Wednesday, October 29, 2014

BASTA: Royals Slaughter Giants To Earn Game 7

((HT: BASTA/Apurv Baichwal))


Today’s game was bad, and there’s really not too much to be said about it. The Giants got shutout 10-0, in Game Six of the World Series. Fortunately, they were up 3-2 before today, so today’s game can simply be forgotten.

Peavy had a pretty awful day by statistics, as he only lasted 1.1 innings, and he gave up five earned runs on six hits and a walk. However, the only consolation to this awful stat line is that most of these hits were cheap, including a chopper to Brandon Belt that turned into an infield single. In the second inning, the Royals’ leadoff man, Alcides Escobar hit this chopper to Belt, who had to come off the line to field it. With runners at second and third, Belt took his time checking the runners to make sure they would not try to advance in this one out situation. He was then about to run to first to get the out, but then Peavy called for him to look home for some unknown reason, causing him to hesitate. Then, by the time Belt could run to the bag, the speedy Escobar had beat him there for an infield single. Although this hit was an extreme example, the idea was still there: the Royals got a lot of lucky hits, especially in the second inning.

In total, they scored ten runs, seven of which came in the fateful second inning. Generally, none of the Giants pitchers were on top of their stuff, although they got dined a lot worse than they should have been. For example, Peavy was actually not pitching too badly, and he only gave up five runs because he left the game with the bases loaded after giving up two runs. Since everyone who was on base scored, Peavy was charged with all of those runs, although Yusmerio Petit was the pitcher who actually gave them up.

Here's proof:

Looking at Petit, he had a very poor outing today, giving up two runs on three hits in .2 innings pitched. He has been stellar in long relief situations through this postseason, besides today, and hopefully this game is just a hiccup. He has been great out of the bullpen, filling in the middle innings when the Giants’ starters get pulled early. He will most likely be vital tomorrow, in Game Seven of the World Series, the last game of the baseball season.

On a more negative note, Hunter Strickland pitched like Hunter Strickland again today, and he gave up a solo home run to Mike Moustakas in the seventh inning. Hopefully Bruce Bochy has realized that he is not a reliable pitcher to put out on the mound, and he will likely not be used tomorrow as long as the game is close, which it most likely will be.

Tomorrow’s game has the same start time of 5:07 PDT, in Kansas City, and it will be a showdown, as it is an elimination game for both teams. The winner will earn a ring; the loser will go home. So, the Giants really need to win this game.

The Giants hitters only mustered six hits today, and that number will most likely not be enough to win the game. Ten hits is probably the magic number that they will need to win, although that all depends on whether they are able to string their hits together into rallies. The Giants did have five walks today, which is a surprisingly good number, but most of that must be credited to the wild tendencies of the Royals’ starter Yordano Ventura, who gave up three walks in a row in the third inning.

Veteran right-hander Tim Hudson will start the game, facing off against the Royals’ veteran righty Jeremy Guthrie, in a repeat matchup from Game 3. Once again the Giants need to hope for a different outcome, as they lost last time 3-2. Hudson will have to manage his control like he always does and keep the ball low so that he can get groundouts. If he can keep the ball mainly on the ground, he should be able to have a solid outing and hopefully prevent the Royals from starting any big rallies. Petit may also have a role tomorrow in long relief, especially if Bruce Bochy decides to make a pitching change early. Finally, Madison Bumgarner may even see some action tomorrow if the situation of the game deems it necessary. Seeing as this game is the final one of the season, Bumgarner may come out of the bullpen in key situations in Bochy feels that he can help the Giants win.

The Giants need a win tomorrow (obviously), and they will do anything necessary to win it (obviously). So, Bumgarner may see action, Lincecum may see action, and anyone could be coming off the bench to pinch run or pinch hit in seemingly unusual situations, as the Giants will need to manufacture runs in anyway they can. To do so, they will need to maximize their potential to score, meaning that they need faster runners on the bases whenever possible, and with runners in scoring position they do not want to be wasting at bats on weaker hitters.

Unlike today, where the Giants got shutout, tomorrow San Francisco needs to score some runs if they want to win. If the offense can click and come up with a couple strong rallies to put four or five runs on the board, the Giants will have a quite decent chance of winning the Fall Classic. Hudson will have to be a workhorse, and the bullpen will have to be locked in on the pitching side, and with these two aspects together the Giants have a very high chance at winning. Finally, San Francisco has made itself famous for the “it” factor, where they always seem to get good bounces, great rolls, and the benefit of all coincidence. We wrote about this “it” factor in our World Series preview, and the notes still ring true. The Giants need the baseball gods to be on their side if they want to win, as today the baseball gods sided with the Royals making the Giants lose. Finally, the Giants can win tomorrow, but only if they string hits together, lock their bullpen in, and have the benefits of the baseball gods on their side, providing them the final spark that they need to finish October with a ring.

Follow Apurv on Twitter: @abaichwal

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