Last night, Barry Zito pitched the last game of his $126-million San Francisco Giants career.
Tonight Tim Lincecum is on the mound, his Giants future uncertain.
I didn’t know either one in their stronger days. I never knew Lincecum as the two-time Cy Young winner, or as the touted prospect. I knew him as a struggling long-haired starter with flashes of his old brilliance, and sometimes with more than that. Nor did I know Zito with the A’s, or when he signed his huge contract; I knew him mostly as a tenuous starter at best, but also as the guy who pitched the game of his life in the NLCS, and the one who started Game 1 of the World Series. I loved them both, the unpredictable madness, the goofy personalities, the disastrous meltdowns, the storybook moments of perfection when they were most needed.
The 2012 playoff run was one of the most fun times I’ve ever had. I remember where I was for almost every game. I remember cursing at the grocery store when I saw the alerts for NLDS Game 4, when Zito surrendered a single and three walks in a row. I remember practically falling off my chair during the Jay Bruce vs. Sergio Romo marathon. I remember shouting in disbelief when Barry Zito came back out for the eighth inning in the NLCS throwing a strike to Carlos Beltran. I remember Long Reliever Tim Lincecum doing everything he could to push the team toward a championship.
I saw both of them pitch in person when I visited AT&T Park for the first time. The Giants and the Blue Jays split that series; Zito was okay, but thoroughly overmatched by R.A. Dickey. Lincecum was fantastic.
If this week is a Giants goodbye for both of them, I’m glad I got some of those golden moments, even if I missed so many. It’s been pretty cool.
I think that was the most fun I’ve had at a game all year, aside from the tenth win of the streak. Yes, even though the Blue Jays lost by six runs and Mark Buehrle couldn’t get out of the fifth. It’s liberating to go to a game with absolutely no expectations—for the season, the game, the players, anything.
Mike Trout was the DH, which was dumb.
Mark Trumbo went 5-5 with (wait for it) three doubles and a homer. He scored five runs. It was incredible and my mind was blown—when he hit his last double I yelled “Good God” really loud before realizing it—and I honestly don’t know why more people aren’t talking about it. It’s probably the best performance I’ve scored. (I originally wrote him down as having had four doubles, but in the eighth it was a single and a one-base error. Still amazing.)
The Blue Jays are 67-77 and playing out the string; nice things are few and far between, but that makes them feel just that much better when they appear. And there were a few pretty cool things:
Anthony Gose hit a grand slam. Anthony Gose hit a grand slam. I can’t believe it happened.
Ricky Romero pitched two innings, and his first (two groundouts and a strikeout) was just perfect, exactly what he needed. He allowed a few hits and a run in the second, but it was really nice to see him pull it together, and the sparse Rogers Centre crowd was surprisingly supportive. It’s heartening to know that Blue Jays fans are still pulling for him, especially when there is nothing left.
Rajai Davis hit a homer! Luis Perez pitched! Things are still happening and some of them are good.
This is the last series against a non-AL East team, so we’d better sharpen our season-spoiling skills because there could be some chaos ahead. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s welcome Team Entropy back into our lives, shall we?