Pitchers' duel became batting practice

What we expected in Game 1 of the World Series was some kind of 12-inning, scoreless struggle for offense, won courtesy of a walk, stolen base and sac fly. What we saw was an offensive free-for-all courtesy of mistake pitches and bumbling fielders. The hyped pitchers' duel turned into batting practice.

So what happened on the way to goose egg row?

Neither Tim Lincecum nor Cliff Lee was on top of his game. Both aces left pitches over the plate, struggling with command and control in the strike zone. Fielders seemed tight and playing not to make mistakes (aside from DH-turned-right-fielder Vlad Guerrero’s adventures in the outfield).

While the pitchers may have been affected by the pressure of the World Series, the hitters were certainly not. I loved the Giants’ approach to Cliff Lee. While they were aggressive in terms of not taking pitches, their short, compact swings allowed them to put balls in play regularly. The only two big swings were Freddy Sanchez’ third double and Juan Uribe’s home run. Other than that, the approach was simple: making solid contact and going with pitches, careful not to overswing. Of course, the Giants were aided on two fronts: one, Lee made too many mistakes in the middle of the plate; and two, misplays in the field extended a few innings.

The Rangers were on Lincecum as well. I thought they hit the ball harder with better swings than the Giants did. The top of the first was the game-losing inning for the Rangers. They had Lincecum on the ropes. He had taken a line drive off his leg, and he had just made a bad defensive decision, and seemed visibly shaken. Just as the Rangers appeared on the verge of breaking the game open, a double-play ball to third by Ian Kinsler got Lincecum off the hook.

Give the Giants credit, they were resilient when other teams have not been. Facing one of the most successful postseason pitchers in history down 2-0 is not an enviable position. But these Giants believe they can do anything. And who are we to say otherwise?

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