Monday, October 06, 2014

Shake It Off

Everyone remembers the dark moments that turn a series.  Boston will always remember the Buckner boot, Chicago Cubs the fan interference that cost a foul ball out, both foreshadowing imminent and final disaster.  I will always remember the seventh game of the 1992 National League championship series when the Golden Gloves second baseman for the Pirates booted a ground ball in the ninth with the Pirates ahead, and opened the floodgates that saw Atlanta go to the World Series instead of the last truly talented Pirates team (Bonds, Bonilla, Van Slyke etc.) until the recent one.

So tonight people are talking about the throwing error by Madison Bumgarner that broke his shutout and allowed Washington to score its first two runs.  They won the game 4-1.  It's certainly true that the error juiced up the Nats, and contributed to them playing another day.

But nobody remembers the errors that were overcome, that wound up not meaning anything to the final outcome.  This could just as well have been one of those.

It does stand out because this game between the Giants and Nats was notable for defensive plays on both sides.  However, the Nats made more key plays and fewer mistakes, unusual for the visiting team.  The pitching on both sides was superb.  But perhaps the weaknesses in the Giants lineup are starting to tell, particularly Blanco in the leadoff position instead of the injured Angel Pagan.  This was always a worry.  Blanco contributes on defense, but the lineup is hampered without a better leadoff hitter.

Tuesday's pitcher is Ryan Vogelsong, who has not been having a good year, and has been roughed up by the Nats.  But he has also been very good in postseason.  He may well rise to the occasion.  The key will be the Giants' bats.  They can't depend on their pitchers not allowing a single run.

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