Tim Lincecum: Giants Win Game 1 As Lincecum and Lady Luck Bail Out Bochy
With a gem of a shutout by Tim Lincecum, it's hard to look at game one of the NLDS through anything but rose colored glasses for Giants fans.
The Incredible Hulk (Lincecum) pitched a two hitter, struck out 14, broke a Giants postseason record for Ks in a game, and tied a major league record for most Ks in a postseason debut.
But as great as Lincecum was, Lady Luck was even greater because Atlanta Braves starter Derek Lowe was also dealing.
Buster Posey led off the 4th inning with a single.Then, Pat Burrell swung and missed for strike three on a hit and run.
Posey slid into second base and tried to dodge the tag of 2B Brooks Conrad. Posey joked after the game, "I'm glad we don't have instant replay."
It was his first stolen base at the Major League level. And probably his last.
After Uribe struck out, Braves Manager Bobby Cox intentionally walked Pablo Sandoval so Derek Lowe could square off against Cody Ross.
Lowe would try to dance around Ross with Lincecum on deck and an open base.
But Lowe made a mistake and threw a 2-0 pitch too close to the plate.Ross smashed it to the left of third baseman Omar Infante.
Lady luck took over as Infante misplayed the ball.
Even though it was scored a single, anyone watching the game could see it was a misplay and should have been ruled an error.
So the Giants tripled up on luck in the inning to score the only run of the game: Posey's stolen base, Lowe's mistake, Infante's error and Cox's gamble in not intentionally walking Ross.
You may recall the reverse happened to the Giants earlier in the year versus Colorado when Bochy let Lincecum nibble at Clint Barmes.
Barmes got a hit and Colorado won the game, so maybe the Giants were owed one.
In any event, this game was decided in the tiniest details.
Most of the Giants postseason games probably will be.
Which makes the other managerial blunder so hard to take.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Posey led off with a double and got to third on a fielding error.
After Burrell struck out, Juan Uribe walked to give the Giants runners on first and third with one out.
This was the nail in the coffin moment. If the Giants put another run or two on the board, that was it.
Cox knew it, so decided to turn Pablo Sandoval around by making a pitching change to lefty Jonny Venters.
It was Bochy's turn to return serve.
He could have pinch hit Aaron Rowand or Edgar Renteria, and in case Cox fired back he had lefties Fontenot, Ishikawa, and Schierholtz ready as well.
But with several options, he just let Cox's serve go right by him.
Giants fans all knew what the most probable outcome was: Pablo Sandoval would ground into a double play. It would probably be a first pitch swing, and out of the strike zone.
It doesn't take any statistical analysis or a PhD in probability theory to know it was a terrible, terrible move by Bochy.
It was like torturous slow motion as the exact thought in the back of every Giants fan manifested itself on the field.
So on a night that might inspire cautious optimism, it's important to remember reality.
Thank Lady Luck and hope the Braves keep playing bad defense.
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