Tim Lincecum’s masterful performance last night completely silenced Atlanta’s bats, and no other phase of the game could make up for it – not Derek Lowe’s excellent game and certainly not the Braves suspect defense. While the Braves must hope to get on the board against Jonathan Sanchez, the Giants awake this morning with dreams of their pitching carrying them to the World Series.
Other than Omar Infante’s double to lead off the game and Brian McCann’s brief cameo appearance at third base, the Braves had nothing resembling a threat. Lincecum’s great location and wicked movement on his pitches got him out of those jams as effortlessly as he cruised through the other threat-less innings.
Derek Lowe was almost as terrific in his ability to get out of messes. His performance was typical of his 2010 season, with more baserunners than you’d like to see on the basepaths but a veteran’s ability to wiggle out of trouble in most cases. On a night in which there was no margin for error whatsoever, a modest 2-out RBI single from Cody Ross was all the offense the Giants would need. Lowe missed his location badly on that pitch, which coasted into the heart of the plate. However you can’t blame Derek for being human on a night when Lincecum was super-human. Especially when the Braves defense was so shoddy behind him.
Infante should have scooped up that Ross single – its not an error but seeing him move towards it in seeming slow motion clearly revealed a play that could and should have been made. Similarly there was a not-great approach from centerfielder Rick Ankiel on Buster Posey’s double in the sixth, where his body was twisted around the wrong way when the fly ball arrived very close to his mitt, and the ensuing error as Ankiel stumbled off the wall and bobbled the ball on the ground. Also there was Brooks Conrad’s inexcusable error on a routine grounder in the third. While the Ankiel and Conrad miscues didn’t cost the Braves, and Atlanta did admirably to work around the trouble spots they created, I suppose the Braves could only overcome two of three defensive lapses on a night where one run won it.
Buster Posey’s stolen base, after he had none all season long, ended up being a huge play for the Giants as it got him into position to score the game’s only run. In addition to one of the ugliest slides I’ve ever seen, the other issue with this key steal was the fact that Posey was actually out. TBS did a great job with the camera angle to reveal this blown call although I was a little puzzled as to why it there was a five inning delay in showing viewers the angle that clearly showed the tag applied before Posey’s leg arrived at the bag. Then later in the game Aubrey Huff was caught stealing when he was clearly safe. The second base umpire was in a terrible position and blocked from seeing the play both times.
Would the correct call on the Posey steal actually have made a difference? Its hard to say it would, since the Braves bats were so utterly silent and the poor Brave defense was allowing SF plenty of extra chances.
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Written by Mark Reichman