In San Francisco’s first home game 6 since Billy Pierce beat the Yankees Whitey Ford in the 1962 World Series, the Giants rode Ryan Vogelsong’s arm and Marco Scutaro's bat to victory. On the heels of Barry Zito’s miraculous, season-saving performance in game 5, the Giants have brought themselves within one game from a return to the World Series. Expect record low ratings for tonight’s presidential debate unless the Giants game is rained out; Giants fever has taken over the town, and Matt Cain has a chance to replace fifty year old Game 7 memories of Willie McCovey lining out to Bobbie Richardson in the bottom of the ninth with a much happier ending.
I spoke to a lot of Giants fans on Friday afternoon and we were debating whether Barry Zito would be knocked out in the second, third or fourth inning. Nobody foresaw Zito keeping the Giants hopes alive, not to mention pitching 7 2/3 innings of shutout ball.
So let me say at the outset: I was wrong about Zito in 2012. I saw the odds of him leading the Giants to a game 6 as akin to betting Moses could walk across the Red Sea---it was a sports miracle of Biblical proportions.
Giants Unlikely Journey
If we knew before the playoffs began that Madison Bumgarner would implode, Matt Cain would have three straight weak starts, Tim Lincecum would get shelled in his only start, Buster Posey would hit less than .200 and Hunter Pence would be barely above .100, we would have predicted a three game sweep by the Reds and a short playoff run.
But we would have been wrong. Outstanding contributions by Ryan Vogelsong, Marco Scutaro, Pablo Sandoval and, yes, Barry Zito have overcome weak performance by so many key players.
This is not 2010, when locals knew that the Giants had great starting pitching but it was yet to be discovered by national fans and the media. 2012 has been the strangest of journeys, whose sheer unpredictability makes it a season for the ages.
Cain’s Time to Step Up
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee designated June 13, the date of Cain’s perfect game, Matt Cain Day in the city. Forever.
That’s quite an honor. And after three less than stellar playoff starts, Cain has a chance to make history by pitching the Giants to the World Series.
Giant fans were very confident that Vogelsong would pitch well in game 6, but there is understandable uncertainty whether Cain can return to his solid form in game 7. The long ball has been his problem, and if the skies are as rainy and cloudy as forecasted, that should make it harder for balls to leave the park.
It’s been an amazing season. I suspect this will not be among the most productive working Monday’s in San Francisco history, as people catch up on the past two games with office mates and talk about their predictions for game 7.
I’ve had this date circled on my calendar for some time, because my Chicago Bears are on Monday Night Football against the Detroit Lions. But the 7th game of Giants-Cardinals takes priority.
And having heard more than enough about Libya in the debates, I'll follow Obama and Romney repeating past assertions about foreign policy on radio and online.
If Cain gets it done and the Giants reach the World Series, San Francisco will celebrate almost as much as in 2010. And Mayor Lee would be justified into turning Matt Cain day into a weekend.