Friday, October 3, 2014

Game Wrap 2014 NLDS Giants vs Nationals Game 1: Giants 3 Nationals 2

Jake Peavy gutted his way through 5.2 shutout innings despite having what appeared to be not his best command and possibly not his best stuff.  Meanwhile, the Giants kept pecking away at Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals bullpen and made a 3-0 lead hold up for a close win.  Key Lines:

Joe Panik- 2 for 5.  Panik now has 5 hits in this postseason.  He seems to like Nationals Park as his first MLB HR came there during the season and he hit a triple off the glove of Denard Span up against the wall in left-center, later scoring the insurance run that was needed for this win.

Brandon Belt- 2 for 4.  Belt already has 4 RBI's in this postseason.

Brandon Crawford- 3 for 4, 2B.  Crawford stays hot, but did not score a Run or drive one in.

Jake Peavy- 5.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 K's.  Peavy at times seemed on the verge of completely losing the strike zone, but was always able to pull it back in.  In a way, I felt like the wildness helped keep the Nationals hitters off balance.  Kind of effectively wild, if you will.

Javier Lopez- 0.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K.  Lopez came in to face Adam LaRoche with 2 runners on and 2 outs.  He walked LaRoche to load the bases.  I'll give him a pass on this one because the ump called balls on at least 2 pitches that I thought were strikes.  The ump had what I would call a dancing strike zone which got more inconsistent as the game went on.

Hunter Strickland- 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  Kind of a mixed bag for Strickland.  He came in and struck out Ian Desmond to end the bases-loaded threat in the 6'th.  I think Bochy got a bit too greedy with the kid when he brought him back to pitch the 7'th when it might have made more sense to bring in Affeldt to pitch an inning in which 2 of the 3 scheduled batters were left-handed.  Instead, Strickland faced Bryce Harper who is a dead fastball hitter and got one crushed into the upper deck in RF.  After retiring the RH hitting Wilson Ramos, he gave up another dinger to Asdrubal Cabrera.  Bochy still left him in to retire the pinch hitter, then brought in Affeldt to face the left-handed Denard Span to retire the side with the lead barely intact.

Sergio Romo- 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  How shaky was Romo?  My gosh!  I think I nearly had at least 3 heart attacks during his inning, but he somehow got out of it including retiring the fearsome Bryce Harper to end the inning.

Santiago Casilla- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, Save.  Casilla faced the bottom of the order, Ramos, Cabrera, both good hitters and Espinosa was the PH for the pitcher's spot.  Casilla made is look easy.  Game over!

The Win was the Giants 9'th postseason win in a row going back to 2012.  It gives them a lead in a short series which is historically a huge advantage, 2012 notwithstanding.  Even if they lose tomorrow, they then come back to SF with Bummy going in Game 3 for a 2-1 lead.  If they somehow manage to win tomorrow too, then Bummy will have a chance to close it out early in Game 3.

Keys to Game 2:  Same the series keys except…..

1.  Get at least 5 strong innings from Huddy, including not falling behind early against Zimmermann.

2.  Quick hook at the first sign of trouble for Huddy.

3.  Keep pecking away at the plate.

Around the League:

Baltimore came from behind to beat the Tigers 7-6 as the Tigers bullpen has completely melted down.  You just don't realize the importance of a strong bullpen until you don't have one and it's doubly true in the postseason.  That is an undervalued commodity that the Giants have exploited big time.  Moneyball!

There was an offshore flow in SoCal today and game time temperature was 105 degrees.  Dodger Stadium plays a lot like Coors field on days like that.  The Hated Ones built a 6-1 lead with Clayton Kershaw looking invincible, then the Cardinals scored 9 runs in 2 innings to take a 10-6 lead eventually holding off the Dodgers 10-9.  A few comments:

Harold Reynolds thought the Cardinals might be stealing signs using runners on 2B.  Other Fox commenters thought Kershaw might have been tipping his pitches.  I think he probably ran out of gas in the heat and the ball had ridiculous carry there today.

Gotta wonder about Mattingly not pulling Kershaw sooner, especially after what happened in his last postseason game against these same Cardinals.  In Mattingly's defense, when your bullpen $%&#'s as much as the Dodgers pen, it would tend to make you want to stick with your starter too long, especially when it is Kershaw.  Still…..

Dodgers are now in a world of hurt as Kershaw and Greinke are their only 2 reliable starters and they have already burned Kershaw.

Assuming the Giants make it to the NLCS, would you rather face the Dodgers or the Cardinals?  Me?  I believe it is always best to root for the Dodgers to lose, so by default, I'd rather have the Giants face the Cardinals again even though I acknowledge the a Giants-Dodgers NLCS would be one helluva series which would be very sweet to win, but bitter as heck to lose.


