There is nothing like a healthy sweep at home to set the stage for the second half; especially after the devastating road trip with which the Giants ended the first half. And the Giants reclaimed first place to boot. That said, the upcoming road trip to Atlanta and then Philadelphia (the two cities they rolled through on their way to history in 2010), will likely feature some of the most important games of the season.
OK, so maybe that last bit is a lie, but get used to hearing it from every press outlet for the rest of the season. The way I see it, every game is equally important. There was a very unimportant game on Monday, April 12th, 2010, in which the Giants came head to head with the Pittsburg Pirates. They beat the Pirates in that contest even though it wasn’t a critical game. If they had lost that game, there wouldn’t have been a parade down Market St that November.
All the games are crucial, critical, instrumental, foremost, imperative, decisive, vital and momentous; and every team out there is a major league team that can beat you.
Timmy is not back. But it has nothing to do with the fact that his 8 inning, 11 K, shutout performance is diminished in any way by the lineup of the Astros, which is being said on the Twittersphere by some influential people. If the ‘Stros don’t count, do the Giants get credit for those three wins? Or the other two wins they have on the season against Houston? And while we’re at it, let’s strike Cain’s perfecto from the records as well. Who cares if they are the worst team in baseball, you still have to beat them in 9 innings (or 12 as the case may be). Also of note, the Padres had nearly the same record as Houston coming into the second half and they took 2 of 3 from the formerly first place Dodgers. Two of the worst teams in baseball effectively changed the standings in the NL West. There are 162 games in the season, and even the worst teams are going to win some of them.
Lincecum’s accomplishment against Houston was a huge step forward and a great way to start the first half. However, I’m not going to proudly proclaim his revival. He’s had great outings like this before only to be followed by collapses, so he’s still got a lot to prove. His record is substantially better at home so this next start of his in Philly is going to be crucial.
At the end of the year, replays will be shown of the turning point in the season; Evereth Cabrera, hands on hips, taking off from third when Kenley Jansen was busy kicking dirt around on the mound. The third baseman, Hairston, was looking right at Cabrera and didn’t even raise the alarm until he was halfway home. All with two strikes and two outs in the ninth inning.