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BeliEVEN in these Giants! Recap of NLDS Game 3 (Cubs - Giants).

I have attended and viewed hundreds of baseball games in my lifetime but I have never quite been on a roller coaster of a ride like last night's game. If the San Francisco Giants fulfill the even year prophecy and have more games resemblant of the intensity and wackiness of the 5 hour and 4 minute marathon the Chicago Cubs and Giants had to endure last night, I am certain of two things: (1) my wife will change the locks to our home and (2) I don't think I will survive the month of October! Last night's game was definitely playoff baseball at its finest!

There are several highs and lows for Giants fans to recount from last night. We'll start with the the lows just to get them out of the way. Plus that is how the game started for the Giants and of course it ended on the ultimate high!


  • Jake Arrieta's 3 run HR in the bottom of the 2nd. Are you kidding me with these pitchers for the Cubs?! They have driven in 6 of their 11 runs in this series so far and have hit 2 HRs. Definitely Giants fans had a defeated look on their faces whereas the Cubs fans were starting to smell victory and think about the next round. Very deflating for sure.

  • Hunter Pence was absolutely dead weight in the line up last night. Except for the throw Pence beat out in the bottom of the 12th inning, you can't have your clean up hitter do nothing. In fact Pence is 3 for 18 in the postseason. This needs to change quickly.

  • Madison Bumgarner simply was not Madison Bumgarner last night. He only lasted five innings leaving the Giants fate to its bullpen.

  • Conor Gillaspie (the Giants savior and I will sing his praises very shortly) was called out on a throw to first in the 6th inning but the replay clearly showed that Anthony Rizzo's foot was off the bag when he caught the ball. Of course the Giants challenged the call and it was almost certain the umpires would reverse their initial decision. They didn't. Unbelievable!

  • After Gillaspie's heroics in the 8th inning, the Giants bullpen woes continued with Fowler leading off with a walk and then Kris Bryant (the Cubs most feared hitter and arguably 2016 NL MVP with his NL leading WAR of 7.7) homering off Sergio Romo. The strange thing about Bryant's home run is that as it was travelling to the left field fence, it seemed it would fade but the unusually warm evening air in the city by the Bay didn't do the Giants any favors. The ball just carried until it hit the Chevron sign and bounced into the stands. It really seemed the baseball Gods either wanted the Cubs to win or this is all part of the torture Giants fans must endure.

  • The game is already feeling quite long and after Belt gets on in the 9th inning, Posey hits a shot to right field only to see it snagged by an incredible diving catch from back up right fielder Albert Almora Jr. I have to say these Cubs players are damn good athletes. I can see why they won over 100 games this season. If that ball drops, Giants score and we go home.

  • Giants threaten again in the 11th inning with a lead off single by Joe Panik. Gregor Blanco then sacrifices him over to 2nd. Oh, the torture continues with the next two hitters grounding out.

OK, that is 7 low points from last night. Now onto the HIGHS!


  • One has to admire the resiliency of these Giants and their never-say-die attitude. After being down early and having to deal with the Cubs ace, the Giants chip away at the lead thanks in part to Denard Span's extra base hits and being driven home by Buster Posey and Brandon Belt.

  • Not letting Arietta pitch a gem against the Giants was huge. The Giants started to work the count better as the game progressed and Arrieta was gone after 6 innings.

  • If you think the Giants bullpen is worrisome, look at the Cubs bullpen last night. It was stretched thin and the crown jewel of the bullpen, Aroldis Chapman, looked awful. He absolutely got destroyed last night and his walk of shame back to the dug out after letting the Giants take the lead was pure joy. The raucous crowd at AT&T Park definitely let Chapman hear it and I wouldn't be surprised if last night's meltdown shatters Chapman's confidence.

  • A big reason for Chapman's implosion was Gillaspie. This guy is what Cody Ross was for the Giants in 2010. He is carrying the offense and his shot to center definitely carried over the center fielder's head for a base clearing triple and the first Giants lead in this series! AT&T Park was going nuts when that happened! Getting an insurance run also helped!

  • The sad look the Chicago Cubs fans seem to wear so well was quite a spectacle. I can see why they are called the Loveable Losers! You really wanted to console them after the 8th inning given how happy they were earlier in the game. Maybe I am being too nice but they looked awfully sad.

  • Denard Span's sliding catch in the 12th inning was impressive but oddly the umpires didn't see it! Even fans in the bleachers knew Span caught it! Of course the Giants were vindicated by the replay and the umpires quickly rectified their error. I am starting to believe the umpires want the Giants to lose given the missed calls and strange strike zones so far this postseason. Ironically, the player who Span robbed of a double was none other than Almora Jr. who made that amazing catch in the 9th inning to keep the game going.

  • Replay seemed to be a big deal in this game with replay being needed to confirm a double play the Giants pulled off after the Cubs were threatening to score with runners on 1st and 2nd in the top of the 13th inning. Good thing the umpires initially called the runner out at first. Otherwise the Giants would not be able to challenge! Check out all replays here.

  • We end with the ultimate high with the Giants winning the game in the bottom of the 13th inning with Brandon Crawford's lead-off double only to be followed by Panik's double. The Giants' tenacity definitely paid off! It's also nice to see Panik snap out of the funk he has been since the beginning of September. Let's hope Pence follows suit very soon.

The aftermath of such a thrilling game is also something to brag about such as knowing that Cubs fans in Chicago probably stayed up until 2 AM to see their hearts broken for the one millionth time and then have to go to work the next day. Furthermore, the Giants bullpen held its own after having a horrendous second half of the regular season. I like how Bruce Bochy kept Romo in the game for two innings after Bryant's home run and tried to not micromanage his bullpen. I think this will help build Romo's confidence should the Giants go deep in this postseason. On the other hand, the Cubs bullpen looked out of sorts and in fact were down to one pitcher (Carl Edwards) once Mike Montgomery took the mound. Clearly he gave the Cubs the best he had but his exhaustion showed in the 13th inning. The Giants still had three more pitchers they could have used (Lopez, Kontos, and Casilla) but I am not sure if Casilla was the guy the Giants wanted out there!

Just to throw out a few more numbers before finishing off this piece, keep in mind that the Giants are a very resilient team and this is why they have won 3 World Series since 2010 and the EVEN YEAR thing is an actual thing. They don't back down easily and now they have won TEN straight elimination games going back to 2012. That is uber impressive. ESPN's headline "Outwit, Outplay, and Outlast"is very fitting for the Giants as they try to write a new story this postseason and allow Giants fans to not dwell on the past or get too nostalgic about previous triumphs. Every EVEN YEAR had something special and unique and so will 2016. What was also fitting is that the Cubs 108 year curse continued by losing such an intense game in an unlucky inning number: 13!

Later tonight, the Giants will get to exorcise some demons by facing John Lackey. For those who forgot, he beat the Giants in Game 7 of the 2002 World Series when he was a rookie for the then "Anaheim" Angels (now the Los Angels Angles of Anaheim; so pretentious of southern California folk!). Of course the Giants did get pay back against Lackey in Game 3 of the 2014 NLCS when he was with the Cardinals so maybe those demons have already been exorcised. The guy has been quite the journeyman pitcher these days and is not the same pitcher he was 14 years ago. With Matt Moore on the mound for the Giants and pitching well in his last two starts and winning over the clubhouse with his near no hitter in LA in August, this series will return to a winner-take-all game at Wrigley Field on Thursday.

Enjoy the ride even if it's scary and stressful at times!