A Look Back on Game-1 & the Airtight Case for Instant Replay

Written by Kent on October 8, 2010 – 5:08 pm

In his latest “Fried Baseball” audio blog, Kent Covington reviews game 1 of the NLDS and makes an airtight case for expanded instant replay in Major League Baseball. Throw in your 2 cents in the comments section below.

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NLDS Game 1 Recap

Written by Thomas on October 8, 2010 – 9:21 am

When the Braves failed to get Omar Infante home after a leadoff double in the first, they lost the best scoring chance they would have all night. Tim Lincecum was nothing short of spectacular and was aided by the Braves’ lineup swinging at terrible pitches all game. “The Freak” used his fastball to get ahead in counts then went to his slider/changeup for the kill and recorded fourteen strikeouts en route to a complete game shutout.

Unfortunately, Lincecum’s masterpiece will overshadow the gutsy performance turned in by Derek Lowe. In 5.1 innings pitched Lowe recorded nine groundball outs to just one fly ball while striking out six. The only run he surrendered was aided by what turned out to be a devastating blown call. Replays showed that Buster Posey was clearly tagged out while attempting to steal second base in the fourth inning, but the second base umpire called him safe (TBS announcer Bob Brenly suggested he was out of position). Later that inning former Marlin Cody Ross hit a grounder that went right under Omar Infante’s glove scoring Posey from second. It would be the only run either team scored all night.

From a managerial standpoint, Bobby utilized the bullpen brilliantly. He relieved Derek Lowe in the sixth with Johnny Venters who came in and immediately got the double play ball that was needed. Bobby also went righty (Moylan), lefty (Dunn), righty (Kimbrel) in the eight inning in order to try and keep the deficit at one run.

To be fair this game happened like it was supposed to on paper. Our injury plagued lineup simply isn’t very good, and it was going up against one of the game’s best tonight. However, that is no excuse for our hitters’ collective lack of patience at the plate. Derrek Lee and Brian McCann, two of our offensive veterans, both struck out swinging on pitches that would have been ball four in the first inning. Likewise, Heyward did the same thing in the ninth inning on a pitch that wasn’t even close. Unfortunately, pretty much everyone, with the exception of Infante, did a lot of swinging and missing tonight.

Tonight’s game is about as must win as it gets. Hanson will need to follow in Lowe’s footsteps if we have any chance to steal a win, because I am not expecting much out of our lineup, especially against Cain.


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Breaking Down The NLDS: Braves vs. Giants

Written by Thomas on October 7, 2010 – 3:00 pm

Las Vegas has the Braves as a reasonable underdog (+140) to the Giants, but as Bobby Cox pointed out, we did take four out of seven from them in the regular season. Let’s breakdown the two clubs, position by position, to give us a better idea of who we should expect to come out on top.

(1) Starting Pitching

As good as Derek Lowe was in September, Tim Lincecum matched him by striking out 52 batters in just under 42 innings while posting a 1.94 ERA. He may not have a postseason track record, but neither did Roy Halladay.

Matt Cain has a lower ERA than Tommy Hanson, but fielding independent numbers give the nod to Tommy who has a slightly better K/BB ratio this season. Neither have pitched in the postseason, but Cain got roughed up by the Padres in his last start of the regular season. Hopefully, his failure to perform in a high leverage situation is a sign of things to come.

Sabermetricians might try to argue that Jonathan Sanchez has been better than Tim Hudson this season. Call me a homer, but I’ll take Hudson who has much better control and the ability to keep the ball on the ground.

Verdict: Assuming Derek Lowe continues to pitch like it’s September, neither team has much of an advantage.

(2) Catcher

Surprisingly enough, Buster Posey has been a little better than Brian McCann this season (.368 vs. .361 wOBA). What’s concerning about Brian is how badly he played in September. Posey on the other hand tore it up in the season’s final month producing a .256/.343/.533 line.

Verdict: Call me crazy, but Posey has the hot hand and seems to be playing his best when it matters the most. He is also at least as good, if not better, than B Mac defensively.

(3) First Base

Aubrey Huff has been a pleasant surprise for the Giants this season and had a decent September. Meanwhile, Derrek Lee hasn’t been himself this season but has come on strong in the final two months of the season (.899 OPS since August 1st).

Verdict: Despite Lee having pretty weak postseason numbers, I’ll take him in a heartbeat over Huff.

(4) Second Base

The Giants’ Freddy Sanchez was injured to begin the season and started out slowly upon his return. However, Sanchez finished strong in the final two months of the season and posted an OPS of .865 in September. Our Brooks Conrad is a defensively liability to put it kindly, but has flashed considerable power at the plate all season long.

Verdict: Something tells me Brooks is going to have a couple of big hits in this series, so I’ll say it’s a wash. Let’s hope he can steady his nerves in the field and avoid making a crippling error at the wrong time.

(5) Third Base

Pablo Sandoval has been abysmal this season. He has no plate discipline and hardly any power. While Omar Infante has fallen off a bit in September, he is clearly the better player right now.

Verdict: Hands down Infante

(6) Shortstop

Neither Juan Uribe nor Alex Gonzalez has any plate discipline. Both, however, have considerable power. Unfortunately, Gonzalez has been horrendous at the plate this past month and will need to give Atlanta something in the middle of the order over the course of the series.

Verdict: Gonzalez is a little better defensively, but I would much rather have Uribe’s bat.

(7-9) Outfield

Neither outfield has been very good. Pat Burrell has provided a shot to the arm for the Giants, as has Andres Torres, but anyone else they throw out there is pretty terrible. Likewise, Jason Heyward has carried the Braves outfield with help from Matt Diaz at times, but that’s about it.

Verdict: Both are pretty bad, but I would take ours only because of Jason Heyward. He is the best defensive outfielder on either team, and his patience at the plate should make him a tough out all series long.

(10-11) Bullpen and Bench

Both bullpens have been excellent this season. The Giants’ ranks second in NL ERA while the Braves’ ranks third. Billy Wagner and Brian Wilson are both excellent at the backend as well.

The Braves’ bench was clearly better prior to the injuries of Chipper and Martin Prado but no longer. We are stretched thin in the infield but have plenty of good choices for pinch hitters.

Verdict: Pretty much no advantage gained by either team. One point of concern though is that our great lefty relievers will not be as valuable against the Giants’ right handed heavy lineup.

Overall, neither team has much of an advantage over the other. You could certainly argue that the BRAVES are the favorites, but it seems to be a tossup. Both teams will showcase very good pitching staffs with average to mediocre lineups. Should be a really competitive series.


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