Saaaay, I remember this offense! We’re just a few Jose Castillos and Aaron Rowands away from collecting the entire set.
First things first: Ryan Vogelsong did an excellent job of giving the Giants a solid start. Vogelsong ended up pitching five innings of one-run baseball with five strikeouts and three walks. The pitching line by itself isn’t incredible; however, it was a grindy performance from Vogelsong and it was exactly what the team needed. The Reds threatened a couple of times, but Vogelsong minimized the damaged when he could and really did a great job. It was classic Vogelsong; lots of determination and sheer willpower to succeed. And he scowled a lot. I do love that Vogelscowl.
Homer Bailey pitched incredibly, striking out 10 batters over seven frames. He was only dinged for a “manufactured run” in the third inning when Gregor Blanco was hit by a pitch, Brandon Crawford walked, Vogelsong sacrificed both runners over a base, and Pagan hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield. That was how the Giants scored their first run. The other run wasn’t pretty, either. In fact, nothing about the Giants’ offense tonight was pretty. The whole thing reminded me of the days when a successful inning on offense was built upon bleeders, bloops, a couple of errors, and maybe a wild pitch, all just to score a run.
The offense will have to step it up in Game Four. I think maybe three runs would count as “stepping it up.”
Also, this happened:
Sergio Romo batting in an elimination playoff game? No big. Yeah. Weird game.
Hunter Pence suffered from a cramp towards the end of the game, but stayed in. According Alex Pavlovic’s Twitter feed, Pence’s cramp is “just a cramp.” Even though Pence has had a terrible NLDS — after tonight’s game, he’s 1-12 with a lone single and two strikeouts — there is no other option to play RF. And unless you’re warming up to the idea of Xavier Nady getting more playing time, Pence is the guy. He’s always been the guy. He just needs to hit a little. That’s all I’m asking. Just a little. Maybe a couple of doubles. That’s literally all I’m asking for.
So, the good news about this one is easy: The Giants won a playoff game. There’s still playoff baseball that involves the Giants that has yet to be played. We’ll get another game to watch Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval and Marco Scutaro and Angel Pagan and Brandon Belt and Sergio Romo and, heck, even Barry Zito. For now, that’s more than enough for me.