Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Game Wrap 2012 NLCS Game 7: Giants 9 Cardinals 0

The Giants overwhelmed a shellshocked Cardinal team with relentless hitting, pitching, defense, crowd noise and finally a driving rainstorm in the 9'th inning to complete a comeback from a 3 games to 1 deficit to win the 2012 NL Pennant for the second time in 3 years.  That it came against last year's WS champions made it all the better.  Key Lines:

Angel Pagan- 2 for 5.  BA= .242. Had to feel good about this one when Pagan led off with a single.

Marco Scutaro- 3 for 4, BB.  BA= .500.  Scooter started off with a beautiful hit-and-run single to RF in the first and never let up.  Made a couple more sparkling defensive plays to boot.  Series MVP!

Pablo Sandoval- 1 for 4, 2B, BB.  BA= .310.  Good game and good series for Sandoval.  Amazing that in spite of all that he left 6 runners on base......and nobody cares!  Wow! This game could have been 13 or 15 to 0!

Hunter Pence- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .179.  Pence has been struggling.  From Extra Giants we learn that Pence took his bat up to Duane Kuiper for a blessing of good mojo which apparently Kuip bestows from time to time(I didn't know that).  Well, it worked and how did it work?!   With the bases loaded in the 3'rd inning, Joe Kelly threw a 95 MPH fastball on the inside corner that shattered Pence's bat.  The bat held together just long enough that Pence's bat head speed caught up with the deadened ball and sort of jai-alaied it toward SS.  Pete Kozma dove to this right and while the ball spun like a top to the left and into CF where it was booted by John Jay clearing the bases.  AMAZING!!!  Pence had another more conventional hit later in the game.  I thought Pence looked much better at the plate tonight.  A lot less fidgety and more focused, like he had a plan and knew what he wanted to do up there.  Hey, maybe he took my advice and cut back on the caffeine?!

Brandon Belt- 2 for 5, HR1).  BA= .304.  Fine, fine series for Brandon Belt who looked lost in the first couple of games.  Boy, did he ever look confident out there tonight?!  The ball he sent caroming off the wall in Game 6 might be the hardest hit ball I've seen this year and the dinger last night looked like it was crushed too.  Didn't even get out of the stadium.  Shows just how hard it is to get a splash hit, and Barry Bonds made it look easy.

Gregor Blanco- 1 for 3, 2 BB.  BA= .182.  The BA doesn't look like much but his OBP for the series was .357 and he scored 6 runs.  Great defense in LF saved countless runs, seriously, it did!

Brandon Crawford- 1 for 4.  BA= .217.  Crawford didn't get many hits in the series but he sure made the most of them.  Have to mention his leaping catch of a humpback liner off the bat of Kyle Lohse to save at least 2 runs in the second inning that may have been the biggest game changer of the night.

Matt Cain- 5.2 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 2.19.  It wasn't pretty but Cainer gutted out 5.2 innings with some defensive help.  He didn't want to come out in the 6'th but Bochy was smart to bring in the LOOGY to face Descalso who led the Cards big comeback against the Nats in the NLDS.

Jeremy Affeldt- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  Affeldt has earned every penny of his $5 M salary this postseason.  8.1 shutout IP in the NLDS and NLCS combined proving he is more than just a LOOGY.  Heck, Bochy might want to consider starting him in WS Game 2 with Timmy coming in out of the pen for long relief.

Bruce Bochy- Bruce Bochy once again out maneuvered an opposing manager.  This time it wasn't so much the great moves Bochy made, but the lack of mistakes while the inexperienced Matheny made several critical errors in decision making that contributed to the Giants victory and the Card downfall.  In the somewhat unlikely event that the Giants complete a WS championship run here, Bochy will have to start being considered a possible HOF manager.

Brian Sabean- hopefully, this run finally puts to rest the meme that 2010 was luck and that the Giant won in spite of Sabean's stupidity.  As with Bruce Bochy in the manager's chair, Brian Sabean is now 4 wins away from being a  legitimate HOF candidate as GM.

