In the first half of the season, the Giants were not a very good team at the plate, despite Melky Cabrera’s batting title-worthy season, posting a .696 OPS. In the second half, the Giants were a much better team at the plate, largely buoyed by Buster Posey’s 1.102 OPS in that time, posting a .755 OPS. Their flaws may have revealed themselves against the Reds.
In 28 postseason innings, the Giants have 12 hits. 12. Bakers give out thirteen rolls with their dozens. The Giants don’t have that many hits. In Game 2, they were one-hit over seven innings against Bronson Arroyo, a pitcher with a number of frisbees, fuzzbucklers, and fitzpicklers, but a fastball that couldn’t reach 90. Tonight, they were one-hit over seven innings by Homer Bailey and his pageboy haircut, scoring their first run on a hit batsmen, walk, bunt, and sacrifice fly. Catch the excitement.
But with Ryan Vogelsong (5 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 5 K) on the mound, last year’s magical story that everyone got tired of talking about this year, who was given the start over two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum, it was enough to force the game to extra innings.
Tied at one, Jonathan Broxton entered in the top of the tenth and promptly allowed singles to Buster Posey and Hunter Pence before striking out the next two batters. But then Joaquin Arias came to the plate and eight-time Gold Glover Scott Rolen committed his second error of the postseason and Posey was able to come around and score. Rolen may very well be a Hall of Famer when his career is over, but bouncing balls care little for reputations.
It was a hard loss for the Reds who saw Homer Bailey set a postseason team record with ten strikeouts and who, if we want to count regular season statistics, has struck out 58 batters in his last 55.2 innings, posting a 1.62 ERA in that time. Those are great numbers and something Reds fans should rightfully salivate over, but rarely has a player’s end of season and postseason performance been proof positive of development and not just a hot streak. As nice a player as David Freese is, he doesn’t always hit late-game triples when his team is need.
Tomorrow the Giants will send Barry Zito to the mound in hopes of forcing the series to its absolute breaking point. Yes, that’s right, the year is 2012 and Barry Zito will make a postseason start in a must-win game over Tim Lincecum. No, I don’t know what happened.