Más Feliz Que Ayer 

Dispatch the heralds. Unfurl the banners. Tonight against the Reds, for the first time this year, a Giant hit a home run directly after Barry Bonds reached base. Even sweeter, it was a Pedro Feliz home run just after Bonds was walked intentionally with two outs and no one on base in the top of the seventh inning. Then immediately after a Bonds walk in the 8th, Feliz singled in another run. 2 for 2, a home run and 3 RBIs.

This brings the DNB numbers slightly closer to respectability. After a Bonds walk or hit (except home runs), the following batter is now hitting .267/.301/.317, which at least rises above Neifi-level.

The change of tide in tonight's game was stunning. Corey Lidle was pitching as if he were still wearing green and gold: into the 7th he had thrown fewer than 10 pitches an inning, had surrendered only one bloop hit and no walks. But after two down in the 7th, his manager Dave Miley ordered Bonds intentionally walked. Five of the next eight batters reached base, and Lidle's night was over.

A pitcher's psychology is a fragile thing. I submit that Lidle, in such a fantastic groove until the intentional walk, had his aggressive mindset shattered. Once his manager showed he didn't have the utmost confidence in Lidle, Lidle could well have subconsciously let down.

Or he might have let his anger at not being allowed to face Bonds disrupt his focus. The radio guys said Feliz hit a slider over the plate for his home run. The difference between a mediocre slider and a good one a couple inches off the plate can often be the slightest increase of tightness in the pitcher's grip.

Or maybe it was God's punishment for Miley being such a chickenshit.


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