After yesterday’s easy blowout, it made perfect sense that today’s game would get a little weird. Yesterday Buster Posey led the Giants on a rout of a pitcher who used to be fantastic, while Barry Zito shut down an excellent lineup, and the Giants shut down a team that has regularly dominated them in the past. That makes sense, if only to remind you that baseball is baseball, and you’re a fool for thinking that history repeats itself.
Now, Bruce Bochy is naturally going to take heat for pinch-running for Buster Posey (again!) in the top of the ninth inning. Now, I understand that there were many factors that went into the decision to pinch-run. After Posey singled to lead off the inning, Gregor Blanco represented the go-ahead run, and with his speed, Blanco could much more easily steal, go first-to-third on a single, or score on a double. That makes sense. I’m not sure why they didn’t give Blanco the sign to steal, but that’s a complicated decision and it just didn’t work out that inning. Fine.
What I really don’t understand is the decision to intentionally walk Tyler Pastornicky in the bottom of the ninth to load the bases for Michael Bourn. With two outs, it makes more sense to pitch to the weak-hitting Pastornicky than to Bourn, who is one of the best singles hitters in the league. Bourn’s one downside is his lack of power, but with the bases loaded in a walk-off scenario, that doesn’t matter nearly as much as his ability to do everything else like, say, beat out an infield single to knock in the winning run.
But hey, it worked out.
What makes even less sense is why the Giants were so utterly ineffective against Mike Minor, who started the day as one of the few pitchers in the league – with enough innings to qualify for the ERA title – with a worse ERA than Tim Lincecum. Per Henry Schulman:
Sure, insert your joke here about the Giants struggling against the particular type of pitcher that Minor is – one who throws baseballs off a mound toward a plate – but the Giants offense hasn’t been bad recently, and dominated yesterday. It’s weird that Minor overpowered them. Then again, Tim Lincecum shut down the Astros. Baseball.
Luckily, Chipper Jones decided to play some slow pitch softball with Brian McCann in the tenth inning, Crawford got mad, and Blanco crushed it.
Also, just to prove how spoiled we are, I haven’t even mentioned Ryan Vogelsong yet. With tonight’s 6 IP, ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 7 K, Vogelsong has now pitched at least a quality start in 14 straight starts, and 16 of his 17 starts, and gave up just 4 ER in his one non-QS. The fact that he’s the third-best pitcher in this rotation is ridiculous, but so, so much fun.
Paul Janish deserves a save for swinging at these pitches in the bottom of the ninth. Sergio Romo, ladies and gentlemen.
So, Santiago Casilla. After giving up a double to Freddie Freeman and a homer to Brian McCann, Casilla blew his fifth save in his last eight attempts. In fact, the last time Casilla had a “real” save, pitching a full, successful inning, was on June 26, and even then he gave up a walk. The last time he had a perfect inning was June 18, or 10 save attempts ago, during which time he has a 8.31 ERA. It’s hard to imagine that Casilla will get the next save attempt for the Giants after all that, but it’s not obvious who will get the next shot. Romo’s still got durability issues, Lopez can’t touch righties, and Affeldt is really streaky. Maybe George Kontos? Probably Affeldt, but I wouldn’t be surprised by anything at this point.
Brandon Watch 2012
Belt: 0-3 with two walks and two strikeouts. Those two walks are nice, but all of the reports from Bochy, Kruk & Kuip, and others about Belt’s poor emotional state are certainly troubling. Still, with Hector Sanchez out for the next couple of weeks and Eli Whiteside still afflicted with being Eli Whiteside, Belt’s going to get a lot of playing time, poor self-confidence or no.
Crawford: Came in as a defensive replacement, walked, fouled a ball off his leg, and crushed a 3-run homer to right field. Tha’ll do, Stamos.
Stats of the Day
5: Consecutive wins by the Giants
97: Days since Brandon Crawford’s last home run
68: Magic Number for the Giants
15: Percent of Sergio Romo’s total home runs allowed that were hit by Dan Uggla
2: Number of times the Giants scored 6 runs in an inning in this series
2: Number of times any team has scored 6 runs in an inning at Turner Field
5: Career pinch hit appearances by Matt Cain
Quote of the Day
“Bruce Bochy’s gonna whack him in the shin with a fungo bat before he goes up there.” – Mike Krukow, talking about Brandon Crawford’s massive homer after fouling a pitch off his leg