After yielding just two hits and only one earned run, the Giants Matt Moore departed after eight innings, expecting the bullpen to close out a three-run lead in the top of the ninth. Simple. Right? Well, if you haven’t been following the second-half woes of San Francisco you can be excused for your misplaced trust. But this is no ordinary bullpen. It is, in the words of Pete Rose, a “stinko.” One by one the pitchers threw to the desperate Cub batters. A hit. A walk. Another hit, and so on. Before an out was recorded, Chicago had tied the game against a string of hapless Giants twirlers, none of whom could stop the base-by-base juggernaut that eventually produced the go-ahead run.
Oh, they had help. The Giants gold-glove shortstop, Brandon Crawford, whom the New York Times had judged the best defensive player in baseball, inexcusably and inexplicably forgot how to throw the baseball straight. His two errant throws to first accounted for two unearned runs in the game, enough to toss victory to the Cubs.
So, instead of a deciding game five at Wrigley, featuring a rematch of Cueto and Lester, I get to mourn for an entire winter awaiting the arrival of pitchers and catchers four and a half months from now. No fun at all.
By the way, I put a lot of this on Bochy. He knew better than anyone that relying on his bullpen was the iffiest of propositions. Yes, Moore had thrown 120 pitches. But surely he had three more outs in his arm.