Programming note: Tune in to Giants October Quest for complete wrap-around coverage of Game 2 today at 4pm leading up to the first pitch, and again right after the final out, only on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area!
We are one game into this World Series, as you have probably deduced, and already this is shaping up as one of those series where we all discover how much baseball we actually dont know.
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We learned (or maybe re-learned, depending on how well we are able to process new information in place of old) that if you cant have a 97-mph fastball, its good to face guys who like to swing at 97-mph fastballs while youre throwing them 84-mph fastballs. And we also learned that 84 and located properly is as good a plan as 97.That would be Barry Zito.We learned that our preconceptions of employees have to be revisited from time to time. The Giants, who used to swing from each others heels because swinging from their own heels seemed too disciplined an approach, have actually become careful and well-trained hitters who will hit a bunch of foul balls to get to the one they want to put fair. They have developed their skills so that they can force Justin Verlander to throw 38 pitches in an inning, and have 27 of Verlanders pitches be fouled off. Thats in four innings.And thats Hensley Meulens, the hitting coach.We learned that we dont know nearly as much about pitching construction as we thought we did. We thought Madison Bumgarner had to make only one start in this series because of his mechanical problems. We thought he had to paired with Tim Lincecum because of Lincecums newfound ability to throw in long relief. We learned that Tim Lincecum isnt shackled to any one strategy, but is for the moment a true long reliever, used to put out the first fire on the horizon rather than the one that threatens the village. And we found out that Matt Cain isnt the ace in every situation, because the hot hand must always be served.RELATED: Giants,Tigers World Series capsules
And thats Bruce Bochy and Dave Righetti, who if they were interested in what you thought of their sense of structure would say, We dare you to outthink us.We learned that Pablo Sandovals weight fluctuates at-bat to at-bat as opposed to meal-to-meal, and when he hits as he has been, he cuts quite the svelte figure. We learned that Melky Cabreras talents can be replaced, though not in the linear ways we thought. We learned that individual matchups dont matter nearly as much as team constructs, as in Buster Posey doesnt have to be the key to the series, as long as hes at least one of them. We learned that its not always a stupid idea to pitch around a pitcher. We learned that defense matters, and defense requires athleticism as well as judgment.And we learned that the World Series doesnt always revolve around one guy, especially not a starting pitcher -- in this case, Verlander. Or maybe we have learned all these things, but forget them from time to time. Or maybe we know them but the need to talk incessantly between games makes us fill the day with nonsense about this guy-vs.-that-guy, and this trend-vs.-that historical anomaly. Or maybe were just better off zen-ning the whole thing, letting it unfold before and admiring the event instead of trying to prefabricate it. That last part, though, probably takes discipline than we have. We too are free swingers, in a game that demands of everyone a whole lot more patience and precision than sweeping vistas and giant presumptions allow.In short, we are one game into this World Series, and we know nothing. And let us embrace it.Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.comAP Images