Wrap your brain around this fact:
The San Francisco Giants have played two postseason games and 18 innings in which only two swings mattered. Total. Two.
And I’ll just say this for you in the audience. You can’t hang like this much longer.
Your stomach isn’t strong enough. Your spine will telescope. You will sneeze your kidneys out. You will not last, not watching baseball that allows one moment a game.
Javier Baez delivered the one moment Friday night, an eighth-inning home run off the otherwise nonpareil Johnny Cueto, to “power” the Chicago Cubs to a 1-0 victory in Game 1 of The National League Series That Will Be The Deaths Of You All. One swing, defying the Wrigley wind and barely gaining favor with the Wrigley basket – a ball that sounded like a bases-emopty three-run homer when it hit Baez’ bat, and yet barely reached safety.
[PAVLOVIC: Instant Replay: Giants drop Game 1 of NLDS on Baez's eighth-inning blast]
So, yeah. You can’t do any more of these.
Fortunately for you, there aren’t very many of these in the course of a season, and Saturday’s second game is likely to be a 2-1 blowout, or maybe even a 3-2 rout. Why, there might be several hits in an actual inning, which is basically like blowing off an afternoon resting in a hammock tied to two kegs.
Friday’s game was as everyone has proclaimed it – a two-headed masterpiece in which both Cueto and Chicago starter Jon Lester turned the Cubs and Giants into equally large ice sculptures. True, home plate umpire Todd Tichenor was called to task by both teams and the nation as a whole for his protozoan strike zone, but that would be the act of a chronic complainer and sniveler.
You know. My kind of person.
The fact is, the Giants may have perfected this kind of game just in time to discover that the Cubs are just as good at it, and maybe even better. This was Chicago’s 16th shutout (one in every 10 games, give or take a stray post-decimal), and would have been San Francisco’s 12th. For the record, the Los Angeles Dodgers (15) and Washington Nationals (12) are also high on this list, so the point we are left with is that this may be a necessary skill this postseason.
But Friday’s had the additional charge of being the first matchup between the most successful team of the current decade and the least successful team of the past century. There was a lot to look forward to, frankly, and both teams delivered in high style.
That is, if your tastes to run to improbably fast playoff games. The two teams sailed through nine innings in barely two and one-half hours, an extraordinarily sprightly pace, especially when you consider that Madison Bumgarner and Noah Syndergaard needed 3:11 to savage the Giants’ and Mets’ offenses. That is a normal time for a postseason game – 2:30 reeks of rain-shortening.
But if this is how the Giants intend to go through the postseason, win or lose, they will have again foiled expectation and logic. For one, it could be that they will have defeated the assumption that their bullpen will undo them by not using it at all. Indeed, this was their 12th complete game of the year (they are 9-3 in those games, and the three losses were 1-0), so this is not a new strategy or Bochy-esque desire.
The law of big number must certainly come into play at some point, though, and the Giants and Cubs will play a normal-looking game. You’d better hope they do, anyway, because you haven’t got a prayer of seeing Halloween otherwise. This one-swing-tells-all baseball isn't made for you.