OK, San Francisco Giants fans, face it: You did not expect the Orange and Black to waltz into Kansas City, eat some barbecue, listen to some country music, and oh, yeah, sweep the Royals in the opening two-game set, played in front of frenetic fans, who have waited three decades for the opportunity to cheer on a world series.
Even after Madison Bumgarner, Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval, bushwhacked the Royals in Game One, it was still unreasonable to expect that the red-hot Royals, winners of eleven consecutive postseason games, dating back to 1985, were going to roll over, put their boots in the sky, and die.
So the fact that the Giants absorbed a Game Two thrashing, 7-2, does not come as a shock. When it boils down to it, the loss was was actually almost perfect, as losses go.
If they were going to lose, at least it did not come in the form of a walkoff.
The Giants did not get blown out in the first inning; they did not lose in a walk-off. They managed to get a good outing from their starter, even if it fell an inning or so short, and if there was going to be a bullpen meltdown, at least it came from the two individuals, most likely to fill that role, based on this season’s playoff performances.
Jean Machi came in and gave up a base hit, and Hunter Strickland came in and did what he has done so consistently this postseason: give up big hits. His five home runs and yesterday’s double, account for twenty-two total bases. Incomprehensible, but there nonetheless, proof-positive that Bruce Bochy does not-indeed-walk on water.
Now the Giants return for three games at AT&T Park, where the noise level will be equally cacophonous, except that it will be in support of the Orange and Black, instead of the reverse. Again, it is not reasonable to expect a series-sweep, because two of three from the Royals is all that is needed.
Then, in a perfect world, Game Six would be fought and decided in the Giants’ favor, without having to go the distance. The Royals are an excellent team, and it is evident that they are going to put up a good fight, so San Francisco does not want to give them the advantage of playing another wild-card game at home, with the winner taking all.
Though Angel Pagan is still out, Matt Cain is not back, and Marco Scutaro is a distant memory, the Giants are holding their own. Tim Hudson goes for the Giants on Friday night, and both of his postseason efforts have been excellent. He has regained his early season command, not walking a batter in the playoffs, and gives the Giants a clear opportunity to take a commanding two games to one lead in the Series.
For now, Giants fans, take heart from the fact that the series has swung back to give the Giants home field advantage, and that the players have been here before and have gotten the job done.
Having put all of their marbles into securing a playoff spot, so as to find themselves in this position in the postseason, the Giants must do what they get paid the big bucks to do, and win this Series.
And along the way, they just may have some fun.