I thought Sunday would be a grand day. For, the first time in my life I was set to go to two professional sporting events on the same day – the Giants in the afternoon and the Sharks at night. I was hoping for a 2-for-2 day. Alas I got a 1-for-2 outing, good for a .500 mark, which if it was my batting average I would be very pleased. Unfortunately, it was my winning percentage.
The Giants were taking on the D’backs on Sunday, and what a beautiful day it was. The sun was out, the temperature was smoking (89 degrees), and this kid got one heck of a sunburn on his knees (my shorts didn’t cover them, and boy, was I radiating heat last night because of it kind of like Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen). The game kicked off and quickly turned into a pitcher’s dual between the old crusty veteran, Randy Johnson, and the young flame thrower, Max Scherzer.
Johnson baffled the D’backs, his former club, all afternoon with a series of low 90′s fastballs and his trademark slider. He lasted seven shutout innings on the day while facing only 22 batters, just one above the minimum. In fact, RJ gave up only a lone single to Augie Ojeda on the afternoon as he needed just, get this, 73 pitches to escape the seventh. He looked fantastic after a rough start to his season.
On the other side of the ledger, Scherzer needed 104 pitches to make it through his five innings, but he was also often dominating with a fastball that was exploding on hitters at up to 98 mph. He allowed just one run while striking out six, though he walked four batters. The bottom line is that this kid can bring it.
Rarely will you see a better matchup of the old vs. the new.
Ultimately the Giants, in a brisk two hours and 38 minutes won 2-0, and it was off to San Jose for me.
I arrived in San Jose for an early dinner before Game 2 of the first round playoff series between the Ducks and the Sharks. San Jose, owners of the best regular season record in the league including the best home mark that saw them defeated in regulation a grand total of five times in 41 games, had already lost Game 1 at home. Common sense and the numbers said that this one should have been a Sharks victory. Unfortunately, it wasn’t.
The Sharks out-shot the Ducks 44-26 in Game 2, this after a 35-17 edge in Game 1. What did they get for their efforts? They lost both home games, in regulation, and now will be forced to try and become one of the 12.7%. What am I talking about?
Of the 291 teams who have fallen being 0-2 in the NHL playoffs, only 37 of them have come back to win the series.
Those are not odds that I want any part of.
So why have the Sharks struggled? How about the simple fact that they haven’t scored. Since the All-Star game, the Sharks are the second lowest scoring team in the NHL at even-strength. As such, they have only gotten by on the strength of their power-play that unit is 0-for-12 in the series. That simply isn’t going to get it done.
As great as the Sharks were in the regular season, it won’t matter one iota if they go out with a whimper in the playoffs. The fans, including myself, have been patient and accepted the playoff failures of years past, but this was supposed to be the year all of that changed. After two games, it looks like more of the same in San Jose, and that is not something that any Sharks fan had hoped to see, nor is it something they should be satisfied with having to accept. It’s time for the men in teal to step up and show us all what they are made of. Either that or they might as well just take up a new career. I hear that Fanball/Rototimes might be hiring new hockey consultants.