September 28, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants right fielder Marlon Byrd (6) celebrates with second baseman Kelby Tomlinson (37, right) after both scored on a two-RBI double by catcher Trevor Brown (56, not pictured) during the second inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
The San Francisco Giants have taken the term cruel and unusual entertainment to a whole new level. Monday night’s game was the kind of game the Giants tend to win–an elimination game, with a side of extra innings.
When Monday night’s game started, the crowd was really noisy, they were chanting Beat LA so loud, it was almost impossible to hear the broadcasters. Of course, part of it could be that I was chanting, kinda loudly, right along with them.
For this game–the first of the four-game Giants v. Dodgers series–the Dodgers trotted out their ace, their best pitcher, their number one guy…and he’s not their only one. There are two of them. The Giants will get to see the other one on Tuesday.
Zack Greinke is on everyone’s short list for the NL Cy Young Award. He’s very good at what he does. He’s the ERA leader in the MLB with 1.68 and his WHIP is 0.85. Greinke and the Dodger other ace–Clayton Kershaw pack a pretty mean one-two punch.
Greinke is impressive, but let’s not forget…the Giants have rookie pop and a couple of old, wizened veterans to back them up.
In the second inning, Brandon Crawford hit a single, Marlon Byrd reached on a fielder’s choice, with Crawford out at second. Kelby Tomlinson got a base hit, and our rookie catcher, Trevor Brown, hit a double scoring Byrd and Kelby. My favorite kind of hit: two out, two RBI, two bagger, on a 2-2 count.
The Dodgers scored a run in the third, but Jake Peavy held them to that one run while he was in the game. Peavy was masterful. He pitched seven solid innings, allowing one run on three hits and a walk. He struck out four. The defense playing behind him was unstoppable and made some pretty amazing plays.
Our rookie second baseman made a couple of stops–highlight reel stuff, one in the sixth and one in the seventh, that kept the Dodgers from getting base hits and giving Peavy shut down innings both times.
The Dodgers scored one run in the ninth, tying the game. Since the Giants weren’t able to come up with a run in the ninth, it was on to extra innings.
In the twelfth, Byrd hit a single and Kelby followed with a base hit that had enough on it for Byrd to get to third–a good place to be if you want to score on a sac fly, which Byrd did. Alejandro De Aza hit the sac fly, Byrd tagged up and made it home for the walk-off win.
I’ve written a note to some Giants fans, but I’m sharing it with all of you. Feel free to pass it along to your friends, neighbors, relatives and other strangers you happen to meet.
Dear San Francisco Giants fan who gave up on our team weeks ago: How do you like us now? Even you–the doubtingest of the doubters, with a capital doubt–have to admit it’s possible. The Giants could actually pull this off. Unlikely? Sure. Improbable? You bet. No freakin’ way? All of the above, and then some.
But not impossible. You can’t say it’s impossible. Remember these are the guys who once faced six elimination games–count them, you need two hands–six elimination games and won them all. We may get eliminated Tuesday night, and if that happens, so be it. But then again, we just might win. It can happen. I’ve seen them do it.
We have six games, including Tuesday left. All of them are elimination games. I didn’t say it was going to be easy, I just said it was still possible. Anything is possible if you believe.
I still believe. Do you?