WPS takes you through Game Six with a little help from Motown: it’s the same old Vogelsong, but with a different meaning as the series goes long.
Game 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F Cardinals 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 Giants 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 X 6 (Series tied 3-3) WPS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Cardinals 9 5 2 2 4 5 4 4 0 Giants 17 40 2 1 1 1 0 1 X WPS Base: 98.1 Best Plays: 31.1 Last Play: 0.0 Grand Total: 129.2
I reassured readers last time by saying there was still time for the NLCS to put up an above-average game. This wasn’t it, at all. In fact, it was the worst-rated game this postseason. One side jumps out fast to a big lead and keeps the lid down tight. That’s the standard WPS killer.
Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong was the story and the star of the game. His fine pitching held St. Louis to one run over seven innings, and that single tally only cut the margin to four, not much of a rallying point. Even better, Vogelsong was the crux of San Francisco’s offensive breakout.
With runners at the corners and one out in the second, Vogelsong showed bunt before the first pitch, baiting the defense. He then pulled the butcher-boy play, bringing the bat back and swinging. His grounder caught shortstop Pete Kozma out of position and surprised, and Kozma’s boot brought a run across. More importantly, by not making the second out (by sacrifice or regular out), Vogelsong paved the way for the Giants to score three more runs with two gone. The old-school butcher-boy was the turning point of the contest, if such a thorough beating can be said to have one.
Vogelsong was even helpful in providing us with our Tim-ism of the night. Relating Vogelsong’s twisting course in professional baseball, Tim McCarver said he had played not only on many minor-league clubs but in “two different Japanese cities: Orix and Hanshin.”
Japanese baseball is different from American baseball, and not just because Bobby Valentine can be a successful manager there. Orix and Hanshin are the corporations that own the Buffaloes and Tigers, respectively. Those teams and others are named after their owners: Tokyo’s Yomiuri Giants are the prime example, though there are Japanese teams called by their cities. If you hate seeing Citi Field and AT&T Park in American baseball, it could be plenty worse.
Okay, that’s a slightly esoteric point, but it’s the best Tim-ism I’ve got. Playing it safe and saying “two Japanese teams” would have saved him a good deal of chaffing here.
There will be one more night of NLCS baseball, hopefully tomorrow night. (There is some threat of rain in the Bay Area.) WPS Recap will be there, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be, too.