After St. Louis Cardinals substitute Shane Robinson chased San Francisco Giants starter Matt Cain from the game with a run scoring ground out in the bottom of the seventh inning, play was halted as the storm that threatened to erupt for the previous six innings was finally unleashed on Busch Stadium by the heavens above.
As the rain fell and winds gusted, we can assume for the sake of the little narrative we’re creating that both teams reflected on the 3-1 scoreline, and recalled a third inning ground out off the bat of Pablo Sandoval that scored Angel Pagan. They remembered St. Louis answering back in home half of the inning with a two-run home run off the bat of Matt Carpenter, who was only in the game to replace an unfortunately injured Carlos Beltran. Finally, they will be reminded of the moments before the more than three hour rain delay when the team capitalized on a bases loaded situation to make the score 3-1. The San Francisco Giants must have also felt a twinge of regret over the eleven runners they stranded on base at a Pittsburgh Piratesque rate.
When the rains finally ceased and closed this moment of reflection, the game picked right up where it left off, and the last two innings happened so quickly with so little difference from what went on before that you could be forgiven for wondering what the long wait was for, as the St. Louis Cardinals let Jason Motte come in for two innings and shut the Giants down en route to a 3-1 victory. This means that the Cardinals now find themselves two wins away from the World Series.
They’ll play again tomorrow afternoon with Tim Lincecum taking the mound for San Francisco and Adam Wainwright pitching for St. Louis. First pitch is scheduled for 8:05 PM ET.
The Win Expectancy Graph
The Most Important Play Of The Game
Matt Carpenter, coming into the game only after Carlos Beltran left with an injured knee, played today’s game in front of both his parents who drove all the way from Texas in the hopes of seeing him play. He didn’t disappoint, hitting what turned out to be the game-winning home run in the third inning. Perhaps making a case for there being another Big Carp in St. Louis, Carpenter took four straight pitches, two strikes, two balls before swinging at a slider that Matt Cain likely left up in the zone more than he wanted.
For whatever reason, this seems to be a recurring theme for Cain when facing Carpenter, who has only been too happy to take advantage. This is the location of pitches during all their match ups against each other:
Look at those sliders left up in the zone. Given those piches, it’s unsurprising that Carpenter has experienced a good measure of success against Cain in the past.
But let’s not get too crazy, even Carpenter knows he hasn’t faced him enough to draw too many conclusions.
Matt Carpenter just downplayed his success vs. Matt Cain by calling it “a small sample size.” #STLCards
— bgh (@b_g_h) October 18, 2012
The Shamsky Award
Named after Art Shamsky, who single handedly increased the Cincinnati Reds’ chances of winning by 150.3% in a losing effort during a game in 1966, The Shamsky Award is given to the player on the losing team who contributes the most to them winning.
Brandon Crawford continued his excellent series by getting on base in three of his four plate appearances today. Unfortunately, no one else on the Giants was able to bring him home, as he added the highest amount of win probability added to his team, despite San Francisco losing through no fault of his own.
The Aggravating Thing The Manager Did
With runners on the corners, and pitcher Matt Cain at the plate, Giants manager Bruce Bochy called for him to bunt. Cain isn’t a horrible hitting pitcher, and so Tim McCarver on the FOX broadcast suggested that he should be allowed to swing away. Considering that there was one out, and a fairly good chance that typical pitcher contact would result in a double play and the end of the inning, I don’t mind the bunt call. Unfortunately, the play ended up only moving the runner from first to second, as the runner on third kept his positioning without risking a tag out at the plate. Both runners ended up stranded, and in the sixth inning, Cain hit a liner into right field for a base hit.
In the seventh, Bochy ordered Cain to intentionally walk Daniel Descalso, with David Freese on second base and one out. The next batter, Pete Kozma hit a single up the middle to load the bases. Shane Robinson, who came into the game in the top of the inning, grounded out to Marco Scutaro, but a run scored to make it 3-1.
The Aggravating Thing The Other Manager Did
Pulling a double switch in the seventh inning, Mike Matheny took out ineffective reliever Edward Mujica and first baseman Allen Craig, who yes, was hitless in the game, but remains one of the better batters in the Cardinals lineup. With Beltran already out, it was a curious decision just to put the pitcher in the nine spot. However, with it taking place in the seventh inning, the natural ninth spot in the order was only likely to come up to bat once again, and that would’ve seemed to me to be a better time to make such a switch, if one wanted to at all. If you’re not convinced by my complaints, Ken Rosenthal didn’t like the move one bit, either.
The Aggravating Thing That Carlos Beltran Did To His Knee
Carlos Beltran left the game in the first inning after tweaking his knee running out a double play.
The Things You Won’t Believe
Carlos Beltran’s career 1.327 OPS in postseason play is the all-time best among hitters with at least 100 plate appearances.
Matt Carpenter, who hit a third inning home run to give the Cardinals a 2-1 lead, is now five for six in his career versus Matt Cain. He was also seven for eleven against the Giants this season.
Marco Scutaro was five for twenty-five in the postseason before getting run over by Matt Holliday, and he’s been four for seven since.
Tweets Of The Game
After pitcher Matt Cain tried to bunt a ball that hit the ground before it crossed the plate on the previous pitch, Kyle Lohse attempted the old fake the pick off throw to third to get the guy at first.
I think Cain offered at that fake to third — Sam Miller (@SamMillerBP) October 17, 2012
Scary thought for the day: There are actually casual fans who turn on FOX and think McCarver knows what he’s talking about. — P (@Toirtap) October 17, 2012
if Pagan was much later on the 1-0 pitch he would’ve had a chance to contact the 1-1 pitch. — Harry Pavlidis (@harrypav) October 17, 2012
Matt Holliday plays semi-pro Jai-Alai in the offseason. — Wendy Thurm (@hangingsliders) October 17, 2012
The Oh-No-You-Didn’t Of The Game
There was a moment of impressiveness that occurred in the third inning that won’t show up in a box score or on Fangraphs. With Angel Pagan on first base and Marco Scutaro at the plate, the Giants put on the hit and run with 0-1 count. Pagan got a bad jump, while Scutaro got a hard pitch to hit on the outside corner. He reached and somehow managed to knock it foul to help the San Francisco center fielder avoid getting thrown out. Three pitchers later, he lined the ball into right field, collecting a hustle double and sending Pagan to third base. Sandoval, the next batter, grounded out, but scored the runner from third for the first run of the game. This wouldn’t have been possible without Scutaro’s great at-bat.
The St. Louis Cardinals appear prepared to pitch around Buster Posey for as long as Hunter Pence continues to struggle.
St. Louis starter Kyle Lohse left the game with two out in the sixth inning. He was replaced by Trevor Rosenthal. Lohse’s average fastball velocity was 89.5 miles per hour on the year, while Rosenthal’s was 97.6 miles per hour. That change in the velocity has to call for an abrupt adjustment from the Giants lineup. The first pitch from the Cardinals reliever came in at 101 miles per hour.
The San Francisco Giants stranded over 1,500 base runners today.
Pablo Sandoval is as inconsistently good as a fielder as Brandon Crawford is as a batter.
Mitchell Boggs looked phenomenal relieving Edward Mujica in the seventh inning. He came in with runners on first and second, and one out. He proceeded to strike out both Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt hitting all the corners.
Somewhere in the attic of a home in Missouri is a hideous portrait of an aged Mike Matheny.
Tim Lincecum starts tomorrow. Tim Lincecum!