Friday, October 8, 2010

Lincecum steamrolls Braves


That was the first 1-0 Giants game this season that didn't feel like torture!

It just seemed like no matter what, the Braves weren't going to be scoring any runs off of Tim Lincecum.  He was that dominant.  Matt Diaz summed Timmy's performance up best when he compared it to the game earlier this season in which the Braves were no-hit by Ubaldo Jimenez: “We had two hard-hit doubles. Other than that, we might have hit more hard-hit balls in the no-hitter, and got no hits. We only really had two balls hit hard at all tonight.”

It was that good of a performance.

It was also a performance for the record books.  Both the Giants' record books and MLB's record books. Lincecum set a franchise postseason record of 14 strikeouts in a single playoff game.  He also tied the record for most strikeouts in a postseason debut.  Last night he joined the likes of Bob Gibson, Roger Clemens, Sandy Koufax, and Mike Scott who all struck out at least 14 in a single postseason game.  (Livan Hernandez did too but that game will forever live in infamy as the game with the largest strike zone of all time!)

The game wasn't without controversy however.  Buster Posey's steal of second base in the fourth inning and led to the only Giants run of the game was the source of said controversy.   Pat Burrell struck out while Buster was on the move in what only could have been a broken hit and run.  The throw to second looked like it might or might not have got Posey and he was ruled safe.  TV replays showed Posey was clearly out by a good 6 inches or so but there was no disagreement on the field.  A few batters later Cody Ross grounded a ball that magically eluded Omar Infante's glove and scored Posey in what was the only run of the game.

Now let's take a break and talk about instant replay here.  There are a lot of blogs pointing to this play as a reason as to why baseball needs instant replay.  I do agree that baseball needs instant replay, bit this is a bad example.  instant replay would have had zero effect on this play.  Nobody on the field even questioned the call.  Not the second baseman, not Bobby Cox, Buster Posey didn't even look surprised to be called safe.  Cox said of the play: “Some of the guys came down after that inning and said he was out by 6 or 8 inches. From the dugout you can’t see anything, and I didn’t see a reaction from our infielders.”  So even if baseball had instant replay it would never have been used in that situation.

But the real story of the game is Tim Lincecum.  He has been called the franchise and last night he proved it.  Rarely does a young pitcher come out and pitch like a veteran in his first postseason game.  Usually the nerves get to him and it takes an inning or two to settle down.  Last night it took Lincecum exactly one batter to calm down.  Calm down he did!

I think this is going to be a special playoff run.

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