Write about the SF Giants
We believe that you the avid fan, student journalist, and or freelance writer deserve to be heard. Avid fans have a strong desire to hear from the common (or not so common) "man" as well. You are always free to write about the material of your choice, in your own unique style, and on your own schedule. So vent,enlighten and share with us!
Contact us at: writers@sportsmixed.com
  Enjoy SF Giants rumors, news, talk?
Please help us spread the word on the Sports Mixed Network by letting friends, and family know about it. The more we grow our community of avid fans, the more features we can add. So please send a Tweet, Facebook message or better yet tell them in person.

THE REALISTIC GIANTS FAN: Mattingly Caught Unaware

Boch's Attention to Detail


As a life-long Giants fan I have received what I always wanted. Yet, my reaction has been underwhelming. It just refuses to become real to me, so I am attempting to make it real. The best way I can see to go about it is to remember some of the moments from this season and reflect on just how special those moments were. I mentioned last article that I would be analyzing some games from the wonderful 2010 season and that's what we are gonna start here right now. So, let's begin.

JULY 20th, 2010. GIANTS at DODGERS.

The game at first glance would seemingly have revolved around the fact that Tim Lincecum was facing Clayton Kershaw, but by the end you may have forgotten that they were even in the game. This game was undoubtedly one of the most exciting rides of the season.

In the top of the 1st Kershaw hit Andres Torres with a 2-2 pitch. Freddy Sanchez was unable to move him up before striking out and Buster Posey followed by grounding into a double play to short. A rather ho-hum beginning and tedious, as Kershaw was working a snail's pace.

The Dodgers came to the plate in the bottom half of the 1st and it was painfully obvious from the 1st pitch that Lincecum had not brought his A-game with him. After walking Rafael Furcal on 4 straight pitches, Lincecum fell behind 2nd place hitter Xavier Paul 3-1. Furcal had stolen 2nd easily with Lincecum having his continued problems holding runners on and then scored easily when Paul ripped a double down the 1st base line past Pablo Sandoval who was playing at 1st that night. Before you could even feel slightly comfortable it was 1-0 Dodgers and it quickly got worse.

Andre Ethier fell behind 0-2 quickly, then took a ball. The next pitch was a low breaking ball at the bottom of the zone, but in the middle. Ethier golfed it out to the shallow stands in right, though this homerun was no cheapie. Boom...3-0. A long night seemed unavaoidable. Lincecum then retired the next 3 hitters on just 8 pitches, but damage had been done.

Burrell led off the 2nd by striking out wildly on a high fastball, showing his most glaring weakness. If you get the fastball up high enough he is unable to lay off. Sandoval then followed with one of his better at-bats of the whole season. After falling behind 0-2 Sandoval worked a walk. Juan Uribe stroked a 3-1 low fastball into the opposite field gap. Uribe got a double, but a fine play by Ethier to cut the ball off before it got to the wall kept Sandoval from scoring. Edgar Renteria then grounded slowly to short. Furcal came up with the play cleanly and seemed to have had an excellent shot at gunning Sandoval down at the plate, but went for the sure out at 1st. The lead had been cut to 3-1. Aaron Rowand was then walked intentionally before Lincecum struck out on 3 straight fastballs.

Lincecum struggled but got through the bottom half of the 2nd. Meanwhile, Kershaw had hit a groove. After quickly retiring the Giants in the top of the 3rd, the Dodgers went back to work on Lincecum. Paul, who had driven in the 1st run with his 1st inning double, lined a single up the middle to kick off the Dodger half. Then Ethier was given a free pass on 4 straight. Lincecum started to get noticeably upset with his hands. As we now know he battled severe blister problems all season long, but they seemed to be particularly bothering him this night. In the bottom of the 2nd an 0-1 pitch had slipped out of his grip and flew straight up in the air. That was certainly odd, but then he did it again in his pre-inning warm-up. Timmy looked at his right hand for a long second after ball 4.

