Grading Tuesday's LDS action: Pitching for survival
Just two games were on the schedule for Tuesday night, but they provided plenty of drama.
|Sergio Romo was one of many San Francisco and Oakland pitchers who stepped up when they had to. (Getty Images)|
The runs were hard to come by on Tuesday night, and that ultimately benefitted the two teams with no room for error.
Pitchers on the brink: The Giants and A's each entered play on Tuesday on the brink of elimination via the sweep. They each survived largely because of their pitching staffs. Consider the combined Tuesday numbers of San Fran and Oakland hurlers: 19.0 IP, 1 R, 8 H, 18 K, 6 BB. To put a finer point on it, the worst performance by a Bay Area pitcher on Tuesday was that of Ryan Vogelsong, who had an ERA of 1.80 for the game. Pitching like that is how you survive an elimination game.
<img style=Hunter Pence" data-canon="Hunter Pence" data-type="SPORTS_OBJECT_PLAYER" id="shortcode0">: It was Pence's clutch single off Jonathan Broxton in the 10th that put the go-ahead run in scoring position. What makes his base knock even more impressive is that he did it on a bum leg. Indeed, Pence's hobbled gait down to first base proved how much pain he was in. Also credit Pence for an excellent sliding grab earlier in the game.
Dusty Baker: Baker's first curious decision of the night -- to pull a dominant Homer Bailey after just 88 pitches in favor of a pinch-hitter -- didn't haunt, as the game went 10 innings (and thus longer than Bailey would've pitched under any circumstances). But what about Baker's decision to pull closer Aroldis Chapman after only one inning and just 15 pitches? The following inning, Jonathan Broxton, who, it goes without saying, is not the pitcher Chapman is, allowed the eventual winning run to score. Baker will be absolved if Chapman notches the series-clinching save, but what if he never gets the chance?
<img style=Reds" data-canon="Cincinnati Reds" data-type="SPORTS_OBJECT_TEAM" id="shortcode0"> defense: The Reds were one of the best fielding teams in the NL during the regular season, but in the 10th inning on Tuesday night that D failed them. First, Ryan Hanigan's passed ball on a fairly routine inside fastball allowed Buster Posey to advance to third base, and then Scott Rolen's uncharacteristic error (on a tough hop, to be fair) allowed Posey to score and put the Giants up for good.
<img style=Omar Infante" data-canon="Omar Infante" data-type="SPORTS_OBJECT_PLAYER" id="shortcode0">: In Game 3 against the A's, the hits were hard to come by for Detroit. Still, Infante -- tasked with the important job of getting on base in front of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielders -- was especially feckless: 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and a GIDP. Bold declaration: That's not good.
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