The Giants are coming off of a disappointing, if predictable, series against the Padres, and they could use a little luck. Not much, just a little something to help with th…
Chase Utley finished his minor league rehab assignment Monday and will be activated from the disabled list on Tuesday.
Okay. Fine. Be that way, luck.
So here it is. The gauntlet.
"Pablo needs food!" "This rally…is about to die!"
No, no. The gauntlet of games against first- and second-place teams. First the Phillies, then the Cardinals. Then the Reds, and then the…well, then the Diamondbacks, so I guess it’s a three-team, nine-game gauntlet. After that, it gets easier, what with 53,032 more games against the Padres, 424,323 against the Rockies, and 213,466,917-1 against the Dodgers. Those should all be stress-free, jolly affairs, so let’s focus all of our worrying on this stretch of games.
First, the Phillies. Never forget. Brian Wilson came in to protect a three-run lead with one out and a runner on, and the Phillies single/walk/blooped their way to a tie game. Then they HBP/bunt/wild-pitched their way to a lead. And right as the Giants were able to claw back, Eugenio Velez. The Giants were even able to claw back again, but then Eugenio Velez. It was probably the worst game of the season, non-Padres divison.
I want that game back. I want one of these games to crush the Phillies’ spirits in that inimitable soul-spindling way. I want Pat Burrell to hit a ninth-inning grand slam against Brad Lidge, and run around the bases while pointing at Raul Ibanez and screaming obscenities. I want Cody Ransom to boot the ground ball that gives the Giants the lead in the eleventh, and I want him to strikeout with the bases loaded in the bottom half of the inning. Sure, he’s not on the roster any more, but I want the Giants to find a way to make this happen anyways. There needs to be some sort of cosmic atonement for that awful, miserable game.
I want a lot of things, actually. Probably not going to get many of them. I’d really, really like at least two out of three. They don’t need to be especially humiliating losses, either. The Phillies are a good team. I’d feel more comfortable about the Giants if they could beat a good team on the road. I also want a PS3 while you’re at it.
Hitter to watch:
Chase Utley is good. Don’t watch him. He’ll just break your heart. Don’t watch Shane Victorino, either. He’ll make you sterile. Science. I don’t like watching any of these guys, to be honest. They’re a cornucopia of talented and annoying hitters. The ones you don’t want to punch are probably the best of the bunch. The ones you do want to punch might not have the shiniest statistics, but they will kill you with dinks and singles.
And yes, I realize I’m 150 pounds of fury writing about punching grown oxen in the face. It’s a metaphor, people. It’s my way of expressing that I don’t particularly care for these players. I don’t really want to punch them.
#8 / Center Field / Philadelphia Phillies
Nov 30, 1980
Oh. Oh, god. I take that back.
Pitcher to watch:
Not Roy Halladay. That’s all I care about. Well, there’s also room for Cole Hamels, who has been getting cained on a regular basis. He has a 7-9 record with a 3.33 ERA, and he’s winless in his last six starts (2.14 ERA, 50 K in 42 IP). If he started against Matt Cain, it would be the baseball equivalent of dividing by zero. I don’t even think Bud Selig would allow that matchup.
I’ll overreact to a series loss, and I’ll minimize a series win because there’s still a long way to go. Also, I predict that I’ll never get over that loss in April. If I close my eyes, I can see Werth’s bloop nestle gently in the grass as Phillie after Phillie run around the bases. Also also, I predict that I’ll never forgive the good folks from Atari for making your health automatically decline just for walking around in "Gauntlet." What a quarter-sucking scam.