Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Year in Review (2012)

In a season that began with Brian Wilson going on the injured list (to undergo a second Tommy John surgery) which meant the bullpen was on committee and the hottest hand would be getting the yeoman's duty until further notice.

Guillermo Mota would be caught and have to serve 100 days as a penalty for being caught- a second time- having some form of performance enhancing drug in his system.

Tim Lincecum was struggling to find his form.  Freddy Sanchez was having setback after setback in his rehab. But Melky Cabrera proved to be a steal of a deal coming from the Kansas City Royals for Jonathan Sanchez.  He was en fuego (on fire) and his good play got him elected to the All-Star game and he continued his sensational play to win the game's Most Valuable Player award.  The winning National League team would get the home field advantage for the Fall Classic, World Series.

And then the news that Melky Cabrera got busted for performance enhancing drugs.  PEDs got the Melk Man.  Suddenly there was a pall on the 2012 season.  But what happened behind closed doors in the Giants' locker room was magical.  The team felt betrayed.  A man who they got along with kept something from them and that was not a part of the team mantra.  Manager Bruce Bochy absorbed the emotions and was dead set against considering bringing Melky back once his 50-day penalty had expired. His team, the guys who were there in mid-August didn't need any more adversity.

Marco Scutaro, acquired for a player the Giants had called up earlier in the season (Charlie Culberson) because Pablo Sandoval had just undergone his second hamate surgery in consecutive seasons and more depth was needed for the infielders.  More was expected from a gangly hustler who played himself into a couple of All-Star games with the Houston Astros and who was acquired by the Philadelphia Phillies for their 2011 pennant rush.  Unfortunately, for Hunter Pence, the Phillies didn't have the intangibles necessary to capture the brass ring known as the World Series Championship trophy.

The rival Los Angeles Dodgers having already acquired malcontent, Hanley Ramirez, had broken the bank for a few Boston Red Sox players after Bobby Valentine proceeded to thoroughly dismantle an organization with loose lips and just overall bad body language.  In return for James Loney and a couple of prospects (which could still prove to serve the Red Sox well because the Dodgers, like the A's, have always had a good crop of talent in their minor league systems) LA got Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Burkett and Nick Punto.  All three established players.

But the group of guys who wear orange and black weren't fazed by their rival's efforts. Their goal was to win the western division and see where the chips fall.

When would the controversy of the Washington Nationals choosing not to play Steven Strasberg come in to play?  You just knew it had to at some point. Because in baseball, unless you have the right mixture of players pulling in one direction somewhere, somehow, something will come back to bite you in the butt.

When Bronson Arroyo pitched 7 innings of one-hit baseball while walking only one batter and striking out 4 the Giants would go down 2-0 in a best of five series.  But something happened that gave me a glimpse of hope when the "what if's" were spoken.  Tim Lincecum was called out of the bullpen to work 2 innings. He gave up one hit, struck out two batters using just 25 pitches.  Seventeen of which were strikes.

Game 3 at Cincinnati the Giants eked out a 2-1 victory.
Game 4 at Cincinnati the Giants won 8-3.
Game 5 at Cincinnati the Giants hung on to win 6-4.

Now they would have home field advantage against a St. Louis Cardinal team that manufactured one of the best comebacks ever against the hometown Washington Nationals.  Insert Steven Strasburg controversy.

Game 1 @ AT&T  Cardinals-6   Giants-4
Game 2 @ AT&T   Giants-7   Cardinals-1
Game 3 @ Busch in St.Louis   Cardinals-3   Giants-1
Game 4 @ Busch in St.Louis   Cardinals-8  Giants-3
Game 5 @ Busch in St.Louis    Giants-5   Cardinals-0. 

This was a game for the ages.
I have seen Bob Gibson mow through the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers (although the '68 Tigers had Mickey Lolich and they won that Series).  I've seen Sandy Koufax work his magic in World Series play but this performance by Barry Zito was a classic that I'll not soon forget.  Best performance by a San Francisco Giant pitcher when you think about what was on the line. Below is the box score, courtesy of  baseball-reference.

     -  -  -   -  -  -   -  -  -    -  -  -
Giants          0  0  0   4  0  0   0  1  0    5  6  0
Cardinals       0  0  0   0  0  0   0  0  0    0  7  1

NOTE: All totals are for the entire postseason up to this game.

