1) Remember at the beginning of the post-season when it was absolutely obvious to everyone that Ryan Vogelsong would be left out of the rotation and go to the bullpen because he had some experience there. Every team that wins the World Series needs at least one starting pitcher who can dominate and eat innings. Cain was the obvious choice, and while he hasn’t pitched poorly, the man has been Vogelsong. Crazy.
2) Joe Sheehan points out that there just aren’t a lot of tactical decisions to be made by the managers in this World Series. The Giants simply get ahead and stay ahead. A couple of thoughts here…Bruce Bochy is the best manager I’ve seen at managing with the lead. This is not as easy as it might seem (see Baker, Dusty 2002). While there’s not a lot of second guessing to be done, I do think Leyland blew it by hitting Omar Infante 9th. Maybe that’s how they always do it against right-handers, but the dude has ownage on Vogelsong (9 for 13 after Game 3), and had been swinging well in the first two games. Quintin Berry looked overmatched all night. Thank you Jim!
3) One more thought on tactics. As I mentioned earlier this post-season the Giants have not faced a left-handed starting pitching once. The Cardinals only had one left-hander on their roster. The one big tactical question for the Giants this post-season was: what to do with a left-handed starter? Do you put Nady in left instead of Blanco? Do you use Arias at short instead of Crawford? Do you put Posey at first and catch Sanchez so that Belt sits? Do you at least try to break up the three lefties in a row at the bottom of the lineup? Bochy has never had to answer any of those questions. Think about all the big moments provided by Crawford and Blanco, with the bats, sure, but also defensively. Nady doesn’t catch those balls in left, and Arias doesn’t cover the same ground or make the turn the way Crawford does. So, thank you Reds, Cardinals, and Tigers for making this an easy decision.
4) One of the most remarkable things I’ve learned this post-season is that JT Snow had the record for most hits (22) before Pabo broke that record last night. I remember JT playing well in 2002 but I would have guessed Rich Aurilia had the record not JT.
5) I know that Tim Lincecum is going to be a starter next year (see the third section of this article). I also know that the biggest way the 2013 Giants can improve is by Tim regaining form and reclaiming the ace title. But, man, how cool is it watching him come out of the bullpen. There is a part of me that would love to see the Giants take a shot at someone to be the 5th starter, and then turn Lincecum into a good, old-fashioned bullpen ace. I think he could pitch 130-150 innings out of the ‘pen and get himself into the convo for the CY Young. Small sample size, but here’s what he’s done this post-season out of the ‘pen: 13 IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 3 walks, 17 strikeouts. That’s a 0.69 ERA and a 0.46 WHIP. Nasty.
One more win please!