Whew, what a gem of a ballgame last night! SF Giants ace, Tim Lincecum allowed the first six batters he faced to reach base in the 1st inning. With the Oakland As leading 3-0 in the 1st and the based loaded with no outs and the count 2 balls and no strikes, Lincecum dug deep and threw his first change-up of the game. The pitch wasn't in the strike zone, but Brandon Moss swang at it anyway...Lincecum struck him out swinging...and the next two batters as well.
Lincecum pitched six innings, allowed six hits and three earned runs, walked four and struck out eight using 105 pitches. He was dealing as they say in baseball...the old Tim Lincecum was back, pitching like the two-time Cy Young Award winner he is. He was one pitch away from oblivion there in the first facing the seventh batter, instead he reconnected with himself after two months of highly visible, painful struggles where the Giants lost each of the nine games that Lincecum started. Not the All-Star caliber player the club is used to.
The Giants got a run back in the 3rd, and went into the 9th still down 3-1 and scored four to win it!
All in all, a very cinematic game...baseball literature material even, though if you wrote a screenplay play by play from the box score, you could never get the movie made because the story is too unbelievable to sell movie tickets!
I was pumped and entertained and had no problem staying up late to watch P3 Formula One Practice streamed LIVE from Valencia, Spain.
The Valencia Street Circuit is just hosting it's fifth Grand Prix this weekend. The track winds through the waterfront of Valencia and the America's Cup Village, where Silicon Valley's Larry Ellison won the Cup and the right to defend it on San Francisco Bay.
Two things about Valencia...it's the third stop of the European Swing of the F1 season. The European Swing is when the teams bring most of their newest development bits and pieces to the track. Formula One is as much about engineering developments as it is about racing daring-do by handsome race car drivers. The engineering in and outs fascinate me to no end.
Every season, the F1 Governing Body writes new Sporting Regulations, that conspire to slow the cars down, make them safer, and less expensive to campaign, and every season the engineers devise solutions to regain the things the Sporting Regs take away.
This year most of this development is focused on regaining downforce at the rear of the cars that was lost with the demise of the Exhaust-Blown Diffusers. This season, the airflow through the diffusers must be lured from the mandated up-firing open air exhaust, over the bodywork and floor, and directed under the rear diffuser to induce downforce at the back of the car...this is like modern day alchemy...it's been a slow, deliberate slog from mid-March until today over seven Grand Prix weekends.
It's been a real horse race if you'll forgive the pun...seven different drivers have won the seven races, and only one team has two wins. Watching three rounds of practice and qualifying, I'm saying it's still 50/50 that we'll see an eighth new winner Sunday...there's still two teams, Sauber and Lotus that are fast enough to win, but haven't yet.
Did I say that it's been like musical chairs so far as each team in turn developed their car to the front? In Saturday's qualifying the ten fastest cars are all within 8/10s of a second for a 1:38 lap?
My favorite racer, defending World Champion Sebastian Vettel of Germany is my 50/50 outlier this week. Vettel is on the pole for the third straight year at Valencia, and he won the last two races here. His team Red Bull Racing has had quite the time chasing pace so far this year after two seasons of near total dominance. It seems that the Red Bull's blown diffuser was the best of the breed, so they had more than the other teams to regain after the rule changes. I say it's 50/50 for the Vettel hat trick.
The other thing I love specifically about the Valencia Circuit is the colors. The edges of the racing surface are painted just that turquoise of a sandy tropical paradise where warm, clear seas lap upon white sand beaches. The walls around the circuit are a complimentary blue, and the curbs are red and yellow stripes instead of the usual red and white "candy cane" look. Taken together, it's all tropical sunshine, warm trade winds and spicy food for the eye.
Here in the States, the America's Cup World Series is in Newport, Rhode Island. Racing the AC45 catamarans. The ACWS is the development series for America's Cup teams and sailors that's run in preparation for 2013's America's Cup Regatta on San Francisco Bay...this will be a feast for the eye too, though for sheer speed not so much for color.
Team OracleUSA will be trialing their new 72ft AC racer on San Francisco Bay beginning in August this summer...that will be something to see!
There's just a week 'till the start of Le Tour de France...but that's a whole other story...