If the San Francisco Giants are looking for a goat—not just for Game 3 of the National League Championship Series that they lost 3-1 in St. Louis yesterday—but for the entire postseason, the place to start is rightfielder Hunter Pence. If it were possible for a trade deadline acquisition to have gone worse, I can’t imagine what it might be.
Pence did nothing down the stretch, he was of marginal impact in the Division Series and yesterday his shortcomings hit their peak when had two key at-bats with a combined total of five runners on base and less than two outs. Pence hit into a double play and struck out.
Normally this wouldn’t aggravate me so much, but after hearing throughout the comeback against Cincinnati, how Pence was giving fiery motivational speeches before each game, I just wanted to say—Get a freakin’ hit! This is a top-flight player who can do it all, and instead he is doing nothing n the MLB playoffs.
One player who did more than nothing yesterday is Matt Carpenter. He got an unexpected chance to play in rightfield when Carlos Beltran left with a knee injury, and Carpenter hit a two-run shot that gave the Cardinals a lead they never lost in the third inning.
Although I wasn’t sure what inspired the complete shock of Fox broadcasters Joe Buck and Tim McCarver over Carpenter’s home run—he did get his share of playing time this year, with the injury to Lance Berkman, and Carpenter consistently hit for both contact and power. On a side note, Beltran is day-to-day.
Kyle Lohse and Matt Cain both pitched well yesterday, but the fact Lohse got Pence to hit into a one-out bases-loaded double-play in the third, when the Giants had scored one run and were threatening to build a big early lead, was the difference in the game. St. Louis cashed their chances in and San Francisco did not. Hunter Pence is the biggest reason why.
The game was delayed for nearly three and a half hours in the bottom of the seventh thanks to the rain that pounded the Midwest and ultimately forced the cancellation of Game 4 of the American League Championship Series in Detroit.
MLB officials called the game in Detroit before a drop of rain had even hit. You know, I somewhat understand the logic—if you’re rained out three innings into the game on this one, it means the Yankees lose C.C. Sabathia and you don’t want to cost a team its ace in a playoff game, especially an elimination one.
The ALCS now loses its travel day and the teams will play—weather permitting obviously—each day for the next four days unless Detroit wins and clinches. In the short-term this move might have protected the Yankees from losing Sabathia mid-start and allowed their bullpen a day to reset after being emptied out in Game 3.
But unless New York catches another break with the weather, Sabathia can no longer come back on short rest to face Justin Verlander for a potential seventh game on Sunday night. And while the bullpen might have re-set itself for tonight, the Yanks are the team that will have to be prepared to treat its pen like its Game 7 for each of the next four nights. Now there’s no rest in between and even had they played yesterday the odds are good Sabathia would have given the pen the night off anyway. On balance, this rain delay hurt New York more than it did Detroit.