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#pounditThursday, January 20, 2022

Articles tagged: 2012 MLB Playoffs

Hunter Pence speech credited for Giants’ turnaround

Long before the Giants were a dominant postseason force reeling off 3 straight wins in the NLDS, and seven straight wins to capture the World Series, San Francisco was about to make an early postseason exit. That’s when outfielder Hunter Pence, who was acquired from the Phillies at the trade deadline, stepped up with an impromptu speech that shocked — and motivated — his teammates.

According to reliever Jeremy Affeldt, Pence got “loud” and “crazy” and delivered a terrifying pregame speech typically reserved for the likes of Ray Lewis.

Manager Bruce Bochy called it a “powerful” speech that came “from the heart.”

Third base coach Tim Flannery described Pence’s speech this way on his band’s Facebook page:

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Jim Leyland nearly in tears after Tigers lost World Series (Video)

Tigers manager Jim Leyland was as classy and respectful in defeat as one can be. Though he was extraordinarily disappointed that his team was swept in the World Series by the San Francisco Giants — and nearly in tears during his postgame interview — he praised the Giants.

“I want to first start by congratulating the Giants,” Leyland told FOX’s Ken Rosenthal. “There was nothing fluky about it. They beat us. They swept us. They were the better team. … They deserved to be the world champs. It really turned out to be no contest.”

Leyland ultimately concluded that making the World Series “was pretty darn good” despite the finish.

Though we were disappointed the team only scored six runs in four World Series games, we have to agree. It was a solid run for Detroit, and an even better run for San Francisco.

Pablo Sandoval deserved World Series MVP, and so did Giants’ pitching

Pablo Sandoval practically added his name to the World Series MVP trophy when he clubbed three home runs in Game 1 against the Detroit Tigers, so it was no surprise to hear him named MVP of the Fall Classic after the Giants swept the Tigers on Sunday night.

Sandoval was as deserving as a World Series MVP can get. The two-time All-Star hit .500 (8-for-16) in the World Series with a team-high 4 RBIs and 18 total bases. He also made history in Game 1 by becoming the fourth player in MLB history to hit three home runs in a World Series game.

Sandoval was also the team’s overall postseason MVP. His 24 hits were one short of tying a postseason record. He led the Giants with the 24 hits, 6 home runs, 13 RBIs, and 47 total bases. Sandoval posted a 1.098 OPS against what’s supposed to be the best pitching in baseball.

While Sandoval was the clear offensive standout for the Giants throughout the playoffs, San Francisco had many pitchers truly elevate their games during the postseason.

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Prince Fielder was out at home; Dan Iassogna made the right call

Umpire Dan Iassogna deserves credit for making the correct call on a difficult play to judge at home plate during Game 2 of the World Series on Thursday.

Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder was trying to score from first on a double down the left field line by Delmon Young in the second inning. Left fielder Gregor Blanco threw in to home as Prince Fielder was rounding third, and the relay throw in to catcher Buster Posey barely beat Fielder.

Fielder slid into home, which slowed down his momentum. As his body was dragging through the dirt to the plate, Posey used a sweep tag to get him on the behind. Though Fielder was upset with the call, and manager Jim Leyland came out to ask Iassogna about it, there is little doubt the correct call was made.

The next two Detroit batters made outs — Jhonny Peralta popped up to the infield, and Avisail Garcia struck out — so the game remained scoreless. What a great relay by the Giants, and what a great call by Iassogna.

Delmon Young made one of the worst throws you will ever see

Being in San Francisco and without a DH for Game 1 of the World Series, the Tigers had Delmon Young play the outfield for the first time in 52 days in order to keep his bat in the lineup. Now you can see why they rarely let him play the field.

Young, who typically serves as the designated hitter for Detroit, absolutely butchered a throw home during the fourth inning.

Young’s spike of a throw came on Barry Zito’s two out single to drive in Brandon Belt from second. I dunno, maybe he thought the play was a third. Because if it were, Young would have nailed the runner with a one-hopper. Instead, he practically threw a ground ball to home. I mean that ball literally hit the ground BEFORE the edge of the outfield grass. Brutal. Now you know why Young rates so lowly in defensive metrics every year.

His pathetic spike throw earned him some jeers from fellow ballplayers. Here’s A’s pitcher Brett Anderson on Twitter:

You honestly have to wonder how a major league player could have committed such an embarrassing play. Ugh.

Pablo Sandoval hits three home runs in historic night (Video)

The San Francisco Giants trounced the Detroit Tigers 8-3 in Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday night in San Francisco, and they were led by Pablo Sandoval who had a historic night.

The pudgy third baseman affectionately nicknamed “Kung Fu Panda” went 4-for-4 with three home runs, a single, three runs scored, and four RBIs in what was nearly a perfect night at the plate. Sandoval was pulled for a defensive replacement late in the game, but not before amassing 13 total bases — one less than Albert Pujols’ record 14 achieved in last year’s World Series.

Sandoval, a two-time All-Star, joined Albert Pujols, Reggie Jackson, and Babe Ruth (twice) as the only players in MLB history to homer three times in a World Series game. His three-homer game was also the second in AT&T Park history. Former Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Kevin Elster was the first player to hit three home runs in a game at the park. Elster accomplished the feat on April 11, 2000, in the first game ever at the park, back when it was named Pac Bell Park.

