Friday, October 22, 2010

Playoff Recap: 10/21

Last night was the Giants’ only chance to clinch the NLCS in San Francisco before the series moves the Philly for games 6 and 7. It also featured round two of the Lincecum-Halladay matchup, after the mop-haired Giants’ ace beat the head of Philly’s rotation in game 1. 

The Giants jumped on the board first. Andres Torres drew a leadoff walk from Halladay, which Freddy Sanchez followed with a single up the middle to move Torres to third. Torres scored on a ground ball to second by Buster Posey, and the Giants were up 1-0. The ball could have been a double play, but Utley attempted to tag Sanchez and Sanchez was able to evade the tag for long enough to ensure that only one out could be recorded.

The Phillies would get back the run and more in the 3rd. After an Ibañez leadoff single, Lincecum hit Carlos Ruiz to put runners on first and second with nobody out and Halladay coming up. Halladay laid down a sacrifice bunt, which hit the plate and dribbled foul before Buster Posey picked it up. However, Posey’s body blocked home plate ump Jeff Nelson’s view of the ball, and he called it a fair ball. Posey threw to third, and could have had Ibañez if Pablo Sandoval had been on the base. He wasn’t but Halladay (who had a better view of the ball than anyone) had not been running on the foul bunt, so Sandoval threw him out at first. Needless to say, it was an unorthodox sac bunt. Shane Victorino then grounded a ball at Aubrey Huff, who booted it. The ball bounced all the way into center, allowing both runners to score and Victorino to end up at second. A Placido Polanco single later, the game was 3-1, and the inning would end with that scoreline intact. 

The Giants clawed back into the game in the 4th. After Halladay induced a grounder from Posey for the first out of the inning, Pat Burrell and Cody Ross hit back-to-back doubles to make the score 3-2. Pablo Sandoval then flew out to right, and Ross made a huge mental mistake by trying to tag and making the last out of the inning at third. By my count, that’s the first play in this series on which he hasn’t been spectacular. 

That would be the end of the scoring until the top of the 9th, when Jayson Werth provided an insurance run by blasting a home run over the high wall in right to give the Phillies an insurance run. Brad Lidge shut the door, and the game ended 4-2, with game 6 set for tomorrow in Philly.

Let’s break it down.

Giants vs. Phillies
WPA Leader: Andres Torres (.138)
Torres went 2 for 3 with a walk and scored the Giants’ first run. Ryan Madson was a close second, at .134, as he struck out the side in the 8th to shut down the heart of the Giants’ order with just one run still between the teams. Halladay, who spent most of the evening pitching through an injured groin, was the third most valuable player of this game, with a .128 WPA. 

Biggest Plays: 
Aubrey Huff’s two-run error on Victorino’s grounder was huge, with a .155 WPA. The play allowed the Phillies to take the lead and put Victorino on second with only one out. 

The Goat:
Aubrey Huff was a -.211 at the plate, going 0 for 4 and stranding 4 runners by ending 3 different innings. He also committed the .155 WPA error, bringing his total to a dreadful -.366.

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