Tag:2010 World Series
Posted on: February 14, 2011 5:22 pm
 

The closer and the candy jar

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants are champions, but the Giants are still fun.

The latest example: Closer Brian Wilson announcing Monday, on the first day of spring training, that the ball from the final out of the World Series is in "a Halloween candy jar."

The team's reaction, through manager Bruce Bochy: "Well, when you mention the name, that's not surprising. That seems appropriate for Willy."

It doesn't sound like this is headed to court.

You might remember that when the Red Sox broke their curse by winning the 2004 World Series, the fate of the final-out ball did end up in court, after Doug Mientkiewicz refused the team's request for the ball.

This is different, in part because Wilson said the Giants have never asked him for the ball . . . and in part, because the Giants are a lot more fun than the Red Sox.

Anyway, the candy jar.

Wilson said that catcher Buster Posey gave him the ball, a while after Wilson used it to strike out Nelson Cruz and give San Francisco its first-ever title. Wilson said he was a little surprised that Posey had managed to keep the ball through the celebration, but he took it.

He took it home, and needed somewhere to put it. And, he said, he saw a left-over candy jar.

"I thought, 'I'm not going to lose it, and it was a delicious treat,' " Wilson said.

Posted on: November 2, 2010 3:10 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2010 4:32 pm
 

Yeah, I picked the Rangers, but why do you care?

I picked against the Giants in the World Series, and I was wrong.

There. Are you happy now, Giants fans?

I have absolutely no idea why anyone would care who I picked to win, and even less of an idea why anyone would stop celebrating long enough to berate me for a wrong pick. But there were times over the last week that Giants fans had me convinced they got more pleasure out of me being wrong than they did out of their team winning.

It began after Game 1. It didn't let up, all the way through Game 5.

"It would be nice to see some form of mea culpa from you and the other Brainiacs who predicted a different outcome," wrote Chet, who was at least polite about it.

I'm not sure what this says about Giants fans, but I never got nearly as much e-mail about any of my other wrong picks over the years. And believe me, there have been plenty of them.

Maybe I ought to ask Judge and Prisco if 49er fans are the same way. Maybe it's the Bay Area.

I'm not sure I care. I'm not sure why you care.

But since you do, here it is again:

I picked the Rangers in 5. I was wrong.

Oh well.

Now, can we all look back to what we saw over the last month? Here's what I saw, through three rounds, 17 games witnessed in person, most of the others seen on TV, two train rides and nine flights stopping at seven different airports:

Best game: The very first one, or at least the very first one I covered. It's hard to beat a no-hitter, and in more than two decades of covering baseball, I've never seen anyone pitch as good a game as Roy Halladay did in Game 1 against the Reds.

Best moment: The Giants interrupting their celebration at Turner Field to salute retiring Braves manager Bobby Cox. It was a classy, classy move, and it should make anyone feel better that the Giants got two more chances at celebrating -- both of them uninterrupted.

Best moment II: On the field after Game 5 of the World Series, I was interviewing Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti, who grew up in Northern California, has been with the Giants for years and had never before won a World Series. Just then, the fans gathered behind the third-base dugout started chanting, "Thank you, Giants!" Righetti stopped, almost tearing up. "How cool is that?" he said. Then, thinking about the celebration back home, he added, "They're going to tear up the city."

Best song: No contest. It was the by YouTube sensation Ashkon , the Giants fan who wrote new words to sing along with Journey's Don't Stop Believing. The best line: "I had faith, and I had hope; And thankfully the Padres choked."

Best T-shirt: I never thought about buying one of those claw and antlers shirts that were so popular in Arlington. I did think about getting one of the "Let Tim Smoke" shirts in San Francisco. If you don't get it, check out Proposition 19 on today's California ballot.

