Thursday, October 13, 2016
The Thrill of Victory, The Agony of Defeat
After watching the San Francisco Giants blow yet another save, and blow a chance to meet the Cubs in a deciding game 5 NLDS match-up, I'm more humbled than angry. I never expected the Giants to make it to the playoffs after their historic collapse in the second half of the season. Once they miraculously made it in, I along with the rest of the orange and black clad fans, threw caution to the wind and jumped on board the Giants gravy train to the championship.
It was so easy to forget the Giants weaknesses that attributed to their losing a record number of games after the all-star break and barely making the playoffs. No weakness was more apparent in game 4 than the lack of a quality closing pitcher. The name Santiago Casilla has become like a bad omen around the Giants and no mention of him has been made during these playoffs.
We should have known from game 3, after Sergio Romo blew the save and the game was rescued by a kid named JOE (Panik) in the bottom of the 13th inning, that our closing pitching couldn't hold up to playoff hitters. Talk about the "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" syndrome. We fans had simply let the playoff moment and wild card game magic impair our knowledge of this Giants teams' biggest weakness; closeout pitching
No need to go into game 4 closing pitcher analysis here. Suffice it to say that the Chicago Cubs simply took full advantage of a Giants weakness (closeout pitching) that reared its ugly head in the playoffs and begged to be whacked. Bruce Bochy must've known that the Cubs had seen behind the orange curtain and were licking their chops at every strike zone pitch thrown them in the 9th inning. By the time the fifth Giants pitcher of the inning was brought in (Hunter Strickland) the Cubs had tied the game 5-5.
We and the Cubs all knew what to expect from Strickland; a hard fastball pitch with little movement. Wham! a single up the middle. Another Cubs run on the board and a 6-5 lead that would stand. The Giants would see their even-numbered years of winning championships come to an abrupt end as it will be the Chicago Cubs moving on to the NLCS.
It's a hard pill to swallow as a Giants fan. Especially after pulling victory out of the jaws of defeat so many times these past playoff years. But, agony is what makes victory so darn sweet. I believe it's not the end of an era for the SF Giants but a new beginning. With all the young players that proved their mettle this season, the older veterans and fans can rest assured that the club is in good hands. Whether or not Bruce Bochy is considering relinquishing his command is something to keep an eye on. It's been a magical six year ride and we Giants fans are thankful for all the memories.
Congrats Chicago Cubs! Now go make some Cubbie history and win it all. Tinker to Evers to Chance