Hunter Pence needs to walk-the-walk for Giants to win
Alright Hunter Pence, some advice. Yes, you did a good thing in the Division Series rallying the troops in Cincinnati after dropping the first two games at home. You rallied the boys by telling them with fire in your eyes things on the workout day in Cincinnati that they needed to hear. You told them how much you loved them and did not want this season to end. And for that to happen, you guys, of course had to keep winning those games at Great American Ball Park, the first NL team to come back from 0-2 after losing the first two at home. Yeah, that was great and all and now, out of superstition, they keep having you reenact the moment before every game to keep that feeling alive.
That was talking the talk. That's the easy part. Now, Mr. Pence, you have to walk-the-walk. You have to back up your rhetoric with some production when needed. It ain't happening so far and your teammates are going to lose that gloving feeling if you don't start producing.
In Wednesday's 3-1 loss to the Cards at Busch Stadium, Pence had his chances to make a difference in Game Three. He failed.
In the second inning leading off Pence lined to centre field. In the third inning, with a one-run lead and runners at the corners with one out, Pence grounded into a double play. In the fifth, with Buster Posey at first he grounded into a fielder's choice. In the seventh, with runers on first and second, he struck out. He never got another chance.
The Giants are only down two games to one, so they are far from dead. But the Cards have as much aura as the Giants in this second round. Plus the Cards have more players that are now walking the walk. After all, they're defending champs.
Interesting to see Marco Scutaro step up and play Game 3 after being crushed on what amounted to a dirty slide by Matt Holliday, whether he intended it to be or not. Scutaro is now the guy that can be more of an inspiration this round for the Giants because he has cowboyed up and is producing at the plate.
As for the Cardinals, they don't seem to be missing Tony LaRussa all that much with Mike Matheny taking over the role of the man that can do no wrong. After Cards' playoff star Carlos Beltran left with a strained left knee, Matheny inserted the seldom used Matt Carpenter who crushed a two-run bomb 421 feet off Matt Cain for the winning margin.
Meanwhile Giants manager Bruce Bochy will be second-guessed for his decision in the top of the fourth with runners on first and third with one out. He asked pitcher Matt Cain to bunt and not even a safety squeeze, but just a straight sacrifice to put runners on second and third. The Giants failed to score. Gregor Blanco was the runner on third base and with two strikes, Cain laid down a bunt that if the Giants had been aggressive they could have scored and tied the game on said safety squeeze. To make matters worse, the next time up Cain slashed a single past the first baseman into right field.
The series resumes on Thursday and Pence needs to be better.