This is the theme song the San Francisco Giants are living by in this World Series. Detroit’s starters have been great in this Series – even Justin Verlander, who threw a couple bad pitches to Pablo Sandoval in game one – but the Giants’ rotation has simply been better.
The second-inning of game three was another prime example of the Giants playing small and why they now find themselves 27 outs or one game away from their second championship in the last three years.
Hunter Pence was patient at the plate, drawing a leadoff walk in the inning, stealing second base and later taking third on a wild pitch from Anibal Sanchez. He would then trout home on Gregor Blanco’s triple to give the Giants all the offense they needed.
After that inning, Sanchez shutdown the Giants’ hitters through the seventh, retiring 16 of the next 19 batters he faced.
But like Barry Zito and Madison Bumgarner in games one and two, respectively, Ryan Vogelsong took the mound each inning and did his thing with great defense behind him.
Vogelsong got two big double plays in the first and third, but no performance was more impressive than the one he did single-handedly by himself in the fifth-inning that could’ve led to a big rally in favor of the Tigers.
With the bases loaded and one out, Vogelsong continued his dominant post-season pitching by getting Quintin Berry to strikeout and Miguel Cabrera to pop out. The highest-paid players on this team, Cabrera and Prince Fielder, have gone 1 for11 in the Series with runners in scoring position. I can’t decide whether this is due to great Giant pitching or just terrible offense, but it is killing the Tigers.
After Vogelsong was pulled, two-time Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum came out of the bullpen and, as he did in the opener, was lights out. I LOVE this move by Bruce Bochy with Lincecum coming out of the pen as he had been struggling all season in the rotation. It reminds me of a couple years ago when the Cubs moved Sean Marshall to the bullpen and how he improved as a long reliever, posting a 2.65 and 2.26 ERA respectively in 2009 and 2010.
Vogelsong’s individual performance in the fifth was impressive, but it was nothing compared to what Lincecum did in the eighth. Having to face Cabrera, Fielder and Delmon Young is a tough task for any pitcher and he made it look easy. Cabrera grounded out on what Brandon Crawford made look like an easy 6-3 play. Then he got Fielder to strikeout which was followed by the loudest boos Fielder has heard in his short time at Comerica Park. Even with Young reaching on an error, Lincecum kept his composure and got Andy Dirks as more boos were echoed.
The great defense by Blanco in left continued as he ran down Jhonny Peralta’s foul ball to the wall for the first out of the ninth.
You can have all the offense you want, but when you run into a team that has faced six elimination games and had two shutouts in their League Championship Series comeback, you better have your rotation ready. The long rest apparently isn’t working for Detroit on either end as they have been shutout in back-to-back nights in the most crucial series of their lives. They were shutout all of two times in the regular season. The Giants have yet to throw their number one starter at them as Matt Cain will once again take the mound for his third straight clincher this postseason in game four.
Follow on Twitter: @midwayMars