Tim Hudson relishes every moment of his first World Series
VETERAN starting San Francisco pitcher Tim Hudson is relishing every moment of his long-awaited first ever World Series, but he shudders at the thought of being a game-seven hero.
Hudson has been a big leaguer for 15 years, and he finally got his chance to take to a Fall Classic hill on Saturday morning (AEST).
The 39-year-old looked like he possessed the maturity required for the biggest stage in baseball, conceding three runs in 5.2 innings, during a solid outing, in the Giants' 3-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals.
The Giants bounced back to record a comprehensive 11-4 victory yesterday, levelling the seven-game series at 2-all.
In-form lefty Madison Bumgarner will go up against the man he conquered in game one, James Shields, at AT&T Park today, with Hudson looking on from the dugout.
And that's the way the vastly experienced 458-gamer likes it, despite finally getting his shot at contributing towards a championship series triumph.
"Pitching in the game last night (Saturday morning AEST) was exciting for me and I wish we'd have won it, but it was fun to get out there," Hudson said.
"But I hope I'm not out there again - I hope we win the next two games."
Hudson could be calling bluff for all we know though - you don't get through 15 years as a pitcher in the world's toughest baseball league without throwing out a few trick shots to your opponents.
"But if I do get the pitch game seven, I'm going to be prepared for it," Hudson said, shifting to a more serious tone.
"Who knows how many more innings I have left in this old arm?
"If I could trade what I have left in it for a title, you're damn right I would."
Despite seemingly knowing how to master the pre-match mental games, with those statements above as classic examples, Hudson said he had no more pearls of wisdom left for Bumgarner, before today's crucial game-five showdown.
Bumgarner was brilliant in the Giants' 7-1 game-one victory in Kansas City, conceding just one run over seven innings.
"He (Bumgarner) doesn't need any advice. He's a guy that's prepared - he just has to go out there and do what he does," Hudson said.
When asked why Bumgarner could give his team a 3-2 series lead, Hudson was once again playful, before turning serious.
"He's got this awesome thing called youth on his side," Hudson said.
"He's also strong and he's hard-headed and he's got a strong will.
"He competes like anybody I've seen. You look at the total package and it's not really one thing - there are a few different things that make him really good."
Part of that overall package also includes Bumgarner's ability to hit runs with the bat.
With this morning's (AEST) game being played at a National League venue, Bumgarner will be required in the batters' box under NL rules.
Hudson said the 25-year-old is more than capable there - just don't ask Bumgarner how good he is.
"He can swing it - I wouldn't tell him that. He thinks he's the best hitter on the team," Hudson said.
"I told him when he's 39 we'll see how quick his hands are then."
With Hudson to turn 40 next July, he said coming to San Francisco this season, after long stints at Oakland and Atlanta, was a God-send in his quest for a fairytale maiden title.
"It's unbelievable - it's everything I thought it would be," he said.
"Mate, it was an awesome performance tonight (yesterday).
"Being a Giant has been awesome - it was the reason why I came here to San Francisco, to win a World Series, and I can't wait to take the field with these guys again."