By: Malaika Bobino
San Francisco, CA – No one expected one inning of runs to start the National League Championship Series. But as they say in the Majors, “that’s just baseball”! Two starting pitchers ended their nights early and the starting pitching rotation for the San Francisco Giants is in question.
The Cardinals 6-4 victory over the Giants in game one of the NLCS was anything but unexpected. No pitcher in the San Francisco rotation has lasted six innings in the postseason. As a result the team has solely relied on their offense for hits.
“You certainly want a quality start,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Their bullpen did great start and our bullpen did great but they shut us down in terms of scoring runs. We just need some good starts, Best of 7, that’s how we look at it.”
St. Louis jumped off to a great start. David Freese hit a two-run homer in the second frame and they dominated in the fourth by scoring four more runs. They picked up where they left off back in National League Division Series when they scored four runs to defeat the Washington Nationals.
Pete Kozma scored in a run with a RBI double. Kozma stole third and Jon Jay’s RBI single gave them a 4-0. The next batter, Carlos Beltran hit a two-run homer and that was the end of Madison Bumgarner’s night as the Giants fell behind 6-0.
“I’m just really enjoying myself, honestly,” said Beltran. “Right now, I’m seeing the ball well. I’m not trying to do too much, good things are happening. I feel good about that.”
While many thought San Francisco was out of this game, Brandon Belt’s RBI single bottom of the fourth, put the team on the board with the first run. The sellout crowd woke up and Gregor Blanco’s two-run RBI triple cut the lead in half and got the Giants back in the game.
San Francisco scored four runs in the same inning, when Brandon Crawford hit a RBI double. That hit also ended Lance Lynn’s night on the mound. Both Bumgarner and Lynn finished the night lasting only 3 2/3 innings. Bumgarner allowed eight hits, six runs (all earned), one walk, two strikeouts and two home runs.
“I’m thinking about the D.C game,” Freese said on the Giants getting back in to the game. They were up six nothing, we were up six nothing and that shows you got to keep playing. The last thing they were worried about were our home runs. They found gaps and we’re fortunate enough to have our bullpen come in and do their job.”
The Cardinals nearly perfect bullpen shut San Francisco’s offense down completely. However, the Giants bullpen also allowed no runs from St. Louis as well. The combined 10 2/3 innings of scoreless relief from both clubs set an LCS record.
“We’re not feeling bad about anything,” Angel Pagan said. “They played better than us, and we just have to turn the page. It’s a long series, and we just have to keep the good attitude that we have right now.”
The biggest question has been will Tim Lincecum return to the starting rotation. He’s been phenomenal in the bullpen and after no quality starts from any of the pitchers Bochy said he may be available in game 4 if we need him.
“Im not going out there and say that I deserve to be starting or should be starting,” said Lincecum. “I’m going out there with the mentality of whenever they need me, I’m going to try to get my outs. That’s good enough for me.”