Magic Number? That would be four.
It started out slow, and slightly panic like after Jonathan Sanchez struggled to find the strike zone. He wasn’t aided by homeplate umpire Eric Cooper’s mildly erratic zone either, but, he fought through it – something we’ve seen Sanchez do much more of this year.
After giving up two runs, Sanchez calmed down and pitched a very solid six innings – certainly not his best of the season, but, adequate for what the situation called for. The big moment of the night however goes to Nate Schierholtz who came through with a two out pinch hit, bringing in Pablo Sandoval which gave the Giants a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth. The Giants added another run in the 7th and the bullpen did what we’ve come to expect, notch zero’s.
It got somewhat tense in the 8th when Bruce Bochy called on Brian Wilson for yet another five out save, but like always, Wilson came through – be it in an ode to Rod Beck type way. One thing is for sure – Giants baseball isn’t for the weak hearted.
I’ll say one thing – the Diamondbacks? They don’t play like their record. They’ve given the Giants all they can handle this past month plus.
Down the I-5, the Cubs took their second in a row from the Padres, the loss extending their deficit to two games behind the Giants in the NL West. The Braves took out the Marlins again, which combined with the Padres loss, dropped them to 1.5 out of the Wild Card now. How is this all significant, you ask? Well…assuming the Braves do win the Wild Card, they’re not eligible to play the Philadelphia Phillies in the Divisional Series. Thus, it’ll be between the NL West winner or the Cincinnati Reds – whomever has the worst record between the two. Currently, the Giants hold a one game lead over the Reds (and also own the tie breaker having won 4 of 7 versus Cincy this season), so essentially they hold a two game lead for the right to play the Wild Card winning Braves, if that is who indeed wins the Wild Card.
It’s a bit messy – so in short? Braves win Wild Card? Philly plays the Reds or Giants (whomever has the worst record between the two, currently Reds) in the first round. If they finish tied, the Giants own the tiebreaker.
If the Padres win the Wild Card, Philly will play the Padres and the Reds and Giants will square off.
If the Giants win the Wild Card and the Padres win the NL West, well, that shit ain’t happnin – cause I said so, so don’t worry about it.
Lincecum goes for the Giants today, who was moved up from his scheduled start on Thursday. Bochy and company felt starting Lincecum tonight would give the Giants a much needed advantage of having Lincecum ready in a tie-breaking situation Monday if needed, on normal rest – or if needed, he could pitch Sunday in the season finale….though that would be a last resort scenario. Madison Bumgarner will go in the series finale tomorrow while Zito, Cain, and Sanchez would go in the Padres series…..subject to change depending on the impact.
Also of note, Freddy Sanchez appears to be ready for tonight’s game according to the beat after his injection of cortisone, but we’ll see closer to game time. Sabean and Bochy both said it’s not significant and he should be ready any time.