CHICAGO — It was soooo easy for those San Francisco Giants to demeanour during a classical Oct round diversion that unfolded Friday dusk during turbocharged Wrigley Field and marker it adult to a diminutive disproportion between winning and losing this time of year.
When we remove a 1-0 diversion to a strong Chicago Cubs on a sprightly Oct night, it’s soooo easy to consider it all came down to one pitch. To one swing. To one eighth-inning home run that floated by a Chicago sky and came down in a appliance that doesn’t exist in any other ballpark in America.
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And if that’s how a Giants wish to demeanour during it — by that we meant heck yeah, they did — it would be tough to censure them. But here’s another doubt they competence wish to ask themselves: What creates them consider they’re going to be means to measure adequate to kick a group with a best pitching staff in baseball?
OK, we’ve beheld it’s an even year. And yessir, we’ve beheld that enchanting things happens to a Giants in even-year Octobers. But we wish to know what else we’ve noticed?
That when they face a Cubs, each night looks a lot like this night.
Since a commencement of September, a Giants now have played a Cubs 5 times. Want to take a demeanour during how those Giants hitters have fared in those 5 games? Sure we do. But we competence need to lay down initial and maybe flow yourself a beverage, since this won’t be easy on a eyes.
In those 5 games, a Giants have gotten a total of 20 hits. In 163 at-bats. And if we don’t have a calculator handy, that computes to a terrifying batting normal of — ready? — .123. It also includes scarcely twice as many strikeouts (39) as hits (20).
You can now repeat after us: Yikes!
Of a 10 runs a Giants have scored in those 5 games, 4 of them came off Mike Montgomery during a Sept. 1 mark start. In a other 4 games, they went 16-for-98 (.163) opposite Jake Arrieta, John Lackey and Friday night’s Cubs ace du jour, Jon Lester — scoring a sum of 4 warranted runs in 28 innings.
So is that an indicator of what’s to come in this appealing small Division Series between a three-time champs and a 103-win juggernaut on a goal to finish a town’s fun-filled 108 years of suffering? If it is, afterwards Jeff Samardzija, Madison Bumgarner and Matt Moore had improved be prepared to dump a whole lot of zeros on a scoreboard over a subsequent 3 games.
Asked Friday night if he enjoys attack during Wrigley, Buster Posey couldn’t assistance though chuckle.
“Sure,” he said. “When we get hits.”
Well, he did get dual of them on this night. That’s a good news. The bad news is, his dual forays into scoring position (which would be some-more than all of his teammates combined) converted into 0 runs — since a lineup around him sum to go 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position opposite Lester and his favorite 102 mph closer, Aroldis Chapman.
“When you’re confronting Jon Lester and Aroldis Chapman, you’ve got your hands full,” Posey said, in a midst of an roughly dead-silent clubhouse. “Hey, we’d adore to measure 6 off Lester. But a contingency of that aren’t unequivocally good.”
Yeah, we don’t need to check a receptacle house in Vegas to know he’s got an glorious feel for those odds. But how many improved do a contingency get Saturday in Game 2, when a Giants have to face Kyle Hendricks, a associate who usually led a joining in ERA and went 9-2 with a 1.32 ERA during Wrigley this season?
Do those contingency urge a whole lot in Game 3, when a Giants have to line adult opposite a obligatory Cy Young, Arrieta, a lady who has authorised a grand sum of 7 warranted runs opposite them in 5 starts as a Cub?
Then subsequent up, after him, is Lackey. His career ERA opposite a Giants in a unchanging season: 2.37. Are we authorised to discuss a somewhat unpleasant Game 7 win over them in a 2002 World Series that didn’t spin out so hot? Oops. We usually did. Sorry!
So those numbers alone tell we this is one gorgeous revolution a Cubs are about to run out there. Just to make sure, we asked Posey if these guys were as good as a numbers make them look. Let’s usually contend he didn’t repudiate it.
“Yeah, they’ve got good stuff,” Posey said. “And they’re all a small bit different. Lester has unequivocally good stuff, and he commands a round well. And obviously, a male we’ve got tomorrow [Hendricks] commands a round as good as anybody in a game. Arrieta is a ‘stuff guy,’ for sure. His round is relocating all over a place. And Lackey is going to contest his tail off. But we mean, that’s what we design this time of year.”
Since he’s vocalization as a male who is about as informed with “this time of year” as any tellurian on a world — from Derek Jeter to David Ortiz to Vin Scully — we can feel giveaway to assume he’s as assured as ever that he plays on a group that will figure out how to make this work somehow or other.
“Am we assured of that? Sure,” he said. “You’ve got to scratch. But it’s what we’ve finished in a past.”
The question, however, is this: Is this lineup as good as it was in a past? The 2012 and 2014 Giants both ranked in a tip 6 in a joining in runs scored. This group finished ninth. Over a second half, usually dual NL lineups (the Marlins and Phillies) scored fewer runs than they scored. So it’s satisfactory to consternation if what they’ve finished in a past even relates anymore.
“A lot of a second half, it felt like many of us were in a slump,” initial baseman Brandon Belt said. “So that’s not as good as we can play. But we consider we saw a group some-more like what you’re used to saying from us in that final week of a season. we consider we played some-more like we should play. And we consider that gives us certainty going into these subsequent games, since yeah, we’re going to face a lot of good pitching, though we know that we’re able of winning these ballgames.”
Oh, they’ve slayed copiousness of good pitching staffs and copiousness of good teams on a highway to those 3 parades, of course. The 2010 Phillies, 2012 Cardinals and 2014 Nationals could tell we all about it. But in Game 1 during Wrigley Field, a Giants got a text doctrine on what can occur to even a special group when it doesn’t score.
What happens is this: A diversion gets motionless on a soaring fly round that a left fielder settles under, meaningful he’s going to locate it — and instead it plops into a basket that hangs over a outfield wall, because, well, it’s Wrigley Field. So of course, a usually suspended basket in round helps establish who wins and loses a pivotal postseason game.
“Yes. Of course,” he said. “I was right underneath it. It looked like it was entrance back. It was entrance [down], though it was entrance back. So we could see a round entrance back, though it was right in a behind of a basket. It was right on a edge. But it was good enough.”
In other words, it held a unequivocally corner and forsaken in?
“I haven’t seen a replay, though that’s what it looked like,” Pagan said. “I saw [the] baseball. Right before we got to a wall, we saw [the] round right there. So we could see that if it kept [going], we could locate it.”
Pagan spoken these difference with some-more abdication than bitterness. This was life in October. He knew it well. He has roamed outfields in a vital leagues for 11 seasons now. He knows there is zero utterly like those baskets in any of a other 29 parks.
“But it’s been there for so many years, you’ve got to honour those baskets,” he said. “They’ve been there many longer than we’ve been personification round — or living.”
Now, he knows, it’s time for his group to find a approach to overcome whatever obstacles benefaction themselves this month — either it’s baseball-eating baskets or bat-eating aces. Or else.
“There’s no other way,” Pagan said. “Otherwise, we’re going to go home.”