Thursday, October 18, 2012

Detailed look at the Giants RISP troubles from last night

The Giants with runners in scoring position last night were abysmal. The Giants put a bunch of guys on base and then decided that it would be rude to their hosts to drive them in.

For those that want to take a stroll through the nightmare I am going to go through each at bats the Giants had taking a detailed look at each one.

Top of the 2nd:

Brandon Belt walks, Gregor Blanco grounds out to first moving Belt to second with two outs.

Situation: Brandon Crawford, runner on second, two outs:

Crawford get’s one pitch that is near the middle of the strike zone on a pretty nice slider from Lohse and swings through it. Everything else is on the corner’s or well outside the strike zone. Crawford has a nice at bat and draws a walk.

Verdict: Good at bat, decent result

Situation: Matt Cain, runners on first and second, two outs:

Cain gets a heavy does of hard two seamers on the outside corner. Lohse gets a generous called strike two and then finally gets Cain on a caught foul tip. Not a bad at bat considering that Cain is a pitcher who came up with two outs.

Verdict: Good at bat, bad result

Top of the 3rd:

Angel Pagan leads off with a single, Marco Scutaro doubles. Runners on second and third with the heart of the order coming up, a big inning looks possible.

Situation: Pablo Sandoval, runner on second and third, no outs:

With the infield back Sandoval at the very least gets the runner in from third with his grounder to short. The ball wasn’t hit particularly hard but it was a productive out that put the Giants on the board.

Verdict: Decent at bat, decent result

Situation: Buster Posey, runner on third, one out:

Posey is intentionally walked.

Situation: Hunter Pence, runner on first and third, one out:

Lohse gives Pence a steady diet of sliders, eventually getting him to pull a slider on the outside corner weakly to the short stop for a double play. This killed the rally and was something that  the Giants did far too much against Lohse. He was living on the outside corner and Giants hitters kept trying to pull it only to weakly ground out to the middle infielders.

Verdict: Bad at bat

Top of the 4th:

With one out Blanco walks, Crawford singles up the middle.

Situation: Cain, runners on first and third, one out:

This is a tough position for a manager; with the pitcher up what would you do in this position? Have him swing away and risk the possibility of a double play? Sacrifice bunt to have two runners in scoring position but two outs? Try for a suicide squeeze of some sort? Pinch hit for your ace in the 4th inning?

Bruce Bochy ultimately went with the sacrifice bunt that Cain was successful in getting down. I don’t know if it was the right call and it probably wasn’t the one that I would have made. The win probability says that this move hurt the Giants chances of winning but that doesn’t take into account that this was a pitcher hitting.

It’s hard to say what would have been best move but Bochy went with the “safe” and conventional route this time.

Verdict: Questionable decision

Situation: Pagan, runners on second and third, two outs:

After the bunt, the duty to score the runs fell onto Pagan. Pagan got a few hittable pitches that he fouled off and ultimately flied out to deep centerfield. If Pagan get’s a hit Bochy looks like a genius, if Pagan makes an out everyone second guesses his bunt decision. The horrible life of a MLB Manager.

Verdict: Decent at bat, bad result

Top of the 6th:

With two outs, Crawford and Cain both hit singles finally knocking out Lohse, in comes flamethrower Trevor Rosenthal.

Situation: Pagan, runners on first and second, two outs:

Rosenthal reaches back and unleashes fastballs at 98, 98, 99, 101 and 100 to Pagan who does well to work the count but ultimately grounds out to the short stop. Another threat for the Giants extinguished.

Verdict: Decent at bat, bad result

Top of the 7th:

With one out, Sandoval rips a ball off the left field wall that only a fortunate bounce right to Matt Holiday allows him to keep it to a single. Posey follows it up with a ground ball through the left side of the infield (if only Sandoval could have gotten to second on his liner!). Mike Matheny brings in Mitchell Boggs to face Pence.

Situation: Pence, runners on first and second, one out:

Boggs comes in and gives Pence a heavy does of sliders. Pence helps him out by swinging for the fences on each one and swings right through them. Both the second on the third pitches of this at bat were pretty hittable with out two much break and were middle in. Luckily for the Cardinals Pence is in a funk and couldn’t punish the mistakes.

Verdict: Bad at bat

Situation: Belt, runners on first and second, two outs:

Belt committed the cardinal sin that will probably send him to the bench for tonight’s game, he looked at strike three with a runner in scoring position.

In the end Belt was probably wrong. The pitch sure looks like it was a strike. It was a well thrown slider that started outside and caught the outside corner as it broke back to the plate. The one that really sucks however was strike one, that pitch was probably a good four to six inches off the plate but was called a strike. That put Belt in the whole where he was on the defensive and he never recovered.

Verdict: Bad at bat

After this last threat the Giants never threatened again. In came the Cardinals closer for a two inning save and the Giants went meekly into the night. If they want to have a chance to come back in this series their at bats with runners in scoring position will have to improve.

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