Everybody predicted that Game One of the 2010 World Series would be one for the record books. Two-time Cy Young Award Winner Tim Lincecum was going up against Cliff Lee, a man eight feet tall with flaming red hair, with an arm made mostly of titanium who had yet to give up a run in his entire playing career. Lincecum, a man of slight build and a back just four pitches away from flying into the stands mid-pitch, would have to be perfect to keep the game within reach of the mighty Clifton. If one this was certain, it was that this would be a pitchers duel for the ages.
And yet, that didn’t quite happen. Timmy was only decent and Clifton was flat-out bad, and the Pitchers Duel For the Ages ended 11-7. In fact, it seems like every time we have a PDFtA it ends up crappy, like when Yu Darvish and Justin Verlander faced off last week and Verlander walked in two runs. PDFtAs are so often disappointments.
Not tonight, though. Matt Cain recovered from his shaky first inning and an inconsistent strike zone to pitch seven strong innings. He gave up just one hit and two walks after the first inning, including striking out four of the last six batters he faced. Strasburg was equally brilliant, escaping a bases-loaded jam in the first inning and sitting down the last 10 Giants he faced. Both stars lived up to expectations.
Still, the Giants wasted opportunities. Belt struck out with the bases loaded in the first, Angel Pagan was caught stealing, and Panda and Scutaro each gee eye dee peed. Cain came within an Altuve of being Cained before Buster Posey beat out an infield single and Gregor Blanco tripled over Bryce Harper’s head to score pinch-runner Andres Torres from first.
And then the moonshot. Oh lord the moonshot. Scutaro singled in the tenth and Sandoval stepped up to the plate, breath a-heavin’ and nostrils a-flarin’ before he crushed a Yunesky Maya change-up into the center field bleachers. What not to do:
Pablo Sandoval was one of my more bullish predictions this year. I know that Buster Posey put the team on his back and singlehandedly won the World Series/solved the gas crisis/ended World Hunger last year, but Sandoval really is the true power hitter on this squad. I predicted that he would hit over .300 with 30 HRs this year. After tonight’s game he’s batting .309 and on pace for 29 dingers. Hoo-rah.
Marco Scutaro continues to astound. Coming up for what was most likely his last at-bat of the night, Scutaro needed a hit to push his hitting streak to 19 games. Instead, he comes through with a double in the eighth and a single in the tenth, pushing his batting average to .337. Scutaro now has 34 hits in 17 games so far in May. If he hits two per game for the last nine games in May, he will end up with 52, beating Melky’s 2012 May by one hit. I think we’d all be okay with wiping Melky’s name off of as many record books as possible.
It was certainly ballsy of Bruce Bochy to sit Torres today after going 3-5 yesterday, but that paid off as Blanco went 3-4 with the game-tying hit. We all knew that left field would be a bit of a liability offensively this season – and we still believe that – but it’s nice to see output from there from time to time. With the excellent defense coming from left, any offense is basically house money at this point.
Speaking of defense, no news is good news. Everybody took their time and made their throws, and the yips were conspicuously absent tonight. Thank god.
Bryce Harper bunted tonight. Twice. I don’t really understand that.