We're not that spoiled, are we? Surely, we didn't expect to sweep the Royals, did we? The proper answers are "no, we aren't" and "no, we didn't." Good, because the Royals will see to it that this World Series will be a struggle and we'd best brace ourselves for a rough ride.
Game 2 started with a huge laugh, though, didn't it? When Gregor Blanco became the 10th man in baseball history to hit a top of the 1st, true lead-off home run, for the briefest and funnest of moments, it felt like the Giants would be coming home to San Francisco with two road wins wrapped up and tied with the prettiest bow you ever did see. Brief and fun. Operative word being "brief," because the Royals answered in their half of the 1st with four base-runners and a run of their own. It took Jake Peavy 20 pitches to get out of that inning. That wasn't good. Tie game, 1-1.
The Royals struck again in the bottom of the 2nd with two doubles, scoring another run. Royals lead, 2-1.
Two innings later, the Giants would get two doubles of their own, first from Panda and then from Baby Giraffe, to tie the game, 2-2.
Then the 6th inning happened. Holy cow, did it ever happen. Peavy put two runners on with no outs. He got pulled from the game. That was the right move. Peavy didn't pitch terribly but he wasn't exactly the rock on which you wanted to stand. Jean Machi though? Was that the right move? My buddy next to me shook his head from the moment Machi left the bullpen to when Machi threw a ball, a ball, and then gave up a single and allowing a run. Royals, 3-2.
Enter Hunter Strickland.
Can we talk about this guy? He's brand new. Before the Giants acquired him last year, Hunter went through the minor league systems of the Red Sox and then the Pirates. The Giants had him pitch a bit in Single-A and then a smidge in Double-A before bringing him up to the bigs. He debuted for the Giants on September 1 and pitched a total of seven innings over nine regular season games and he was lights out. Nine strikeouts. Five hits allowed. No runs. *drool*
Then came the playoffs. The first post-season batter he saw? Home run. The third post-season batter? Home run. The tenth: home run. Sixteenth: home run. Twenty third: home run.
Strickland can be a special pitcher. He's a pup, and if we raise him right, he'll grow to be a big, bad dog. And he'll get his chance again in the spring. He's a rookie and the post-season lights are just too bright for him. After coming on last night and throwing a wild pitch, giving up a 2-run double, and then a 2-run home run, Strickland melted down and pulled a Jonathan Sanchez. We get it. You just got tattooed. But there's a difference between being embarrassed and embarrassing yourself. Last night, Strickland did the latter. Royals, 7-2, and that was the game.
On Friday, the World Series comes back to San Francisco for three games. The Giants went to Kansas City and did what they had to do: they wrestled away home-field advantage. They can win it all here on Sunday. Make it happen, boys.
Let's go Giants!!!
1. TIMMAY!!! Man, how good did it feel to see Timmy back on the mound? We all knew Timmy wouldn't be coming on to pitch in meaningful situations, leaving many to wonder why he was even taking up one of the precious few post-season roster spots. In our rational minds, we get that. But the heart wants what it wants and what it wants is a whole lot of TIMMAY!!! A World Series game, a hostile stadium, Timmy on the mound sending batters back from whence they came. It felt so good. Then he got hurt and it felt so bad. Timmy, get better. It's not October without you.
2. On Friday, the Giants will give Tim Hudson something that Oakland and Atlanta never could: a World Series start. He's pitched for 16 years in the majors, made it to the playoffs seven times, but this his first World Series. He doesn't need anyone to tell him to make it count. Go get 'em, Huddy!
Game 1: at Kansas City (WON)
Game 2: at Kansas City (lost)
Game 3: Friday, 5:07 PM, at home, Guthrie v. Huddy.
Game 4: Saturday, 5:07 PM, at home, Vargas v. Vogey
Game 5: Sunday, 5:07 PM, at home, Shields v. undecided
Game 6: Tuesday, 5:07 PM, at Kansas City (if necessary)
Game 7: Wednesday, 5:07 PM, at Kansas City (if necessary)