When I saw Tim Lincecum take the mound for the Giants in Wednesday’s 3rd and final game with the Angels, I must admit I was a bit intrigued. I’d heard his name and knew he was the National League’s Cy Young Award winner last season. But my first thought was, he looked less like John Lackey or CC Sabathia and more like a 4th Jonas Brother (with a haircut and the right pair of skinny jeans).
I grabbed my laptop and did a quick ESPN player search. It took me all of 6.5 seconds to read over his stats, not that they’re not interesting, he just hasn’t exactly been around for very long. He breaks into the majors in 2007 and wins the Cy Young the next year?? By the way, he just turned 25 on Monday. I sat there and watched him pitch the 1st inning and was very impressed with his powerful delivery. This game would not be a walk in the AT&T Park for the Angels.
Sure enough, Lincecum was able to keep the newly explosive Angels’ bats awkwardly quiet. But Matt Palmer was able to do the same with the Giants and at the end of 6 innings, each pitcher had given up only 4 hits. The difference was, the Giants had managed to put together 2 runs, the Angels, only 1. When Palmer gave up a lead-off home run in the 7th, it was time for the relievers to give the Angels a chance to make a comeback.
At the top of the 8th, my ALL-STAR Torii Hunter stepped into the batter’s box. What? My Torii was supposed to be recovering from Monday night’s collision with the center field wall. He wasn’t expected to play again until Friday night and here he was pinch hitting. I just knew he’s get a hit, and he did. Next at bat? Another pinch hitter, another hit! This time it was Big Daddy Vlady Guerrero who has had to sit out much of the recent slugfests during interleague play. Chone Figgins, Erick Aybar and Juan Rivera all came through and when the 8th was over, the Angels were up 4-3 and Lincecum was on the hook for his first loss since April 12th. We just had to get through the 9th. Piece of cake, right? I don’t know. Why don’t we ask Brian Fuentes?
When Fuentes had the first batter in a 3-0 count, I had no choice but to hit “pause”. In each of their 5 previous wins, the Angels had scored first. That wasn’t the case in this game so they were poised for a great come-from-behind win and I just couldn’t bear to see it blown. After 5 minutes, I hit “play” and then quickly hit “fast forward”. If it was going to be bad, seeing it (and hearing it) in real-time would only make it more excruciating. But this is what I saw:
Suddenly “hump” day turned into “jump (for joy)” day and I was in Halo Heaven. Once again, I grabbed the laptop and clicked on the standings. There it was…1.5 games behind Texas. Sure, it was only a matter of hours before it said 2 again, but those few hours were the best of my week so far. The Angels can enjoy a well-deserved day off tomorrow before they face the Dodgers again. I am particularly looking forward to Saturday’s match-up between the Weaver Brothers. Seriously, how do you make an interleague freeway series just a little more interesting?
Baseball…where family comes first.