Our chances of a dramatic six- or seven-game World Series took a hit last night, when the Giants took a 2-0 lead with a closer-than-the-score-indicates 9-0 win.
The Series is off today, and resumes Saturday in Texas.
The big story on the internet last night was about Ron Washington’s bullpen usage. The prevailing thought among baseball analysts was, when it was 2-0 in the bottom of the eighth and the Giants put a couple of runners on base, why didn’t Texas go to top reliever Neftali Feliz? Hindsight is 20-20, of course, but the bigger issue questions the role of closers in the World Series.
I am a firm believer that in the World Series, there is no need to conserve your top reliever for “save situations” like managers often do during the regular season. There is no point in saving Feliz so that he can defend a lead you may never get. Save stats don’t matter; giving your team a chance to win is what matters – and when you only have one or two reliable relief pitchers, you need to get them in the game to preserve a two-run deficit. This became more magnified by the fact that today is an off-day, so there was no need to save any reliever for game three.
At any rate, Feliz didn’t get in the game, the rest of the Rangers bullpen allowed seven runs, and the score became lopsided.*
Kudos to Matt Cain, who pitched so well that this whole bullpen-usage subject really didn’t matter, anyway. Cain has been one of the heroes of the Giants post-season run, pitching 21.1 playoff innings without allowing an earned run.
- Matt Cain got some love from the San Francisco paper. Bruce Jenkins wrote about him, too.
- Jayson Stark writes that everything is going right for the Giants. Scott Ostler concocted a Curse of Candlestick.
- In Dallas, they report that Neftali Feliz was not injured. Josh Hamilton says the team is “tight.”
- It does seem like an act of desperation when the Rangers are hoping Justin Bieber can help turn around the series.**
- With the series moving to Texas, the Giants have to decide who will be the DH.
- Only one of the Game Three starters has ever pitched at Cheney Stadium: Colby Lewis made his first Cheney appearance as a 22-year-old reliever on July 23, 2002 – giving up a run in 1.1 innings (no web-based box available). We didn’t see Lewis again until he made two terrific starts at Cheney in 2007 for Sacramento, but got no run support and no decision on both April 13 and August 20 - he locked horns with Justin Lehr and Robert Rohrbaugh. Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez faced Tacoma one time in his career – a 2007 game in Fresno.
- Former Mariners Jamie Moyer and Greg Dobbs (also a former Rainier) were granted free agency by the Phillies. It will be interesting to see if anyone takes a chance on the 47-year-old Moyer. Dobbs will probably have to sign a minor league deal with someone, and then try to hit his way onto an opening day roster.
- Here’s an interview with (current? former?) Mariners bullpen coach John Wetteland.
Have a great Halloween weekend – somebody dress up as the PCL Championship trophy, and send me a picture!
* this whole conundrum has led to some hilarious Twitter messages along the “Where’s Neftali Feliz?” theme, and appropriate Halloween costumes. Are people really going to dress up as a milk carton with Feliz’s picture on it?
** I half-expected MLB to turn to the 16-year-old Canadian for the Seventh Inning Blessing.