For the second consecutive time, the Roy Halladay / Tim Lincecum duel wasn’t exactly what we expected. And even though the box score didn’t show it, I’d say Lincecum out pitched Halladay (who injured himself in the second inning) yet again. Unfortunately for the Giants, right now, that doesn’t matter much.
Defense has brought the Giants a long way this season. They’re by no stretch the most fleet footed group out there, but more times than not, if they can get their glove on it – they’re making a play (sans Pablo Sandoval). Tonight, that wasn’t the case, as two poorly timed mistakes cost the Giants a chance to capture the NLCS crown at 3rd and King.
After allowing runners on first and second to start the top half of the third, Roy Halladay (who had strained his groin the previous half inning) came to the plate with intentions of bunting. On what I believe was the first pitch, Halladay stuck his bat out and chipped a little bunt straight down into home plate which rolled backwards to Buster Posey’s feet. Clearly, to anybody who’s watched baseball before – this was a foul ball. However, Posey fully aware of no call from homeplate umpire Jeff Nelson, picked up the ball and fired it down to third base, clearly beating the runner. Pablo Sandoval, back stepping in attempts to get into position, stuck his foot out and clearly missed the base. Twice. The foul ball, was not a foul ball according to Nelson (even though it clearly was) and the runner was safe at third on Sandoval’s missteps. Roy Halladay, one who is fully aware of baseball rulings, clearly thought the bunt was foul too as he stood at homeplate throughout this entire meltdown thinking the play would be called correctly and this was all but extra curricular. It wasn’t. After Sandoval noticed Halladay standing at homeplate still after all of this, he threw over to first where Halladay was called out. Wild enough for you?!
The next better was Shane Victorino and he promptly smacked a hard (but very playable) ground ball directly to Aubrey Huff. Chances are, the runner at home would have been safe and Huff would have taken the sure out at first. Well, that is, if he fielded it correctly. The ball ran up Huff’s right arm and shot out into shallow center field allowing both runs to score. The Phillies would tack on one more and take a 3-0 lead in one of the most wild and absurd innings I’ve seen all year.
The Giants kept the Phillie bats silent for the rest of the evening until the top of the 9th when Jayson Werth took a Ramon Ramierez pitch into the right field corner, clearing the wall and staking them to a 4-2 lead.
From Huff’s botched ground ball, to Sandoval’s poorly played bunt (and throw later in the game that didn’t cost the Giants), to Cody Ross’ poor base running decision, the usually mentally tough Giants took a night off. Now, the Giants have used their mulligan. No more freebies. You lose tomorrow night, it’s a winner take all situation in Game 7, and you’re on the road. Doesn’t sound too peachy to me.
I’d have to think we might have saw the last of Sandoval (other than a late inning sub) unless the Giants return to San Francisco for Game 1 of the World Series. Even though he’s been hitting (kinda…) his defensive issues have clearly cost the Giants and he’s become too much of a liability at third. Combine that with his road woes, the writing has to be all the wall, right? I’m not a huge fan of Uribe at third with Renteria at short, but, I have to think it’s better than the alternative.
Jonathan Sanchez attempts to pitch the Giants into the World Series tomorrow evening as Roy Oswalt (who says he’s fine after pitching an inning in Game 4) tries to send it to a winner take all Game 7.