What? You didn’t think it would be simple, did you? You didn’t think Kuiper’s coining of “torture” was just going to magically vanish and the Giants would have a simple and uneventful walk into the playoffs. For shame.
Barry Zito was, well, typical Barry Zito in the biggest game of his Giants career. Zito couldn’t find the strike zone which resulted in his quick and early demise. Big, bad, Barry walked in TWO, that’s right, TWO runs in the first inning – quieting the standing room only crowd within moments of first pitch. The early deficit put the pressure on the Giants who made Padres starter Tim Stauffer look equally as talented as some of the premier starters in the game. Stauffer continually worked magic all game, somehow forcing the Giants to swing early and often – oh wait, my mistake – that wasn’t Stauffer’s doing. Take nothing away from his pitching performance, it was a good one, but the Giants lack of composure at the plate certainly enhanced Stauffer’s outstanding outing.
Zito was left in the game to bat in the bottom half of the 3rd with two outs (yay Bochy) and promptly returned to the mound to walk Padres starting pitcher Tim Stauffer. Bochy THEN decided to remove Zito (something the 43,000 at the park decided would have been a better decision in the prior half inning…) but the damage had been done.
The bullpen did what they’ve done all season, throw up zero’s. It’s unfortunate that the Giants relied so heavily on Zito and allowed him to put the Giants in such a hole…you’d think they’d learn. All that empty space in Bochy’s head…what a waste.
The Padres victory moved them to 1 game behind the Giants and tied the Braves for the Wild Card lead who lost their second straight at home to the Philadelphia Phillies.
So, what dose all this mean? In the simplest of forms…
Giants win tomorrow? Giants win the National League West.
Braves win tomorrow and Padres lose? Braves win the Wild Card, Padres miss the playoffs.
Braves lose tomorrow and Padres win? Padres win the NL West, Giants win the Wild Card.
Braves lose tomorrow and Giants win? Giants win the NL West, Padres win the Wild Card.
Giants lose tomorrow and Braves win? Giants and Padres play a “play-in” game at Petco Park on Monday, the winner winning the NL West, the loser travels to Atlanta for a one game playoff for the Wild Card.
So in short – Giants win, they win the NL West. If all three teams finish with the same record, there will be a one game playoff in San Diego on Monday for the NL West title with the loser traveling to Atlanta for a one game playoff for the Wild Card. If the Padres and Giants end up with the same record, there will be a one game playoff in San Diego on Monday.
Need an enema?