Giants, A’s dangling, 49ers dazzling
OK, I’m an ultimate optimist who has to admit that the Major League playoff survivals of the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s are hanging by thin thread and far from encouraging after having lost the first two-games of their short best-of-five-games series at the City’s Pac-Bell (sorry, AT&T) Park and Comerica Park in Detroit, respectively.
As for the National League West Division champion Giants – which is, unfortunately, looking like the only title they’ll have for 2012 – they’ve run into the powerfully red-hot Cincinnati Reds and their popular both-there-and-here manager Dusty Baker, who are currently looking unstoppable in their quest to reach the World Series.
So far in two games, which are looking ever-so much like the final ones of the year played at the world’s best baseball park, San Francisco’s strong pitching has been mightily tagged by the rebirth of the “Big Red Machine” – which brings to mind a great catcher named Johnny Bench, who can be used as a measuring stick for current Giants’ star catcher Buster Posey.
As for the productive offense of the Giants – which consistently pounded out hits and tallied plenty of runs in leaving the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Padres and Rockies in their dust en route to impressively winning the NL West – it’s been put into a dormant state by Cincinnati pitching.
I said in last week’s column that the San Francisco Giants were ready to face any team in the playoffs with confidence and momentum, and would make a strong playoff run to the World Series.
Well, while they can still make a run at winning the NL pennant and making it to the October (maybe November) Classic, it’s now going to take a monumental, and possibly historic, effort to accomplish the feat.
As for the again successfully re-tooled, Oakland A’s, they’ve fared better than their Bay Area neighbors on the field so far, but they’re still looking at an 0-2 deficit and will need to sweep an overall powerful Detroit team which has the Major League’s first triple-crown winner (Miguel Cabrera) in more than 40 years and are hotly pursuing a return to World Series.
In Sunday’s game two, it looked like the A’s were going to repeat the scenario which they played out on their incredible run to the AL West title – pulling a win from a possible defeat.
But the Tigers turned the tables on the A’s and pulled out a walk-off victory.
At least the A’s will have the three final playoff games in their Oakland home. Unfortunately, it’s win them all or settle for the one title, which winning was an amazing feat in itself and worth relishing until 2013.
Of course, again being the optimist, there’s a very remote possibility for another “Bay Bridge Series,” as Giants’ announcer Jon Miller pointed out during Sunday’s broadcast when he said he called the playoffs series in which the Boston Red Sox came from three games to none down to win four straight and reach the World Series.
So there is hope.
As for how good are the San Francisco 49ers?
Well I’ll let the numbers from Sunday’s overwhelming NFL victory over the Buffalo Bills do the talking.
Final score: 45-3.
Franchise record 621 yards of total offense.
310 yards passing (yeah, Alex Smith can’t throw a deep ball).
311 yards rushing.
OK, I could keep adding more individual stats and I didn’t even mention the league’s best defense, but I’ll stop with the 49ers’ current record of 4-1, which is tied for the National Conference West lead and when they finish the regular season, San Francisco’s a good bet to roll through the playoffs and add another stat to Niners history – a sixth Super Bowl win.