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Saturday, October 09, 2010

Giants' Pen Costs Them Game 2

The Giants were cruising, and on their way to a 2-0 lead on the Braves, up until that top of the 8th inning, when the Giants bullpen came unraveled, including Brian Wilson, and allowed Atlanta to get back into the game.

The Giants had a 4-1 lead entering that dreaded 8th, and once a few runners got on base, Bruce Bochy, to my surprise, went to Brian Wilson. It was funny because Boch had just said a day earlier that he really wanted to avoid using Wilson to get 6-outs unless it's do or die. Anyway, I think bringing in Wilson that early ended up biting the Giants, throwing Wilson off kilter a bit and throwing off the whole rhythm of the bullpen. Not that you can blame a loss on one move, one play or one player, I just didn't think going to Wilson at that point was the right move, even with the tying run coming to the plate. Brian Wilson was used heavily in 2010, especially towards the end of the year, so asking him to get more than 3-4 outs per night in a playoff setting right now could be playing with fire. Again though, it wasn't really Wilson's fault. If Pablo Sandoval makes an easy throw to second to turn a double play in that 8th, it would have probably taken a lot of life out of Atlanta's comeback, and I think that is the one play that swayed the momentum of that game. The Giants looked like they were really in control up until that point, like they had the momentum and were playing with confidence, then things sort of came unraveled.

Other than going to Wilson so early, I was a little surprised that Bochy decided to remove Pat Burrell so early (after 6th inning) in a 3-run ballgame. That ended up costing Burrell 2 potential at-bats as the game ended up going extra-innings. I had a bad feeling about that one right away, it kinda reminded me of when Dusty Baker took out Russ Ortiz so early and handed him the game ball. It almost signaled to the Braves that we think we have this game in the bag, and it ended up biting them in the backside. But other than that, it's not really fair to go back and review every single move in hindsight, it's just that those 2 moves really raised some flags for me at least.

Once the Braves tied the game, I think it became apparent that they then also claimed the games momentum. Even after Braves' ace closer, Billy Wagner, had to leave the game because of a strained oblique, the Giants just couldn't get to Atlanta's bullpen. It looked to me like everybody in the Giants lineup wanted to be the hero and everyone was swinging out of their cleats in order to try and end the game, and the results weren't good. The Giants collected just 2 hits over the last 4 innings of the game, and took only one walk. That's a sign of an overly-aggressive team. That's a sign of the lack of playoff experience as well. I did think to myself towards the end of that game too, that it would have been nice to have Jose Guillen available to pinch-hit. I know Boch kept him off the roster cause he thought his neck injury was costing Guillen at the plate, but still, I think having him as a presence on the bench as a potential pinch hitter in a game like last night's definitely would have helped out. Aaron Rowand's post-season experience ended up being a positive, as he came up big with a pinch hit in the 7th, and it looked like the Giants were going to add onto their lead, but once again, the double-play, which has killed them all year, got to them Friday night.

Game 3 Preview

Now, with the series knotted at 1 game apiece, the ever so important game 3 takes place at Turner Field on Sunday evening as Jonathan Sanchez goes up against Tim Hudson. This is the one pitching match-up that favors the Braves in this series, so the Giants are going to need Sanchez to be on in order for him to keep pace with playoff-grizzled Hudson. Still, this pitching match-up should be a dandy. Sanchez has been nearly untouchable at times over his last 7 starts ( 44.2 IP, 0.11 era, 23 hits, 48 k's) but Hudson has that experience, and was tremendous in 2010, sporting a 17-9 record with a 2.83 era in 228 innings after missing most of '09 and much of '08. Of course, the key with Sanchez will be to keep the ball in the zone and get ahead of hitters. His last start basically showed his abilities in a nutshell, 5 shutout innings with 5 k's and 2 hits, but had to leave after just 5 innings cause he walked 5 batters. The Braves have a patient, professional hitting team that will not chase Sanchez's pitches out of the zone, so they'll make him throw strikes... For the Giants hitters, they have to approach Huddy much like they did Derek Lowe in game 1. Hudson's a sinker-baller and wants the Giants to beat the ball into the ground, so they have to make him get the ball up. Many of the Giants hitters haven't had much success vs. Hudson in the past, with the best success coming from Rowand (8 hits, including a homer, in 21 career ab's). With Cody Ross a career 2 for 25 vs. Huddy, Boch needs to seriously consider making that lineup switch for Sunday's game.
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4 Comments:

  • At 4:47 PM, Anonymous Jason Billingsley said…

    Yeah, game three is very pivotal. If the Giants lose, do they bring back Lincecum on 3-days rest, or go with the Rook in a do or die game?!?!?!

    HUGE game Sunday Night, as I think the winner takes the series...

    J-Bill

     
  • At 5:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Man, what a game 3.... I coulda killed Romo after that hr by Hinske, but luckily the team didnt panic!

    Go get in and end it in game 4 Madison!

     
  • At 9:49 AM, Blogger postzoom said…

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  • At 10:51 PM, Blogger Heart said…

    It's great to see them explode like that. I just wish they could do that more constantly. I really am hoping the Giants are planning on bringing back Aubrey Huff and Pat Burrell. Even Jose Guillen is starting to wear on me a bit. www.ufcsale.com

     

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