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Giants walk off in 10th, take 2-1 lead in NLCS

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Walks, failed bunts, and errors are in the "Giants Way" handbook that's written on a series of wet Post-Its.

Ezra Shaw

Well, I suppose the first thing to do is update the chart.


click to enlarge!

★★★

It's time to discuss exactly how the Giants should win the World Series. Specifically, how none of us care exactly how the Giants should win the World Series. So far, here's a partial list of how the Giants have won three of their games this postseason:

  • A manager taking out his dominating starting pitcher with one out left
  • A wild pitch
  • A batter unable to get a bunt down
  • An error

Don't forget about the good things the Giants did to make those things important. Brandon Crawford worked out the tough walk. The runners had to get on base for the wild pitch to score. Pablo Sandoval had to double to make the Zimmermann decision sting. But they've had help. The Giants have played seven postseason games, won five of them, and hardly anything makes sense. I'm okay with this. Other ways I'm okay with the Giants winning:

  • Mascot interference
  • Ball dude interference
  • Balk (wrongly called and debated for decades)
  • Error
  • Other error
  • Even worse error
  • Scoreboard malfunction
  • Seagull-related virus that kills us all and triggers a chain reaction at the start of an apocalyptic movie starring Matthew McConaughey that opens June, 2015.

It's a list that could be a lot longer, but you don't have much time. You have cars to tip over. For the first time in four years, the Giants piled out into the field after a postseason victory and attacked the people responsible. Except for Randy Choate. It's kind of rude to pile on top of him as he's trudging away, head down. But the other people responsible got attacked in a good-natured, delirious way. The Cardinals walk off on a home run? Well, the Giants walked off on a San Francisco Home Run, which is someone doing something good, a screw-up turning into a positive, and the other team getting a bucket stuck on their foot and falling down the stairs.

It would have been a little cleaner for Hunter Pence to hit a home run. Maybe Michael Morse hitting one and wincing as he rounded the bases. Forget it, though. This team gets San Francisco Home Runs, third cousin to the Baltimore Chop. We're blessed to watch it.

And to think, if you had told me last week that the Giants were in the NLCS and Clayton Kershaw hadn't allowed an earned run, I would have been pessimistic.

★★★

Could watch that all night. And probably will.

★★★

Travis Ishikawa hit a bases-clearing double in the first inning of a National League Championship Series in 2014. Literally Travis Ishikawa, who was starting and moved up in the order.

The Giants had no one on and two outs before getting to John Lackey, celestial embodiment of confusion and spite, and then they had three great swings. Not necessarily great at-bats -- Pablo Sandoval was down 0-2, and Hunter Pence swung at a pitch at his shoulders -- but solid swings from hitters looking for the ball up and out. Lackey wasn't sharp for exactly one inning. They needed the right fielder to underestimate the wind and do damage control by looking for a carom that wouldn't have mattered, even if he fielded it cleanly:

asdf

But that's a home run that Ishikawa deserved. He knew Lackey wanted to get ahead. He looked for one pitch, one location, and Lackey was lazy enough to put the ball right there.

Travis Ishikawa, 2014 Giants postseason hero.

★★★

Reports out of the ballpark suggest that at least one person was yelling weight-related insults at the field after Pablo Sandoval couldn't corral a run-scoring hit in the sixth. If you see this happen again, buy something from a vendor and throw it at the offending party. I'll reimburse you. Preferably nachos, but only because they don't sell anvils anymore, at least in the aisles.

You're supposed to praise the fluffy man's defense. Praise it. It's good. He's probably a Gold Glove finalist this year, and if the voters can't abide by Nolen Arenado's missed time, he just might win the stupid thing. Tim Hudson's ERA would be higher with a truly bad third baseman. Madison Bumgarner's ERA would be higher. Probably the whole staff's ERA, there's no reason to single people out.

And yet if Sandoval hadn't happened to get a chance just a few innings later, there would have been people grumbling about the big dude down the line who just doesn't try hard enough.

What a play. Jon Jay was running on the play; if Sandoval doesn't get it, the Cardinals take the lead. Sergio Romo is the talk-radio and Internet villain again. The Giants aren't good, and everything is awful.

Instead, the Giants had their ...

/checks notes

... fifth walk-off in franchise history. I would have preferred a calm, 4-0 win that lasted two hours. This will do, though. This will do.

★★★

These two things can be true at the same time:

  1. Tim Hudson generally pitched well, getting to the seventh inning having thrown 86 pitches.

  2. Bruce Bochy should think of Tim Hudson after the sixth inning like he thinks about Tim Lincecum in general this postseason: Not if he can help it

Tim Hudson in Washington was great. Tim Hudson here ... a little shakier. One of the reasons he might have been so effective in his first playoff start was that he threw 10 innings, and only 10 innings, over the previous month. He was rested. Maybe it's the hip that needs it, or maybe it's the 39-year-old body. Hopefully, though, Bochy learned his lesson. The next time there's ambiguity, err on the side of the bullpen.

That written, Hudson threw brilliantly for the first four innings or so. The umpire was calling sinkers on the outside corner like he'd never seen the pitch before, and Hudson was taking advantage. It was beautiful, for a short while.

★★★

About 95-percent sure that someone at MLB.com made this clip available and embeddable just for me:

Because life is nothing but the movie that stars me, I'm pretty sure that Pierzynski on the roster and starting games because of an injury has something to do with me and my most-hated players. The Giants had to go through Shane Victorino in the 2010 NLCS. They had to go through Mat Latos in the 2012 NLDS. This is but another mini-boss. There are no more lives left.

Well, technically there are three, but I'd prefer not to use any of them.

★★★

Three of the scariest damned pitches I've seen in my life:

1. Santiago Casilla's first-pitch fastball to Pierzynski (foul)

Pierzynski is an awful, simple man, and he was looking for a first-pitch fastball because he's Bart picking rock in every game of rock-paper-scissors. Don't throw him a first-pitch fastball in the middle of the plate.

That's exactly what Casilla did. Pierzynski was visibly annoyed.

Huh, maybe that was the best-case scenario, after all.

2. Javier Lopez's fourth-pitch curveball to Matt Carpenter (swing and miss)

Posey set up on the outside. The pitch came in. Waaaaaay in. Too in. Bad in. No, in. Stop, in. Carpenter missed it. He won't miss it again.

3. Sergio Romo's first-pitch sinker to Matt Holliday (called strike)

Oh, how this pitch stopped time. Posey sat up in. The ball didn't go in. It went over the middle. Waaaaaay over the middle. Too over the middle. Bad over the middle. It wasn't a nifty back-door sinker over the outer half, like against Miguel Cabrera. It was a gift.

Holliday was looking for a slider. I guess we all were. So great pitch?

The Giants are two wins away from the World Series. That didn't have to be the case, not with any of those pitches coming when they did. Sometimes the Giants win the game, sometimes the other team loses it, and sometimes it's impossible to tell where the Möbius strip begins and ends.

The Giants are two wins away from the World Series, though. That's the important part. Win two more games, you weirdos.