2014 SF Giants – The Royals Take Jake Peavy To The Cleaners

2014 SF Giants

It was quite predictable that Jake Peavy would struggle against the Royals in game six of the World Series, but Giants fans hoped he could at least keep them in the game.

That didn’t happen.

The Royals have had Peavy’s number historically and flat-out, Peavy has been terrible as a postseason pitcher in his career.

Everything pointed to Peavy not pitching well, but Bruce Bochy decided early on that he wasn’t going to mess with his rotation which meant having to win one game in Kansas City with either Peavy or Hudson. If the Giants are going to become champions again, it will have to be Hudson who takes them there.

After struggling to get through the first inning without giving up a run, Peavy’s day ended in the second inning. He gave up three consecutive hits, the last being a double to Mike Moustakas which scored one run. With runners on second and third and one out, Alcides Escobar hit a chopper to Brandon Belt who was playing in to keep the runner at third. Peavy froze and pointed toward home, but the runner at third didn’t budge. What he forgot to do was cover first. Belt took a look at third and then tried to tag Escobar himself, but Escobar avoided him and made it to first with a slide. Joe Panik got to the bag before Escobar did, but Belt didn’t see him. It was quite the debacle in such an important game.

Bruce Bochy mentioned that Belt stared down the runner too long and he’s probably right about that, but it seems that part of that is because Peavy continued to yell and scream and point toward home. But the fact that Peavy didn’t come to cover the bag also seemed to throw him off. Bochy thought that moment changed Peavy’s whole game. I think he may have said that because it was the opportune time to take Peavy out and he waited one batter too long.

Norichika Aoki hit one passed Pablo Sandoval to score another run and Peavy’s night was over. Yusmeiro Petit came into the game and was met by Lorenzo Cain’s bloop single which scored two. Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler hit back-to-back doubles and by the time the inning was over, it was 7-0 Royals.

Peavy got just four outs (only 1 1/3 innings pitched), gave up six hits, and was on the hook for five earned runs.

The Giants only had one real threat all night long and it was in the top of the very next inning. Yordano Ventura was firing heater after heater, but was wild in the inning. After striking out Travis Ishikawa, he then walked Brandon Crawford, Gregor Blanco, and Joe Panik (in a terrific battle). That brought up Buster Posey, who was looking for his first extra base hit all postseason long. It would’ve been great timing for the Giants, but it wasn’t meant to be. After all the struggles that Ventura had with his control, Posey decided to swing at the first pitch (probably a ball) and grounded into a double play. It was the end of threat and though we didn’t know it quite then, the end of the ball game for the Giants.

The Royals would go on to score three more runs to make it an even 10-0. You’d think that there was little else to analyze, but there were two things that I saw that were pretty interesting.

The human launching pad, Hunter Strickland entered the game for the Giants in the sixth inning. He got through the sixth without much damage outside of giving up a leadoff walk to Billy Butler. But in the seventh, predictably, left-handed hitter Mike Moustakas took Strickland deep for a home run. Strickland got Omar Infante next before leadoff hitter Alcides Escobar came up. Escobar hit a double off Jean Machi in his at bat before. He was swinging extra hard off Strickland, trying to hit the ball 500 feet even though the Royals were already up 10-0. I don’t have an issue with Escobar trying to hit the ball hard. He should. My issue is he was over-swinging to the point that he was falling over onto the other side of the plate. Harold Reynolds said something about it after he did it the second time.

I would’ve regained the respect I lost for Strickland after his diva-like breakdown in game two if he would’ve thrown in high and tight on Escobar. The message sent would’ve been two-fold. Don’t disrespect us as you’re already beating us by many runs. And don’t disrespect me (as in Strickland) as even though I’ve given up many home runs, I’m not someone you can get comfortable with. Strickland didn’t throw inside and I really didn’t expect him to because of his situation in game two, but if he did, I think it would’ve been a nice message to send the Royals.

The second thing that I thought was interesting centered around Ventura. He was on a huge stage and pitched a very good game. He had a certain flair to him which some may see as an act and others may see as his true personality. His leg kick did seem to get more exaggerated as the lead increased.

However, there was a noticeable glare that Ventura gave Pablo Sandoval after getting him out in the fourth inning.

When asked about it, Sandoval said he wasn’t sure why Ventura glared at him. But he did get his own dig on Ventura in.

At first, I thought it was a bit of dumb statement from Sandoval because it seemed like something someone would say who was bitter because they got beat. But after thinking about it, I think the message was clear from Sandoval (but maybe not said in the best way). It was like he was telling Ventura, “You’ve only won game six. You still have to win game seven.”

Who will win game seven? I think it’s nearly even across the board. Both bullpens are ready. The Giants have Madison Bumgarner in their rear pocket if needed. Both managers have shown the ability to manage like every inning is their last. The Royals have the advantage in that they’re at home and a rabid crowd at Kauffman Stadium will be ready to cheer like crazy at any opportunity. No team has won a game 7 on the road since the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates.

But, the Giants have the advantage in that they’ve been in this situation before. They won’t be overtaken by the pressure of the opportunity.

I think the team that wins will be able to forget the previous six games as if they didn’t happen. That team will be able to play game seven as if it’s the only game they’ll ever play in. The Giants and Royals both played elimination games during the Wild Card round. The Royals came from behind to beat the A’s at home while the Giants went into Pittsburgh and won theirs.

These teams are near equal. Neither have their aces on the mound. While only one game has been close during the series (a game three win by the Royals), I expect this game to be close late into the innings. The Giants have #ChampionBlood. The Royals are upstart and hungry. I think the team that makes the last mistake loses.

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