Friday, October 12, 2012

Around the League: Cards Will Be Giants Opponents in NLCS

Oh my!  The Washington Nationals started Game 5 of their NLDS series against the defending World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals with their first 3 batters going double, triple, HR.  They jumped out to a 6-0 lead by the end of the 3'rd inning.  Then the Cardinals staged one of the more epic comebacks in postseason history, finally scoring 4 runs in the top of the 9'th inning off an exhausted Drew Storen to pull out a 9-7 win.  They will now face the Giants in the NLCS with the Giants hosting the first two games as the higher seed, a homefield advantage that has eluded the Giants for much of the season including the just concluded NLDS.  Key Lines:

Carlos Beltran- 3 for 3, 2 2B, 2 BB.  BA= .444.  Beltran had a perfect night reaching base 5 times.  Don't relish facing that guy in the NLCS.

Daniel Descalso- 3 for 5, 2B, HR, SB.  BA= .316.  Descalso was hitting just .214 in the series before tonight, but was a huge part of the comeback in this one hitting the HR that made it 6-5 in the 8'th and then hitting the game tying 2 run single off the glove of Ian Desmond in the 9'th.

Pete Kosma- 2 for 5.  BA= .250.  Kosma is a newcomer filling in for an injured Rafael Furcal.  Nothing in his minor league resume suggests his hot hitting down the stretch and tonight is sustainable, but we Giants fans know about small sample sizes in the postseason and sustainability as much as anyone.

Matt Carpenter- 0 for 1.  BA= .000.  Carpenter struck out as a pinch-hitter.  The only reason I'm mentioning him is he looks like he and Brian Wilson might have been separated at birth.  BTW, Cards pinch hitters did not get a hit in the series.

Trevor Rosenthal- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  OK, heads up on this guy!  He was sitting, sitting at 100 MPH with the easiest looking triple digit delivery I've ever seen.  He backed that up with a slider and changeup.  This guy was a starter in the minors and looks like he could go several innings at a time out there.

Drew Storen- 1 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 2 K's.  I knew the Nats were in trouble at the start of the 9'th inning when the TBS announcers mentioned that this was Storen's 3'rd consecutive appearance.  One of them had asked him before the game if he had enough in the tank to go one more time.  His reply was that he would TRY to dig down for whatever was necessary.  That answer tells you he knew he was out of gas and had no confidence.  Not sure what else Davey could do, but man, makes you appreciate The Committee even more.

Personally I did not have a preference for who the Giants would be facing.  Both the Cards and Nats are good tough teams.  This really sets up an epic battle though.  2010 champs vs 2011 champs.  Can't wait for it to start!


  1. Getting the Cards guarantees this will be a battle of wills. Both teams are perhaps not the most talented (the Nats and Reds come to mind), but both teams are battle tested and proven winners.

    Both teams are coming off great comeback wins to reach the NLCS.

    Both teams understand pitching wins series and are willing to use every able body to throw when needed.

    Both teams know each other and have plenty of playoff history.

    Both teams are well managed and coached. Dusty ain't going to be making the mistakes here.

    I am looking forward to this series. But I have a feeling I am going to be sick of the Cards when it is over (win or lose).

    1. Well, the Cards don't flinch when they are down to their last strike. Absolute ice water, 2 years running. Lots of guys who can kills us. Then you get into the roll players they have, the guys who killed it tonight.

      Going to be a very tense series. I liked the paper matchup with the Cards better than the Nats, but when you get into intangibles, the Cards are just relentless. 87 and 02, here we go again!

      The last two WS champs meeting to fight for a pennant is pretty cool.

  2. carlos remains a hitting machine and the entire lineup works every count

    they remind me of the 02 halos

    fan favs matheny and aldrete are on the bench doing a great job of coaching...i dont care....the cards are evil

    so throwing out the first ball in the first game should be the thrill and the hacman...who should do it with one flap down...get the crowd into it before the first pitch

    i dont know if the giants can win this series

    i do know that in game 2, giants are putting a guy on the mound who has been waiting 13 years to pitch on a national stage...and that guy wont give in...he wont quit...he is gonna give it his all...cuz he still has something to prove to a lot of people...and that is the game that i have been waiting to see for 2 years

    and here is a reminder of what happened the last time these two teams faced up in the lcs

    shoved a stake right into their evil hearts

    i am a bit bummed that the O's didnt make it. spunky team and showalter is a hell of a manager and turned that entire org around

    i wish the mlb would do more to pimp the teams like the O's and the A's and not just the bosox and yanks...people get inspired when they can relate to the guys on the field...

    1. Fun to compare the A's fans (in a tough Game 5, home loss) to the Nats fans in same circumstance.

      A's fans, authentic, gritty, individualistic. Banging drums, waving flags, Gangnam-style green-glitter nut jobs. And just embracing the A's even in defeat.

