Saturday, October 30, 2010

2010 World Series Game 3: TEX 4, SF 2

The Giants lost tonight, but that is not the main concern to take away from Game 3. They have Bumgarner going tomorrow against a weak pitcher, Tommy Hunter, and Lincecum in Game 5 (against Lee of course). All they really need is to win 1 game in Texas. They have a good chance of getting that done. Matt Cain on the mound in Game 6 would give the Giants a great chance to finish out the series. The real concern is if this series does go to a 7th game.

Jonathan Sanchez is scheduled for that start, and Sanchez just doesn't look good right now. He pitched fine in the final game of the season, dominated the Braves in Game 3 of the NLDS, and pitched well in Game 2 against the Phillies. Then there was Game 6 of the NLCS against Philadelphia, where he looked lost, and couldn't finish the 3rd inning. Tonight, he gave up more runs, but didn't look as bad as he did in Philly. Still, it was clear something wasn't right. It'd be wrong to write a good pitcher like him off just because of 2 poor starts, but after he left the game, a few issues came up that hadn't before.

Sanchez has apparently lost some measurable velocity on his fastball, and it is affecting the way he pitches. He seemed to recognize it during this start, and after some damage was done, he adjusted well, until Hamilton homered off him in the 5th. He was throwing more breaking balls, because the fastball just wasn't working, and he ended up hanging one to Hamilton. The speculation was that this loss of velocity is due to Sanchez's long season, and Dave Righetti all but confirmed the reality of this situation after the game. He's never pitched near 200 innings until 2010, and then you add in the playoff starts, and you could see how a young arm can get tired. And one thing is probably for sure: that arm isn't going to get much less tired for Game 7. So the question becomes: should Sanchez start Game 7? If the issue were simply about a couple bad starts, but nothing to do with fatigue or injury, I'd say absolutely yes. But we are dealing now with a fatigue problem, and a tired arm is a dangerous thing to rely on, especially in Game 7 of the World Series. But then the question becomes: who would start? The Giants don't have any relievers that are "starters" (Barry Zito could have been one), so we are left with the 2 other starters, Bumgarner and Lincecum. Cain is out of the question because he started the previous night. The most he might be able to provide in that game would be an inning or so of relieve.

The difficult part of this is that when trying to avoid making Sanchez throw, the other pitchers that are options could be facing the same problem, in a different way. Do we know that Lincecum can throw effectively with 2 days rest? 3 days isn't ideal for Bumgarner, but it is more realistic, but then you think of Bumgarner. He's far more inexperienced than Sanchez, and younger. What if he is getting tired too?

Hopefully, this simply won't be an issue. Hopefully, the Giants can win the series before it gets to Game 7. And if it does, hopefully Bochy and Righetti will have observed Sanchez to see that he is okay for a start. And in the case that he isn't, the Giants have options, although none are very attractive. Without time to think it over much, I'd say give Bumgarner the ball to start the game, but make anyone available, including Lincecum and Cain.

Pat Burrell looks horrible at the plate, but he should start tomorrow. The Giants simply don't have anyone that's going to do much better. Hopefully he can figure it out right away. I have little doubt he'll be moved down in the lineup, and Ross will move up to hit behind Posey. I also think that Ishikawa will get the start at 1st, and with Huff at DH.

1 comment:

  1. This whole Sanchez thing turned "win 2 of 4" into "win 2 of 3". Oh well, against Hunter and with Lincecum and Cain I'm confident they can get the job done.

    Start Zeets and have all hands on deck. Also slide Burrell down in the order.