October 10, 2012
NLDS Game Three Recap: Giants 2, Reds 1
Ryan Hanigan was behind the plate for 3,623 batters this year. On average, Reds pitchers threw 3.82 pitches per plate appearance, so Hanigan called 13,840 pitches. Of those, about 36 percent were either fouled away or put into play, so Hanigan actually caught roughly 8,854 pitches. Of those, about 59.5 percent came with bases empty. With runners on base this year, however, pitchers threw 3,588 pitches in Ryan Hanigan’s direction.
Of those 3,588, just 17 went for wild pitches, and just three went for passed balls. Three passed balls in 110 games is very good. Only two players—Geovany Soto and Buster Posey—caught at least 800 innings and allowed fewer than two. Seventeen wild pitches in 110 games is also very good. Only one player—Carlos Ruiz—caught at least 800 innings and allowed fewer than 17. Lump the two into one category, and no catcher was better than Hanigan. He let a ball get past him every 44 innings; Yadier Molina let a ball get past him every 28 innings. Ryan Hanigan is a very, very good catcher, and he should probably be one of your favorite players. Now take a look at Ryan Hanigan in the 10th inning of Game Three:
That put runners on second and third, which would have put an end to it on a routine grounder to third. Scott Rolen stood at third base for 3,021 batters this yea... nah, just kidding. But you get the point: the Reds have a very good defensive team, and they lost the game because of two defensive mistakes by two very good defenders. If you’re a Reds fan, that’s just bad luck. If you’re the Reds, that’s losing.
The Giants are still long-shots, 21.2 percent likely to win the series if we declare the home-team Reds 54 percent favorites in each game. There’s a volatility to this series now that unsettles that number somewhat. With Johnny Cueto unlikely and Mat Latos fighting flu-like symptoms, it’s entirely possible the Reds will go with a 4.54 ERA pitcher in Game Four. Or, if they prefer to leave Mike Leake out of this, they will go with two pitchers on short-rest in the final two games. On the other hand, Barry Zito. Barry Zito, who has earned $80 million as a Giant, has produced a cumulative 0.9 WARP, and who this year (if you believe it) actually had his second-worst WARP, is set to have his one big moment of redemption. I remember the last time he was set to have his one big moment of redemption, back in 2010. He made it one batter into the fourth, and the Giants had to wait another day to clinch the NL West. Sure, Barry Zito. It’s somewhat disturbing that, in the postgame show on KNBR, Mike Krukow asked Ryan Vogelsong whether he was ready to pitch again in Game Four if necessary. You’d laugh it off as a joke, except Barry Zito.