      Washington fans, scrubbed clean, and shinny, very well-heeled. Clean, nice skin, moneyed-haircuts. And, in the end, checking their iphone apps for Redskins game times, and fantasy team leads. Just played as the elitist, entitled crowd. East Coast arrogance. It is there. Take a good look.

      The contrast is so striking and absolute.

      Bacci, MLB won't embrace the A's. You can't box it. You can't can it. You can't market it. There is no money to it. It is the last breath of scrappy, blue-collar fan. (Giants surrendered that with AT&T)

      I love the Giants, to my dying day, they are my team.

      But, I have sympathy and compassion for the A's.

    2. It's true no one knows who will win in any given game or series, thus, you are right to say you don't know if the Giants can win against the Cards.

      Again, we don't say enough that even though we don't know who will win (or more bluntly, we don't say enough that even though we don't know the Giants can win), I am hoping we can win the series...I am rooting we will the series.

      Why do people have trouble write that?

      I don't know if we will win, BUT I HOPE WE WILL, I ROOT FOR THEM TO WIN THE SERIES.

      People just don't say that explicitly. Maybe they imply it. We don't know when they don't say it. And people don't say it often enough.

    3. What the MLB is not embracing is the idea of privately financing ballparks.

      The idea that you have to put up your money to make more money is repugnant to them. They rather use fans as negotiation pawns.

      As for blue collar fans, fair weather fans and elitist fans, we have them as well. Every team has them. The road is wide and many people travel on it, sharing one goal - to root for their home teams, wherever they are, in LA, NY, SF or KC.

  3. If Desmond makes that play on Descalso's shot up the middle, the game is over with the Nats winning 7-5. I found myself wondering if Brandon Crawford makes that play. I've seen him make much tougher plays and I've seen him not make them too. Just something to think about.

    1. That ball was a shot Doc, not sure if even Crawford could have gotten it but perhaps Arias.... just kidding. Your mention of Rosenthal made me immediately think of K-Rod on the 02 Angels. I agree with Bacci, this team resembles those Halos quite a bit which sucks. This will be a dog fight and guys like Huff and Zito may be better left at home. I'm not sure who I would prefer to replace them but Paguero would be an interesting option for defensive and pinch running appearances only. If he isn't eligible then it may be slim pickings. They really are being stubborn about not letting Melky come back. He could pinch run and play defense and who knows, maybe it doesn't take him a month to get his swing back. Would love to see that lineup that all of us were drooling over when they made the Pence trade.

    2. Have to say I fear for our lefty's against this lineup. It's built to kill LH pitching.

      As long as we recognize nobody is perfect, here's something else I think the Giants should have done differently: Fly home immediately after the game on Thursday. It was an afternoon game so plenty of time to get home and sleep in their own cribs an extra night. If Washington had won, they still could have stayed over tonight, flown to Washington early this morning and gotten there in plenty of time to settle in, get a workout in, hold a team meeting, whatever needs to be done. That's how they did it going to Cincy. It worked out great for them there, why not now?

    3. They will have their advantages.

      What do they fear from us?

    4. Seriously, I think St. Louis pitching is possibly even thinner and more exhausted as the Giants and they have only a 1 day break as opposed to the Giants 2.

  4. Seems like we are kind of the underdogs in this series, and I actually like that position better. But I agree this is a tough series, and Bleachers has us losing in 6. I'm very proud of our guys, and I will root for them to the end. They played a great season, and I hope it will continue, but I will not be the least bit disappointed if the Cards take it (much as I'm not a fan of their team). I do think the Giants have some special motivation, and I wonder how much Beltran being on the other team will get the guys from last year a bit of umph. I also think our pitchers will want to show they can take care of their hitters. We definitely have some intangibles on our side.

    Go Giants (ps, how about a Giants Yankees series).

    PiLam Bear

    1. Has this team been anything other than the underdogs this playoffs and 2010???

  5. im not exactly clear why they just didnt choose to fly out in the morning, cuz the plane had hydraulic probs and they sat in the airport for another 3 hours and didnt get into sf till 5

    so if they have a sleep expert, they sure didnt use him

    they had a workout today

    it is possible that timmy is gonna be used out of the pen again

    still hoping they choose to drop either mota or huff and put on frankie peggs

  6. My concern for the upcoming series - it's all about the pitching.

    Starters against the Reds:
    Cain Start #1 5 innings
    Cain Start #2 5.2 innings
    MadBum 4.1 innings
    Voggie 5 innings
    Zito 2.2 innings
    Starter's ERA 4.11 vs. Cards 2.89
    The Committee: 23-1/3 innings pitched

    Bottom line is not one of our starers had a Quality or DOM (h/t to OGC) start - and the Giants still won! The Committee played a huge role in winning the series after the starters flamed out. Do I think this is bad news for the a 7 game Cards series, YES and YES. Danger, Will Robinson.

