A lot of commentators thought this game would be the end of the NLCS. A lot of commentators will have the opportunity to say the same thing about Sunday’s Game Six.
Game 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F Giants 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 1 0 5 Cardinals 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 (Cardinals lead series 3-2) WPS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Giants 5 5 14 67 2 1 1 2 0 Cardinals 12 15 5 13 4 4 5 3 2 WPS Base: 159.1 Best Plays: 42.8 Last Play: 0.2 Grand Total: 202.1
Hopefully you enjoyed the fourth inning, because after the Giants’ rally, there wasn’t too much excitement left in the game. Large, unchallenged leads are the dullest thing to the WPS system. Game for game, this has been an unfortunately uninteresting series. Luckily, it’s getting extended, so we can take another crack or two at it.
It really was a very interesting fourth, by the numbers and between them, also. How often do you see a fielder throw a baseball directly into a base? Lance Lynn did just that on an attempted force when Pete Kozma was slow covering second, and that brought the first run of the inning home. The last run came in when Barry Zito dropped a shocking bunt down the third-base line, beating the throw, plating the run, and personally knocking Lynn out of the game.
Much of the pre-game speculation had been about whether Zito could struggle along and provide a non-disastrous start, maybe getting through five without setting himself on fire. Instead, he pitched 7.2 scoreless innings, hooked only for his 115-pitch count, as his last inning was as strong as his first. Zito wasn’t always dominant, and had one especially serious jam in the second, but he never gave way. He was the top story of the night, and a most welcome one for the Giants.
There were a few flashy defensive plays to keep things lively. After painfully fouling a pitch off his right big toe in the top of the first, Pablo Sandoval retained enough mobility to snatch a foul liner in the bottom of the frame. Hunter Pence gouged out some turf sliding to catch a pop fly in the fifth (and did replace his divot), and Angel Pagan made a nifty play coming in on a liner in the sixth.
The series resumes Sunday in San Francisco, meaning there is an off day Saturday. After 15 days of drinking postseason baseball straight from the fire hose, I and WPS Recap will have the day off tomorrow. I won’t know what to do with myself—except for working on next Wednesday’s regular THT article.
I will say that a string of late nights, hoping for a simple storyline I don’t have to rewrite every half-inning and a quick game so I can get to sleep at a less ungodly hour, has given me a surface understanding of the lot of the sports reporter. I do not expect to be sending in any resumes; let’s put it that way.