Yesterday, thanks to the MLB network, I had the privilege of watching the San Francisco Giants play the Philadelphia Phillies. I am a huge fan of Major League Baseball, and more precisely, fantasy baseball. And at that, I will watch just about any baseball game, but of course prefer games in which I have players participating.
Starting for the Giants was Hylian Heroes co-captain, Tim Lincecum. The Hylian Heroes is the name of my fantasy baseball team. Lincecum, along with Ryan Braun are the leaders and captains of my team. Aside from being my two favorite active players, they are also the clear cut superstars in my lineup.
I was actually hoping that Lincecum would be matched up against Roy Halladay, as anyone who knows anything about baseball knows that these two are in a league of their own when it comes to the best pitchers in baseball. Unfortunately it was not Halladay's turn in the rotation. Instead, it would be Cole Hamels taking the mound for the Phillies. And disappoint, he did not.
Lincecum and Hamels locked up in an outstanding old fashioned pitchers duel. Through the first 4 innings they had combined for 14 strikeouts and 0 runs allowed. That's 7 strikeouts each over 4 innings!
As a matter of fact, Lincecum had only allowed 1 baserunner on a Placido Polanco basehit in the 4th. He retired the first 9 batters he faced, striking out 5 of them. Hamels gave up 3 hits and walked 4, and as a result, had a higher pitch count than Lincecum. Either way, the game was off to a fantastic pitching start.
But the pitchers duel ended after the 4th, at least for Hamels it did.
Ryan Howard got to Lincecum to lead off the 5th with a solo home run. And that proved to pretty much be Lincecum's only mistake. After the home run, he shutdown the next 8 batters, striking out half of them. Howard got to Timmy again in the 7th with a double off the wall, but was left stranded standing on second base.
The Giants finally got to Hamels in the 5th and 6th innings, scoring 1 in the 5th and 3 in the 6th. Cole was replaced after the sixth having given up 4 earned runs on 9 hits and 4 walks while striking out 10. It was a strong outing, but not as strong as Lincecum's performance.
Lincecum batted in the bottom of the 8th, so I knew he was coming back out to finish this one off in the 9th. He entered the 9th having thrown 98 pitches with a 4-1 lead. This was his game to finish, or at least everyone that was watching it had thought. After getting Dobbs to ground out, he walked Victorino and Bruce Bochy decided he was going to make a move that would cost him a win.
For some reason, which I cannot understand, Bochy yanked Lincecum, who had only thrown 106 pitches, and called on their closer, Brian Wilson.
When Lincecum came out in for the 9th I was counting up the fantasy points I was getting for this stellar outing. He was already at 30 points after 8 innings. We get 10 points for a win and 5 for a complete game. So I was looking at about 45 points, plus the outs he got in the 9th. 45 points is awesome!
Pulling Lincecum was forfeiting the 5 points for the complete game, but at this point, it was not about the fantasy points. When a pitcher puts up the kind of performance that Lincecum just had, and is still within a reasonable pitch count, he deserves the opportunity to finish it out.
Seriously Bochy, you need to show a little respect to the two-time Cy Young award winner and ace of your staff. Afterwards, Lincecum was quoted as saying "It would have been nice to finish. I still felt strong." And Timmy is such a team player that he just handed Bochy the ball and walked off, to a standing ovation of course. I will even admit, that stood and clapped from my living room. My dog went nuts when I clapped, but I think he was just excited over seeing such a performance as well.
Now back to the game and it's remaining fantasy consequence on the Hylian Heroes. As it turns out, I have Brian Wilson as one of my closers. So him coming into the came to close it out actually was going to work out in my favor from a fantasy points perspective as we get 10 points for a save. So I theorectically traded a +5 for the complete game for a +10 for a save. Or so I thought...
Wilson's implosion, and I will admit, Jayson Werth's dumb luck 3-RBI, game-tying double completely screwed up my happy ending. And to further complicate the issue, I also have Werth on my team. Werth's double yielded me 5 points, but cost me +10 for the win, +10 for the save and was canceled out by the -5 for the blown save. Oh, and did I mention that my opponent this week has Cole Hamels and a loss is -5 points. Once the game was tied up, and Hamels was off the hook for the loss, that -5 disappeared too. What a clusterf-ck!!!
I did some math on a few scenarios. Had Lincecum stayed in and finshed out the game, not giving up any more hits or walks, I would have ended up 47 points. Had Wilson come in and closed things down, even after loading the bases, I would have gotten 51 points (40 from Lincecum and 11 from Wilson). Both of these options would have also resulted in a -5 for Hamels. Instead, I ended up with 30 from Lincecum (still a great fantasy outing), -10 from Brian Wilson and +5 from Werth for the double. If you factor in Hamels not getting the -5 points, I netted 20 points.
Bruce Bochy and his bad managing cost me at least 30 points. I hope he got a speeding ticket on the way home or at least stepped in dog sh!t.
Those of you that watched the game till the end did get to see an interesting back and forth extra innings affair and despite my anger with what had just happened, I watched the rest of the game. I think I was actually more mad than Lincecum. As a matter of fact, one of the main reasons I have written this blog was because of something I saw in the Giants dugout during the bottom of 10th inning.
The Phillies took the lead in the top of the 10th. But in the bottom, the Giants rallied back to tie it or a Torres single, scoring Schierholtz. After he scored the cameras showed him going into the dugout and you could see Tim Lincecum super excited, high fiving his teammates and getting them all pumped up. You might have thought that run just took him off the hook for a loss.
But anyone watching knows that was not the case. This kid is not only the best pitcher in baseball (sorry Halladay), but also a class act. Most pitchers would have thrown a tantrum when their hard earned win was blown with 2 outs to go in the 9th and had already been in the showers, but no, Lincecum was still in the dugout just hoping the Giants could pull out the win.
Hats of to Tim Lincecum for yesterday's display of athleticism, sportsmanship and overall awesomeness!!!