To put last night’s Kansas City beat down of San Francisco into perspective, since 1903 there have been 66 games where either team has scored 10+ runs. Of those games, 18 ended with a team winning by 10 or more, and only seven of those games resulted in a shutout. KC probably remembers the last time this happened. It was in 1985 when the Royals blanked the Cardinals 11-0 behind a then 21-year old Bret Saberhagen. On Tuesday it was Yordano Ventura’s turn to provide youthful heroics, tossing 98-mph bullets and even harder stares the Giants way. After the second inning, the game’s outcome was fait accompli, and now we’re heading into Game 7 because we the fans deserve it and so the universe acquiesced.
It seems so silly now, but there was a moment in the first when I looked at my wife and said, “the Royals might regret not sending Lorenzo Cain.” The play was Eric Hosmer’s single, where the ongoing adventures of Travis Ishikawa in left continued and he slipped fielding the ball and then threw to second. Oh, how dumb was that comment after a 30+ minute second that saw the Royals bat around and drop seven?
What a weird inning. Of the first five batters, Salvador Perez was the only one to hit the ball well, lining over Joe Panik’s outstretched glove. I thought Brandon Belt had a good chance to grab Mike Moustakas’ ball down the line, and if he’s not holding Perez he likely does. Belt was then involved in the Alcides Escobar infield single where he might have had a chance if he tossed it to Panik rather than trying to race Escobar to first. Nori Aoki, making his first start since Game 2, fought off some good pitches for a single past the diving Pablo Sandoval. I nice hit but not exactly a mammoth shot.
Yusmeiro Petit relieves Jake Peavy, gets two strikes on both Cain and Hosmer and gives up a bloop single and a double that started out bouncing off the dirt a foot in front of home plate. Heck, Hosmer got two hits in that bat, and the double was the lesser of the two swings. Petit finally gave up a run of his own in this postseason, coming on the only well hit ball of the inning with Billy Butler’s double to right-center.
Speaking of Hosmer’s at-bat, do you think Hunter Pence experienced a bit of déjà vu? It’s not like he hasn’t seen weird things like this before:
In Game 7 of the 2012 NLCS, he somehow doubled past Pete Kozma on a ball that hit Pence’s bat three times.
Weird night. Weird inning.
I didn’t take too much stock prior to the game in Peavy’s postseason struggles. In the first, Joe Buck mentioned that Peavy had a 7.05 ERA in the postseason, which was superfantastic I guess if you want to consider the numbers from his two starts in 2005 and 2006 as meaningful all these years later. Personally, I didn’t. Whatever. Yes, I know he did give up seven to Detroit in three innings in last year’s ALCS, but in this postseason he’s pitched okay. Not extraordinary. Good enough for the most part. He entered Game 6 with an ERA of 3.68, but batters were hitting just .226 off of him. His WHIP was 1.36, but his fourseamer and sinker had good movement on them for the most part. In Game 2 he pitched respectably until all hell breaks loose in the sixth, but he wasn’t 7.05 ERA awful.
That was a rough way to finish his season, though. 1 1/3 with five earned on six hits and a walk. After the Omar Infante strikeout in the second I thought there might be a chance he escapes that inning. Give Aoki credit. In his first at-bat he looked rusty, flailing at an inside fastball for strike three, but he adjusted a fought off a lot of good pitches by the veteran right-hander. I’m going to miss Peavy’s animated self-recriminations. Sure there’s a chance that Peavy sees the field tonight, if the game goes extra innings or Bruce Bochy needs someone to visit the mound and pop a mean neck vein for the Fox crew.
I do have one word of advice for Bochy: if the Royals are sending up a left-hander, do not allow Hunter Strickland to pitch. Eight postseason appearances so far, and he’s allowed a home run in five of them (six homers overall). Of those six home runs, five have come against left-handed batters. Just because I can, here’s Bryce Harper’s home run in Game 1 of the NLDS. Seriously. That ball is still in the air.
Bochy probably doesn’t want Strickland to pitch to the right-handed hitting Infante either. Remember Infante homered off the rookie in Game 2. Then the benches cleared. Who was the hitter next up that dropped his bat and started walking towards the mound? That’s right. It was #8 Mike Moustakas who homered off of Strickland last night. Don’t make Moustakas mad, silly Giants. It is not a good idea.
Cheer up, everyone. Game 7 will be fun!