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San Francisco Giants’ three keys to success against Pirates

By Mark ONeill
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The San Francisco Giants face a daunting task in Pittsburgh, Wednesday evening, so they must utilize all of their available tools if they are to persevere. Included in those tools are the keys to the game so let me drag the key box over and select three. I’d take the whole box but then I might risk losing credibility.

So here we go with Key Number One: Calm the savage beast, otherwise known as the home crowd, and keep it quiet. The most effective method to accomplish this is to score in the first inning, in any way, shape or form they can, and then score again, often. The other day in San Diego, the Giants scored in each of the first five innings. I think that would suffice, as far as dulling the roar.

Another way to turn down the volume is for Madison Bumgarner to strike batters out. He has 219 K’s on the season so it is not unreasonable to assume that he will strike out his fair share on Wednesday night. He’s not  required to strike them out,

Nothing takes the wind out of the sails of an opponent quicker than a big swing and a miss. Whoosh!

but nothing takes the wind out of the sails of an opponent quicker than a big swing and a miss. Whoosh.

Key Number Two is an easy one to toss out there, but a hard one with which to open a door: do not make 90-feet mistakes, beginning with walks. Bumgarner walked 43 batters in 33 starts, or about one-and-a-third batters per start. If he can eliminate the one and keep it to just one-third, he will help his own cause immeasurably.

Jul 8, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner (40) pitches the ball against the Oakland Athletics during the third inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Also, Giants pitchers must hold runners close to the bag, and keep focused with all throws to either first base or a play at second or third, to keep from throwing the ball away. Take the sure out and let the double play follow if it is inclined to do so. Do not force the issue.

And there can be no errors. This is standard operating procedure in any game as errors complicate matters, but more so on the big stage where the spotlight is so brilliant. Also, you don’t want to lie awake all winter thinking about what went wrong when you were daydreaming on the field of play, and the ball went that-away.

Hit the cut-off man, back up the play, call for the ball and do what it takes to play errorless ball. All players must keep their heads in the game and communicate. These are the little things that will prevent a chain reaction that gets out of control in a hurry.

Finally, Key Number Three dictates that the Giants must believe in the chemistry. Each has to know that if he can’t get the job done, the guy behind him will. If they can believe in each other, as they have in the past, then no one individual will try to do too much. No one will feel he has to put it over the wall because that is the only way to score a run. Small ball works just fine, as the Kansas City Royals found out Tuesday night, in their own wild card showdown.

So, choose a keyring, attach these three keys to it, stay tuned for the game in Pittsburgh, and check to see how the Giants do. Any-or all-of the three may be the key to unlocking the gate which blocks the Giants from moving forward in the playoffs, so don’t lose them. 

You never know which one will be the keystone that will lead to victory for the Orange and Black.

Jun 13, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; San Francisco Giants right fielder Hunter Pence (center) is congratulated by teammates in the dugout after hitting a three run home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the sixth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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