Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The ups and downs of baseball

Brandon Crawford makes a (good) throw
from shortstop Monday night.
On Monday night in San Francisco -- Tuesday morning here -- Brandon Crawford was a hero, In the eighth inning, the left-handed hitting Giants shortstop (and former Mankato MoonDog) singled home the tying run off Aroldis Chapman. In the bottom of the 13th, he led off against Mike Montgomery and doubled; he then scored the winning run. Both hits came, notably, off left-handed pitchers.

On Tuesday night, Crawford had another double and another run scored. But he also committed two throwing errors, each of which resulted in an unearned Cubs run -- and the Giants lost by one run, and were thus eliminated from the playoffs. Hero to goat in less than 24 hours.

Those poor throws will presumably stick in Crawford's, uh, craw all winter. The immediate focus of the reporting and social media chatter was the meltdown of the Giants bullpen; Bruce Bochy went through five relievers in the four-run ninth inning disaster, none of whom faced more than two batters. And yeah, the bullpen was a problem for Bochy and the Giants for most of the second half. Fact remains: If Crawford makes his throws, the Cubs lose two of their runs, and the Giants get another game.

Crawford is generally regarded as one of the game's best defensive shortstops (he won the Gold Glove in 2015), but his play Tuesday did not enhance that reputation.

Still, 2016 was a good season for Crawford. He hit fifth in the Giants lineup in that elimination game; that he could be a middle-of-the-order hitter for a playoff team was inconceivable just two years ago. But he hit 21 homers in 2015, and led the majors in triples this year. He had career highs in batting average, on-base percentage and runs scored.

But defense is his calling card, and his defense failed Tuesday.

No comments:

Post a Comment