Giants win the Pennant!  World Series against the Detroit Tigers starts in SF tomorrow evening.  Hey, I told my co-workers after the All-Star Game that the Giants now had home field advantage for the World Series.  They all laughed at me.  Go Giants!!!


  1. It's a good thing Belt seems to be warming up.

    I think our defense has been very solid. Defense and bullpen have been very steady, with offense and starting pitching coming and going, showing up often enough, and very timely as well, to win the last 2 series.

    Compared to the teams we beat in 2010, and 2012 so far, and that list includes some very powerful teams like the Phillies, the Rangers and the Red, Detroit will be also a challenge, but I think our boys will be ready to compete.

  2. Having 4 superior defenders in Posey, Crawford, Belt and Blanco sure does help. Scutaro, Pagan, Pence and Panda aren't too shabby either, but I would not call them elite. The Giants defense put up some great highlights in the pennant drive. Belt and Crawford both made great plays in that 2nd inning to keep the Cards off the board. Love our young homegrown players, and love that the Giants give guys like Blanco and Arias a shot. That is a real strength to our organization.

    The Giants Win the Pennant! For a youngster like myself, thats the 4th time I've been able to say that. 2 in 3 years, quite an accomplishment. I will absolutely second the sentiment that Brian Sabean deserves all the credit for it. The chips went down, and he got to building a new team from the ground up. And look at all the youth everywhere. Now he can supplement with a couple key vets, which is still a strength of his. Good stuff.

  3. As OGC and others here have pointed out defense in the playoffs makes a difference. Almost half the Giants runs against the Cards were unearned. Almost every crooked number inning put up by the Giants in the playoffs has included an error (official or not). Frankly, both Cincy and the Cards could have and should have taken the Giants out had they played better defense.

    On the flip side look at the runs prevented, rallies squashed and momentum gained by the Giants superior defense. Not just fewer errors but also solid and spectacular plays. That's part of why the Giants stats make you scratch your head - how the hell are they doing this? Defense is the one place where the Giants have truly been the superior team on the field. Pitching and hitting not so much.

    Playoffs build pressure and the Giants defense has held up and allowed them win ballgames. So yeah, hats off to Crawford, Blanco, Pagan, Posey, Belt, Scoots, Panda/Arias pretty damn impressive. Maybe someday the Giants defense and managing will be seen for the difference makers they have been in these playoffs.

    Go Giants and Go Giants Defense!!!

    1. What amazes me to no end is how a website like Fangraphs, which has dedicated a major part of its very existence on the notion that defense can be measured and win games has never given Brian Sabean and the Giants credit for having one of the top Team UZR's year in and year out. I firmly believe that Sabean was way ahead of the curve on defensive metrics and guys like Billy Beane and Jack Z up in Seattle are Johnny-Come-Latelys.

    2. Detroit has out-this-world pitching and power hitting coming out their ears, but they are defensively challenged. It will be interesting to see if defense can be an equalizer in the WS because if it isn't the Giants could be on the short end of a short series.

    3. DocB, You know that's the way I have felt, and the conventional league wisdom has stated, going into every playoff series from 2010 on. The Phillies, Rangers, Cincy, and Cards all were favored and all had good to great pitching and much better (even scary) power hitting lineups than the Giants going in. The Giants could have been crushed many times over. So far, so good.

      Yes, it's hard to see the Giants as favorites here, Verlander alone makes it an uphill climb from game 1. Not to mention game 4 or 7. Yes, the Giants could get steamrolled. Note it is hard to see the Giants steamrolling the Tigers.

      But, something has made the difference. So far, I would say it's:

      1) Defensive differential (Giants really good + Opposing team bad).
      2) Bochy out managing Dusty and Matheny
      3) Shutdown bullpen
      4) Scoots
      5) Baseball Gods