Thursday, October 11, 2012

Game Wrap NLDS Game 5: Giants 6 Reds 4

The Giants pulled off what might be the most improbable feat in a season that has been full of improbables by winning their 3'rd straight game in the opponents stadium after losing the first two games of the series at home.  Never been done before, never!  Buster Posey capped a 6 run 5'th inning with a grand slam HR.  Matt Cain pitched 4 shutout innings before tiring. Then the bullpen, which looked shaky, held on for the W and the NLDS victory.  Key Lines:

Pablo Sandoval- 2 for 4.  BA= .333.  Sandoval's performance in this series as well as the end of the season, bode well for the remainder of the postseason.

Buster Posey- 1 for 4, HR.  BA= .211.  Buster didn't hit that well in this series but when the opportunity arose to bury the Reds, he came through and oh how he came through!  Against Mat Latos to boot!

Hunter Pence- 2 for 4, SB.   BA= .200.  Hopefully this is the beginning of something good in the next series.

Brandon Crawford- 2 for 4, 3B.  BA= .182.  Crawford drove in the first run with a triple.  As soon as I saw that on Gameday, which I was checking during breaks at work, I had a really good feeling about this game.

Matt Cain- 5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 5 K's.  ERA 5.06.  There is some grumbling out there that Bochy left Cain in too long.  When it's Matt Cain, I think you give him a bit more rope than say, Barry Zito.

Bullpen- 3.1 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  The bullpen nearly gave me at least 3 heart attacks, but hung on for the W.  Romo got the Save, going more than 1 IP for the second time in the series.

The Giants now get two days off before beginning the NLCS on Sunday.  Their opponent will be decided tomorrow in Game 5 of the NLDS between the St Louis Cardinals and the Washington Nationals.  If the Cards win, the Giants will have a rather dubious home field advantage while if Washington wins, the Nats will have home field advantage.

So, who is your MVP of the series?  Buster Posey, who hit the Grand Slam that ended up as the game winning hit of the clinching game?  Sergio Romo who went 2 innings to get the win in Game 3 and 1.1 innings to get the Save in Game 5?  Gregor Blanco, who hit .286 and started the winning rally today?  Ryan Vogelsong who kept the Giants in Game 3 against the hottest pitcher on the planet, Homer Bailey?  What about George Kontos who did not pitch many innings but got crucial outs in seemingly every game?  Maybe Timmy who ate some serious innings, was the winning pitcher in Game 4 and whose cumulative line was by far the best of the pitchers from the regular season starting rotation?

Great Game!  Great Series!  Great Season!  Go Giants!  Let's keep it going!


  1. I think the MVP for the series HAS to go to the Committee. The BP was SOOO nails, we would not have had a chance without the lot of them.

    Romo is creating a legend.
    Kontos is securing a spot.
    Timmeh is redefining the relief pitcher.
    Affeldt is pitching well, and finding newer, more unique ways of getting hurt.

    Honorable mention goes to...

    Posey for his 2 clutch hits in the series and his rocket arm.
    Herk for his emerging leadership and enthusiastic play, even if he still cannot find the results at the plate.
    Oxy for driving the nail into the Reds hearts with the second pitch of game 4.
    Shark for being the only consistent bat in the lineup for the whole series.

    1. Pence (assuming he is Herk) got two hits in this last game.

  2. Frankly, I would make Pence the MVP. His speech seems to have inspired his teammates. Not that the players you list above aren't deserving, but nobody really stood out, I guess, is my point, at least enough to be MVP.

    If not him, then I have to go with Vogelsong, as he kept the team in it against no-hit Bailey, and enabled the team to hold on and win the game eventually. That NLDS series win started with that game.

    Go Giants!

    1. I would say Pence as well. But them statz say otherwise. Posey throwing out Phillips in Game 3 and the strike out throw out today was huge. Vogelsong is a nice choice though, he has a knack for matching up.

    2. How about Pagan for MVP? Obviously, there a lot of choices on the team, but Pagan's 1st-inning homerun served notice that yes, the Giants can score runs against the Reds, despite the way they looked over the weekend.

    3. Shankbone makes a good case for Posey, and I would have no problem with that either, obviously that grand slam and two great defensive CS really helped our cause a lot. Seeing it like this, I am now leaning more towards Posey, though again, did he stand out that much against the others?

      I could go for the three as co-MVP, or Posey and Pence.

  3. The Giants win in a historic run of sheer audacity, luck and perseverance.

    Kissing my '67 Jimmy Ray Hart bat I got at Bat Day as a kid. Yes, that's the kind of serious mojo this series win took.

