Monday, October 29, 2012
WPS Recap: World Series, Game 4Posted by Shane Tourtellotte
The 2012 World Series avoids the fate of being judged by WPS as the least exciting World Series ever. As for avoiding the sweep, well, we can't have everything.
Game 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 F Giants 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 4 Tigers 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 3 (Giants win World Series, 4-0) WPS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Giants 5 29 17 13 7 44 21 24 14 59 Tigers 7 14 31 5 11 32 9 24 20 20 WPS Base: 402.7 Best Plays: 87.5 Last Play: 4.7 Grand Total: 494.9
After a drought of excitement that turned the tail end of this postseason into a debatable and desert land, we finally got a really good game at the last possible moment. Not quite a great game—my cutoff there is at 500—but well worth watching.
The WPS line score shows how this contest built up its numbers. Few 1-2-3 innings to depress scores, meaning a lot of innings that had at least one baserunner and, thus, some scoring threat. The top of the ninth saw the Giants go down in order, but it was late and close enough that this still produced excitement, moreso than a couple earlier innings with someone getting aboard. Despite some interesting rallies late, notably in the seventh through ninth, it was still the scoring innings that produced all the highest WPS numbers.
I won't get much into covering the highlights here—you likely know them by now—but I do still have observations on this final game of the season. One is how Bruce Bochy declined to bring closer Sergio Romo into the game in the ninth inning, needing to keep the Tigers off the board to extend the game. Sabermetricians consider this the fallacy of the save situation: in waiting for the closer's standard situation and sending out inferior pitchers in the last half of the ninth (or later), you make it all the less likely that you'll get to that save situation.
It worked perfectly for Bochy, though. Jeremy Affeldt and Santiago Casilla handled the ninth, and when Marco Scutaro drove Ryan Theriot home in the visitors' 10th, Romo came in to administer death by slider (and sinker to one lefty). The doctrinaire sabermetricians can perhaps comfort themselves that it was Miguel Cabrera caught looking by the final strike. Mike Trout gets a modicum of preemptive revenge.
Bochy also splashed some cold water on the suggestion I made in yesterday's recap, stating categorically after Game Three that Tim Lincecum will be back in the starting rotation for 2013. I guess my suggestion didn't pass his horse-laugh test.
My Tim-ism of the night came as the top of the ninth led off. I cannot swear to the exact quotation, but Tim McCarver said something along the lines of "If [Hunter] Pence can get on base, it would go a long way toward helping the Giants score in this inning." Correct. Tautologies for $400, Alex. This wasn't as egregious as saying the chance of scoring goes up "dramatically," but it's in the same spirit.
I could almost have forgiven McCarver if he had been a little better with a good line earlier. As a replay of one of the myriad broken bats of this series played, McCarver observed, "Kindling for the winter." That line was a clean single, but "Kindling for the hot stove" would have cleared the fence.
One casualty of the San Francisco sweep is that we won't get to see how far Joe Buck was going to carry his torch for The Who, after getting their music into broadcast intros and between-inning outros. I was actually looking forward to the inevitable dugout interview with Pete Townshend in Game Six.
And I am glad to report that our favorite Marlins jersey-wearing fan was at the game! Laurence Leavy sure does get around, and the World Series was that much more interesting because of him. He even broke out his white panda hood in the eighth inning when Pablo Sandoval came up, but the charm did no good, as Panda grounded into a pickle-licious double play. I have to wonder, though, who he apparently was texting during the game. The one time this series served up a hot dish, and his attention was split.
And that is it for WPS Recap this year. Whether I do this again next season depends on how fast the trauma of actually replicating a sliver of the life of a sports reporter fades. One last time, I would like to acknowledge FanGraphs for its steady flow of real-time game data that made these reports possible.
There may be one sequel to these recaps: I might be doing a slightly deeper analysis of two of Detroit's tactical moves in Game Two that could have cost them greatly. (I nearly wrote this up on Saturday, but I figured two THT Live articles in 24 hours would be trying our readers' patience.) The Series is over, after all: the time is perfect now for all those "what ifs."
Shane Tourtellotte is a long-time, occasionally-nominated science fiction writer, currently living in Asheville, North Carolina. He will tell you all about the baseball novel he’s shopping if you give him an inch.