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BY TED SILLANPAA

The Giants were put in their place by the baseball gods Saturday night.

Oh, don’t think the baseball gods aren’t aware that Giants’ fans had actually started to believe that the team was as good as its winning margin in the NL West seemed to indicate. They knew. The gods always know.

The baseball gods showed Giants fans the flaws in their team in a 5-2 National League Division Series loss Saturday night … in San Francisco … in a game where the Reds lost their best starting pitcher Johnny Cueto to injury just eight pitches into the game.

The baseball gods must be lashing out at the Giants and their fans. There was some sort of cosmic payback going on Saturday. Not only did the Giants fans watch the team lose … they watched the team lose after having the baseball gods answer their baseball prayers:

“Please, baseball gods, let Buster Posey come to bat in the ninth inning as the winning run! Hey, it’s a longshot. The Reds have five runs and all. But, please, just let Buster get a whack at winning the game. Please?”

The baseball gods put Posey at the plate … with the bases loaded and two out in the ninth … with the Giants trailing by three runs.

You don’t think the baseball gods are teaching the Giants and fans a lesson? Man, Aroldis Chapman blew Buster away with a 100 mph fastball. Good night. Game over.

The Giants flaws, revealed by the baseball gods?

The Giants have trouble scoring runs against good pitching. Fans sort of forgot that after the late-season dash to the finish line against the Padres, Rockies, Padres and Dodgers. Yes, certainly, the Giants hit in tough luck Saturday night. Lines drives get hit right at people, though. That’s baseball. The Giants can’t afford to hit in tough luck because they don’t hit nearly enough.

The bullpen is … not that good. This isn’t that 2010 world championship team Giants’ pen. This is a pen held together with duct tape and manager Bruce Bochy’s ability to work favorable matchups for situational relievers, none of whom have the dominant stuff and consistency to close games. George Kontos and Guillermo Mota had to pitch meaningful innings with the game on the line. That’s not good. Then, Santiago Casilla unraveled and gave the Reds insurance runs that calmed fireballing Chapman when hell should’ve been breaking loose after he loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth. See? We know now that the Giants’ bullpen isn’t good enough to do what’s necessary for the club to avoid trying to rally against the Reds’ bullpen.

The Giants don’t hit many home runs. Without Buster Posey, they almost never hit home runs.

The starting pitching isn’t great and might not even be good right now. Matt Cain lasted five innings and lost Saturday. Now we get to the real questionable starting pitchers, guys who have struggled or have typically struggled. And, we get to them with the Giants needing to win Sunday and then win twice more in Cincinnati. It’s not actually good enough for Cain, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Barry Zito and Ryan Zito to be good guys, fan favorites and to have pitched well at various points this season. They need to pitch well right now, which means only Zito has the luxury of pitching now like he has been pitching. (I know, huh? The baseball gods let Giants fans chew on the idea that Zito has been the club’s most consistent starting pitcher.)

The baseball gods showed Giants fans that the Reds are the best team in the National League. (Positive thinkers by the bay will think, “Great! Now we know what it’ll take to beat ‘em!”)

The Reds have longball power up and down the lineup. They couldn’t hit Cain at all, until they hit balls over the fence.

They run the bases well and they play crisp defense. It wasn’t entirely blind luck that resulted in the Reds catching every line drive the Giants hit. The Reds catch almost everything hit near them.

And, the Reds have an exceptional bullpen. Exceptional.

The baseball gods showed Giants fans all that on a night when they also showed manager Dusty Baker handling a serious pitching problem absolutely brilliantly. San Francisco fans still kind of blame Baker for losing the 2002 World Series by mishandling his pitching and on Saturday, when Cueto went down, Baker wound up looking like a genius.

Ouch! Man! The baseball gods were in a foul mood.

The Giants can win the NLDS. Obviously. One game doesn’t mean anything, even if it is a game where the Reds lost their ace pitcher to injury and still won.

The Giants just need to figure out how to win after the baseball gods made in clear that the Reds are better.

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Comments

18 Comments

  1. blake

    Maybe melk man should be forgiven….we need bats!!!!!!!

    October 7th, 2012 12:00 pm

  2. overtime

    Blake…You could be right. The baseball gods would really be unhappy if they called Melky. Nice to hear from you. Thanks. TED

    October 7th, 2012 4:41 pm

  3. Former Subscriber

    I had similar thoughts after Saturday’s game. All of the line drives and flares that could’ve, should’ve, would’ve…Especially Belt’s shot that Vatto snared.

    The Reds have the goods and are outplaying the Giants in all phases.

    Let’s see if the baseball gods will turn their favor toward the men in black and orange. It’s going to take a miracle!