Timmy then set down James Loney and Matt Kemp, but Kemp's ball was hit hard. Luckily it was right at Torres. It started to seem like maybe Lincecum would escape the jam, then rookie umpire Adrian Johnson let his presence be known. Johnson had been calling low strikes over high strikes the whole night, but was inconsistent with the corners, sometimes giving it and sometimes not. He decided he was in a no corners attitude when Blake DeWitt came to the plate calling 2 straight close pitches balls, putting Lincecum in a hole and forcing him to come in. Lincecum then worked the count back to 2-2 before DeWitt singled to right, scoring Paul. Casey Blake then got his first career hit against Lincecum in the form of a left field double. The pitch he hit was another low in the zone breaking ball like the one hit by Ethier for a homerun. These 2 particular pitches would have both taken guesses in order to hit. It begs to question as to whether Lincecum was tipping his pitches. DeWitt scored on the Blake double and the Giants were now down 5-1.

Kershaw continued to cruise, and Lincecum had an easier 4th, but he was still battling his control. His fastball's velocity was noticeably down, topping out in the high 80s. After retiring the Giants quickly in the 5th, the Dodgers came to the plate for the bottom of the 5th.

Loney was retired on a flyball to center, which brought up Kemp. Kemp dramatically fell back on a pitch that was high but not very inside as if it was heading straight for his head. Perhaps he was having a moment of clairvoyance because Timmy drilled him square in the ribs with the very next pitch. Kemp started talking to Lincecum on his way to 1st and both Posey and Johnson got in his way, but before that both benches were warned. Joe Torre and Larry Bowa were both up in arms over the fact that Lincecum was allowed to stay in the game. Lincecum, though, was not long for the game anyway.

DeWitt drove a 1-0 pitch to right, but an angry Kemp made an ill-advised attempt to move to 3rd and was thrown out. Bruce Bochy then came out to get Timmy and replaced him with Denny Bautista. Bautista then gave up a long drive to the right-center gap off the bat of Blake, but Torres' speed was able to track it down. It was the end of the 5th, but just the beginning of the weirdness.

Torres popped out to short to start off the 6th. He was the 11th man in a row set down by Kershaw. Sanchez then followed with a single back up the middle, becoming the 1st Giant to reach since the intentional walk to Rowand back in the 2nd. Posey then had a great at-bat. After working the count full and then fouling off a pitch, he guided a single into right in between DeWitt and Loney. The hit moved Sanchez to 3rd and extended Posey's hit streak to 14 games. On a 3-1 pitch Burrell smashed a fastball high and deep to left that was probably kept in by the wind, but came down for what should have been an easy catch by Paul. He dropped it. Just straight dropped it. Sanchez would have scored easily on the sacrifice fly, but now Posey, who would have probably returned to 1st, was at 3rd and Burrell was at 2nd. Both were then driven in on 1-2 double to left by Sandoval who hit an eye-level fastball, his downfall for most of the year, from the right side. Uribe and Renteria were then retired, but the Giants had captured all the momentum, trailing 5-4.

Russell Martin was 1st up for the Dodgers in the 6th and was promptly spun around on the first pitch, which was both high and inside. This sent Dodger bench coach, Bob Sheaffer, through the roof. He was almost immediately ejected for yelling at Johnson behind the plate. After he was tossed he came onto the field and was met by crew chief Tim McLelland who told him to leave, as bench coaches are not allowed on the field. Sheaffer still got some choice words in before exiting and having his argument continued by Torre. Bautista was allowed to stay in the game and got Martin to fly out to left. On his way back to the dugout he was yelling at Bautista, who looked a little rattled, prompting Uribe, Renteria and Sandoval to come to the mound and give him encouragement. In a suspicious move Torre allowed Kershaw to hit for himself despite giving up 3 runs in the top half. Throughout the at-bat the infield continued getting behind Bautista and eventually he struck out Kershaw. Then after an inning filled with poor control, Bautista dropped in a picture perfect curveball on a 3-2 pitch to Furcal, striking him out.

