October 31, 2010

World Series Game 2: Giants Pummel Rangers Again

In no particular order, here are the factors that led to the end result in Game 2 of the World Series.

1. Bruce Bochy is pushing all the right buttons.

2. Ron Washington doesn’t even know where the buttons are to push.

3. The Texas Rangers’ bullpen had a complete meltdown.

4. Matt Cain.

5. The San Francisco Giants have some serious mojo working.

All of these factors led to the Giants pummeling the Rangers for the second night in a row as San Francisco beat Texas 9-0 and now the Giants hold a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven World Series. While at first glance this game seemed to be a blowout from the start, that wasn’t always the case.

 

It wasn’t the case until Ron Washington thought he was managing a game in July against the Seattle Mariners instead of Game 2 of the World Series.

This game was a great pitchers duel up until the bottom of the eighth inning. Both Cain and C.J. Wilson were very good in this game. Believe it or not, I thought Wilson was a little better in this game than Cain. However, Cain was able to avoid major mistakes, while Wilson made just two, but it cost him.

In the bottom of the eighth, Darren O’Day got the first two batters of the inning in relatively easy fashion and it looked like the Rangers were going to get a chance to hit while they were still in the game. Yeah, that never happened.

O’Day served up a single to Buster Posey and Washington went to his bullpen and summoned Derek Holland. That’s when all heck broke loose.

Holland walked Nate Schierholtz on four pitches. Then he walked Cody Ross on four pitches.

For whatever reason, Holland had a complete meltdown. With the score still 2-0, Washington needed to go another pitcher. More importantly, he needed to go Neftali Feliz.

Instead, Washington stuck with Holland and Holland proceeded to walk another guy. He did show improvement however by actually throwing a strike to Huff. The 3-1 pitch to Huff was probably a strike, but when a pitcher throws 11 straight balls, there ain’t no way he is getting a close call.

Washington finally pulled the poor kid, but brought in Mark Lowe. Really? Mark Lowe, Ron Washington? Really?

The same Lowe who only pitched three innings in a Rangers uniform in 2010. The same Lowe who had an ERA of 12 of those three innings. I am pretty confident in saying Lowe probably isn’t the guy Ranger fans wanted pitching high leverage innings in the World Series.

With the score 3-0, Washington has to keep the game close. Going to the 11th man in your bullpen instead of your first, makes zero sense.

Washington has a very bad habit of only using pitchers in their defined roles and never, ever deviating from them. That’s okay when it’s the middle of July and you are just trying to get through the regular season, but in the World Series, it’s all hands on deck no matter what.

Washington went with Lowe and he get shelled. He walked Juan Uribe, an almost impossible task, and then gave up a two-run single to Edgar Renteria and this game was over.

The Giants scored three more runs off of Michael Kirkman to really add insult to injury. This game went from a nail biter to a clown show in a matter of minutes.

Here are some other observations from Game 2

Cain has pitched 21.1 scoreless innings to start his postseason career. He is pitching at a very high level right now and with him is Tim Lincecum, the Giants have a ridiculous one-two punch.

Bochy can do no wrong. In the top of the seventh, he inserts Schierholtz for defense and puts him in right. Of course, the second batter of the inning rips one to right center that Schierholtz runs down. Chances are Cody Ross, who moved from right to left, doesn’t get to that ball.

Giants have some serious mojo working right now. Ian Kinsler hit a bomb to center field in the top of the fifth that hit off the very, very top of the center field wall and somehow bounced back into the field of play.

The ball almost defied logic. Instead of a 1-1 game, Kinsler was standing at second and he never scored.

Rangers had second and third with one out in the sixth and didn’t score. If the Rangers continue to go 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position, they might be looking at a sweep.

Wilson made one mistake and that was to Renteria in the bottom of the fifth. That ball was crushed.

The Giants featured Tony Bennett and Steve Perry in the two home games. That is going to be hard for the Rangers to beat.

The pitch for Cain all night was the slider. He threw 25 of them and Ranger batters for 1-for-6 against the pitch.

The most unbelievable part of Holland’s meltdown in the eighth was that nobody came to the mound until the 10th ball out of the strike zone. Elvis Andrus finally went to the mound to attempt to calm down Holland after the 10th ball. Talk about an entire coaching staff falling asleep at the wheel.

The Rangers are in a hole, but not an impossible one to get out of. I do think they need to sweep in these next three games at home in order to win the series. Can’t see them being down 3-2 in the series and winning the final two games in San Francisco.

Game 3 will be Saturday night in Texas and the pitching matchup will be Jonathan Sanchez against Colby Lewis.

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