    October 8th, 2012 10:32 am

  4. SK

    perhaps the baseball gods were also paying back all the classless giants fans at AT&T park who actually cheered when johnny cueto had to leave the game due to injury. cheering an opposing team’s injury?? now THAT will definitely offend the baseball gods.

    October 8th, 2012 2:08 pm

  5. overtime

    SK…Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.
    I thought exactly the same thing but … just forgot to mention the cheering for Cueto’s injury when I was rushing to write late Saturday night. It was classless … and it was EXACTLY what the baseball gods would frown upon. Excellent point!

    I was following the game on the radio and TV on Sunday. In about the 6th inning, I heard on the radio crowd microphone a fan belch, “GIANTS?!?!?!? YOU STINK!?!?!?” Pretty indicative of the bandwagon-jumping fan who love the ball park, love when they win … and doesn’t understand that sometimes, they lose. Equally classless.

    Thanks
    TED

    October 8th, 2012 4:03 pm

  6. overtime

    Former…Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Baseball can be maddening. The baseball gods make sure we remember that with games like we watched Saturday and Sunday. The good news … momentum means only as much as the next starting pitcher’s performance. So…if Vogelsong pitches really well and the Giants score early, things can change. Looking long-term…yep, a miracle is required. I think the players and staff figure they only have to win Game 3…one game. That doesn’t require a miracle. Then … if they get to Game 4, they figure they have to win one game, Game 4. Again, no miracle required to win one game. I’d say the Giants are all but dead … however, I’ve felt they were going, going gone any number of times when they’ve bounced back. Ted

    October 8th, 2012 4:10 pm

  7. Cara

    Ugh, the Giants this weekend reminded of the Pres in the Denver debate. Listless, unfocused and under-performing.
    Though the first debate won’t hurt in the long run, those last 2 games sure will.

    October 8th, 2012 4:23 pm

  8. overtime

    Cara…I don’t know. I read where Romney moved ahead of Obama in the Pew Research poll so …. Ted

    October 8th, 2012 7:43 pm

  9. overtime

    SK…Oh, you’re right! I heard the cheering and … that was when I first thought about the baseball gods dropping thunder and lightning on the Giants. (It’s a joke in my baseball family … the baseball gods always get you! My kids got sick of hearing about them!) Cheering an injury is just classless and … mean-spirited. But, as I mentioned, the Giants’ fan had gotten a little high on themselves as the club streaked home beating up the Padres, Rockies, Cubs, Padres, Rockies and Dodgers. Thanks for reading. Ted

    October 8th, 2012 8:24 pm

  10. Dar

    How’s the pie in the face Ted??? ;)

    I’m not sure about a miracle, but it sure was some unforgettable baseball!

    Hummmmmm BABY!!!

    October 11th, 2012 4:52 pm

  11. ben reyes

    Hey Ted,
    Nice article on 10/6 about how the reds are better than the giants. You are really eating $hi!! right about now

    October 11th, 2012 5:47 pm

  12. ben reyes

    oh yeah, Hey overtime…add the reds to your list right after the dodgers

    October 11th, 2012 5:50 pm

  13. K.T. Hastings

    The baseball Gods change their minds…apparently.

    October 12th, 2012 12:26 pm

  14. overtime

    No…the game ended Saturday and the next game started fresh…as did the 3 in Cincinnati. To know baseball is to know that the baseball gods treat each game differently…and, in the last graph, I wrote the Giants could win…surprised you didn’t notice that. I have a pal who’d totally given up on the Giants heading east…imagine that! Ted

    October 12th, 2012 2:29 pm

  15. overtime

    Ben…Thanks for reading. I don’t have a list, but I can start one. Thanks for sharing a thought. Ted

    October 12th, 2012 2:30 pm

  16. overtime

    Dar…Thanks for reading. I don’t think you read what I wrote after Game 1…or you read it and didn’t read the last part where I wrote something like, “The Giants can still win the series, they just have to beat a better team to do it.” You read that part, yes? What were you thinking after they fell behind 0-2 headed to Cincy? I wrote about a wake-up call in Game 1 … funny how you read it to be me saying the Giants couldn’t win. I hope you’ll share your thoughts here again. Thanks. Ted

    October 12th, 2012 2:33 pm

  17. Aquaria

    The Giants didn’t beat a better team.

    The Giants WERE the better team.

    Try to keep up.

    February 16th, 2013 12:11 am

  18. overtime

    Aquaria…Try to keep up? Pal, you’re commenting on a story written in October. It’s February! If I’d waited until February to write about the NLDS … I’d seem a lot smarter, too. (The Reds were far superior the first two games of that series. Those games got the Giants in gear at a time we, fans, thought they would handle the Reds easily. And, they won the series.) Keep up? Save the snark and share your opinion, ideally not four months after something is written here. TED

    February 16th, 2013 9:04 pm

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