Melissa Couto critiques Game 3
By MELISSA COUTO, QMI Agency
|Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera reacts after striking out with the bases loaded against the San Francisco Giants to end the fifth inning during Game 3 on Saturday night. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)
1. Fielder’s failure
Ryan Vogelsong came into Game 3 at Comerica Park hotter than anyone.
With a 1.35 ERA, the Giants righty has been one of San Francisco’s best starters throughout this post-season, but he ran into some trouble in the first inning of Saturday night’s game, walking Quintin Berry and then giving up a single to Miguel Cabrera.
But with two men on base and one out, Prince Fielder couldn’t seal the deal, swinging at a pitch outside of the strike zone and grounding into a double play to end the threat.
It took Vogelsong 21 pitches to get out of the first inning. He didn’t look sharp, but Fielder couldn’t capitalize.
The Tigers first baseman came into Game 3 with a .198 career post-season batting average and zero RBIs over his past five contests.
2. Sanchez goes wild
Anibal Sanchez came into Game 3 with a 1.35 ERA this post-season, but like Vogelsong, he too ran into trouble early. Unlike in Vogelsong’s messy first inning where the Tigers missed their opportunities to do any damage, the Giants pounced on the struggling Sanchez.
It all started with a four-pitch free pass in the second inning to a man hitting just .182 at the beginning of the game, Hunter Pence. Things went bad for Sanchez when Pence quickly stole second to get into scoring position, and advanced to third base on a wild pitch.
The Giants right-fielder easily crossed the plate on Gregor Blanco’s triple off the centre-field wall, and Detroit found itself trailing San Francisco for the third time in as many games.
3. Jackson’s hesitation
It wasn’t just Sanchez making mistakes early, however.
His centre-fielder chipped in too.
After Pence came in to score on Blanco’s triple in the second inning, Austin Jackson was tested on a line drive from the cold-hitting Brandon Crawford.
With two out and a man on third, Jackson appeared to be going for the dive, but changed his mind at the last second. The ball bounced in front of him and skipped behind him before he could get his glove on it.
Blanco crossed the plate, Crawford reached second base and the inning was prolonged until Sanchez forced Angel Pagan to ground out to first.
Scored as an error, the outfield mistake was only the second of Jackson’s 2012 season.
4. Stranded on base
For the first time in this World Series, the Tigers found themselves in a bases-loaded situation.
But in keeping consistent with the theme set over the first two games, Detroit couldn’t take advantage of the promising situation.
With one out in the fifth inning, Vogelsong issued back-to-back singles to Alex Avila and Omar Infante before walking Jackson to load them up.
Quintin Berry, who grounded into a double-play with two on back in the third inning, went down on strikes for the second out of the fifth, and Miguel Cabrera, this year’s Triple Crown winner with 44 home runs and 139 RBIs over the regular season, popped out to end the inning.
Down 2-0, a single would have changed the entire complexion of the game.
5. DH trouble
In the end, it didn’t really matter as San Francisco emerged from Comerica Park with a 2-0 victory in Game 3, and a 3-0 lead in the World Series.
But would the Giants have done more damage if Bruce Bochy had started a different man in the designated hitter slot?
With veteran Aubrey Huff on the bench, and Joaquin Arias available to play third base in place of DH Pablo Sandoval, Bochy chose his back-up catcher, rookie Hector Sanchez, instead.
The 22-year-old had a rough night at the plate, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in his first appearance of the Series.