In typical fashion, the Giants beat the Phillies in last night’s Game One of the NLCS by just one run. The Giants have now won 4 total postseason games all by a single run. In a publicized ‘Battle of the Aces’ between Lincecum-Halladay, neither pitcher was exceptionally sharp — or exceptionally poor, either. Halladay pitched solidly but Cody Ross got to him for 2 solo home runs, hitting one in the 3rd and one in the 5th. His .235 WPA was tops among position players. Ross has been a nice pickup since the Giants claimed him off of waivers to prevent the Padres from getting help in CF. And, I would think, that there is a very good chance that the Giants will offer Ross a contract for the 2011 season. He will be arbitration eligible and I’m sure the Giants will try to get something worked out. He’s a nice option for RF next year as a fringe starter and he’s a very good 4th OF.
Like most one run wins, the Giants had a few things go their way. Burrell’s double in the 6th inning was huge. It pushed the score to 3-1 and it’s a play that should have probably been made. In the at-bat, Burrell took a very close pitch that was most likely strike three, but home plate umpire Derryl Cousins called the pitch a ball. Hallday then threw a 93 mph fastball on the 2-1 count that Burrell put a good swing on, driving the ball deep towards LF. Phillies’ LF and noted clankmeister, Raul Ibanez, raced towards the wall to make the catch, made an awkwardly timed jump, and Burrell’s drive glanced off his glove as he collided with the wall. You can watch the replay, here. It was a tough play, but how many left fielders make that play? 75%? 80%? On Burrell’s double, Posey came around from 1st base to score. Yes, a catcher that can score on a double from 1st? I might have been warped by all those years of watching Bengie Molina slow-run though molasses, but I still can’t believe when that type of stuff happens.
Tim Lincecum pitched well, not outstanding, but well. Before the game, much was made of the Lincecum-Halladay billing, but both pitchers were merely ‘good’ instead of outstanding. That’s not to take anything away from Lincecum, who I thought pitched a solid game. The lone blip(s) for Lincecum were home runs he gave up to Ruiz and Werth. Ruiz’s hit, in particular, was an opposite field HR to RF that I was a little surprised that got out of the park. However, Werth’s HR was crushed and a no-doubter. One thing that I thought that Lincecum did quite well was make an adjustment to the Phillies’ approach against him. It was pretty clear that from the start of the game, the Phillies were looking to take early swings against Lincecum in the first couple of pitches in an AB.
Below you’ll find a graph on Lincecum’s pitch-types by inning:
In the first Lincecum threw almost all fastballs (85%) and the Phillies took some good swings and made some solid contact. Tim mixed in his offspeed/breaking stuff by the 2nd inning. I think it’s interesting that in the last stages of his start — the 6th and 7th — he was almost all offspeed/breaking stuff. In particular, his changeup usage rocketed in the 6th (36%) and the 7th (58%). Lincecum wasn’t going to throw 85% fastballs in the entire game — hardly anyone throws that many fastballs besides Mariano Rivera or sinker-ballers — but he cut back his usage quite a bit by the middle of the game and especially late in the game. I was apprehensive about Tim going back out for the 7th, but he squelched my fears when he coaxed two weak ground outs sandwiched around a strike out to end his night at 113 pitches.
And while we’re on the discussion of pitching, I have to give some credit to Javier Lopez. He neutralized both Utley and Howard in the 8th inning, two huge outs for the Giants.
Tonight, the Giants will take on Roy Oswalt in Game Two of the NLCS. Oswalt is 1-3 against the Giants this year, but don’t let that fool you, he’s pitched strongly against the Giants. In four starts against the Giants in 2010, Oswalt has thrown 27 innings, allowed 25 hits, struck out 22 batters, walked 3, and allowed 3 earned runs.
Giants’ hitters vs. Oswalt with at least 10 career plate appearances.
I wonder if Bochy will start Renteria at SS tonight and slide Uribe over to 3B? Both have had some success against Oswalt in their careers.