Oct 22, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals mascot waves a flag after game two of the 2014 World Series against the San Francisco Giants at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
A five-run sixth inning powered the Kansas City Royals past the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night to bring the World Series to a 1-1 tie and send it back to San Francisco.
Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy has been the least criticized of the managers in the 2014 post season, but a lack of faith in his bullpen led him to a colossal blunder in the sixth inning when he made the decision to leave aging starter Jake Peavy in the game.
Peavy pitched well through the first five innings of the game, allowing just two runs on five hits and a walk. Unfortunately, that left him to face the Royals three, four and five hitters to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning.
This season Peavy has a very nice OPS against of .662 the first time through the order, and .648 the second time through the order. Unfortunately that balloons to .933 the third time through the order.
The third time through the batting order, Jake Peavy turns opposing hitters into Andrew McCutchen. Yes, the game was tied, but the Giants “Core Four” of Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla and Javier Lopez should have been called upon to pitch the final four innings of that game.
No, only two of the base runners in the bottom of the sixth belonged Peavy, but he was responsible for Lorenzo Cain’s leadoff single and Eric Hosmer’s walk. That left Bochy calling for Jean Machi (who compares favorably to the Core Four) with two on any nobody out.
That is an unenviable position for any bullpen, and it may have been avoided if Peavy hadn’t started the inning. Billy Butler singled in Cain, and Machi was done. Lopez got Gordon to fly out and he was done.
Bochy then called on Hunter Strickland, who threw all of seven innings in the regular season, to pitch with two on and one out. That is a tough call for any rookie, and Strickland didn’t help that perception by uncorking a wild pitch before a Salvador Perez double.
Rattled, Strickland followed by giving up a home run to Omar Infante that all but ended the game. Let me know in the comments if you think I’m being too hard on Bochy here.
Oct 22, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain (6) scores a run against the San Francisco Giants in the sixth inning during game two of the 2014 World Series at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Let’s see how our erstwhile former Brewers did last night.
Kansas City Royals
Alcides Escobar – SS
Line: 2-for-4, 1 RBI, 2B, 1 SO, 1 LOB, 1 CS, 1 GIDP
Escobar was better with his bat yesterday, picking up a pair of hits (a double and a single). He was caught stealing on his only attempt of the game though and it probably cost the Royals a run in the bottom of the first.
Nori Aoki – RF
Line: 0-for-3, 2 LOB
Nori was hitless again in the second game of the series, and after five innings he was replaced by Jarrod Dyson, who took over in center and moved Cain to left.
Lorenzo Cain – CF/RF
Line: 2-for-4, 2 R, 2B
Cain singled to lead off the fateful sixth inning and came around to score on a Butler single. When all was said and done, it was the game winning run. He also doubled in the first inning and scored on another Butler single.
San Francisco Giants
Travis Ishikawa – LF
Line: 1-for-4, 2 SO, 1 LOB
Ishikawa got the play the whole game this time, so that was a plus. He singled in the fifth but was left stranded on his only trip to the bases. He throwing arm drew some laughs on Twitter, where it was compared unfavorably to that of noodle-armed Khris Davis.