Giants

Don't get ahead of yourself, Giants fans

925369.jpg

Don't get ahead of yourself, Giants fans

DETROIT -- Now that youve all gotten ahead of yourselves -- and to be fair, why wouldnt you after that delicious two-day meal of Sandoval on a bed of Bumgarner -- heres something to remind you that few things are ever as they seem.

The Cincinnati Reds and the Washington Nationals.

I grant you, this is not the way to bet. The Giants have their best pitchers of 2012 R. -- Andrew Vogelsong and M. Thomas Cain -- going in Game 3 and 4, which is one more way that Bruce Bochys way of thinking works in his favor even when it seems like it doesnt.

But as a big believer in the things are awfully quiet around here . . . a little TOO quiet theory of human dynamics, your faithful, charming and even adorable author is waiting for the other shoe to drop. Now maybe it wont; it didnt for Texas two years ago.

But the Rangers also led the World Series 3-2 last year before losing the final two games in St. Louis, which is just one more example of how nothing is over until John Belushi in Animal House says its over. And even the stat that 14 of the last 15 teams to take a 2-0 lead in the Series have gone on to win it doesnt take into account the possibility that this is one of those years when a lead is really a cleverly disguised deficit.

See the Cardinals. See them golfing and hunting and lamenting their 3-1 lead over the Giants.

In other words, there are lots of ways this could get to be interesting -- so interesting that the ratings hammering the first two games took can be arrested and even perhaps reversed.

So, because a dose of reality never hurts anyone living in a state of unbridled euphoria, we present scenarios by which the Tigers could make this an event rather than a coronation. And dont think of this as buzzkill. Think of it as a map of a minefield -- where youd rather know what could go wrong than blithely stroll through and find out the hard way.

And remember, were always thinking of you.

1. Anibal Sanchez, Saturdays Tiger starter, does not treat the Giants well. In his last three years in Florida, he muzzled the Giants as well as nearly anyone, and in his two starts this year he was exemplary once and part of a 14-7 abomination the other time. In other words, he can claim to have their number.
2. The Tigers cant really be smothered thrice in their own park, can they? Comerica Park is a big place, but the Tigers are much better there than in an airport like San Francisco, where power hitters go to die and gap hitters thrive.
3. Delmon Young is better as a designated hitter than as a left fielder. The Tigers will use either Don Kelly or Quentin Berry in left in the three games here, which immediately improves Detroits greatest deficiency -- defense. It also exacerbates one of the Giants deficiencies -- no natural DH.
4. Having been fooled by the low end of Justin Verlanders skill set once this series, we can estimate that he will be better in Game 5. We do not do this with the same surety we had in Game 1 (and yes, we were in a group that comprised all other living humans interested in baseball on that one), but it is hard to fathom he will not learn from his mistakes in Game 1.
5. If you believe in rust (and again, we do not), the Tigers are no longer rusty. They were dusty in Games 1 and 2, but ought to be free of webs and insect nests by now.
6. There is no longer a question of where Jose Valverde fits into the Tigers bullpen. He doesnt. That logically diminishes the Giants chances.
7. The 2010 World Series ended too abruptly. Some drama would be nice.
8. The Giants have a knack for playing their backs against the wall. We are not entirely sure how they will do with the other guys back against the wall.
9. Seriously, another five-game series would be kind of a letdown, except maybe for Fox, which cant seem to get people to watch anything that isnt Yankees-vs.-Red Sox.
10. Smug does not become a Giants fan. Fret, worry lines, agony, and the fetish that watching a good baseball team over and over again is torture is what makes a Giants fan. So a struggle here could be therapeutic for you all, as it is what you seem to prefer.

And all that said, the Giants are still in a dramatically superior position here, and as long as they dont act like it, theyll be fine. Eventually. We think.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants drop finale in Miami

cain-giants-marlins-ap.jpg
AP

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants drop finale in Miami

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — The flight from Miami to San Francisco is one of the longest in the league. It will not be a happy one.

The Giants fell behind early and never recovered, losing 8-1 in the series finale with the Marlins. The Giants had won six of nine entering the road trip. They dropped a series in Washington D.C. and then lost two of three to the Marlins. 

You are here already, so here are five things to know … 

—- Matt Cain deserved better in the first, and it was kind of a stunning error that cost him. With two outs, Brandon Crawford dropped a liner that was hit right at him. The next batter, Tomas Telis, hit a two-run double. 

—- Cain was charged with five runs in four innings, but only two of them were earned. He struck out seven and walked just one, showing a good curveball throughout. Several times, he dropped down for a new look. Like I said, he deserved a bit better than that final line. 

—- Pablo Sandoval’s walk in the eighth was his first since returning to the Giants. His numbers, by the way, are right in line with his Boston numbers. 

—- Albert Suarez has seen his stuff take a tick up during this stint with the Giants, but it’s not leading to results. After giving up a walk-off grand slam on Sunday, he allowed three runs in 2 2/3 innings in relief of Cain. Suarez currently has a 7.43 ERA. 

—- Giancarlo Stanton was 2 for 4 with two singles. His run of six games with a homer came to an end. I suppose that’s a small victory for the Giants?

Giancarlo Stanton to Giants? Upside vs downside from Marlins perspective

stanton-giancarlo-home-run.jpg
USATI

Giancarlo Stanton to Giants? Upside vs downside from Marlins perspective

Because we are too cool to allow the games to sustain us and because we all think the purpose of sports is actually not to be the best player but the general manager, the new item on the baseball menu is not the pennant races but “Where should Giancarlo Stanton go?”

The usual suspects are listed – the Yankees, the Giants, the Chunichi Dragons, Real Madrid – and the $295 million still on his contract is not considered an impediment.

But the logic behind the Marlins keeping him is just as clear and more pressing. Namely, Bruce Sherman, the incoming owner, and Derek Jeter, the designated face, did not buy this team and promptly try to make themselves detested by the few people who still care about it.

So far, we know that the monstrous thing in center field (no, not Christian Yelich) is likely to be torn down, and that Stanton is don’t-go-to-the-bathroom-during-his-half-inning entertainment. Beyond that, we know only that the Marlins draw when they win a lot and barely at all the rest of the time. They are clearly a distant third in a four-team race with the Dolphins and Heat for people’s hearts, and now that hating Jeffrey Loria’s living guts are off the table for the fans, there really is no there, there.

So what’s the up-side of moving Stanton (and before we go any further, the Giants don’t have nearly enough assets to make that work, so calm the hell down) for the Marlins? Prospects, the dark hole that makes a three-year plan a six-year plan.

And the down-side? Sherman may as well move the team for the level of fun he’ll get from it, and the only reason to buy a team looking at a $60 million loss is for the fun. Besides, onlky a very few owners have ever made the full turn from villain to hero – the first impression almost always lasts forever.

So while Stanton may create immediate wallet relief for this aggressively average team (their current record of 57-61 is the 12th best in their 25-year history, and they’ve only had eight winning seasons ever), they also have nothing to sell the fans that they have to live with every day. And if they don’t have enough fans . . . well, I hear San Jose is always hot for a mediocre franchise that lurches between spending money and hoarding it.