Sunday, October 31, 2010
Game four World Series recap; former president Bush throws out first pitch
This World Series game had a special feel to it. First of all the winner of this game would control the series. If the San Francisco Giants win they are up 3-1 with Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain going in the next two days. While if the Texas Rangers win they'll steal back momentum, even the series at 2-2 then have Cliff Lee go in game five. This game was indeed a special feel to it.
Another reason this game had a special feel to it was before the game. Two former United States presidents took the pitchers mound to throw out the first pitch. The 41st US president George Herbert Walker Bush(1989-1992) who played in two college world series for Yale in 1947 and 1948 was there along with his son. George Walker Bush(2001-2008) the 43rd president in US history was also owner of the Texas Rangers in the early 1990's. In fact George W. Bush was the only owner to vote against the Wild Card. His first pitch in game three of the 2001 World Series was probably the highlight of his presidency given the circumstances. Well George W. Bush threw out the first pitch as his dad watched(Who is a huge Astros fan by the way). The crowd cheered and that is when everyone realized this is more than just a normal baseball game.
The problem is somebody forgot to tell rookie 21 year old Madison Bumgarner. Bumgarner of the Giants has had a good solid postseason facing a lineup that is ready to bust out who chased another lefty starter the day before. The Rangers had Tommy Hunter who was not good in his first two postseason starts. At the end of the day we saw yet another low scoring game which featured a shutout.
Rookie Bumgarner shuts out Rangers 4-0; take series lead 3-1
The Texas Rangers in 81 home games in the regular season and then an additional six playoff games were shutout a grand total of one time the entire year. So the odds of them getting shutout when facing a rookie number four starter were probably a thousand to one if not higher. Well Madison Bumgarner pitching in the World Series on the road after two former presidents were throwing out the first pitch seemed unfazed. In fact he was quite dominant. He shut the Rangers out in eight innings and puts the Giants one win away from their first ever World Series title since moving to San Francisco over 50 years ago.
The Giants offense despite on paper not looking to be very good finds a way to get the job done. In the third inning Aubrey Huff hit a two-run homerun to put the Giants on the board 2-0. Huff who played in over a thousand games in his career before finally reaching the playoffs this season had to feel good on that blast. The Rangers starter Tommy Hunter could only last 4 innings but allowed just those two runs.
In the seventh inning the Giants scored again when leadoff hitter Andres Torres who slumped in September but scored earlier in the game on Huff's homerun delivered a big hit. Torres hit the ball to deep right as the ball kept traveling and the ball hit the wall and didn't go over which allowed Edgar Renteria to score from first base to extend the lead to 3-0. In the bottom half of the inning offered the only drama for the Rangers. With Hamilton on at first base who reached on an error. Vladmir Guerrero came to the plate and on a full count Bumgarner threw a change up to strike Guerrero out for the third time. He then allowed a base hit to Nelson Cruz bringing in the potential tieing run in Ian Kinsler. Bochy gambled and left Bumgarner in there and Kinsler line out to left field. That would be the only time all game Texas would have a runner on second base.
In the top of the eighth Buster Posey would hit a homerun that would appear to be an easy out only the ball kept traveling to centerfield and was gone. That was Posey first career postseason homerun to give the Giants a commanding 4-0 lead. Bumgarner would again continue to cruise through the eighth. Bumgarner final line was 8 innings, 3 hits, 2 walks and 6 strikeouts. In the ninth inning closer Brian Wilson who hasn't had a save opportunity this series retired the Rangers in order and struck out two batters.
The Giants the team of misfits as they call themselves are just one out away from a World Series championship. In August they trailed the San Diego Padres by six games, then punched their postseason ticket on the very last day of the season. After the Giants blew game two in the NLDS at home many thought the Braves would eliminate them, nobody gave them a chance to beat the Phillies and in this series nobody thought they could contain the bats of Texas.
This pitching staff is the best staff we have seen the 90's Atlanta Braves which featured Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and some years Steve Avery, Pete Smith, Kevin Millwood, and Denny Neagle. The Giants top four starters are all under the age of 28 so expect this team to last a while. They have a good young bat who you'll see in All-Star games for years to come in Buster Posey who became the first catcher to catch a shutout and hit a home run in the World Series since 1983. Madison Bumgarner who was just their fourth starter is only 21. He became the third youngest pitcher to win a World Series game.
Now the Giants have been here before back in 2002 they were up 3-2 and winning that final game is always the toughest. It is not out of the question with Cliff Lee and C.J.Wilson pitching that the Rangers can still force a game seven. The Giants will do everything they can to avoid that since Sanchez has struggled this postseason. The Giants will turn the ball to their ace Tim Lincecum who failed to win the clinching game in the NLCS has a chance to have the city of San Francisco go crazy. The Giants have a chance to go crazy tomorrow with a victory. The Rangers will have their last chance to see their team play for the 2010 season. This could also be the last time they ever see Cliff Lee pitch for their team again.