Kershaw came back out for the 7th, but threw just one pitch. He drilled Rowand in the hip on one of the most obvious intentional beanings I'd ever seen. He, along with Torre, was immediately run from the game. Russell Martin, once again showing his undying class, followed Rowand all the way up the 1st baseline talking the whole time. Rowand showed actual class by not saying a word and quietly taking his base. Hong Chih Kuo was then brought in to replace Kewshaw and Larry Bowa took over as manager, right? I mean that would make the most sense since he was the last guy left with Major League managing experience, but no. Instead the reigns were handed over to one Don Mattingly. The hitting instructor.

Kuo ended any threat and Santiago Casilla came in to relieve Bautista in the bottom half. Paul got his 3rd hit of the night by crushing a fat 3-1 fastball into the right field corner for a double. Then Casilla got Ethier to fly out to left on the 1st pitch. Loney stepped in and Casilla nearly threw the 1st pitch to the backstop, but it was miraculously backhanded by Posey. After falling behind 2-0, Loney was intentionally walked. Then the count was run to 2-0 on Kemp, prompting Bochy himself to come out of the dugout and give Casilla a very brief piece of his mind. It worked as Casilla got Kemp to ground into a double play to end the inning.

Both Kuo and Casilla had easy goes in the 8th, and the Dodgers had their closer, Jonathon Boxton, heading to the hill.

Broxton had been struggling of late. His fastball velocity was down and in his prior 7 appearances had racked up a 10.29 ERA. All signs pointed to him being overworked. The inning started weird, with Uribe getting a rare infield hit on a slow grounder to short. After the count reached 3-1 to Renteria, Bochy sent in Schierholtz to run for Uribe. Renteria fouled off the next pitch then walked on an easy take. Rowand then laid down a sacrifice bunt to move up the runners and Huff was sent up to pinch hit for Casilla and was intentionally walked to set up a force on all bases. After the walk, Mattingly came out to discuss strategy and defensive placement. A routine meeting, then headed back towards the dugout, but Casey Blake decided he had one last thing to ask Mattingly who quickly truned around and stepped back on the mound, for no more than 3 seconds, and headed back towards the dugout. Mattingly had not even taken 3 steps back toward the dugout before coming back. No big deal, right? Think again.

Immediately Boch popped out of the dugout to have a word with both Johnson and McClelland. At first it seemed like he had a question, but rather he had a problem. Boch was citing a little known rule that said once you left the pitching mound dirt, your 1st visit was over. Thus, he argued, Mattingly had made 2 trips and Broxton must be removed from the game. It isn't known as to whether Bowa would have done differently, but leaving the unexperienced Mattingly to run the team in Torre's absence left all second-guessing with something to point at. Nobody had been warming up in the Dodger bullpen, so George Sherrill had to be brought in cold. Since no injury or ejection had occurred Sherrill was given just 8 pitches to get warm.

Sherrill through a 1st pitch strike but it was up in the dangerous part of the zone. The 0-1 pitch was then driven by Torres' deep into the left-center gap and probably would have been a homerun on most nights, but the same wind that kept the Burrell shot in the park, kept this one in the park as well. This one was not catchable, though, and scored both Schierholtz and Renteria. Huff made it to 3rd and the Giants had taken a 6-5 lead. That was the only hitter Sherrill would face. Torres would eventually score on a single by Posey and the Giants headed to the bottom of the 9th up 7-5.

Jeremy Affeldt was brought in to close things out, as the Giants had an overworked closer of their own. Pinch hitter Jamie Carroll was retired on a fine play by Sandoval that could have just as easily been called safe. Furcal then doubled to add a touch of torture, but Affeldt struck out both Belliard, pinch hitting for Paul, and Ethier to end the game. The Giants had come back from down 5-1 in a wild, memorable game. The bad blood of Giants-Dodgers past was definitely present.

"Swung on and missed, strike three, the game is over and I don't believe this win."

-Duane Kuiper

(feel free to comment or email me directly at realisticgiantsfan@yahoo.com. Hot Stove starts Monday.)

2 comments:

  1. Good times, Mattingly won't forget that and it will definitely fuel the rivalry. Can't wait for the hot stove season to really start swinging.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was at that game.The Dodger fans where super cocky after the Either bomb.There was silence after the Torres double.I loved the Mclelland punchout at first in the 9th.Got em by a quarter step.Ishikawa with the stretch.

    ReplyDelete