In my last post, I talked about how I felt really good about game three because even after winning the first two games, the “experts” were saying that the Giants were lucky and they were getting all the breaks. And most of them picked the Tigers to win game three.
Before game four I read a quote from Jim Leyland about Miguel Caberera ducking out after game three and not answering the media.
“I will deal with the situation and check into it, because you have to be there through the good and the bad. You can’t be on this podium only when you win. When we’re 0-3, I’ve got to be up here, and I’m not the happiest camper in the world. However, you have a responsibility.”
Miguel Cabrera is the most valuable player on the Detroit Tigers. He’s the straw that stirs the drink as one Mr. October once said. Even though Prince Fielder hits behind him, you’d rather face Fielder ten times out of ten rather than face Cabrera. But being the best player on the team comes with a major responsibility to lead. It’s just like Leyland said.
I was watching the game with my dad tonight and he quoted what one of the local reporters said about why it was so bad for Cabrera to duck out rather than face the music. By not being there, it became up to his teammates to take some of the questions that would’ve been directed toward him. It’s the opposite of what a leader should do.
In the midst of one of the most important moments of his career, Miguel Cabrera crumbled under the pressure. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but it’s a little bit of poetic justice that the guy who took the called third strike to end the game and wrap up the World Series game for the Giants was Miguel Cabrera.
The Giants were in unfamiliar territory in game four of the World Series. For the first time all series, they fell behind. For twenty nine straight innings, the Giants were in the lead (and fifty six innings counting the end of the NLCS). But in the third inning, the same Miguel Cabrera hit a home run that had some carry on it to right field. When he first hit it, I didn’t even think it’d reach the warning track. But it kept going and going and Hunter Pence seemed astonished that he ran out of room. It gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead and left me slightly befuddled.
My dad had just finished telling a story of when he pitched semi-pro and faced former big league ball player Ron Dunn. Dunn asked him why my dad never threw him any good pitches to hit. My dad’s response was that he didn’t have to because he struck out the guy hitting behind him four times. There was no need.
I looked at Cabrera the same. But as it turned out, outside of the home run, he did nothing. His very next three at bats ended in strikeouts, the last by way of a Sergio Romo inside fastball that deer in headlights’d him.The Giants took a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth, some in part to Miguel Cabrera. Marco Scutaro hit a ball to third that made Cabrera charge. He throw was late and Scutaro was safe with an infield hit. One out later, Buster Posey wrapped a ball almost around the foul pole in left field for a home run. Cain gave it right back on a home run to Delmon Young the very next inning and then the game became a battle of attrition.
The relief pitching was amazing for both teams. Jeremy Affeldt relieved Matt Cain in the eighth and went on to strike out Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and Delmon Young. For the Tigers, Phil Coke, the Tigers’ third reliever, followed that up by striking out Hunter Pence, Brandon Belt, and Gregor Blanco successively.
After Hector Sanchez’s rough game as designated hitter in game three, Bruce Bochy went to an old veteran for his designated hitter in game four. And no, it wasn’t his adopted son Aubrey Huff. My friend Brad calls the Bochy and Huff relationship, “Buffy” because Bochy loves the guy so much.
It was Ryan Theriot.
Ryan Theriot was the Giants starting second baseman for much of the season until the Giants traded for Marco Scutaro. Once Scutaro started to hit like Tony Gwynn, Theriot was relegated to the bench and really didn’t see much action at all. Theriot transitioned into the perfect dugout guy. He supported his teammates rooting hard for his squad and became something of a fan favorite because of it. Bruce Bochy rewarded Theriot’s patience by putting his name in the lineup card as the game four designated hitter.
In the tenth inning, Theriot’s patience paid off for himself and the team. Theriot started off the inning with a base hit to right-center. Joaquin Arias had stepped into the on-deck circle to hit for Brandon Crawford since Phil Coke is left-handed and Bruce Bochy loves to play the lefty-righty move. But when Theriot singled, it meant Crawford could hit since the play called for a sacrifice. Crawford put down a good bunt and moved Theriot to second. After Angel Pagan struck out, NLCS MVP Marco Scutaro stepped up to the plate with a chance to win the game. He blooped a single to center field and Theriot ripped around third base to score. His slide was the single most euphoric slide I’ve ever seen. He had a look on his face that showed peace, relief, and excitement rolled all into one.
That was all that Sergio Romo needed. The Serge~! (as I like to call him) came in and immediately started to set down the Tiger hitters. Austin Jackson was his first strikeout victim. Then Romo sat down pinch hitter Don Kelly. The last man that Romo would have to get out was the aforementioned Cabrera. Romo threw him slider after slider after slider. The count was two and two and Romo shook off another slider call by Posey. He wanted the fastball. Cabrera was still looking for slider. And the fastball on the inside corner locked him up. Cabrera couldn’t even get the bat off his shoulder. Buster Posey nearly jumped out of his crouch before the ball crossed the plate. The umpire called strike three and the 2012 World Series was over. The Giants who had to stave off elimination six times, were the World Series Champions.
The Giants slogan all season long was, “Let’s get back together.” Some may have wondered, “Get back to what?” The goal was to get back to the World Series and that’s exactly what they did.
From Buster Posey’s MVP season (at least we think) to their comeback in the NLDS, to #RallyZito and their comeback in the NLCS (and #RallyEnchiladas), to Tim Lincecum out of the bullpen, to Pablo Sandoval’s three home runs in game one of the World Series, to the lack of respect from the national media, to Sergio Romo freezing Miguel Caberera on a fastball to finish the World Series, the memories will last forever. Yes, forever.
(That last video was for my friend Mary Walton. Forever!)
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