Last night was like two teams role-playing to spice up their relationship. There were runs and hits, both teams were throwing the ball all over the place, the Giants were talking walks, and the Padres were roping extra-base hits. It was exotic for a night. But it freaked me the hell out. Tonight was Giants/Padres as it should be. Runners left in scoring position. The deciding run coming on a Baltimore chop. It was ugly, yet comfortable.
First off, I think everyone from both teams can agree that the home plate umpire was nonsense. Rob Drake is nonsense. He is a page from a Lewis Carroll book that you try to read in a mirror while standing on your head. Also, you're in the middle of a dream about your high school that isn't your high school, but it's a Nordstrom's, and you keep thinking that you left your oven on. Also, you're on peyote. That's how much sense tonight's strike zone made. Rob Drake should make more sense, that silly man.
While one-run wins still freak me out, it felt like tonight's game had a well-established formula, even if it's still new by Giants standards. Brandon Belt does things, Carlos Beltran hits a home run, and Tim Lincecum pitches well. Good players doing good-player things. Lost in the maelstrom of August nonsense was that the Giants actually have some good players. Get enough of them together, shake the bottle, and they might actually do good things at the same time. It's always easy to overreact to a losing skid (more so if the team is getting outscored by a bazillion runs, but any win that doesn't rely on, oh, a broken-bat Miguel Tejada infield hits (to make up a scenario) is especially encouraging.
The baseball debate of the day, then, is with how Bruce Bochy handled Tim Lincecum. He threw 124 pitches, which was the most since the A's game in May. The obvious answer is that whatever Bochy did, it worked, so cram it. Fair enough. But I like to debate. And there are two main points that I'd like to get across:
- Don't care about the pitch count that much. He was in a much better rhythm toward the end of the game, and he looked fine.
- Bochy's a little goofy for letting Lincecum hit with two runners on and two outs.
Again, the Giants won, so complaining is poor form. But debating is intellectually stimulating! Or something.
I know the Giants have some bullpen injuries, but the rest of the bullpen isn't made up of Diamondbacks from 2010. It's still a moderately deep bunch. I don't exactly want them taking the ball in the fourth inning, but they can cover innings eight and nine. Or, rather, if the choice is a) Tim Lincecum after 100 pitches and Casilla for one inning, or b) Affeldt/Casilla/Lopez for two innings *and* one extra at-bat with a runner in scoring position, I choose the latter every time.
Tonight, Affeldt would have blown it in the eighth after Aaron Rowand struck out with that runner in scoring position. So what do I know? But it's worth jotting this position down now so when this kind of move doesn't work, at least I don't have to feel like a hypocrite and wonder if I made up my mind after everything went wrong.
Also, Tim Lincecum is good.