Tonight, the Giants capped off an amazing comeback run in the NLCS by defeating the Cardinals 9-0. The Cardinals, who’ve got to be kicking themselves right now after failing to capitalize on a 3-1 lead in the series, never were really in tonight’s game. The Giants tacked on runs in the 1st and 2nd innings before exploding for five runs in the 3rd inning.
Flashing back to the 3rd inning: With the bases loaded and no outs, Hunter Pence broke his bat on a 95-mph Joe Kelley fastball, resulting in a weak line drive to shortstop Pete Kozma. Pence’s ball had tons of spin on it and Kozma read the ball wrong, breaking to his right instead of his left. The ball skidded right into the outfield, which it was then muffed by Jon Jay, allowing an additional run to score. The Cardinals were charged with two errors in tonight’s game, and costly errors they were.
It just wasn’t the Cardinals’ defense that betrayed the team. Kyle Lohse pitched poorly — 2 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, 7.04 ERA — and Mike Matheny seemed slow to react to his struggling pitchers. I’m not sure if he knew it or not, but there’s no Game Eight. In particular, leaving Joe Kelly in for as long as he did seemed like a poor decision. Kelly’s series against the Giants was decent enough and while his defense clearly didn’t help him, he was having a hard time finding the zone. He got doinked and dinked some — see: Brandon Belt’s “single” in the inning — but I think you’ve got to be more aggressive in handling your relievers, especially when your entire bullpen — including Wainright — is ready to go.
* Marco Scutaro — very deservedly — takes home the NLCS MVP Award. It was another night, another multiple hit game for Scutaro, who went 3-4 with three singles. Scutaro finishes the NLCS with a .500/.533/.607 batting line. Additionally, Scutaro made several nice picks on tough grounders. I was a a big fan of the Scutaro deal at the time, but no one could have imagined that Scutaro would play this well for the Giants down the stretch and into the playoffs.
* Matt Cain wasn’t sharp, but he was good enough to win. Cain struggled with his location — his breaking stuff was often up in the zone — and he was pitching in and out of a lot of traffic. He wasn’t as crisp as normal. He’ll need to do better against Detroit.
* Brandon Belt’s home run off a 98-mph Jason Motte fastball in the 8th inning sure was
good great to see.
Belt’s had his ups and downs, but he’s put together some good swings in the NLCS. Oh, and he’s playing some slick defense, too.
* FOX showed this clip about a 100 times on the broadcast: Pence’s “double” that fooled Kozma in the third inning actually featured Pence hitting the ball three times with his bat. Once at the point of contact, one again as the bat shatters, and one last time as the bat continues to break and bend.
Of course Hunter Pence hits the ball like this. Of course. I’m really digging the four billion frames per second slow-motion camera that FOX is using in the playoffs.
* The Giants are headed to the World Series for the second time in the past three years. I’m not sure it gets any better, or amazing, than that.