Most disappointing team: Plenty of candidates, but it has to be the Twins, who played so well in September to get the best record in the American League, and home-field advantage through the AL playoffs. And they still got swept by the Yankees -- again. The worst part is that the Twins seemed to know what it would take to beat the Yankees. They tried hard to sign Colby Lewis last winter, and they tried hard to trade for Cliff Lee this summer. They didn't get either, and after they lost in three straight, they watched Lewis and Lee win three of the four games as the Rangers ousted New York.

Worst overreaction to a loss: Phillies fans, who sat in absolute disbelief as they watched the final outs in Game 6 against the Giants. The Phillies won 97 games, the most in the majors (for the first time in franchise history). They were the most impressive team entering the playoffs. They have their Big 3 starters ready for another go next year. And because they lost four of six games to the Giants, they're suddenly too old? Come on.

Worst timing for a movie: Isn't that Moneyball movie supposed to come out soon? Any chance they can rewrite it and reshoot it on the other side of the Bay? The Giants pride themselves on being the ultimate anti-Moneyball team, and the AL champion Rangers don't really subscribe to Moneyball, themselves. Funny that in the middle of a World Series between two teams that believe in old-fashioned scouting, the Mets would hire Moneyball founder Sandy Alderson to take over their organization.

Best team: Yeah, as if I'm going to pick anyone but the Giants. They were impressive, with a pitching staff that dominated and a lineup that didn't look good, but did just enough. I'm happy for Cody Ross, Andres Torres and Edgar Renteria, three of the nicest guys I covered in my years on the Tiger beat. I'm happy for Bruce Bochy, one of the best managers in the game, and for plenty of good people in that organization.

Believe it or not, I'm even happy for the Giants fans, especially those for whom this was every bit the lifelong dream that 2004 was for many in New England, or that 2005 was on the South Side of Chicago.

Maybe most of the country didn't care, as evidenced by the low ratings. Maybe it wasn't the best World Series ever.

But you could say the same about the 1984 World Series, and as I know from my time in Michigan, a whole bunch of people in that state consider it the best World Series ever.

Years from now, a whole bunch of people in Northern California will say the same about this one.

By then, maybe they'll forget that I picked it wrong. Or, at the very least, maybe they'll forgive me for it.
Posted on: November 1, 2010 10:30 pm
 

It can be done -- Giants win the World Series

ARLINGTON, Texas -- As it turns out, a team from San Francisco is allowed to win the World Series.

And as it turns out, you can win a World Series with a team built almost entirely on pitching.

It can be done. The Giants just proved it.

And if you're asking how in the world they became champions with that lineup, you're asking the wrong question. They became champions because of that rotation.

They shut down the Rangers one more time Monday night in Game 5, with Tim Lincecum outdueling Cliff Lee in a 3-1 game. The Giants, as usual, won with just enough offense, with a three-run Edgar Renteria home run in the seventh inning breaking up a scoreless game.

They won the World Series, four games to one, and in two of those wins, the Rangers never scored. In the five games combined, the Rangers had just 12 runs, after scoring 59 in 11 games to eliminate the Rays and the Yankees.

Lincecum wasn't able to match rotation mates Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner by throwing the Giants' third shutout of the World Series, but he allowed just Nelson Cruz's solo home run in the seventh.

In their 15 postseason games, against the Braves, Phillies and Rangers, the Giants allowed just 41 runs, not even three a game on average. The starting rotation pitched a total of 97 2/3 innings in the postseason, allowing just 24 earned runs for a 2.21 ERA.

The bullpen was almost as good. Closer Brian Wilson didn't allow an earned run the entire postseason.

Because of the pitching, the Giants were able to win five postseason games where they scored three runs or fewer. They were able to win with a lineup that didn't come close to matching up in firepower with the one the Rangers put on the field each day.

In the clinching game, the Giants won with Cody Ross batting cleanup and Juan Uribe hitting fifth. Ross was a late-season waiver acquisition, and when the playoffs began he and Uribe hit near the bottom of the Giants order.

Doesn't matter. They won, as Giants teams hadn't been able to win in three previous World Series trips since the franchise moved to San Francisco in 1958.