    Wow! Buster. Cap' America indeed! And Latos as Red Skull.

    Reds wouldn't quit. But that's when great pitching beats down great hitting. (note that's why the A's won't win tonight - Verlander)

    Hats off to Dusty and his gang. Don't want to see any more of Ludwick, Bailey or 100MPH Chapman.

    Nice to see Bochy stand in there with Cain and Romo - that took some cajones too.

    Happy NLDS birthday to Jon Miller - will Never get tired of listening to him.

    MVP is simply Bochy and the Team. Can't say anyone performed great (don't look at the stats) they just won when they had to.

    1. Seriously, I don't want to see Ludwick face the Giants ever again. Who woulda thunk THAT? The Reds played tough, especially Brandon Phillips, that play on Belt was amazing. That is a very good hitting ballclub.

  4. Buster. That gave me the Will Clark vibe from 1989. I just rewatched the 9th, that was nerve wracking. At the end, everybody is celebrating and there is Posey, walking slowly with a little smile on his face. He is the man, the myth and the legend.

    The rest of the team is pretty good too. The Greek has come up huge. Romo hung in there huge. Affeldt shrugged off a couple baserunners with a big pitch. That injury is apparently not serious, good grief the man finds weird ways to hurt himself.

    I am so glad Bochy does not trust Casilla. He is great when things are going well, but he gives up a dink hit and he just shrinks. Sometimes the world is not fair, Santiago. Romo got pinched a bit in the ninth, he shrugged it off. Bochy pulling guys with authority is the difference. Good job Melon Head!

    Lastly, Crawford you done great today. Triple was huge, he hung in later versus the Cuban. But mainly his play in the 8th. And how about my man Angel Pagan. He has taken his lumps on the defense from Gint fans, but he came up with the huge play in the 8th as well.

    Great win, and now we get to play for the pennant. These guys played their hearts out. Go Giants!

    1. Where in the world was Santiago, you may say.

  5. The team proves itself by finding different ways to win.

    Two years ago, Timmy set the tone in game one of the Atlanta series, shutting them out on 2 hits while striking out 14. This time, it's a bit of everyone.

  6. i like mvp for committee, second place going to vogey, who could have imploded, but did what he did for most of the year....fight till the last and help invigorate the team...honorable mention going to rev pence

    already the columns about how we should feel bad for dusty are popping up. while i wish dusty well and hope he sits down to make the correct decision about his health vs continuing to manage , i dont feel the least bit sad for him. 20 years and the man keeps doing what doesnt work. i may scratch my head over decisions bochy makes during the season, but i have no doubt that he knows exactly what he is doing in the post. cant say the same for doofus, who manages in the post like he does in the regular matter how many times that choice has been a proven failure. this series was payback for all the idiotic moves he made, while managing the giants.

    i hear that latos was destroyed by today...good...i hope this was a career ending event. hope it leads to a drinking problem, a divorce and multiple dui's. there isnt a bigger sob in the majors.

    as for the rest of cinci....hell of a team. they didnt quit. romo was totally spent and there is a vid floating around of him weeping in a corner while the rest of the team is partying. romo doesnt cry, he's the class clown.

    the whole rev pence thing is an amazing story. i still have my issues with pence, but damn, he is a leader...he is the antibeltran

    i think the issue with cain is that cinci pretty much owns him, and bochy was pushing it, continuing to expose him

    we have seen some amazing baseball feats this season. if it ended tomorrow, i would be happy.

    i do not remember a season where every lds went 5 games. where so many post season games ended in walk offs or 1 run differentials...this country may be in love with the nfl, thanks to office pools and gambling, but baseball has more drama than any other professional sport. the country is missing out.

    across the bay, the river cats magical season finally came to an end. the crowd gave them a standing O after the final out. i listened to the post game with fans calling in and lew is gonna be hard pressed to show the league that he cant draw if he stays in oakland. he needs a new stadium, but sj will remain a giants property.

    1. "i hear that latos was destroyed by today...good...i hope this was a career ending event. hope it leads to a drinking problem, a divorce and multiple dui's. there isnt a bigger sob in the majors."

      You, are a true scoundrel Bacci!

      Love it.

      The guy can eat it.

      Let's Go Giants!

  7. Game 3 was won out of pride and not wanting to be swept. Pagan's HR starting off Game 4 loomed big for me,,,, then Timmy came in and restored order was my version of the turn around. Bochy deserves the MVP, because the team had too many heros in this series... This team seems like the 2010 in that they will themselves to wins... Can it really be described in less than a billion words???

