Friday, October 26, 2012

Game Wrap 2012 World Series Game 2: Giants 2 Tigers 0

Madison Bumgarner shook off his recent struggles and pitched 7 innings of shutout ball.  The Giants scratched out 2 runs.  The Committee made it stand up for a win and a commanding 2 games to 0 lead in the series.  Key Lines:

Hunter Pence- 1 for 3, SF.  BA= .143.  Pence looked a bit calmer at the plate tonight.  He ended up accounting for both the Giants runs of the night.  He scored the first run on Crawford's DP ball in the 7'th and put on a tenacious AB for the Sac Fly to drive in the insurance run in the 8'th.

Gregor Blanco- 2 for 3.  BA= .286.  Blanco's bunt that the Tigers let roll down the 3B line, but stayed fair will likely become part of future World Series lore.  I'm sure there are already conspiracy theorists working feverishly on the case.  That bunt hit loaded the bases with no outs setting up Crawford's DP ball that scored the first run even though Crawford did not get credit for an RBI.

Blanco and the Giants defense played another pivotal role in the game earlier.  With Prince Fielder on first base after Bumgarner hit him with a pitch(I wouldn't guarantee that Bummy did not hit him on purpose for some reason).  Anyway, Delmon Young hit one down the LF line and into the corner.  The ball caromed back onto the field behind Blanco who was trying to track it down.  The Tigers 3B coach waved Fielder home as Blanco picked up the ball and threw toward his cutoff man, Brandon Crawford, except the throw went clear over Crawford's head.  Marco Scutaro was backing up the play about 20 feet closer to the plate and the ball was a perfect strike to him.  He whirled and threw another perfect strike to Posey who was set up to the 1B side of the plate and made a perfect swipe tag on the sliding Fielder who was out by about 2 inches.  With no outs, it was probably a foolish decision for Lamont to send Fielder on the play.  Fielder is not a fast baserunner.  Lamont should know that.  Holding him at 3B would have created a situation with runners at 2'nd and 3'rd with no outs. No reason to panic and take that risk that early in the game.

Jim Leyland- Bruce Bochy did not make any brilliant moves in the game, but he did not make any mistakes either.  On the other hand, Leyland made a very questionable decision to play his IF at DP depth with the bases loaded and no outs in the 7'th inning.  Sure enough, Brandon Crawford grounded into the DP, but that also scored the first run of the game.  Watching in TV, I know I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I saw the Tigers were not going home on the play because at that point I had a strong feeling that the first team to score was going to win the game.  Leyland defended the move by saying that the Tigers had to score a run anyway and he would rather get out of the inning down 1-0 than take a chance on the Giants putting up a crooked number.  Bochy was asked about the play in the presser, but refused to go there.  From his tone, though, I thought he was thinking he would have played the IF in.  Hunter Pence defended Leyland with exactly the same argument Leyland made.  I'm sure it will be debated for a long time.  Personally, I would have played the IF half way to leave open the option of coming home on the play.  I think Bochy would have done the same.  At any rate, it's interesting that a revered manager like Leyland is the one on the hot seat so far in the series.

The win gives the Giants a commanding 2-0 lead in the series.  About 80% of teams who start out with a 2-0 series lead win the series.  It's not a given though.  The first World Series I was aware of as a child was 1965 when the Dodger came back from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Twins in 7.  3 years later, in 1968, the Tigers came back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Cardinals in 7 games.  Of course, we have the Giants experience from this year's NLDS and NLCS to know that it ain't over 'til it's over.

Today is a travel day.  Ryan Vogelsong takes the mound Saturday night against Anibal Sanchez who it seems like always pitches well against the Giants.


  1. The play by Scutaro backing up Craw and cutting off the throw to gun down Prince at the plate was nothing short of brilliant. In fact, it reminded me a lot of another similar play about 10 years ago by a certain Yankee SS against the A's. Funny how when Jeter made that play which was in the ALCS, nobody could stop talking about how amazing it was but I haven't heard anyone really give praise to Scutaro for the heads up play.

    Great to see Pence contribute to both runs and I am glad that Bochy hasn't really adjusted the lineup at all the entire playoffs which I am sure has given Pence a little more confidence during his struggles. Should be interesting to see how they handle the DH tomorrow.

    1. Great observation Pato, couldn't agree more.

      The Giants defense has gelled, has tremendous potential, and is now taking it to a higher level. Its incredibly awesome to watch. I figured that would be the strength of the Brandons. Watching them cut down Infante was beautiful. Both those guys are heads up ballplayers. Looking forward to them anchoring the Giants for years to come.

  2. I wonder if the Tigers were tryingt to test Posey and see how he would defend home plate against big guys like Fielder, Young and Cabrera charging in.

    They found out he could the hard way, I guess.

  3. Romantic Notion - The Giants got all the breaks in SF. NOW, the Tigers, going home, will get all the breaks.

    Reality - The Giants defense, honed to a fine art over the season, and now backed by the starters stepping it up is in full run prevention mode.

    Bottom line - Detroit's ass is getting kicked and they can't even see it.

    1. Monterey Shark, eyeball to eyeball with the baseball gods.

      I think the national media, and fans in general, get fixated on offense. I see a lot of narrative about the Tigers bats not getting hot. Well, we heard the same thing about another great offensive team, the Texas Rangers.

      Still a lot of games to play. But we couldn't be doing better, and be better set up with Vogelsong and Cain. The series will be over when its over. And all the breaks have gone our way. Things can swing on a dime.

      BTW - congrats to Javy Lopez - stopping off in CO for birth of his child before hightailing it to Detroit.

    2. Shank, watched enough baseball to know only two games have been played. Humble and quiet as a church mouse be I.

      Detroit has some real advantages going home: DH adds power to their lineup and not so much for the Giants, Young out of LF, AL style baseball and managing, three strong starters, and some home cooking to shake off the SF blues. If they get rolling and win a couple it will hard to stop them.

      Again it comes down to the starters in Game 3. I like Voggie as a tough as nails guy, in a tough as nails guy situation. Can't let them settle in and get comfortable at home.

  4. DrB, you were totally spot on about defense. In both games, it has been critical and made the difference in the second. We have better pitching (starters are good, but so are ours, and their pen is not very good), they have a better line up, defense is the tip of scales (least I hope).

    I also think Zito's win, combined with MadBum's stellar performance, has far more ramifications than just beating their ace. A key part is that Timmy is fresh. That means Bochy can afford to put Vogey and Cain on short leashes. Hopefully not necessary, but a sure way to keep us having mo is we don't let them get cocky. Having a guy like Timmy come in and shut them down could play a key role.

    Finally, another dumb move by Leyland was when he had his starter come out in the last inning, having made the defensive replacement. He had to know he was going to pull his starter, so why not do a double switch and save a pinch hitter. It didn't factor into the game but could have.


  5. Detroit has "a better lineup"? How come, then, that they and we scored about the same number of runs during the regular season, if one makes a very slight adjustment for their playing nearly all their games with a DH, and our playing nearly all ours without one?