The catchers knew first.

I really like Madison Bumgarner. What he lacks in stuff, he makes up for in control and deception. It’s amazing how fast a 92 miles per hour fastball appears to a batter when the release of the pitch is hidden from until the very last moment of a pitcher’s delivery, never mind a high 80s slider.

He uses something of a foolproof approach to pitching: Throw your harder stuff low in the zone, get ahead in the count or induce a ground ball. If you’re ahead in the count, use your breaking or off-speed pitches to make a batter either swing and miss or make really bad contact.

I was a bit worried that this wasn’t the approach that Madison Bumgarner would be able to undertake in Game Two of the World Series. This approach is dependent on having not only excellent control, but also successful command. He had neither in Game Two of the NLDS or Game One of the NLCS. He had it tonight.

After a first inning in which he benefitted from an umpire and batters figuring out the strike zone, he settled in to a positively dominant performance. Bumgarner threw seven innings of shutout baseball, allowing only two hits and two walks while striking out eight batters.

Detroit’s Doug Fister was almost his equal, but his pitch count caught up to him in the seventh inning when he gave up a single to Hunter Pence, and was removed from the game. From there, Drew Smyly proceeded to walk Brandon Belt and give up a single to Gregor Blanco to load the bases. Brandon Crawford hit into a double play to score the first run of the game and give the Giants a 1-0 lead over the Tigers.

San Francisco added to their lead in the eighth inning when Pence hit a sacrifice fly to score Angel Pagan, and make the score 2-0, which is the exact same lead that the team holds in the World Series, after Santiago Casilla shut down the Tigers in the eighth, and Sergio Romo did the same in the ninth.

The Win Expectancy Graph

The Most Important Play Of The Game

While obviously the winning run of the game was rather important. Brandon Crawford grounding into a double play doesn’t quite cut it for tonight’s victory. The most important play of the game occurred in the seventh inning when immediately after giving up a walk to Miguel Cabrera, Madison Bumgarner induced a double play off the bat of Prince Fielder, in what could have been a destructive moment in tonight’s game. He did so with a 90 miles per hour fastball low in the zone at which Fielder couldn’t help but take a cut.

The ball rolled to Bumgarner who then threw to Brandon Crawford covering second base to get Cabrera out, and then Crawford threw to Brandon Belt at first base and retire Fielder, along with any real chance that the Tigers had of scoring a run or winning the game. The play decreased the Tigers win probability by more than 12%.

The Romobomb Of The Game

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.

Phil Coke struck out the only batter he faced, which is just about the only good to come out of tonight’s game for the Detroit Tigers. It is not, however, the only good that Coke has done. The reliever recently spoke with the MLB Network about the time he struck Miguel Cabrera out.

The Awful Thing The Broadcasters Did

Via, as always.

Tim McCarver quite clearly confused command and control in the fifth inning when he suggested that control isn’t about throwing strikes, it’s about throwing balls when you need to that look like strikes.

And in reference to Avasail Garcia, McCarver said the following:

Twenty-five years old and he signed five years ago with the Tigers. At sixteen years old.

The world would be a better place if Joe Buck just didn’t talk about Pablo Sandoval’s conditioning, or for that matter Pablo Sandoval at all.

The Awful Thing The Umpire Did

Marco Scutaro was called out on this play.

The Awful Thing The Baserunner Did

Marco Scutaro dove into first base on this play.

The Snot Rocket Of The Game

The New Internet Meme Of The Game

Via @sporer.

Tweets Of The Game

Stray Observations

I’d think twice about waving Prince Fielder home when he’s come all the way from first base no matter where the ball was hit, even over the fence. All jokes aside, it was a great call by the home plate umpire, and a great swipe tag by Buster Posey. Nonetheless, Prince Fielder wasn’t very impressed.

In the bottom of the second, Doug Fister got hit in the head with a Gregor Blanco line drive. Fister looked fine, but many (not just Giants fans) were suggesting that he should be taken out of the game for precautionary reasons. I don’t want to see anyone hurt, but I’d like to suggest that maybe we’re not all head injury experts.

There’s a little boy deep inside Prince Fielder. Which isn’t cool. Because cannibalism is wrong.

Brandon Belt’s understanding of the theoretical strike zone is greater that most philosophers understand anything.

Tonight’s game is my platonic idea of baseball.

Sergio Romo’s tongue action before the final out of the game was simultaneously creepy, frightening and strangely alluring .

The Giants will send Ryan Vogelsong to the mound for Game Three, while the Tigers will hope for the best with Anibal Sanchez.