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Friday, October 3, 2014

Giants: The Team That Can't Be Ignored

Posted By on Fri, Oct 3, 2014 at 12:07 PM

It's gametime, Jake.
  • It's gametime, Jake.
There comes a time when the roller coaster stops clicking. 

And, in that moment before the onset of your perilous and gut-wrenching journey, you are hit with two thoughts, simultaneously: 

"I'm not sure I want to deal with this." 

"I AM sure I now have no choice in the matter." 

And you're off. 

At 12:07 p.m. Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals will deliver the first pitch in the National League Division Series vs. the San Francisco Giants.

I'm not sure I want to deal with this. 

But I am sure I now have no choice in the matter. 

And that's because, no matter what happens today, no matter how terribly this Giants team matches up with its opponents on paper, they've overcome worse — and quite recently, to boot. 

You can't count them out of anything. You can never put them out of mind. If you are a fan, you must endure what is to come. You must. 

Jerry Seinfeld used to joke about futilely peering under the hood of his disabled automobile as if there'd be an on-off switch. Cars don't have one of those. But this Giants team sure seems to. They either play spectacularly or abysmally. There is no middle ground. The team that roared out of the gate at 42-21 seems a distant memory. Vast stretches of wretched baseball did not portend that the team would be squaring up to play postseason ball today. 

But they are. 

The team's starting rotation is, to put it mildly, sub-optimal. Madison Bumgarner's life story seems, at times, to be cribbed from Davy Crockett's; he is every bit the staff ace and team's indispensable man. The only thing wrong with him is there isn't enough of him. 

Today's starter, Jake Peavy, has pitched brilliantly since his acquisition from Boston. But after that ... it's not good. 

Well, no matter. Not two years ago, the Giants were saddled with facing Detriot demigod Justin Verlander — on full rest — and throwing out Barry Zito in opposition. Verlander was thrashed. Ballgames aren't won on paper.

In 2012, in fact, the team battled back from a 3 games-to-1 deficit in the National League Championship Series and 2-0 mark in the Division Series. For the first two games and change in the NLDS, in fact, the Giants looked listless and lost. The postseason could have ended before it began.  

But it didn't. With the Giants it seems, there is no impossible. There is only improbable. 

And now the improbable is under way. And we have no choice in the matter. 

Update, 4:10 p.m.: The Giants held on to win a slow-paced, agonizing game, 3-2. Once again, the matchup on grass worked out differently than the matchup on paper. Or, as Joaquin Andujar put it, "Youneverknow." 

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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