Tuesday, October 19, 2010

2010 NLCS Game 3: SF 3, PHI 0

Bruce Bochy did something rather strange for the game today: He completely shuffled the lineup. Suddenly Edgar Renteria was hitting 1st, Posey was up to 3rd, Burrell up to 4th, Ross up to the 5th spot, Huff (against a lefty) got moved down to 6th, and Aaron Rowand replaced Andres Torres in center field. I wasn't sure what to make of this. It felt like a panic move, a very odd thing to suddenly do in the playoffs. And even though the Giants only managed 5 hits and 3 runs off Cole Hamels, the order of the lineup had an effect. By putting the hottest hitter, Cody Ross, in the 5th spot, the Giants ended up in a situation in the 4th inning with 2 runners on and Ross at the plate. And Ross hit a line shot into left field to give the Giants their first run, moving over Pat Burrell, who would score on Aubrey Huff's single in the next at bat. The Giants would score another run in the 5th thanks to Aaron Rowand's double and Chase Utley's misplay on a Freddy Sanchez grounder. But the Ross RBI was all the Giants ever needed, because Matt Cain was on the mound.

Cain was brilliant especially when you consider the lineup he was facing. Utley has always hit him well, and Ryan Howard, contrary to the way he looked in Game 1, is hitting the ball well. Cain ended up walking 3 Phillies, which led to some tense innings with runners on. But he's used to that. He strands runners all the time. Cain was able (hehehe) to get out of those jams because the Phillies simply weren't hitting the ball hard against him. There were a couple line drives to infielders, a few long fly balls, and the long single that Rollins got off the right field wall. The other hit was a bloop single by Ryan Howard. And that was it. Everything else was quiet and easy. He finished 7 shutout innings, with only the 2 hits. Not the greatest performance by Cain at all; he's had better stuff and command on some days. But in another way, the best performance considering that. In a 7 game series tied 1-1, against a good offense and facing a very good pitcher, Cain was money. He showed up, and he got through 7 innings completely unscathed. All you could have asked of him and more.

Charlie Manuel can keep hitting Polanco third; Javier Lopez will just keep getting him, Utley, and Howard out. If the Giants win the World Series, could a huge part of the redemption of Brian Sabean really involve the acquistion a left handed specialist?

I would expect to see Andres Torres back in the lineup tomorrow against Joe Blanton. It will also be interesting to see if Bochy goes to Sandoval in favor of Uribe. I have a feeling he will. The Giants SHOULD have a major edge tomorrow in the matchup between Blanton and Bumgarner, but we'll see what happens.

Oh, and Raul Ibanez looks TERRIBLE at the plate. Just awful.

No comments:

Post a Comment