Giants fans remember Bobby Richardson's catch in 1962, and the earthquake that allowed the A's to use just two starting pitchers in 1989, and Game 6 against the Angels in 2002.

But now they'll also remember Lincecum and Cain, Bumgarner and Wilson, Renteria and Ross and Buster Posey.

They'll never forget the 2010 Giants, the team that proved it could be done.

Posted on: October 31, 2010 4:36 pm
Edited on: October 31, 2010 5:27 pm
 

Giants drop Burrell, Sandoval for Game 4

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Are you tired of watching Pat Burrell strike out in the World Series?

Apparently, Giants manager Bruce Bochy is. Bochy benched Burrell for Game 4 on Sunday night, electing to start Nate Schierholtz in the outfield instead. Bochy also switched designated hitters from Game 3, picking Aubrey Huff (with Travis Ishikawa playing first base) over Pablo Sandoval.

Bochy said he plans to put Burrell back in the lineup for Game 5 Monday night, against Cliff Lee. Burrell struck out twice in two official at-bats against Lee in Game 1, but he also had his one impressive World Series at-bat, for a fifth-inning walk.

"This will give Pat a chance to work on things, and get his timing back," Bochy said.
 
Burrell helped the Giants get to the playoffs, after signing with San Francisco when he was released by the Rays, but in the postseason he has reverted to the form that cause the Rays to dump him in the first place. Burrell is 6-for-38 with 19 strikeouts since the playoffs began, and he was 0-for-9 with eight strikeouts in the first three games against the Rangers.

The weak-hitting Giants don't have all that many options. Schierholtz was just a .242 hitter this season, with no power. Ishikawa hit .266, but also with little power. But at least Schierholtz and Ishikawa are decent defensive players. In fact, Bochy has often used Schierholtz as a late-inning defensive replacement for Burrell, and Ishikawa as a late-inning replacement for Huff at first base.

"It's the back end of the game starting the game," Bochy said.

With no Burrell in the lineup, Bochy moved Cody Ross (his one truly hot hitter) up to fifth in the lineup. Earlier this postseason, Bochy had batted Ross eighth.




Posted on: October 30, 2010 9:51 pm
 

With Lewis and AL rules, Rangers get back in WS

ARLINGTON, Texas -- This World Series looks a lot different under American League rules.

It sounds a lot different in Texas.

Or maybe it was just a lot different in Game 3 because Colby Lewis was on the mound for the Rangers.

Whatever the reason, we may now have ourselves a decent series, after Lewis and the Rangers recovered from their bad trip West and beat the Giants, 4-2, in Game 3 in Texas. The World Series stands at two games to one, still in the Giants' favor, but it looks a lot more competitive than it did when we left California.

Give credit to Lewis, the same guy who beat the Yankees twice in the AL Championship Series, including a 6-1 win in the Game 6 clincher. He's now 3-0 in four postseason starts, with a 1.71 ERA.

Lewis, who the Rangers brought back from Japan with a two-year, $5 million contract last winter, went 7 2/3 innings Saturday night, allowing solo home runs to Cody Ross and Andres Torres. He outpitched the Giants' Jonathan Sanchez, who didn't make it out of the fifth and gave up four runs.

Of course, under National League rules (which were used for the games in San Francisco), maybe Sanchez doesn't give up all those runs. Think about what happened in the second inning Saturday.

Sanchez allowed a leadoff double to Nelson Cruz, but he had two out with Cruz at third base. He walked eighth-place hitter Bengie Molina, which in an NL game would have brought up the pitcher and likely the third out.

In Game 3, with AL rules in effect, walking Molina brought up first baseman Mitch Moreland. And Moreland, after fouling off four straight two-strike pitches, rocketed a ball into the right-field seats for a three-run home run.

A Josh Hamilton home run made it 4-0 in the fifth, and then the Rangers had to survive a trip to their bullpen in the eighth and ninth. Darren O'Day, who served up Juan Uribe's home run in Game 1, retired Buster Posey with a runner on base and two out Saturday.

