Thursday, October 7, 2010

NLDS Game 1: Braves at Giants

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Braves and Giants kick off their series at AT&T Park.
Five games have already been played this postseason. We've seen a no-hitter. We've seen a couple of managers ejected. We've seen a 10-strikeout game. And we've seen the road team win four of those five games. And one of the four Division Series hasn't even started yet!

Finally, the Braves and Giants are ready to commence with their NLDS out in San Francisco. This series has its own intriguing storylines, from Bobby Cox's final run as Atlanta manager to the Giants trying to win their first World Series since Willie Mays roamed the Polo Grounds in 1954. It also features Tim Lincecum's postseason debut, which is reason alone to stay up late tonight.

Nationals fans may also be interested to learn of one player who was left off the Giants' postseason roster: Jose Guillen, who was picked up in midseason after getting dumped by the Royals and wound up playing a significant role down the stretch. Guillen, though, has a disc problem in his neck, and the club determined he couldn't play, so he's off the roster.

Where: AT&T Park
Gametime: 9:37 p.m.
TV: TBS Radio: WTEM-980 AM
Weather: Mostly clear, 63 degrees
3B Omar Infante
RF Jason Heyward
1B Derrek Lee
C Brian McCann
SS Alex Gonzalez
LF Matt Diaz
2B Brooks Conrad
CF Rick Ankiel
P Derek Lowe

CF Andres Torres
2B Freddy Sanchez
1B Aubrey Huff
C Buster Posey
LF Pat Burrell
SS Juan Uribe
3B Pablo Sandoval
RF Cody Ross
P Tim Lincecum
10:02 p.m. -- Welcome to the postseason, Tim Lincecum. Seven batters faced, six outs, the last five via strikeout. It appears The Year of the Pitcher extends into October.

10:26 p.m. -- Big squandered opportunity for the Giants in the bottom of the third. They had runners on first and third with one out when Freddy Sanchez went way out of the strike zone to tap a comebacker to Lowe. Cody Ross got caught off third base and wound up in a rundown. The only saving grace was that Ross managed to extend the rundown long enough to allow the trailing runners to advance to second and third and keep the rally alive. But then Aubrey Huff struck out to end the inning and keep this game scoreless through three.

10:50 p.m. -- The Martin Prado injury looks like it could have a major negative effect on the Braves. With Prado out, Omar Infante has to play third base and Brooks Conrad has to play second. Well, Conrad has an error and Prado just put forth a less-than-spectacular effort on Cody Ross' grounder to his left. Gotta think Prado makes that play. Instead, the Giants take a 1-0 lead. And the way Lincecum is pitching so far (one hit through four innings), that one run might just hold up for the entire night.

11:08 p.m. -- This is going to sound crazy, but Lincecum might just be as dominant or even more dominant tonight than Roy Halladay was yesterday. He gave up that leadoff double to open the game. Since then, he's allowed only one other Brave to reach base (on a walk) and now has nine strikeouts through six innings. Just slicing and dicing his way through the Atlanta lineup. Three absolute masterpiece pitching performances so far through six games this postseason: Cliff Lee, Halladay and now Lincecum. Love it.

11:34 p.m. -- The Nats got to see Johnny Venters plenty this season, and now the Giants are seeing the lefty reliever up close and personal. This guy is just filthy. Still 1-0 as they head to the eighth, with Lincecum cruising along and having tied the Giants franchise record for strikeouts in a postseason game with 10. Something tells me he's going to break that record before night's end.

11:40 p.m. -- What do you know, Lincecum strikes out Ankiel for No. 11 and a new franchise postseason record.

11:43 p.m. -- OK, dilemma time for Bruce Bochy. Lincecum is at 105 pitches through eight spectacular innings. Do you pull him in favor of closer Brian Wilson for the ninth, or do you let him finish it out? I just don't see how you can pull him at this point. He has shown no signs of tiring or faltering. Let him finish what he started.

11:55 p.m. -- Here we go: Lincecum coming back out for the ninth, up 1-0. Top of the Braves order due up.

12:02 a.m. -- Incredible. Simply incredible. Lincecum goes the distance and beats the Braves 1-0. His final line: 9 ip, 2 h, 0 r, 1 bb, 14 k. Even more incredible: Cliff Lee struck out 10 and walked none yet was the author of only the third-best pitching performance of the last two days. What a start to this postseason. Not that I enjoy quoting Jim Bowden, but the man was right: Pitching, pitching, pitching.


Faraz Shaikh said...

Finally I get a chance to watch a game today. It has been mad crazy because of all assignment and stuff.

two of my support teams (Rays and twins) are on the brink of elimination so I would just concentrate on Giants now. let's hope they don't disappoint me.

