Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco Giants baseball club

2012 NLCS: San Francisco Giants Force Game 7

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Folks, two games ago, the St. Louis Cardinals had a nearly insurmountable 3-1 advantage in the National League Championship Series (NLCS).

But the resurgent San Francisco Giants have looked extremely sharp in their last two games, winning game 5 by a score of 5-0 behind Barry Zito, and Game 6 by a score of 6-1 behind Ryan Vogelsong.  This means that the Giants have tied up the NLCS at three games apiece and have now forced Game 7, which will be played on October 22, 2012 (otherwise known as tomorrow evening).

I got a chance to listen to the last two innings of the game (courtesy of ESPN Radio 540 in Milwaukee), and I enjoyed it; not only did the Cardinals lose, 6-1, they lost to Vogelsong, who three short years ago was a nearly complete unknown.  (Of course, since then he’s done more than a little to prove he’s an outstanding major league starting pitcher, posting records of 13-7 with a 2.71 ERA in 2011 and 14-9 with a 3.37 ERA in 2012.)

Best of all, this was the second time that Vogelsong won in this series, as he previously beat Chris Carpenter and the Cardinals on the 15th by a score of 7-1.  And this is the third time Vogelsong has won in the playoffs . . . out of three tries.  Impressive!

At any rate, Game 7 tomorrow night will be between Matt Cain of the Giants and Kyle Lohse of the Cards.  Cain got chased in Game 3, giving up three runs in six and 2/3 innings of work, so he is in need of a bit of redemption, while Lohse benefited from Cain’s rare off-day even though Lohse pitched only five and 2/3 innings during that same game (to his credit, Lohse did give up only one run).

So keep an eye on whatever happens during Game 7 — though to my mind, it’s much more likely that the Giants will win than the Cardinals, especially as the Giants are at home.  (Confidential for Matt Cain — Lohse is hittable.  Really.  So do yourself a favor and study the films accordingly; a timely hit, from you, may be the difference between success and failure in Game 7.)

Whichever team wins will be facing the Detroit Tigers, winners of the American League Championship Series.  Detroit is a strong team that has pitching (Justin Verlander and a cast of thousands) and great hitting, though not-so-wonderful defense; their line-up features American League Triple Crown Winner Miguel Cabrera and former Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder.  (It will be interesting to see how Fielder does in his very first World Series appearance.)

I believe that the Giants would be the stronger team against the Tigers, but that the Cardinals are perhaps a better-balanced team than the Giants.  Either way, though, I’m hoping that the Giants, not the Cardinals, will win Game 7 tomorrow evening and be on their way to the ’12 World Series.

Brian Sabean Goes Ballistic re: Posey/Cousins collision; also, a Ben Sheets update

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What on Earth has gotten into Brian Sabean?

Sabean is the General Manager of the San Francisco Giants, and is mad as Hell over the 5/25/11 collision between Florida Marlins catcher Scott Cousins (who was trying to score a run) and Giants catcher Buster Posey (who was trying to block home plate and keep Cousins from scoring).  Posey sustained a serious injury and is now out for the season; for more on his injury, check out this article.

Now, I can understand why Giants fans — and most baseball fans in general — want Buster Posey to play, not see him sitting on the DL with a long-term injury to deal with.  He’s an exciting young player and fans love him.  I also can understand why the Giants, and Sabean in particular, would be angry that Posey was injured, especially as some others, including Mike Matheny, seem to believe that Cousins was most definitely at fault in that collision and that Cousins may well have been trying to injure Posey (even though Cousins insists he wasn’t and has apologized several times; check this article out if you don’t believe me).

But why this sort of incendiary rhetoric, all available at this link?

Sabean did not pull any punches during an interview on KNBR on Thursday, calling Cousins’ targeted hit “malicious” and saying he didn’t blame Posey for refusing to return an apologetic phone call.

“Why not be hard-nosed?” Sabean said. “If I never hear from Cousins again or he never plays another game in the big leagues, I think we’ll all be happy.”

Asked if perhaps those words were too harsh, Sabean didn’t back down. In fact, he left little doubt that the Giants are bent on getting some on-field vengeance.

“He chose to be a hero in my mind, and if that’s his flash of fame, that’s as good as it’s going to get, pal,” Sabean said. “We’ll have a long memory. Believe me, we’ve talked to (former catcher Mike) Matheny about how this game works. You can’t be that out-and-out overly aggressive. I’ll put it as politically as I can state it: There’s no love lost, and there shouldn’t be.”

Now, the Giants have apologized for Sabean’s comments, which to my mind is way too little, way too late, especially as Cousins has been getting death threats; see this link for details about that.

And as if that wasn’t enough, Joe Torre, who now works for Major League Baseball, wants to talk with Sabean (see this link for details).  Torre is a well-respected former manager and catcher, and knows the game as well as anyone living; Sabean should listen to Torre, who I hope will tell Sabean the equivalent of this:  “Shut up.  Shut up now.  Don’t be any more stupid than you have to be; you’ve already said more than enough as it is.”

Torre telling Sabean off is the best thing to do — but in case Torre’s message doesn’t take, I hope Torre will exercise his authority and suspend Brian Sabean as a fine, no matter how hefty, will not do.  Sabean’s comments should not be tolerated, no matter how frustrated Sabean is, and no matter how much Sabean appreciates Posey’s play (or Posey’s positive effect at the box office).

Now for something completely different, as I’d like to pass along some good news regarding Ben Sheets. 

As previously reported, Sheets had a huge surgery on his elbow last year and his prospects for playing at all in 2011 looked dubious.  While I’m not sure if he will be able to pitch this year, I did find one Web site, here, that says Sheets is rehabbing in Arlington, Texas as of March of this year — and Sheets wouldn’t be rehabbing so seriously if he wasn’t at least going to try to make a comeback ASAP.

Sheets being in Texas makes perfect sense for a wide variety of reasons.  Sheets’ home is in Louisiana, so Texas isn’t all that far away, comparatively; better yet, it’s where his former Milwaukee Brewers pitching coach Mike Maddux now makes his home (as the pitching coach for the Rangers, naturally).  It also seems that Sheets is comfortable with the doctors in Texas and that his rehab is proceeding well.

All I can say is this — good for you, Ben, and I truly hope you’ll be like Chris Capuano this time next year.  (As in, you’ve made it all the way back, you’re pitching as well or better than ever, and your second major rehab stint will have gone successfully.)