Giants 2012: Athletics Series Recap
(originally written 6/25/12)
June 22, at Athletics (5-4 win)
Oh, great. Here we go again. Lincecum can't even get through the first out of the first inning against the Oakland A's without putting the Giants in a 3-0 hole. Unlike so many of his other 2012 meltdowns, he wasn't smacked around the diamond—rather, done in by his own strike zone misfiring and well-placed enemy attacks. Then, shockingly, Timmy didn't give up another hit for the following five innings! Where did that come from? Reportedly, he'd resumed working with papa Chris on his oft-maligned mechanics.
As shown in a side-by-side video exhibit by CSN during his Seattle start, Lincecum has used his unconventional delivery since Little League, so Papa's got more than a little understanding of said mechanics. I think I speak for Giants' fans everywhere when I say—or more accurately, shout—"PUT CHRIS LINCECUM ON THE FRIKKIN' PAYROLL!!!!!" If money is the issue, we spectators will pay to use the AT&T bathrooms and accept a chanting tax. Whatever it takes to keep Timmy right.
June 23, at Athletics (9-8 win)
I flipped back and forth between KNBR (the Giants' flagship radio station) and the FOX broadcast. All five cumulative broadcasters agreed with my assessment—what a game. Oakland's Josh Reddick, a left-handed hitter and their top All-Star candidate, went yard off Bumgarner with a man on. He later singled in another run as Giants fans everywhere glared him down with "don't you know lefties were hitting .172 with no home runs against Bumgarner this season? " stares.
Off-topic discourse: Local boy Jonny Gomes, he of the mohawk/mullet contraption, also took Bumgarner deep.
Jonny Gomes has always had my attention.
Whether it's being openly bitched out as a rookie by Pudge Rodriguez for prolonged admiration of a home run, or literally tackling prize rookie teammate David Price upon the latter clinching the '08 pennant for Tampa Bay and risking his month-old MLB career in the process, or his status as one of the stastically worst and best players on many teams he's played on (go look up his career stats), something about this guy, his approach to the game, and his ebb-and-flow career has always fascinated me. I can't articulate it. Perhaps hypnosis is the answer.
Back to the game: the A's sloppiness (semi-wunderkind Brandon Moss racked up three E3's in the sixth inning) allowed the Giants to eventually go up 9-4 entering the 9th...at which point all hell broke loose. Remember that brutal extra-inning walkoff Ryan Spilborghs grand-slam loss to the Rockies in 2010? Remember the decimating pain? Coughing up this one would have been a close second amongst painful losses of the new decade.
But I'm not here to talk about the past.
Thanks to a huge break on Brandon I'm-only-here-so-Oakland-has-more-Brandons-than-SF-Hicks' drive to the warning track that would have tied the game had it not bounced over the fence, and a miracle catch by 2B Ryan Theriot for the final out, San Fran held on.
Side note: this game officially confirmed I'm a meathead jerk. In the 5th, an extremely-wild Tyson Ross pitch hit Blanco in the foot, then caromed with force into ump Tony Randazzo's throat. Needless to say, that s*** hurt and knocked the big guy right off his feet. You don't see umps fall down too often, and when you do, it's never exactly graceful. Try as I might--I've been hit in the head with a line drive so I know about the damage a baseball can inflict—I couldn't stifle my laughter. Summary: I'm a meathead jerk.
June 24, at Athletics (4-2 loss)
Welcome to the bigs, A.J. Griffin—the fourth man he faced, Posey, took him way yard, and Cain handled Oakland over seven innings. With Santiago Casilla looming, victory seemed inevitable. Unfortuantely, Derek Norris realized that if he just creams a ball over the fence instead of against it as Hicks did yesterday, the umps can't force the two men on base to stop at third base. So he simply hit a Casilla slider 726 feet to end the game and wash away Cain's effort.
Not that this loss didn't sting, but my mind was still on yesterday's game: was the huge break SF got on Hicks' double the season's hugest so far? Yes and no. Weighing in the game situation among other factors, it beat Clint Barmes' low throw home against Pittsburgh, the Sean Marshall/Pagan uncalled third strike at Cincinnati, the Dexter Fowler dropped fly against the Rockies' Jamie Moyer—and others—I ranked it first among victorious breaks.
However, the overall break of 2012 remains the bizarre Kirk New-whatever's overrun of Brandon Belt's 9th-inning pop at Citi Field. You couldn't ask for a bigger break than that. Except the Mets DID and got it when Aubrey Huff forgot he was playing second base and ran to cover first on a ground ball...contributing to an eventual Giants loss.