Let’s recap Sandoval’s three home runs:

    – First off Justin Verlander went 411 feet to center
    – Second off Justin Verlander went 360 feet to left field
    – Third off Al Alburquerque went 422 feet to center

Sandoval was already considered one of the better hitters in the National League, but Wednesday’s magical performance may have put him in a new category. He is now in a class with three other players, two of who are already in the Hall of Fame, and a third who will be joining them before long. Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, Albert Pujols, and Pablo Sandoval. That is some impressive company.

Hunter Pence hit the ball three times on bizarre broken-bat double (Video)

The San Francisco Giants beat the St. Louis Cardinals 9-0 in Game 7 of the NLCS to advance to the World Series, but they really broke the game open early thanks to a strange play in the third. Right fielder Hunter Pence hit a ball that twisted and turned so much it was befitting of the quirky player he is.

Pence swung at the first pitch from reliever Joe Kelly with the bases loaded and broke his bat on a 94mph fastball. After the initial contact, FOX’s 3000 frames-per-second camera showed that the ball slid down his bat where he hit it a second time, and it slid down further where he hit it a third time. By that point, the ball was slapped away with so much spin, it started tailing and curved away from Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma.

The ball went into the gap and allowed two runners to score. Buster Posey scored from first after Jon Jay was unable to pick the ball up cleanly in the outfield, giving the Giants a 5-0 lead. They scored two more to go up 7-0 after three innings.

Was Giants manager Bruce Bochy surprised with the bizarre play?

“Only Hunter, maybe Pablo [Sandoval] could do that too, but I think only Hunter has the ability to hit a ball like that.

“He’s unique in his style of hitting. I don’t know a shortstop that would have made that play. We’ll take it. Breaks help you win games like this,” said Bochy.

And what did Pence think of the play?

“It was weird.”

Yes it was.

Detroit Tigers scrimmage against their minor leaguers to stay sharp

The last time the Detroit Tigers made the World Series, they had to wait a week between games after sweeping the A’s in the ALCS. There was speculation that the long layoff contributed to a five-game loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. The team had five-or-fewer hits in three of the five games, and committed eight errors in the series, including at least one in each game. The team appears to have learned from their past experience and is trying to make alternate arrangements to stay sharp.

General Manager Dave Dombrowski flew many of the organization’s minor leaguers into Detroit so they could practice and scrimmage with the major league club. The team’s Instructional League ended on Thursday, so the timing worked out perfectly. The only question was whether the team would fly to Lakeland, Fla., to play against the minor leaguers, or remain in Detroit. The team decided to stay in Detroit and luckily the weather cooperated and allowed them to practice on Sunday.

“Any time you can see live pitching, it keeps you fresh. Whether you are hitting the ball or just watching. I like that we’re doing. This is a very smart thing to do. Get work in and not sit around and wait,” outfielder Quintin Berry told the Detroit Free Press.

Dombrowski reportedly began talking about making such arrangements when the team went up 2-0 in the ALCS against the Yankees, but he didn’t want the news to become public because they hadn’t won the series yet. Planning ahead appears to have paid off for them. And with the St. Louis Cardinals up 3-2 in the NLCS against the Giants, Tigers fans can’t help but wonder if there will be a 2006 rematch. The only difference is that Detroit should be better prepared for the series this time.

Ichiro says he is grateful to experience the pain of losing in the postseason

For those of you who may have blinked and missed it, the Yankees made it to the ALCS this year. After battling against the Orioles in a dramatic ALDS series, New York was embarrassed by the Tigers by way of a four-game sweep in which they never led for an inning. Whether it was the injury to Derek Jeter or the slumps of Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano, the Yankees looked like they didn’t even want to be there.

At least one player appreciated the experience, no matter how painful it may have been. After New York’s 8-1 loss in Game 4 on Thursday, Ichiro Suzuki gave the following comments through his translator.

“I’m very disappointed the season ended,” Ichiro said according to the NY Post. “But this time the Yankees gave me, I’m so grateful for. The feelings you have, the satisfaction and hurt, is something I hadn’t experienced in a while. So to even experience this pain right now, I’m so grateful for.”

Ichiro hadn’t appeared in the postseason since 2001 and has been a part of some awful Mariners teams over the last decade or so, so you can understand why getting swept in the playoffs beats a 65-win season for him. That being said, the fans hardly feel the same. Nick Swisher felt a different kind of pain when playing at Yankee Stadium in the ALCS, and Yankee fans are disgusted as a whole. If 2012 winds up being the last time the soon-to-be 39-year-old Ichiro appears in a playoff game, we’re glad he enjoyed the experience. The fans of New York certainly didn’t.

Matt Holliday wishes Marco Scutaro well before Game 3 (Video)

Matt Holliday went out of his way to wish Marco Scutaro well before the Giants and Cardinals played Game 3 of the NLCS, ending what appeared to be some bad blood over a harsh takeout slide in Game 2.

Holliday slid well beyond second base on Monday in an attempt to take out the Giants second baseman and prevent a double play. Scutaro stayed in the game long enough to get a clutch hit, but he exited with a hip injury.

The Giants were pretty heated about the slide, though Scutaro and manager Bruce Bochy recognized Holliday had no intent to injure. Pitcher Matt Cain indicated before Game 3 that he might throw at Holliday in retaliation, but that never happened. Maybe that’s because the St. Louis left fielder went out of his way to reconcile before the game.

“Play good,” Holliday could be seen telling Scutaro before the game.

Holliday also said “my bad,” in reference to the slide, and gave the Giants second baseman thumbs up.

Scutaro batted second and went 2-for-5 in a 3-1 loss while Holliday went 0-for-4. St. Louis leads the series 2-1. I think we can consider this issue over.