  8. I'd have to say Posey has been the guy so far.
    Dr. B, you might have posted before that clutch is not part of a sabermetric statistic, and we are likely seeing those disparities with Alex Rodriguez and others in the post-season.
    Which Giants in your mind have been the best post-season performers in Giants history? I nominate Cody Ross and Edgar Renteria but I am sure your recall is better of the previous teams.

    1. I believe clutchness exists.

      Certainly, just from statistical variation, you might expect some players to perform better than their season-average selves.

      But consistent clutchness, not due to cyclical ups and downs, is also possible.

      A player can be consistently clutch by 'turning it on' in big games. He can also be accused of not always giving his 100% though.

      There is another way of being consistently clutch. A player can just maintain his normal self, but other players on his team and the opposing players underperform due to the pressures of post-season.

      It's easier to understand a player being clutch becuase those around him wilt under pressure (gripping the ball or the bat a little too tight perhaps) than to understand a player being clutch by turning himself on at will (much rarer, though certain possible).

    2. There is some statistical evidence that some players are more "clutch" than others, but the variance is relatively small over a large sample size and there are very few players who reach statistical significance on the metric.

      ARod's career postseason sample size is getting large enough that we might be able to say he just doesn't perform well in the postseason. On the other hand, Barry Bonds was abysmal in the postseason until 2002 when he was terrific.

      Most of the time if you let players play long enough, they will regress or progress to their career norms.

    3. Cody Ross had a phenomenal postseason in 2010. Was it clutch or was he just on one of his hot streaks. Ross has always been a streaky hitter, so I tend to believe he just happened to get hot at the right time and the Giants caught their proverbial lightning in a bottle.

  9. The beauty of baseball...while baseball is the most statistically rich sport ever, there are times baseball transcends stats. This series was one of them. Is there any way of looking at the stats and thinking the Giants won this series? Hell game three was the worst offensive game ever to win a playoff game.

    Call it clutch, heart, will, luck, BUT the Giants went out and did it. Man I couldn't be happier.

  10. "If the Cards win, the Giants will have a rather dubious home field advantage while if Washington wins, the Nats will have home field advantage." - Well put DrB. Oddly, neither the Giants nor Reds won a single game at home!

  11. Congrats fellow Giant fans! What a ride that was! What a team full of heart, guts and balls.. And just a dash of brains (Bochy) too!

    As for the MVP, I find it virutally impossible to pick one...Kinda cliche, but if there ever was a team victory from all 25 players and the Manager, this was it...And I love it!

    Like the Giants, I didn't give up after the first two losses but I also refused to talk to anybody about the games until it was done.....

    Got a good feeling about the rest of the way, but we'll see....I'm assuming Lince in back in the rotation...or perhaps he feels more comfortable where he is....

    And, I'll tell you what, there is no better manager in baseball than BOCHY....He manages fot the bib picture and team builiding and team chemistry and finding out what each player can do throught August.....then it's all out to win after that ...SEPTEMBER and OCTOBER is BOCHY TIME!


  12. I think its great that there are so many choices! Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems like as often as not the teams that win are the ones with unsung heros and quite often they change from series to series. Sure, you can look back at any given series and say "that guy did it", but I wonder if to get to the WS you need more than a single pitcher or position player carrying a team on their back. This teams strikes me as one that has several leaders, among each of the pen, starters and position players, and by having that much chemistry, no one is going to let down and someone (maybe someone different each game) will step up.

    ps, I give a lot of MVP credit to Bochy. He gets bashed an awful lot, but honestly he had a Manager of the Year performance this year and through much of last. To do what he does, losing as many guys as we did, with 3 critical rookies, is just awesome.


  13. When I think of MVP's I think of a player that single handedly made the difference. There usually is one guy you can point your finger at and say, if not for him we wouldn't have won. Buster obviously could be a candidate but as everyone is saying here, there were quite a few players that we needed in order to make it past the Reds.

    I wouldn't give it to Bochy because I thought his decisions in this series were 180 degrees from the way he managed in 2010 and it very nearly cost him. In 2010 he would have never left guys like Crawford and Belt in there much like how he benched Panda and went with the hot hand that year in the playoffs. He managed out of desperation then and this year he seems to be managing based on loyalty instead (how else do you explain the Huff pinch hit at bat, playing Crawford after he clearly has been overmatched, sticking with Belt while he fouls off fastball after fastball right down the middle, or even pitching Zito over giving Timmy a start).

