Yesterday Subrata and I went up to San Francisco to watch the last game of the Giants’ season. It was a belated birthday present for Subrata, as he hadn’t been to a game all year due to getting his infant son oriented to the world.
We were lucky to get tickets, I think, since Cy Young hopeful Tim Lincecum was pitching against the Giants’ nemesis, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Lincecum recorded his first 9 out by strikeout, and ended up striking out 13 in 7 innings. Only 24 years old, Lincecum looks like the next great thing after leading the Majors in strikeouts this year, and finishing 3rd in ERA.
The Dodgers had already secured their playoff berth and had basically nothing to play for, so they ran out a few of their starters at the beginning of the game, and then a legion of scrubs as the game wore on. Manny Ramirez never got into the game. There were nonetheless several hard-hit balls to the outfield, both to “Triples Alley” and one ball that Juan Pierre managed to snag up against the left field wall. Of course, Pierre also managed to botch a catch when the ball came at him out of the sun, to the delight of the bleacher creatures.
We were sitting in the bleachers ourselves, which made for pretty nice seats. It turned out that cow-orker K and another cow-orker were sitting 15 rows behind us, but we never saw each other.
We did get to see Omar Vizquel in what was surely his last game as a Giant, and maybe his final game in the Majors. I remember (dimly) when he was traded to the Indians from the Mariners back in 1993, beginning his tenure on the run of great 90s Indians teams. I don’t think he’s truly Hall-of-Fame caliber, but he has had a noteworthy career.
Anyway, it was a good day at the ballpark. We also watched the scoreboards and noted that the Milwaukee Brewers are going to the playoffs for the first time since 1982. New manager Dale Svuem seems to have done a good job of deploying his talent effectively in the last 2 weeks of the season – including starting CC Sabathia 3 times in 8 days – though he got help from another New York Mets collapse. Meanwhile, the Twins and White Sox ended up separated by 1/2 game, which means the ChiSox are playing a make-up game in Chicago against the Tigers, and if they win, then they play the Twins tomorrow to see who wins the AL Central. (If they lose today, then the Twins get the title.)
Subrata and I agreed that the playoffs should be exciting. In the AL, I think the Devil Rays are solid favorites over either the Twins or White Sox, while the Red Sox and Angels should be a pretty good series (though maybe less good since Sox starter Josh Beckett is hurting.) In the NL, the Cubs are a very good team with some big question marks, but probably still likely to beat the Dodgers. The Brewers and Phillies will probably be a messy series with lots of runs scored.
It’s hard to pick a favorite to go to the World Series. The Cubs seem like the best bet in the NL, but almost anyone from the AL could go. In either case I think the AL team is likely to beat the Cubs, since I think the AL teams are just generally stronger.
But, that’s why they play the games.