Romo, Giants continue to dispel myths

Romo, Giants continue to dispel myths
October 22, 2012, 4:59 am
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The last time a team won three consecutive games twice in a year to win postseason series was 1985, when the Kansas City Royals were the best team in baseball.Thats right. When the earth was still cooling.But to those who believe in vibes, thats all the throb in the San Francisco Giant clubhouse. Having punched holes in myths this entire postseason, they enter the all-in game with the St. Louis Cardinals Monday night with their best pitcher going, their bullpen rested, and their lineup healthy.I dont know how else to put it, Sergio Romo said, the words running over each other in a rush to escape his arrhythmic emotions. We dont want to go home yet. I dont want to go home yet.Well, the Giants ARE home, to be precise. Sundays 6-1 win over St. Louis in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series kept them from scattering to the nine vectors of offseason life, and anyway, home is what you make it.Or in this case, what Ryan Vogelsong and Marco Scutaro and Pablo Sandoval and yes, Sergio Romo, chose to make it. The Giants, who allegedly struggled at home this year (and yes, allegedly is the word), gave the Cardinals all the home cooking a person can stomach. Between the atmosphere and the unique hops from an unusually choppy infield, the Cardinals got a weeks worth of San Francisco baseball in one night.
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Romo is probably the spokesman for the rumble and hum of the Giants ascendant. If the Giants bullpen is closer by committee, he is the committee chair, and pulls the team and crowd with him. Indeed, he is one of the enduring myths of this season the closer who gets everything but the official title.Then again, the starting rotation itself is a bit of a myth. It has been saved three times in October alone by the fourth and fifth starters, Ryan Vogelsong and the redoubtable Barry Zito, if you go by the pecking order established at the beginning of the year. Vogelsong defied the reaper and his preseason place Sunday by overwhelming the Cardinals with fastballs early and baffling them with breaking balls the second time through the order. By the time he had allowed St. Louis first hit, to David Descalso in the fifth inning, the Giants had already scored five of their six runs.And theres another myth dispelled. For all the focus on pitching matchups, postseason games are truly won by scoring first and establishing advantages that can be held. The team scoring first in San Franciscos 11 games is 9-2, and the team scoring first has fallen behind only twice as well. The Giants won one of those two games, Game 3 in Cincinnati.The first Vogelsong start.Which, oddly, is the one of his three that impressed him the least.I actually think that my stuff was better in Game 2, he said. I threw the ball extremely well tonight, obviously, but I feel like I had some good misses (that they swung through). It comes down to executing the pitches then getting lucky on the ones you dont make, the ones they foul off or swing through. So I think Game 2, my stuff overall was better. Tonight I just had some good misses and some good fortune.
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And Scutaro, the other logical choice for series MVP if the Giants win, had another eye-popping game, walking and scoring the games first run, doubling home two runs in the second, and kicking in a third hit in the fourth just to reinforce the suggestion that he is part of the true nucleus of this team, after only three months in town. Remember, he was once a Colorado Rockie, a level of punishment that is hard to describe. Except, of course, by Scutaro himself.I wish I could see Dan ODowd, so I could kiss him right on the lips, Scutaro said of the Colorado general manager who moved Scutaro west largely to save the Rockies a million dollars. He told me he was going to work to put me in the best place he could, where I had a chance to win. He kept his word.And Scutaro has kept his since his unfortunate 2011 in Boston. He is hitting .471 since Matt Holliday steamrolled him in the first inning of Game 2. People notice that sort of thing, especially in October, as in one step closer to overcoming his difficult end with the Red Sox.I remember the last out in Cincinnati, when (Jay) Bruce was fouling all those pitches off, he said. I was saying, Please God, dont make me feel like that again.Bruce flied out, Scott Rolen struck out, and Scutaro survives. So yes, some of it is timing. And some of it is luck. Good, and bad.The Cardinals have injuries to Carlos Beltran (knee) and Holliday (back) that are impacting the St. Louis lineup, and catcher Yadier Molina has struggled in the five-spot. In addition, Game 6 starter Chris Carpenter was pitching the equivalent of his final spring training start after missing almost the entire year with an injury, and couldnt find the feel of his sinker at any point of the game.Plus, the Cardinals have allowed 10 unearned runs in this series, making them a team-wide version of Brooks Conrad, the unfortunate soul who committed four errors against the Giants in their NLDS win over the Braves two years ago.All that, though, is filed under tough cheese. In October, explanations become excuses, and excuses are the last thing to be packed on the plane. You win, or you lose. You live with the recriminations, or you live with the ambient noise of a city that envelops you.And right now, San Francisco is all noise.For all the credit Hunter Pence gets for his pregame speeches, and Bruce Bochy gets for his calm yet creative work at the rudder, bouncing out of the corner after losing the early rounds is as much a matter of vibe as anything else. And Romo carries that vibe to its overwhelming conclusion.I dont know if theres a knack to winning when your backs are against the wall, Romo said, but I will say that doing it alone is impossible. You need everyone. In uniform, in the stands, all of it. We want to do well for ourselves, and this city. These people deserve our best efforts, and our best games.Well, one game, anyway, one which will tell just how much this city will get what Romo says it deserves. At home, where the Giants are not supposed to play well. With their best pitcher, Matt Cain, who will have to go very deep and very strong to beat the work of his two predecessors, Vogelsong and Zito.And with Romo finishing, to the roaring strains of his own entry music, El Mechon.The Lock.

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