There’s a bunch of great stories waiting to be created, experienced, and written about if the San Francisco Giants can recaffinate their bats for today’s NLCS Game 6.
First there’s the prospect of the ultimate baseball postseason dream: playing a deciding game seven in a seven game series. Few sports moments have more potential for flat out excitement and great plays. Then there could be a second miraculous reanimation of the Giants, following their improbable three game NLDS sweep at Cincinnati after dropping two in a row at home.
Most importantly for the Giants’ franchise would be the impact of San Francisco playing two World Series in three years. The local and national bounce the team would get from that has economic and fanbase implications that would reverberate through the brand for years.
In the way of all that happiness and delight are the players whose job it is to create runs. I won’t say the Giants offense is bad, but they’re looking to move up to “moribund”. They’re hoping to achieve “pretty good” which would quadruple their current postseason output. If they could make outs in only two out of every three at-bats the champagne would be a-poppin’.
These numbers will numb you: three of the Giants’ top four hitters in the NCLS are pitchers– Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong and Barry Zito are all 1 for 2, batting .500. The three, four, and five hitters (Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey, Hunter Pence) are 11 for 58, hitting a startling .190. And clean-up hitter Buster Posey has no RBI, no extra base hits, and has struck out 5 times in 18 at-bats.
I won’t say San Francisco’s hitting sucks trailer hitches but the safest place on the field during an NLCS game is at home plate when… well you get the idea.
So while it would be very good if Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong can conjure a quality start in tonight’s sudden death contest, it is the Giant offense that needs to get slapped back into focus and score five or six runs to make Game 7 a reality.
The early keys? 1) Angel Pagan’s .292 on base percentage goes way up after tonight’s game because he got on base a whole bunch of times. 2) Pablo Sandoval gets some walks and hits some doubles in front of Buster Posey. And, of course, 3) clean-up hitter Buster Posey creates runs by plating Pagan and Sandoval throughout the game.
So far the stumbling zombie impressions by San Francisco’s hitters in the NLCS aren’t scaring Cardinal pitchers one bit. What’s needed here is a real monster offense: old school slasher dudes who are on top of you before you know it with St. Louis running for their lives.