I remember watching Yusmeiro Petit pitch against the Yankees last year when I had this random thought that “hey, this guy isn’t so freaking bad.” I hadn’t been paying attention to him in San Francisco that season. There really wasn’t a need. After three rough years in Arizona, I figured he would play out his career, bouncing around the minors or ending up with the Rockies or something. He struck out seven against the Yankees in 6 1/3, allowing six hits because no one ever said he wasn’t hittable.
The Giants won that game 2-1.
In that 18-inning marathon with the Nationals in the NLDS, Petit struck out seven in six innings while allowing one hit. When he entered, I thought the Nats had the clear advantage, and maybe if the night isn’t cold and windy or if the Nats actually had an approach at the plate other than swing real hard and hope the wind doesn’t knock it down, that series and this postseason is a little different.1 Petit pitched great, though, after the Giants had already burned through six pitchers, so it was basically just him to eat innings in case something finally happened, like a Brandon Belt home run or something.
The Giants won that game 2-1 as well.
In the NLCS, after Ryan Vogelsong lasted all of three innings, allowing four earned to the Cardinals, Petit provided three innings of scoreless, one-hit relief, and the Giants came back and won that game 6-4. So, after Vogelsong surrendered four to the Royals last night in 2 2/3, should it come as a surprise that Petit came in at the top of the fourth inning and pitched three more scoreless, pitching out of trouble in the fifth and sixth after leadoff hits? The Giants were down 4-2 when he entered, up 7-4 when he left, and he’s now 3-0 in this postseason while allowing just four hits in 12 innings. He’s struck out 13, making his 9.8 K/9 just slightly lower than his career high in ’14 of 10.2. Petit has lasted 2/3 of an inning more than the 37-year old Vogelsong who’s started three games.
To think, Petit was once traded by the Marlins2 to Arizona for Jorge Julio (which is essentially punting), bounced around the Seattle organization for a few years, and signed by the Giants to a minor league contract. All the headlines today read journeyman reliever and the Giants stealing Game 4. To me, Petit, like the Royals Mike Moustakas, are what this postseason is all about: a few guys essentially given up on by teams and fans alike and now making headlines under the brightest lights imaginable.
We’re discussing Petit today because the Giants came back and won, and isn’t it amazing that on the same day where I write that Ned Yost probably should have used Brandon Finnegan to pitch to Pablo Sandoval in Game 3 (because Sandoval can’t hit from the right side), Sandoval drives in two against Finnegan with a two-out single in the sixth? Bah! Stats are meaningless anymore, aren’t they? Conventional wisdom, what’s that? If there’s a book, throw it out the window because it doesn’t mean much this year.
I forgot one very important thing: when rules collide, such as a dismal history against lefties or the opportunity to play hero, opt for the latter. That’s how it worked with Joe Panik last night. I don’t think last night was the difference maker game I think is coming, but it’s a step in the right direction. When you hit it so that even the Royals outfield can’t catch up to it, it’s either in the Bay or should be counted twice.
Degree of difficulty should count for something.
- I haven’t written anything about this, but it was the most amazing piece of non-strategy that I’ve witnessed in a long time. Oh, look, another fly out. Hey, why not strike out going for the fences. Maybe the team could have tried to steal a base, drop a bunt, or play a little hit and run. Make the Giants earn the win. Sure, it sucks that the Giants tied it up with two outs in the ninth, negating Jordan Zimmermann’s ascension to postseason BAMF, but doing nothing but swinging from the heels is nonsense. If Matt Williams would have stayed around a bit longer, maybe he could have, you know, done something. I’m not bitter about this. Damn, that game was stupid. ↩
- He was originally signed by the Mets. One day I’m going to figure out every player who was either signed by, played for, or traded by the Mets. There’s a six degrees of Mr. Met thing going on here ↩