination Game time
Tomorrow night it is Madison Bumgarner against Jake Arrieta for all the marbles. It’s an elimination game in front of 40,000 plus faithful at AT&T. We have the Cubs just where we want them – terrified of the even year magic that propelled us past Atlanta in 2010, the Reds in 2012 (three elimination games in the row) and the Nats in 2014. It’s now one game at a time and regardless what happens we will be yelling our throats out and waving our rally rags for the G-Men.
If there is a Tuesday night, the question is whether it will be Matt Moore (who pitched brilliantly against the Dodgers) or Cueto on short rest. I predict Moore with Cueto for game 5 but who knows – this is Bochy time and Giants time. It doesn’t get any better.
May the force be with you always.
Ciao, and GO GIANTS!