Friday, November 09, 2012

The entire season on the line

Grant at McCovey Chronicles has an excellent post about the Barry Zito strikeout of Daniel Descalso in Game 5 of the NLCS in the second inning with two on and no out -- a game the Giants had to win.Here's the setup -- 

Two pitches into the inning, Zito had two runners in scoring position with no one out. The meltdown was starting, through no real fault of Zito's own.
You probably said a few naughty words. You don't have to take them back; they were completely valid.
That brought up Daniel Descalso. In a small sample over his career, he has reverse platoon splits, but that shouldn't matter. If you start Daniel Descalso against a left-handed pitcher, you probably deserve whatever happens. Except these were the Cardinals, so he was obviously going to rip a double down the line.
Instead, Zito pitched masterfully. It's hard to say with any certainty that this was the most important at-bat of the playoffs for the Giants -- it was just the second inning, and they won the game by five, after all -- but it probably was. A single would have put the Cardinals up two at home in an elimination game. Things could have quickly spiraled in the other direction.

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