Giants Advance, TBS Doesn’t Notice
Cody Ross, you beautiful, beautiful man. Derek Lowe no-hits the Giants through 5 innings leaving us all with the familiar feeling that at the very least a shutout was imminent, and that Timmy would have to save the Giants collective skins back in San Francisco. Cody Ross doesn’t feel the need to go home for a game 5 though, homering to tie the game, and then driving in the go ahead run after Brian McCann’s own home run briefly put the Braves back on top.
On the pitching side, the 21 year-old rookie Madison Bumgarner took the challenge thrown down by his three predecessors in the rotation, logging his first postseason win after pitching a stellar game (6 innings, 6 hits, 2 runs, 1 BB, 5 K’s). Not a whole lot of rookies waltz into Turner Field during the playoffs and handcuff the best home team in the NL. No sir.
The win tonight didn’t come without at least a little bit of torture post-Bumgarner, in the form of Brian Wilson losing the strike zone early and often. Running the gauntlet of potential Disney narratives in the 9th was no small feat though. When Brooks Conrad was tagged to pinch-hit to lead off the 9th, you know that the Disney narrative stated that he must hit the tying home run after his abysmal fielding performance Sunday. But Wilson defied this logic and got him to hit a lazy fly ball to Andre Torres in center.
But it wasn’t over yet, as Rick Ankiel, the hero of Friday’s game, stepped up to the plate. Mercifully, Wilson decided the smart thing to do would be to walk the tying run rather than let him repeat his feats from the weekend. The Disney Narrative shenanigans continued, with Eric Hinske called on to pinch hit next. The almost-hero from Sunday was also walked, and from there our bearded fiend of a closer was free of feel-good story territory. After striking out Omar Infante and inducing a ground ball out of Melky Cabrera, the champagne flowed once again.
Incidentally, TBS didn’t seem to notice that Giants had indeed won the series, instead choosing to celebrate Bobby Cox’ retirement, and then follow that by talking about the Phillies’ pitching staff. I understand the need to cover Cox’ last game as a manager; I really do. But to do so at the expense of essentially ignoring a team advancing to the next round of the playoffs is ridiculous. Bobby Cox was a great baseball man deserving of fanfare as he fades into sunset, but seriously, the Giants won.
To follow the Cox tribute with a discussion of the Phillies “Big 3″ was downright insulting after it was all said and done. Given that Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Jonathan Sanchez combined to give up one earned run in 23 innings to go along with 31 strikeouts, some mention of the team that advanced not 10 minutes ago might have been at least a little appropriate.
The best thing about sending the Braves packing though is that we are now officially done with TBS, and subsequently Kid Rock’s screechy postseason anthem. If I was forced to see Kid Rock sing “Born Free” without his shirt on one more time, terrible things may have happened. There’s absolutely nothing worse than seeing Eric Hinske lumber around the bases, fist raised, only to hear the billionth rendition of “Born Free” before the next commercial break.
On a happier note, the Giants are advancing on the strength of a lights out pitching staff that out-performed the much-lauded Phillies rotation. The offense may need to come alive a bit more in the next round, but that’s a worry for another day. For now, we can bask in the glow of beating the best home team in the National League in their own house twice. If we can take the Braves down at Turner Field, starting out the NLCS on the road against the Phillies shouldn’t be a huge issue. So continue to bask. Bask away to your heart’s content. Just be ready to keep a defibrillator close for Saturday’s NLCS opener.