As National League fans we're supposed to proclaim that there's nothing like a pitching duel — a crisp, clean, 1-0 game.
I beg to differ.
It's not that I don't appreciate a good pitching duel — I do. But like them? Not so fast. I only like the ones we win. Lose a back-and-forth 8-7 game, and at least you had seven fists pumps and, odds are, some stretches in which your team was on top and the world was at your command. A pitching duel isn't like that — it's three or four innings of fidgeting and five or six of anxiety and agony, and the only release from it comes when it's over and you've won. If you win.
Jae Seo was awesome, I'd like to announce. (Also, the sun rose today and the rain that briefly fell was wet.) He's been around so long it's even harder to grasp that this man on the mound with the deadly arsenal and the oodles of self-confidence is the same guy we've been tracking up and down through our system all these years. There was the period in which all we knew was he was a great prospect and his brother was in the minor leagues with him. (Just to ease the culture shock, it turned out.) Then his arm was hurt. Then he arrived and was, well, OK. Then he was good. Then he wasn't so good and Vern Ruhle had to go to the mound and challenge him to show some heart, not usually a sign of a bright future. Then he went from the guy who it was whispered was uncoachable to the guy who it was shouted was uncoachable — and got bounced from the slot in the starting rotation he assumed he'd earned. (Though his ill-advised line “If I have one bad start at Norfolk, will they send me to Binghamton?” was pretty funny.) Then he was back and good, then he was gone despite that, letting us see plenty of Kaz Ishii, and now he's back and he's coachable and he's getting the entire planet out and there is no earthly way he's coming out of this rotation.
Wow. Forget what they say about second acts and American lives — apparently there are nine or 10 acts in Korean baseball-player lives. Bravo, Seo. Glad we waited for you.
As for John Patterson, he only made one mistake, but it was a fairly dopey one — why anyone on God's green Earth would throw Victor Diaz a fastball right now is beyond me. Meanwhile, Victor can apparently only play the rudiments of one position at a time — he looked OK in right field earlier this year, but now anything hit vaguely that way leaves me in the fetal position. I was actually thrilled to see Gerald Williams.
Oh, and Looper of course tried to blow it — that was awfully nice of Jose Guillen to swing at a ball he couldn't possibly do anything with when Looper was having trouble throwing the ball over the plate. I'd had my fill of anxiety and agony by then, thanks very much, but a pitcher's duel wouldn't be a pitcher's duel if you weren't gasping in fear until the very last out, right?
Pedro and Livan tomorrow night. Emily and I will be there. I'm already nervous.