|Cody Ross hits postseason homer number 6|
At least that's what I keep telling myself.
Thoughts of a sweep were dancing through Giants fans minds after they manhandled the Rangers in the first two world series games in San Francisco. But these Texas Rangers are actually a pretty good team.
I know a lot of people were upset about the strike zone last night and they have a legitimate gripe. Colby Lewis' strike zone was almost as big as the one Livan Hernandez was getting with the Marlins. Jonathan Sanchez could have taken advantage of that strike zone too but he was so wild his pitches weren't even close. He did battle last night and held the damage to 4 runs against a very potent Rangers offense.
There are some good reasons to worry that Sanchez has hit a wall. After his dominant performance against the Braves, he has turned in 3 stinkers in a row. The two games against the Phillies were surprising because he has dominated the Phils in his career. The game last night was surprising because he gave up 2 homeruns to left handed batters. Something he had only done 5 times in the regular season. Sure, Josh Hamilton hit one of those but the real killer to Mitch Moreland was the real killer and wound up being the difference in the game.
Sanchez's wildness might be a hint that he has reached his limit in terms of innings pitched. He is at 213.1 IP this season. His previous high was 163.1 IP last season. So he is 50 over his previous high. His extreme wildness would be an indicator that he is tired. But the Giants have no other choice than to hope he has one more good start in him in game 7. The only other option would be to start rookie Madison Bumgarner on 3 days rest but he is in a similar situation as far as an increase in innings even though he hasn't shown the same signs of fatigue. But since I predicted the Giants to win in 6 games we shouldn't have to worry about what kind of Sanchez we will be getting in game 7.
The offense was mediocre again last night. Besides the usual Cody Ross homerun and a homerun by Andres Torres, the Giants were only able to muster 3 hits off of Rangers starter Colby Lewis. Thus they continued their season long tradition of making mediocre starters look like Cy Young award candidates.
Tonight Madison Bumgarner, one of the heroes of game 6 against the Phillies, will be going against Tommy Hunter who is sporting a 6.14 ERA in the postseason. The matchup favors the Giants and that's good given the importance of game 4 in the World Series. This is a pivotal game given the history behind who wins game 4 and it's relation to the eventual series winner.
Some other random thoughts.
Pat Burrell is enough of a professional to work his way out of his slump at the plate. As with Sanchez, there just aren't many alternatives at this point. But he is still a force in the lineup and his presence is a factor in how the Rangers approach Buster Posey. I love Nate Schierholtz but there is no way he is as valuable to the team as a hitter as Pat Burrell and he definitely does not have the lineup presence.
Keep Pablo as the DH. Sure he didn't look that great last night but he hasn't played in over a week. Now that he has had 4 ABs to get his stroke and to work out the nerves of playing in the World Series, he should be much better. He is the Giants best option at DH anyway.
Despite all the gloom and doom of last night's loss, there are still plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the series. The Giants don't have to win any games in Arlington. They can go home and still maintain home field advantage. That's the worst case scenario. Also, they still have Lincecum and Cain looming in games 5 and 6 so things don't look so bad after all!
It just wouldn't be fitting to not have some torture in the World Series after having it in just about every other aspect of 2010!