Melissa Couto's 'coulda, shoulda, wouda' moments
By MELISSA COUTO, Special to The Sun
|Detroit Tigers' Prince Fielder, rear, reacts as home plate umpire Dan Iassogna calls him out at the plate on Oct. 25. (Reuters)
1. Sending Fielder
There is a time to be aggressive and a time to be smart.
Prince Fielder and the Tigers didn't make the right choice.
After Madison Bumgarner hit Prince Fielder to start the second inning, the burly Tigers slugger tried scoring from first base on Delmon Young's double down the left-field line. Fielder nearly made it -- replays seemed to show he did, in fact, make it -- but was called out at the plate following the throw from Giants cutoff man Marco Scutaro.
Whether or not Fielder was safe or out on the close play doesn't matter. yes, the Tigers, who lost Game 1, were in attacking mode. However, with nobody out in the inning, Fielder should have stayed at third base where a single or sacrifice play would have easily plated him.
2. Infante tries to steal
With two out in the bottom of the third, Omar Infante tried to get his offence in motion by stealing second.
But Bumgarner spoiled his plans. throwing the ball quickly to Brandon Belt at first, he was able to get Infante before he reached second.
Though Infante was trying to get into scoring position for young, who had doubled in his first at-bat against Bumgarner, he left the bag late, and denied the tigers ALCS MVP a chance at an RBI.
Was this base-running mistake is a product of the Tigers impatience?
After leading off the inning with a single, Infante watched from first base as Pablo Sandoval robbed Miguel Cabrera of extra bases by snagging a line drive. then he watched Gregor Blanco catch Fielder's deep fly ball to left field.
3. Fister stays in the game
Seeing a pitcher get hit by a comebacker is always a scary sight, especially when they're hit in the head.
Tigers starter Doug Fister experienced just that in the second inning of Game 2 when Blanco's liner up the middle glanced off the side of the pitcher's head before dribbling out of the infield.
Luckily for the 28-year-old, he was kept in the game once Detroit's trainer deemed him OK to continue.
After walking the next batter, Brandon Crawford, to load the bases with two out, Fister was able to get Bumgarner to pop-out to end the inning. then came back to the mound to retire the next 11 batters he faced.
4. Can't shake Bumgarner
The seventh inning could have been a disaster for Bumgarner.
After a lead-off walk to triple crown winner Cabrera, who battled to get the free base with a nine-pitch at-bat that drove the young lefty's pitch count over 70, it seemed then that the tigers were starting to get to him.
But just when it looked like the tables could turn, Bumgarner came back, and fast.
He forced Fielder, who came into the World Series hitting .429 against him, to ground into a hugely significant 1-6-3 double play, and young grounded out to end the threat.
With Cabrera, Fielder and young -- the meat of Detroit's order -- taking the plate in the seventh, it would have been the perfect time to get on the board, but it didn't happen.
Bumgarner didn't let it.
5. Bottom of order production
the bottom five batters in the Giants lineup went 0-for-15 collectively in Game 1.
Luckily for San Francisco, they were better in Game 2.
In the seventh inning, it was Hunter Pence, who hit just .179 in the NCLS, starting the Giants rally with a single. then, after a walk to belt, Blanco placed a perfect bunt down the third-base line to load the bases with nobody out.
Though tigers relief pitcher Drew Smyly forced Crawford into a double-play, Pence was able to score from third base, breaking a scoreless tie to put the Giants on the board 1-0.
Blanco's seventh-inning bunt marked the outfielder's second hit of the night. His first, the one that brushed the side of Fister's head, came in the second inning.