Stat of the week. Nay, year:
Against the Giants in 2010:
Roy Halladay - 0-1, 6.43 ERA
Cole Hamels - 0-1, 7.36 ERA
Roy Oswalt - 1-3, 3.33 ERA
A-ha! A-HA! These so-called "aces" are a bunch of FRAUDS. Why, even the Giants can hit them! Prediction: The Giants win the series four games to one, with the lone loss coming against Joe Blanton, who actually beat them this year. The Giants will score 41 runs to the Phillies’ 2. I mean, just look at how terrible those numbers are up there.
Is that what anyone really thinks? Does anyone really think that a sample size of one, two, or three games is worth anything? Of course not. But a small sample size is exactly what the playoffs are. Anything can happen in a stretch of one, two, or three games. Baseball is a hummingbird on cocaine, and we’re just fans trying to catch it with a lasso made out of dental floss. Keep trying to predict what’s going to happen. Keep trying. The second you think you have Tim Lincecum figured out, he has an August that would make wrinkle his nose in disgust. As soon as you’ve written off a young pitcher who struggles like few have ever struggled, he goes all the way back to A-ball and eventually emerges as one of the best pitchers to ever play the game1.
That’s just big picture stuff, though. In the sample size of a few games, absolutely anything can happen. And the playoffs are groups of small sample sizes getting together, having a few drinks, and playing "Truth or Dare" until someone does something they regret. It’s the kind of sordid situation that can lead to Roy Halladay giving up a two-run base hit to a guy who has a wrist filled with oatmeal. It’s the kind of thing that can lead to one of the better pitchers in the National League giving up seven earned runs to the Nationals. Baseball is stupid, illogical, and beautiful. And stupid. Also, illogical. At times, beautiful.
So this is me, mooning the people who say the Giants don’t have a shot. This game is too arrogant to reveal its secrets. And I realize this cuts both ways -- after all of the talk about the Giants’ vaunted rotation, it wouldn’t be completely outlandish to watch the top three combine for 15 walks in 15 painful innings. Unlikely? Sure. Front-page-of-the-New-York-Times-crazy? Nah. It’s baseball. So I’m not going to pretend that I know what’s going to happen. I’ll root, swear, and scream at every eventful inning as if I can influence the results, but I’m not going to pretend that there’s order in these parts. It’s anarchy. Grab a beer, throw a chair through a window, watch a few innings, and take what you need.
In closing, I would just like to say one thing. Jeff Weaver. I’ll watch these games expecting the Giants to win, even if only because of random, lucky fluke-sprinkled games of chance, thank you very much. And I don’t think it’s really necessary to think like that right now. This is a pretty danged good team. A frustrating, torturous, yet sorta good team. A team that could beat the Phillies 45 times out of 100.
Good night. Good morning. And Posey bless.
1The English nerd in me likes to think that one of his A-ball coaches was Ozzie Virgil, Jr.