Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Game 7 I'd rather not have seen

The way I'm wired, it really is best if I head into tonight's Game 7 thinking that the Giants are going to lose.  Rationally, I know that there's very little to the notion of "momentum" in baseball.  But all you have to do is look at the historical record to see that the last road team to win a Game 7 in the World Series was the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1979.  The Giants failed to do it in 2002, and after they'd lost Game 6 in the most excruciating manner possible, I didn't even entertain the possibility that they'd win Game 7.

And heck, the year before that, Mariano Rivera suffered through the one notable postseason failure of his career, failing to save Game 7 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.  And if Mariano Freaking Rivera can't overcome Game 7 on the road, what chance do mere mortals have?

In my lifetime, the Giants have lost three Game Sevens - in 1962, when I was two years old, and Willie McCovey hit the legendary scorching line drive with runners in scoring position, right into the glove of Yankees second baseman Bobby Richardson.  Fortunately from my point of view, I was but two years old at the time so it doesn't bother me that much.  Then there was 1987 in the National League Championship Series against St. Louis, after Dave Dravecky ended up on the short end of a 1-0 nailbiter in Game 6.  Atlee Hammaker couldn't get the job done (and that's probably being charitable) in the finale, and there was little to no drama in the game.  And of course, 2002.  We broke the curse in the 2012 NLCS, so at least there is some precedent for the Giants winning one.  However, that was at home.

So on the mound tonight, we have Tim Hudson.  Tim Hudson has had a great career.  It's probably not a Hall of Fame career, but it would be more than good enough to get him into the "Hall of the Very, Very Good," if there was such a thing.  If we had 2001 or 2002 Tim Hudson pitching tonight, I'd feel a lot differently about this game.  But the rules require us to play 2014 Tim Hudson, so one can only hope that it's the Tim Hudson who pitched 7 or so very effective innings against the Nationals in the 18-inning epic.  Of course, that's also probably the only good game he's pitched in quite a while.

So I head into tonight with low expectations, but don't judge me harshly - from there, there's nowhere to go but up.  And if Barry Zito could grasp one last gasp of magic to stave off the Cardinals in 2012, there's no reason why his former Athletics teammate Tim Hudson can't do it tonight.

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