St. Louis Cardinals' Matt Holliday slides into San Francisco Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro during the first inning of Game 2 of their MLB NLCS playoff baseball series in San Francisco, October 15, 2012. (REUTERS/Stephen Lam)
ST. LOUIS - Hard slide. Dirty slide. Illegal slide. Hard-nosed baseball slide.
You be the judge.
Tuesday was an off-day in the National League Championship Series but that didn’t stop everyone from once again chewing on St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday’s wipeout slide on Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro in the first inning of Game 2 Monday in San Francisco.
The slide into second base flattened Scutaro and ultimately drove him from the game after the fifth inning with a left hip injury.
It also served as a rallying point and wake-up call for the Giants, who went on to dump St. Louis 7-1 to even the best-of-seven series at a game apiece.
The series resumes Wednesday afternoon with severe thunderstorms in the forecast.
The Giants held an early evening workout at Busch Stadium on Tuesday — the Cardinals took the day off — and Scutaro did not take part.
Manager Bruce Bochy said his second baseman wanted to test things out but the Giants opted that he rest and are hopeful that he will be able to play Wednesday.
“He’s more optimistic about where he is than when it first happened,” Bochy said. “He came out of this pretty good considering how hard he was hit.
“He’s day-to-day. And we’re being hopeful he can go. The MRI did show a left hip strain and contusion. His left knee is a little sore. He’ll get treatment today and we’ll know where he’s at tomorrow. But that’s what we’re hopeful for.”
While the San Francisco players didn’t think that Holliday’s slide was out of bounds, Bochy is clinging to his belief that it was an illegal slide.
“Well, I don’t think I’ve changed my stance on what I said (Monday) night,” Bochy said. “No, I haven’t had any discussions with any opposing members on the club or Mike (Matheny, the St. Louis manager). I don’t think there was intent, to be honest, on hurting somebody. But it was late. And I explained my reasons last night.
“Marco was behind the bag, he really didn’t hit dirt until he got behind the base. And the second baseman, he’s in a position there where there can be some damage done, as we saw. And he came out of this pretty good considering how hard he got hit.
“So I don’t think my stance has changed at all. It’s a case where I know they’re playing hard and we’re playing hard. But I do think that’s an illegal slide.”
If Scutaro, who hit .362 for the Giants in 61 games after being acquired from the Colorado Rockies on July 27, can’t play then the Giants would turn to Ryan Theriot, who was their second baseman prior to Scutaro’s arrival.
In 104 games (352 at-bats), Theriot hit .270 with 28 runs batted in but has little extra-base power as he hit just 16 doubles and zero home runs.
“Well, I think we put out a pretty good player out there that has experience,” Bochy said of Theriot. “And what’s kind of been forgotten because of how Marco has done is what a great job Theriot did for us before he (Scutaro) assumed the everyday second base duties there. It’s nice to have depth on your club and have a guy like Theriot who you can put out there if you have to.
“And we have all the confidence in the world with him. He did a great job for us and went out there in the last game (as Scutaro’s replacemnet) and did a great job (he stroked a two-run single in the eighth).”
While Holliady’s slide roused the Giants on Monday, Bochy said he didn’t want his players to dwell on it.
“What’s on our mind is to go out and play our best ball in the ballgame,” Bochy said. “That’s over. You have to move on. You hate to see what happened, happened.
“What’s important is we keep our focus, and going out there and trying to win a ballgame. That’s where we’re at right now.”
Matheny was in complete agreement.
“As far as yesterday goes ... it was just a player trying to make a hard play for his team and ended up getting another player in a tough spot,” he said. “And you hate to see anybody get hurt right now. We don’t want to see anybody lost or anybody have to leave the game. That’s how it worked out and now we’ve just got to move forward.”