I do believe we are seeing the formation of a gen-u-ine rivalry here, complete with this year's version of a brawl. The Phillies and the Dodgers have had a little something of an East/West Coast thing happening, and now the Giants are getting into the ring. Seeing Eli Whiteside bouncing up and down during the fracas last night, reminded me of a boxer in his dance. I was wondering what would happen if that core of Southerners that comprise the Giants ever got its dander up. Maybe we'll get a chance to see.
What was the cause of the melee? What is the cause of every confrontation that ever occurred in baseball? Ramon Ramirez plunked Shane Victorino in the back during the sixth inning, with the Phils ahead 8-2, and threatening to widen the gap. Sour grapes say the Phils.
Ask the Giants, and they might suggest that because Jimmy Rollins stole a base with a six-run lead, he lit the proverbial fuse. When Ramon nailed Victorino, who started for the mound, Eli went into his Muhammad Ali routine.
Ask the Giants' fans and they would suggest that it had something to do with the fact that we have lost seven of eight, and ten of fifteen. We might hint that scoring only 21 runs in 63 innings (exactly one run every three innings) is not championship baseball. When we think of the times we have scored in bunches (unfortunately, an easy thing to do), the number of innings, with no runs, increases.
So what is the problem? Is it the addition of Beltran and Cabrera? Has the team chemistry been altered so much, that last year's Giants have slowly evolved into such a different team, that the end result can't help but be different? Or it a general fatigue, which has finally caught up with them?
There are no definitive answers. Baseball is so very complex. Remembering that the season can be interminably long, and that egos fracture easily at this level, we can only let time go by to see if there are ramifications of Nate not playing right field, or Cody not being able to snap out of a cold spell, for lack of playing time. And how about Huff Daddy? Is it accurate to say that he has on again/off again seasons, and that we can write him off for this year?
I wish I had one or two of those answers. Meanwhile, there is a lot riding on the broad shoulders of Mister Matthew Cain, today's designated "postmaster general." A great deal is starting to depend on the outcome of the next two games. Before the series began, a split seemed a given. Not many would still see that as the slam-dunk it once appeared, not to mix my sports metaphors here.
If Matt can once more dominate, while our offense ekes out a run or two, then I don't think the Phillies have gained a thing. However, and this is a lot of pressure, if Matty does not deliver the goods, then the Phils gain additional momentum.
We saw the Giants gain momentum last year, and see what it got them. We cannot allow the Phils to do the same. I hate to say it, but it could be now or never.
Ultimatums are easy to deliver, but hard to implement. If the Giants are to salvage this season, then they must begin today to sort their way to a win, or watch the Phillies special-deliver the title to a hungry Philadelphia. This is when we must see the postman deliver.