Buster Posey had gone seven plate appearances without a hit. There was a walk thrown in, and he scored a run as a result in yesterday’s 8-3 win in Game 4 of the National League Divisional Series.
Still, this is Posey we’re talking about. He’s going to be named the National League Most Valuable Player. Since the All-Star Game, it’s hard to remember a time when Posey has gone that long without a hit of any kind. Then, after swinging under high fastballs in his first two at-bats against Mat Latos, Posey came up with the bases loaded and…
Latos walked off the mound toward the dugout without turning around. Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan turned away in disgust, as if he just watched Latos eat a heaping spoonful of warm mayonnaise. Dave Flemming, who hasn’t forgotten the time when Latos hurled that baseball out of AT&T Park into the players’ parking lot, dropped a tweet he’s probably been saving for quite some time.
The Giants had a 6-0 lead, my buddy Chris and I high-fived and screamed in delight — sending my dog into a barking fit as she wondered why we were suddenly so angry with her — and all that was left was to protect the lead.
Surprise, surprise … it wasn’t going to be easy. Cain’s outing (and stuff) looked a lot like what we saw on Saturday. He seemed tired, his breaking pitches were floating instead of diving, and after Brandon Phillips hit a 2-run double it appeared five innings was going to be the limit again.
Instead, Cain was sent up to hit in the top of the 6th.
Minutes after Cain struck out looking, Ryan Ludwick sent a hanging breaking ball into the left field bleachers. 6-0 was now 6-3, and thousands of people screamed at their televisions, radios and computer screens to “TAKE MATT CAIN OUT NOW, BOCHY!”
Instead, Cain was left in to face Jay Bruce. Bruce walked, and Cain remained in the game. Scott Rolen singled, putting runners on first and second. Time for a pitching change, finally. Nope. About an hour later (or so it seemed), Cain went to a full count with Hanigan. Dusty, postseason maestro that he is, sent the runners. Outside corner, framed by Posey, who paused slightly. Perfect strike to third base, and Bruce (Jay, not Bochy) was out by such a large distance that Pablo Sandoval actually tagged him twice before Bruce touched the base.
— Bochy Bochy Bochy, can’t you see, sometimes your moves just hypnotize me…
— After Joaquin Arias hit two doubles in Game 4 that started rallies, there was a question as to who would start at shortstop in Game 5. Bochy stuck with Brandon Crawford because (1) Latos is tough on right-handers and (2) Crawford is the team’s best defensive shortstop.
Crawford couldn’t handle a tough hop on a grounder in the 1st, but that didn’t end up hurting San Francisco. Then Crawford went on to have the best game of his professional career, considering the circumstances. He went 2-for-4 with the triple that drove in the first run of the game and a single off Aroldis Chapman (which should count as a double for slugging percentage purposes, at least).
Great hitting for a guy that looked overmatched in most of his NLDS plate appearances up to that point, but Bochy was proven correct by Crawford’s defense even more than his bat. That diving catch on Hanigan’s line drive in the 8th was dreamy, and I don’t care what Cincinnati radio homophobes think of me when I say that.
— Valiant effort by Jeremy Affeldt once again, who ended up with his wrist in a brace after a Gregor Blanco foul liner sent him tumbling down the dugout stairs. Guess he’s fine:
— Angel Pagan is to Sergio Romo as Gregor Blanco is to Matt Cain. Extraordinary diving catch, and Pagan’s reaction wasn’t bad either.
— Jay Bruce isn’t still hitting foul balls off to the left off Romo, but when I close my eyes it still seems like he is.
— Romo’s last slider to strike out Scott Rolen totally missed Posey’s target (low and away), but was still a fantastic pitch (err, result).
— No National League team has ever won a best-of-five series after falling behind 2-0 by sweeping the last three games at home. That’s not what this lady meant with her emaciated broom (last time, I promise), but we’ll take it!
— After Tim Lincecum saved Game 4 with 4.1 unbelievable innings in a game Barry Zito started, Zito probably owes him one. His form of payment: champagne in the face:
“Now I know what chicks feel like,” Lincecum said. No, really. It’s so great to have Timmy back.