    Back to my praise of the A's for a second. Anyone who is a Giants fan I am assuming is a baseball fan as well. Anyone who is a baseball fan would have to be a complete idiot not to appreciate what that team accomplished. I am a Giants fan first and foremost but I got a chance to go to the A's game on wednesday when they clinched the division and then again on Tuesday when they won the first playoff game at home. It would have been impossible not to get caught up in the excitement as those fans went crazy from the first pitch until the end for a team that couldn't care less about them. They truly were the real life version of the Indians in the movie Major League, did anyone have a problem rooting for the Indians during that movie? I didn't think so!

    1. P-duk, for a second you almost had me agreeing with you there.

    2. Belt--Other than Posey, who else do you play. And if you play Posey, you roll the dice that Hector can handle the entire staff. I'm fine with that decision.

      Crawford--Arias is good, but his defense isn't in teh same league. In a short series, defense wins when you have suspect offense. I'm fine with that.

      Panda--too much potential and again, you're really going to rely on Arias instead?

      I don't think it is loyalty. I think is understanding what each player brings to the table and setting up a team to win. This team has holes. And he's using one guy's strength to compensate for another's weaknesses. Considering NO NL team ever came back from 0-2, and only 4 AL teams did, and considering everyone counted us out when (a) we went to closing by committee and (b) lost Melky, I just don't see you how say Bochy doesn't play a big part of that.


    3. I don't know, going with Crawford over Arias yesterday didn't seem like loyalty to me...Thought Bochy just wanted one of the better fielding Short stops in the game for what promised to be a pitchers duel...and the fact that Latos is tough on righties....and that the lefty swingy Crawford was better down the stretch....even if he was struggling the first few games like most giants...Was a solid choice going into the game and it obviously turned out well.....Belt more for defense I guess and to keep Posey at the postion where he plays best..And, going into the series both ZITO and Vogey earned a start over Lincecum..If Lince got a start, that would have been loyalty.....Honestly don't think loyalty had anything to do with anything....


    4. I believe we all root for the Giants. My impression is that, however, we don't always remember to say that expllicity often enough.

      Personally, I don't get excited about the A's, though I don't see a problem for other Giants fans who do. In that spirit, those A's fans who have no home team to root for now and who are so inclined are welcome to get excited about the Giants.

      Please, come join our journey.

    5. Pato's reply just reminds me that the Naysayers see what they want to see.

      Panda got benched because he was fat, unable to defend nor hit from the right-side, and his season got worse and worse as the season went on. Belt and Crawford started out badly but worked hard and got themselves into pretty good hitting mechanics by season's end, and their defense was stellar no matter how they were hitting (well, mostly, except for Bcraw's hiccups early season). Those are powerful reasons why things happened the way they did.

      If loyalty was a factor, no way Lincecum wasn't starting. Even if it were a small factor, Lincecum would be starting. Look at that Fangraph (or was it THT?) article blasting the Giants for starting Zito over Lincecum.

      Furthermore, I would note that Bochy didn't have as much choice this time either. Who would play 1B if you bench Belt? Huff? Really, the only way to bench Belt is the way they did it in Game 4, start Hanchez and push Posey to 1B. And nobody plays defense at 1B like Belt, that helps out Sandoval, Crawford, Scutaro. Crawford is the lefty and the Reds had RHP. As well as Arias has hit and been hot, his history against RHP is not that great. And you can't start Theriot either at SS.

      If there was a pattern between 2010 and 2012, I would say that Bochy would go with what worked in the regular season, until he felt that it wasn't working and was willing to quickly try to find the winning move. He was not beholden to loyalty or past performances, he only looked for what might work better, when what worked before didn't work, guided by a lifetime of observing and evaluating MLB players.

    6. Either way, in 2010 Panda was benched for the playoffs and after looking overwhelmed for 4 games I would have gone with the hot hand which was Arias. I also understand the defense but Arias really isn't that bad with the glove and isn't a huge downgrade over Crawford (Arias actually has the better arm). If you can't live without Crawford in the lineup then I would have at least considered putting Arias at 3B and Panda at 1B. That way you keep Posey catching and you get a hot bat in Arias in your lineup as opposed to Belt who fouls off fastballs down the middle.

      The loyalty factor when it comes to Timmy is a 2 way street. How can you say loyalty wasn't a factor when he was loyal to Zito and Voggie while leaving Timmy off the starting rotation. If Bochy was not beholden to loyalty or past performance then how do you explain the Huff pinch hit at bat? Loyalty is using the same lineup essentially in all 5 games with the exception of the Zito game when Sanchez caught Zito. If he was going off of what wasn't working, I am pretty sure that his lifetime of observing and evaluation players would have told him that Crawford looked lost at the plate while Arias looked like he was ready for the moment.