Faraz Shaikh said...

i didn't know Guillen wasn't playing. I was wondering when I saw the lineup that a familiar name is missing. Too bad for jose. The closest he will ever get to playoffs.

Is TL on fire tonight? 9 SO through first 6 innings. Just love the fireballer. Wish we get SS back soon and make the similar run.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Oh My God! Unbelievable! Sandoval just plain sucks. The announcers and Bobby Cox read into the situation very well when Uribe was walked with Posey on third but one out in bottom of the sixth. I mean when Uribe was talked, the announcers started saying how that was a good thing. Bobby switched Lowe with Venters and Pablo obliged with a nice DP.

Sec3My Croix de Candlestick said...

Guillen is not such a surprise, his being hurt and all, but the fact that they left Zito off the roster is both surprising--he's the highest paid player they have--and no surprise at all if you've seen him pitch lately. Apparently he took it well--he's at the park, maybe charting pitches?

JaneB said...

I have pitching envy.

dj in Fl. said...

Starting pitching, starting pitching and more starting pitching is what you have to have at this level. So know I understand why the Nats went for Detwiller instead of Heyward. I was a little confused earlier.
Excellent games all day.
Once again the umps will take it on the chin.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Wait, what? Zito is not on Giants' roster. WOW, how did I miss that? i just looked up his numbers and they gone up as the regular season came to close. Still I am surprised given that he is veteran and all.

Anyways, I would definitely leave TL to finish things off. He seems locked in right now. let's not disturb his rhythm.

Oh, can someone tell me how Posey was supposed to be caught stealing before he scored the only run of the game? I missed the play.

Michael J. Hayde said...

What a great, dominant performance by the young Arlo Guthrie... er, Lincecum. I missed Halladay's outing; glad I stayed up for this one.

Sec3HummBaby! said...

You know, for a 1-0 playoff game, that didn't feel like the Braves were close.

BQ, Posey stole second, but he should have been out--the ump was out of position and missed the call, pretty blatantly.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Yep, totally worth watching TL on the mound. That was just brilliant. What's the record for most strikeouts in a single postseason game?

I am going to try and watch tomorrow night game as well. Cain and Hanson are also capable of dominating hitters the way TL did tonight. Oh and needless to say but Giants' bats need to come out of slumber for them to continue winning. They can't have TL pitching every night so better produce offensively when pitchers have an off day. Go Giants!!!

Unknown said...

Thanks to Mark for the previews of each series and the running threads during the games.

JaneB said...

Right on Samantha. It's making the games waaaaay more fun!

natsfan1a said...

Missed seeing the bulk of the game but was pleased to hear the results this morning. Will plan to watch the replay later.

BQ, respect the Kung Fu Panda, grasshopper. ;-)

markfd said...

Another power pitcher dominating..hint hint Mike Rizzo!

Cwj said...

I don't understand how Lincecum manages to still be a strikeout pitcher despite only throwing 89-91 mph. Has he somehow reinvented himself since losing his velocity? Is it his delivery? What makes him so effective?

Anonymous said...

OT but here's the video (in Chinese) to CMWang's 1 inning work.

Scrub forward to 1:02 to see Flores throw to 2b to nail the base runner.


Mrs. Z. said...

In a perfect world, my 2012 Nats starting rotation would look something like this:

Stephen Strasburg
Timmy Lincecum
Roy Halladay
Cliff Lee
Livo, just for the sake of nostalgia and tradition

Also in my perfect baseball world, Strasburg throws a perfect game, the Nats go 120-40, Teddy wins, Screech is replaced by a respectable mascot, MASN figures out how to be a decent media outlet, and the Phillies are moved to more deserving city--like Pittsburgh.

Oh, and this blog becomes wildly successful, setting the new standard for online sports journalism and earning Mark enough money so that I don't have to work and can just travel with the Nats fulltime.

Hey, a girl can dream.

Mark Zuckerman said...

Anon: Thanks for the link -- that was awesome!

Josh said...

Re: how Lincecum is still a strikeout pitcher with a 90/91 mph fastball: first of all, he can (and did occasionally) dial it up to 93-94 mph. Secondly, his offspeed stuff (changeup and now slider) are so good that batters can't sit on the fastball as much as they can with many other pitchers, or they'll just look absolutely silly (like they did many times today). He also varies the eye levels of the batter with the change, after which he can pump a high fastball right by them. There's a reason they call him The Freak.

natsfan1a said...

Mrs. Z, I like it, and I hope that all your dreams come true. Could we just add "the Nats seal a deal with a radio station that has a decent signal throughout the DC metro region"? 'kay, thanks. :-)

JaneB said...

I wish Mrs. Z had the checkbook and the power to make this happen! on ALL counts...

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