  1. Washington Post thought the Giants hitter wrapped out cheap girly hits against Strasburg and were not manly enough to take a full cut.

    Please read this article full of insults / back-handed compliments.

    1. Yahooo Sportswriter Passan makes similar points without calling them wimps:

    2. I thought the article was mostly complimentary. He basically said the Giants win in the postseason by being smarter, which if you read between the lines, means Bochy has a helluva lot to do with it, which I agree with. Boswell was just looking for a story angle and from a writing standpoint did a good job. It will be interesting to see what he writes when Travis Ishikawa hits a game winning HR. LOL!

    3. The Passan article is more technical, but it reinforces the what I've been saying about the Giants recent drafting philosophy which is looking for players with low K rates. Passan makes it sound like an organizational philosophy from top to bottom starting with the scouting and drafting process, preached by the manager and hitting coach and bought into by the players. Nice to see the national media finally figuring it out.

    4. Life is about balancing the yin and yang...fastball vs. changeup, homerun vs bunt single, etc. You do what the situation calls for.

    5. Low K rates: As DrB has noted, low K rates aren't the same as, and may be antithetical to, the gospel of working the count. Working the count often gets you to two strikes, obviously a necessary prelude to three, but also a position where a hit grows less likely (according to the data). What this suggests, and what the Giants I hope keep practicing, is an altered principle of plate discipline. Matt Duffy, as quoted by Passan, says the Giants don't preach working the count but waiting for a pitch to hit and swinging the bat--Panik exemplifies this approach, as Scutaro did.

      One of the many things that MCC posters have excoriated Bochy for is his dislike of batters who he thinks are too timid, and of course Bochy would be wrong if working the count were optimal, with its increased likelihood of walks (OBP!) but also of Ks. But with high-contact batters, Bochy's ideas make complete sense.

  2. Thanks to Alex P over at Giants Extra for pointing out the first paragraph of Ken Rosenthal's article about the Dodgers game. Huddy said talent will get you to the postseason but it's what you have between your legs that wins it. A Dodger player called yesterday's loss a "sledgehammer to the nuts." LOL!

  3. The Giants are back to playing humble ball. Belt channeling Bochy, "We’re not getting too big out there. We’re doing that little game of get ‘em on, get ‘em over and get ‘em in.” I think it took the Giants almost 162 to go from HR rampaging, best record in baseball, to worst, to finding their roots.

    The pundits are aghast! What manner of upstarts dare challenge our 99mph fire breathing dragon with your wimpy little swords? How did they smite the mighty Nationals? What magics do they possess? Let us consult our Passans and Boswells, perhaps they can shed light on the mystery that confounds us. Next, we will send out the mighty Zimmermann, Knight of the No-Hitter. Surely he will vanquish these Left-Coast, free thinking infidels.

    Can't wait to see Timmy taking over from Huddy in the 5th, as the Giants bullpen shuts down the Nats and scores three in the 7th off of Zimmermann to win 3-1. Okay, that's not so humble, but jousting with these guys tis fun!

    Go Giants!!!

    1. Shark: I think the first guy Bochy wants out of the Pen is Strickland. Lets them get a good eye full of 99 mph after 90-92 mph fast balls then go back to the other pitchers.

      Strickland speed difference is so large compared to rest of the staff that I think Bochy that trying to exploit that by sending him back out in the 7th. I expect post season Bochey to do it again.


    2. DaveX, totally agree. Denard had to go from facing Strickland to Romo and stuck out both times on a total of 7 pitches - that's rough stuff. I said Strickland would be a difference maker and still believe it.

    3. Why would Bochy send out Timmy? Only reasons is if Bochy wants this series level.

    4. I have to say I was thinking more along the lines of Yusmeiro Petit in the 5'th.

    5. At some point, Timmy and/or Petit will come in to play a big role. Hopefully it's to maintain a lead and save the bullpen a few extra innings of wear and tear. I suppose the same could be said of Vogey if they go to Bummy in game 3.


    6. Well then....

      I didn't quite expect it to be so epic, but a big role nonetheless.

      Relievers get a day off, still have Vogey and Timmy for longer outings, and all the jitters should be fully shaken off for the young'ns. We're cooking with gas. Now we just have to hope Posey's legs weren't taken from him for the rest of the series...curious if Bochy would risk letting Susac get a start in the playoffs (let Posey get a day at 1B). It worked well at the end of the season, but this is a whole 'nother ballgame.


  4. cannot wait to see doc's summary of today's game

    something very special about this crop of giants when they reach october


  5. Tonight, late of the evening, the soul of the Giants shines brightly!

  6. Petit showed just how important an elite bully is in the playoffs. Was Dombrowski paying attention?