    7. Timmy being left off the the startinf rotation was all Timmy , all based on merit..Pretty much the worst Pitcher in the League this year and he struggled in hi slast start...Vogey and Zito outpitched hiom all year and in their last games...No loyalty involved whatsoever..

      As for Crawford..DEFENSE..DEFENSE comparison with Arias at short...and that's what you want in the POs..especially after it seems your team's bats have woken up..And Crawford showed in Sept that he could hit..he did the same yesterday...Great call by Bochy to not just base everything on the "hot hand"...

      And Panda has played 1B twice all year (right?). you don't experiment in ther POs...


    8. The hot hand during the series was not Arias, it was Belt. Only by game by game results can you say Arias. The only way Arias is the hot hand is if you are going by game by game results. Arias hit .200/.224/.273/.497 during the last month of play, and he was pretty much bad during the month. Belt hit .310/.370/.512/.881 during the last month.

      Belt did strike out a lot during the series, but from the games I heard, it seemed like the umps were squeezing him big time, particularly in the last game. In short series like that, I would hope that Bochy and the staff are eyeing how Belt is hitting and would take him out if necessary.

      Still, to SteveVA's point, I would note that Panda's injury came from his brief play at 1B. No thank you, our offense does not need to be perfect, it just needs to be good enough to win, even if Belt isn't hitting that great.

      Where is loyalty involved with picking Zito and Vogie over Lincecum? Did you see Lincecum last two starts? Meanwhile Zito and Vogelsong actually had good games themselves over their last 3-4 starts.

      Where is loyalty involved with Huff? Did you see him in the last month? He hit .353/.476/.412/.888. Is that terrible in your estimation?

      Lastly, apparently you missed what Crawford did in the last game, Bochy saw more in Crawford than you did and Brandon looked pretty ready the way he stung the ball twice for well-struck hits, the second time against Aroldis Freaking Chapman 100MPH LHP. Are you arguing that Arias would have done more than that?

    9. Keep grasping at straws OGC, Arias also got a hit off Chapman as well as several others in his limited AB's. Are you even watching when Belt swings at fastballs down the middle and fouls them off instead of driving them? If you had Arias at 3B wouldn't that be an upgrade over Pablo which should go right along with your whole defense first theme? Panda doesn't need to play 100 games at 1B to be plugged in there, that is like saying that bringing Timmy out of the pen is a horrible idea since he hasn't done it all year!! I forget, how did that work out?

    10. Oh and saying that Huff deserved an at bat based on his numbers over the last month... good luck getting anyone to agree with you on that one!! That was 100 percent loyalty based on what Huff did in 2010 playoffs. What else would you like to argue about? Seems you have a way of taking every stance I make and defending the opposite. Puppies are cute and water is wet, what do you have to say about that?

    11. Whytheheck are we arguing about this? The Giants won! Both Arias and Crawford played well in the assignment Bochy gave them. Huff hit well as a PH down the stretch. I don't see anything wrong with trying him in that role in the playoffs if you have the roster spot. The only roster alternative I can think of that I might prefer would be keeping Whiteside instead of Huff so as to give more flexibility in using The Hector who I think is a better bat off the bench than Huff.

    12. Frankly, you could argue that almost every single Giant player sucked at times during the Reds series. And the stats would back you up. Not one player was MVP, not one player dominated.

      Criticizing Bochy in hindsight, you might as well go to the Reds site and join in on the chorus line for Dusty Baker. Geeez enjoy the historic series win for ten minutes.

    13. Bring on the Cards! This is gonna be great. Now its getting all historic up in here. Back to back WS Champs fighting to get back for 2nd out of 3. Beautiful.

  14. To be honest, I don't think there was an MVP for the series. Someone new played a major part in each win in Cinci. Posey probably is the best choice because of the grand slam and his rally-starting single in Game 3, not to mention the baserunners is threw out throughout the last few games. But overall, you can look at the entire roster and almost everyone contributed in a positive way.

    1. Forgot about that single. OK, I'm leaning more towards Posey now, and the way he handled the pitching staff in Cincy.

  15. My God, driving home it was the Nats up 6-0, and dinner and then...the Birds win 9-7. Giants pitchers better be 13 deep and ready to shut them down every inning. This is going to be good.