That brought Rangers closer Neftali Feliz into the World Series for the first time.

Posted on: October 27, 2010 11:35 pm
 

No offense? Giants take down Lee in Game 1

SAN FRANCISCO -- Believe it or not, there were three other times this season that Cliff Lee gave up seven or more runs.

Believe it or not, the three teams he did it against were the Padres, Orioles and Royals.

Hard to believe?

No more so than Wednesday's Game 1 of the World Series, when the Rangers handed Lee an early two-run lead and then watched him give up seven runs to the offensively-challenged Giants, handing San Francisco an 11-7 win.

So the most successful postseason pitcher we've ever seen just got destroyed by one of the weakest World Series lineups we've ever seen?

Yeah, that's exactly what happened in Game 1. Believe it or not.

In his first eight postseason starts, Lee never lost. Not only that, but he never gave up anything bigger than a one-run lead.

In their first 10 games this postseason, the Giants only once scored more than four runs. In fact, even going back to the regular season, the Giants topped four runs just once in their last 17 games.

And they pounded Cliff Lee.

They knocked him out in the fifth inning -- first time that's ever happened to him in a postseason game, and first time it's happened to him in any start since the end of August.

They spotted him the two early runs, tied the game in the third with the help of a Michael Young error, then took control with a six-run fifth. Lee left trailing 5-2 with two out and two runners on base. Darren O'Day gave up a three-run home run to Juan Uribe, and that was that.

Lee gave up eight hits, and five of them went for extra bases. He gave up three doubles to Freddy Sanchez.

Then again, maybe we shouldn't be surprised. When Lee faced the Padres back in May, he gave up three doubles to Adrian Gonzalez and another three to Nick Hundley.

Maybe there's something about the National League West. Maybe there's something about offensively-challenged NL West teams.

Who knows?

All we know for sure is that what happened Wednesday night wasn't what any of us expected to see.


Posted on: October 26, 2010 10:52 pm
 

Righetti and the Rangers

SAN FRANCISCO -- You think of Dave Righetti as a Yankee.

Or maybe you think of Dave Righetti as a Giant, or at least as the Giants pitching coach for the last several years.

You probably don't think of Dave Righetti as a Ranger.

But he does.

Righetti originally signed with the Rangers as a first-round draft pick in 1977. He spent a year and half in the Rangers system, before he was traded to the Yankees.

"When I came up with the Rangers, it was a pitcher-dominated organization, and we all got traded. Lenny Barker, me, Danny Darwin, Gene Nelson, [Ron] Darling, [Walt] Terrell, Eddie Lynch. We all made it to the big leagues. Most of us got traded. We were loaded. To see that break up in the next couple of years was really heart-breaking."

Posted on: October 26, 2010 10:45 pm
 

Rangers Andrus plans to run

SAN FRANCISCO -- In maybe the two most important games the Rangers played all year, Elvis Andrus set the tone in the first inning, stealing a base and scoring a run.

He did it in the decisive Game 5 against the Rays. He did it in Game 2 against the Yankees, the bounce-back game after the Rangers' late collapse in Game 1.

So yes, when the Rangers open the first World Series they've ever played on Wednesday night at AT&T Park, you can bet Andrus will be looking to get on base -- and then steal second.

Already, he's been watching video of the Giants pitchers. Already, he sees opportunity.

"They look like they don't really pay attention to most of the runners," Andrus said Tuesday.

Sure enough, so far in the postseason the Giants have allowed seven stolen bases in eight attempts. The only team that has allowed more steals this postseason is the Yankees, and of course most of those were by the Rangers.

Someone then asked Andrus if there's any catcher he's scared to run against.

"Yeah, and thank God he's not here," Andrus said. "Joe Mauer. I have like 10 attempts against him, and only a couple were successful."

He wants the Giants to think he's going to run.

"I want them more worried about me than the hitters," he said.

 
 
 
 
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