The World Series 2010 Games One and Two, Or: Can’t Anyone Here Play This Game?

I’m pleased to present the latest guest post by Doug Bird, who began contributing Sunday articles last week. Today, Doug offers a recap of the first two games of the World Series, written before Texas’s 4-2 victory in Game 3 on Saturday.

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Game 1: Giants 11, Rangers 7

Yeah, this was the pitcher’s duel everyone had anticipated. Cliff Lee, the more than formidable playoff pitcher who silenced the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees and was undefeated over two playoff seasons against the National League Cy Young winner of the two previous seasons, the little guy with the big stuff, Tim Lincecum. This game was definitely going to be 1-0 for someone and it would
take about fourteen innings to complete. Lee and Lincecum would go ten or eleven innings, striking out twelve each leaving it to the formidable bullpens of each team to decide the outcome. The Rangers would probably win on a homerun by someone, unless Cody Ross decided another game. But, as they say somewhere, that’s why they play the game.

Game 1 was a very sloppy affair with Bruce Bochy over managing his bullpen, Tim Lincecum looking as if it was his first day in Little League, Freddy Sanchez running the bases as if it was his first day in Little League, Vlad Guerro seemingly afraid of the baseball in the field and the Rangers taking too many sleeping pills the night before and forgetting their scouting reports back at the hotel.

Tim Lincecum seemed lost not only in his pitch selection but failed to cover first base on a routine play and then, instead of a routine throw to third after having a runner hung up on third base, inexplicably held onto the ball and got no one out. Bochy used five pitchers after the Giants went out in front 8-2. Five. Two good signs for the Giants- Freddy Sanchez is now officially healthy, hitting three hard doubles, and Juan Uribe doesn’t hit often but when he does, hit the ball hard and in the clutch.

Cliff Lee couldn’t get any of his normal movement on his fastball, had an ineffective curveball, and located both pitches too much and too often, over the plate. The Rangers still continued to throw fastballs to Cody Ross although more on the outside part of the plate and held him to one hit in five tries but should certainly know better. Ron Washington, in a sign of things to come, used Mark Lowe, a
non-roster pitcher before the start of the World Series, Mark Lowe, in a crucial spot.

Game 2: Giants 9, Rangers 0

Matt Cain and C. J. Wilson righted the World Series ship and after seven innings the Giants were holding a slim 2-0 lead. This promised to be one of those classic World Series games at last. Cain was especially impressive with a nasty fastball and pinpoint location. Wilson, while not as spectacular, allowed only two runs and made the clutch pitches when he had to. It seemed that the bullpens would decide this game. Ironically, at least from the viewpoint of the Texas Rangers, they did.

In the eighth inning everything unraveled and the blame must be placed squarely on manager Ron Washington. Post-game interviews did little to clarify the situation and I would like to believe that Washington was managing under circumstances unknown to those of us who watched the disaster unfold which might shed some
light on his unexplainable misuse of his bullpen. It was painful and embarrassing to watch a manager who apparently had never witnessed let alone managed a major league game before this October night.

The reaction of co-owner and Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan led me to believe that it was the latter, and not the former, which was responsible for one of the most embarrassingly mismanaged innings in World Series history. Righty Darren O’Day struck out the first two batters then allowed a single. Two out and no Giant base runners. So far, so good. The Giants lefty Nate Schireholtz was due up next , a defensive replacement outfielder and a non-factor as a hitter. Darren O’Day is cruising. Washington brought in lefty, Derek Holland, who while effective over the 2010 season, has little post season experience. Holland walked the next three batters on thirteen pitches.

Inexplicably, no one was up in the Ranger bullpen even after the three walks on thirteen pitches. Now the bullpen gets active. However, Washington brings in a not sufficiently warm Mark Lowe– a walk, a two-run single, and the Giants lead 6-0. It was obvious that Lowe wasn’t sufficiently– even barely– warmed up. More than obvious. Things simply got worse and the Giants scored three more times in the inning. Darren Oliver was just sitting there. Neftali Perez and his 40 regular season saves was just sitting there there. Ron Washington just sat there. I just sat there. A head shake just won’t do it.

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Email feedback to Doug Bird at d.bird@rogers.com

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