San Francisco Giants

Glossary  · SHARE  · Embed  · CSV  · PRE  · LINK  · ?
Angel Pagan CF500001.209.6741713-0.0770.590.000-0.077-1.230
Marco Scutaro 2B411000.293.69115110.0200.520.044-0.024-0.124
Pablo Sandoval 3B422101.310.89017120.0690.630.083-0.0151.411HR
   Joaquin Arias 3B000000.3751.0000.0000.000.0000.0000.000
Buster Posey C401002.189.654128-0.0850.850.004-0.088-0.980
Hunter Pence RF410002.154.40616100.1300.840.154-0.0240.820
Brandon Belt 1B300012.148.4431811-0.0830.540.002-0.085-0.880SB
Gregor Blanco LF210021.207.7571780.0560.770.062-0.0060.220
Brandon Crawford SS401202.214.63414110.1331.170.174-0.0411.112
Barry Zito P201101.333.667660.0340.830.058-0.0240.501SH
   Santiago Casilla P0000000.0000.000.0000.0000.000
   Aubrey Huff PH100000.143.39343-0.0010.020.000-0.001-0.1
   Sergio Romo P000000.000.0000.0000.000.0000.0000.000
Team Totals33564312.182.523136930.1960.720.581-0.3850.8278
HR: P Sandoval (3, off M Boggs; 8th inn, 0 on, 0 outs to Deep RF Line).
SH: B Zito (1, off L Lynn).
TB: P Sandoval 5; B Posey; B Zito; M Scutaro; B Crawford.
RBI: B Crawford 2 (5); B Zito (1); P Sandoval (7).
2-out RBI: B Crawford 2; B Zito.
Team LOB: 5.
With RISP: 2 for 8.
DP: 1. B Crawford-M Scutaro-B Belt.
SB: B Belt (1, 2nd base off M Boggs/Y Molina).

St. Louis Cardinals

Glossary  · SHARE  · Embed  · CSV  · PRE  · LINK  · ?
Jon Jay CF401000.200.5121510-0.0450.570.008-0.052-0.310
Carlos Beltran RF401001.3821.2582013-0.0090.710.034-0.043-0.310SB
Matt Holliday LF400003.222.5972314-0.0540.560.000-0.054-0.710
Allen Craig 1B401000.256.78418110.0060.570.048-0.042-0.0802B
Yadier Molina C402000.220.5631280.0060.580.042-0.0360.3121
David Freese 3B401001.325.8891280.0550.790.110-0.0550.1112B
Daniel Descalso 2B401001.250.7291711-0.0730.660.008-0.081-1.133
Pete Kozma SS200011.222.725147-0.0200.930.010-0.030-0.303IW
Lance Lynn P100000.000.33322-0.1532.720.000-0.153-1.500GDP
   Joe Kelly P0000000.0000.000.0000.0000.000
   Shane Robinson PH100000.000.14353-0.0110.460.000-0.011-0.1
   Trevor Rosenthal P0000000.0000.000.0000.0000.000
   Mitchell Boggs P0000000.0000.000.0000.0000.000
   Skip Schumaker PH100001.000.00053-0.0070.290.000-0.007-0.2
   Edward Mujica P0000000.0000.000.0000.0000.000
Team Totals3307018.212.50814390-0.3050.690.260-0.564-4.2278
2B: A Craig (4, off B Zito); D Freese (5, off B Zito).
IBB: P Kozma (1, by B Zito).
TB: Y Molina 2; D Freese 2; A Craig 2; C Beltran; D Descalso; J Jay.
GIDP: L Lynn (1).
Team LOB: 7.
With RISP: 0 for 7.
E: L Lynn (1).
SB: C Beltran (2, 2nd base off B Zito/B Posey).

San Francisco Giants

Glossary  · SHARE  · Embed  · CSV  · PRE  · LINK  · ?
Barry Zito, W (1-0)7.26001601.74291157340924101250720.2930.813.5
Santiago Casilla0.10000101.931752210000100.0040.170.2
Sergio Romo1 1000101.42421124170320000.0070.120.5
Team Totals9 7001800.00341439046123210157072100.3040.724.2

Lance Lynn, L (1-2)3.24402605.7318664322714732049-0.2381.36-2.6
Joe Kelly1.11000100.0051286203110200.0310.290.9
Trevor Rosenthal2 0000400.0062723112101100000.0230.150.9
Mitchell Boggs1 1111111.2952413724120000-0.0130.07-0.5
Edward Mujica1 0000003.003764201220000.0010.020.5
Team Totals9 65131211.003713693501528139504920-0.1960.69-0.8
Balks: None.
WP: None.
HBP: None.
IBB: B Zito (1; P Kozma).
Pickoffs: None.

Other Info

Umpires: HP - Ted Barrett, 1B - Jerry Layne, 2B - Gary Darling, 3B - Chris Guccione, LF - Bill Miller, RF - Greg Gibson.
Time of Game: 3:03.
Attendance: 47,075.
Start Time Weather: 51° F, Wind 15mph from Left to Right, Cloudy, No Precipitation.

Starting Lineups:
(I encourage those of you baseball fanatics to frequent the baseball-reference site.  It's got a lot of good stuff.)
Kevin J. Marquez