    I could just sit here and bitch or plead for Cain to shut 'em down for eight strong, MadBum to find his snot rocket mojo again, Timmy to become the starter he has not been once this year, Voggie to go deep into the game rather than grinding it out thru five, or Zito to get into the 3rd inning. But this ain't Giants reality circa 2012.

    Frankly, I think Bochy and Rags understand that this is the way it's going to be. And no cool-aid drinking (h/t to Fangraphs) is going to change the starter's fortunes.

    So what to do:

    1. Go 13 deep with Johnny Wholestaff pitchers. Add Hensley drop Huff.

    2. Carry five starters and pray for Good Zito for game 4.

    3. Plan for Timmy to start game #4 instead of Zito, but plan on using him as a super sub, long man if either MadBum, Voggie or Cain flame out early in games 1-3. This is unfortunate for Timmy, as I think he has earned a start. But it is reality for Bochy to plan to use super sub Timmy as the starters have not gone deep into games yet.

    4. Keep The Committee going. I really like how Bochy has pulled the starters before the game is out of control. Keep the Cards within reach from inning 1. I like how he has Kontos and Mijares for RHP/LHP early innings closers to get one batter out or to have a shutdown inning. Again keep the game close. Keep the momentum closer.

    Starting order:
    Game 1: MadBum - at home, on 7-days rest and pray he gets his mojo going. Will be tough against the Cards RH lineup.

    Game 2: Voggie - at home, on 5-days rest and hope he goes 7 deep in the game.

    Game 3: Cain - road, on 5-days rest and hope he can go 7 deep. Should not need to use Timmy in long relief as Cain has proven he can go at least 5 innings.

    Game 4: Timmy or Zito - road Timmy if he hasn't been called upon in games 1-3. Otherwise, Zito on 6-days rest and hope he finds his stuff in the 1st inning with Timmy ready to back him up. In that case Timmy should not pitch in game 3.

    I think the Giants pitching can be the difference in this series. But the starters + Timmy have to keep it close for The Committee to keep shutting 'em down.

    1. Note the Cards starters - on paper - ain't blowing me away. But the Cards always seem to have tough pitching. The Giants offense hopefully can get into the Cards pitching because they are thinner than the Giants staff.

    2. Or for a moment of cynicism, the Giants always have the ability to look like teams have tough pitching! Back to the regular programming, I think we can grind it out against the Cards pitching if the starters can rise to the occasion.

    3. Just part of the Giants torture regime. Make Joe Minorleaguer or Johnny Allstaff look like Cy Young. But this year I think the Giants offense has been better about jumping on bad teams and bad pitchers. Just don't let the other team put up a 3+ spot in the first few innings and the Giants offense has a chance at breaking them down.

  7. Yankeee "fans" booing their guys, losing GAME 1 of the LCS, starting with the team falling behind 2-0 in the 6th.

    And the vitriol grew in intensity as they fell behind 4-0.

    The premium seats (God knows what they sell for...playoffs...what, $5,000-$10,000 a piece. More?) 2/3 empty.

    Game 1 of the LCS. Booing their guys. Unbelievable.

    What is wrong with these spoiled little brats? What exactly do they feel entitled to?

    1. Ummm Kelly, that's $10k a seat per inning. Corporate write-off for client retention activities. But then being rich means you bought the seats but don't actually have to endure the public exposure and go to a ballgame.

    2. And the Yanks tie it in the bottom of the 9'th inning. Another meltdown by Valverde and another dinger by Ibanez. What's gotten into him, anyway?

      BTW, I looked for the game on the Fox channel here in SoCal but they were showing the USC-Washington game.

    3. Fox has the NLCS, TBS has the ALCS.

      Unbelievable post-season. I've never seen anything like it for intense, exciting games.

    4. no longer can it be said that yankees have the best fans...they booked when it was 4-0 in the late innings

      no idea why leyland went with valverde...thats 2 vet managers sticking with closers who everyone knew had nothing left

      the captain will not go down with the ship...he was injured in the o's series. that was not a tuff pickup, his ankle just gave out

      with sherzer and verlander still to go, cant see the yanks pulling this one out

      this has been a great post season, however, because of the schedule, mlb has setup a situation where players can get way should there have been no break between the alds and the alcs...the guys needed at least one day...this will have to be remedied

      st needs to be shortened by a week

      i do not get the tbs deal...pretty much guarantees a good chunk of the country not being able to watch the series...and they extended it

      mlb has done very little to promote the stars that reside outside of the eastern time zone...they have to work on this

    5. Anybody but Fox! I thought the TBS team did a great job broadcasting the NLDS and ALDS. I liked their announcers and commentators a lot better than the Fox people.

      Verlander is a beast, but he pitched Game 5 against Oakland so can't go until Game 4 against the Yanks.

      A Giants-Yanks series would be great from a historical perspective, but I would hate for the Giants to have to play in that bandbox/wind tunnel they call Yankee Stadium. That short porch in RF should have been something they corrected with the new stadium rather than doubling down on it. I've always felt like any Yankee HR records were tainted by that thing.