Everyone wanted to talk about about Joe Maddon’s decision to bring Aroldis Chapman for a six-out save on Monday night.
It’s a decision that didn’t work out for the skipper as the Giants beat the Cubs 6-5 in 13 innings for the 10th consecutive elimination game win
But I want to talk about another decision Maddon made.
It’s the decision to pitch to Joe Panik in the 13th inning.
Brandon Crawford led off the bottom of the 13th by hammering a hanging curveball by Mike Montgomery into the right field corner for a leadoff double.
Then Panik came to the plate.
First base is open, and Panik’s run doesn’t mean a thing.
Walking Panik puts runners on first and second and no outs. It would set up a force play at third and second.
It would set up a possible double play.
But more importantly, it pushes the Giants deeper into their lineup.
It would have brought up Gregor Blanco, who was 0 for 4 with a sacrifice bunt.
Does Blanco bunt again with runners on first and second?
Normally, yes. But if he does that in this situation, next up is the pitcher’s spot – Ty Blach.
If Blanco’s bunt is successful, do you hit for Blach?
Again, normally, yes. But with Angel Pagan a late scratch, Giants manager Bruce Bochy presumably had no position players left to hit.
So if he hits for Blach, then it has to be one of the pitchers. And with Madison Bumgarner out of the game, that would be Jeff Samardzija. And if the move doesn’t work and the Giants don’t score, then Blach is out and George Kontos is in.
Or you let Blach hit for himself with a drawn-in infield. He did get two hits in his most recent start against the Dodgers.
If Blach doesn’t get the job done, then it falls on Denard Span to get a two-out hit.
And that’s all assuming that Blanco is bunting, and given who is coming up behind him, Blanco may have been swinging away.
But instead of setting all of that up, Maddon chose to have Montgomery pitch to Joe Panik, who was 2 for 3 and two walks coming into that last at-bat.
Panik hit the ball of the Willie Mays Wall for the game-winning hit for just the fifth walk-off postseason win in San Francisco Giants history.
POSTSEASON WALK-OFF WINS BY SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
- Game 5 of 2002 NL Championship Series, 2-1 over St. Louis Cardinals, Kenny Lofton singles home David Bell.
- Game 4 of 2010 NL Championship Series, 6-5 over Philadelphia Phillies, Juan Uribe sacrifice fly drives home Aubrey Huff
- Game 3 of 2014 NL Championship Series, 5-4 over St. Louis Cardinals in 10 innings, Gregor Blanco reaches on error, scoring Brandon Crawford
- Game 5 of 2014 NL Championship Series, 6-3 over St. Louis Cardinals, Travis Ishikawa three-run home run.
- Game 3 of 2016 NL Division Series, 6-5 over Chicago Cubs, Joe Panik doubles home Brandon Crawford