Brandon Crawford: pitch-by-pitch

Elsa

The Giants were about to waste a bases-loaded chance in the fourth inning, but surprising postseason hero Brandon Crawford came through again.

I wrote 1,000 words about Game 5 on Friday night, but I didn't mention Brandon Crawford's RBI single once. That was a mistake, as it was the most important at-bat of the night, and it deserves some credit. It deserves a ton of credit.

With two outs, the Cardinals could have escaped the inning allowing just one run. Brandon Belt popped out weakly to second in the previous at-bat, blowing a runner-on-third/one-out chance. If the Giants were going to score again, they were going to need a hit. Crawford had one of his best at-bats of the year.

So here's a pitch-by-pitch look at Crawford's at-bat against Lance Lynn. It ended up with a two-run single, setting the table for Ichiro Zito to bunt in the fourth run of the inning. Without that cushion, it's likely Zito would not have pitched the same way he did, and everything would have turned out a lot differently.

I've done this before, and it happened to be a Lance Lynn match-up then, too. My muse!

Star-divide

Pitch #1 (80-m.p.h. curveball)


Molina caught the ball just off the ground, so it was never in doubt of being called a strike, but this still shows just how close the curve was to the strike zone. There's a screenshot of the GameDay zone at the bottom of this article, and this first pitch just missed. Crawford saw two curves in his previous at-bat, swinging over the first and fouling the second away. If he were sitting on a first-pitch breaking ball, he probably would have pounded this into the ground.

It would have been a perfectly located pitch with two strikes, but I think Lynn was trying to get ahead in the count.

Star-divide

Pitch #2 (93-m.p.h. fastball)


A beautiful 1-0 pitch that was called a strike. Unless Crawford was thinking opposite-field the whole time, there wouldn't have been anything he could do with this pitch.

Star-divide

Pitch #3 (86-m.p.h. changeup)


Lynn's changeups are hard -- maybe too hard, as there isn't a great separation between the change and his fastball -- and they have movement that tails away from a left-hander. He doesn't throw a lot of changeups; according to FanGraphs and PITCHf/x, he threw a changeup just over six percent of the time. Crawford couldn't have been expecting it, and he were looking for a fastball, he could have flailed at this pitch.

Star-divide

Pitch #4 (85-m.p.h. changeup)


Lynn backs up his changeup with another one in the same spot. Again, these are tailing out of the zone, so at some point, they must have looked pretty tempting to Crawford, especially if he's thinking fastball with a 2-1 count.

Star-divide

Pitch #5 (93-m.p.h. fastball)


This was a 3-1 count, and Crawford was sitting fastball. I love stills like this because you can see the difference between a foul out of play, a pop up, and a double into the gap is a matter of millimeters. Crawford timed his swing well, but his barrel of the bat was about a quarter-inch too low.

Of course, if he gets the barrel of the bat on it, maybe it goes straight to Allen Craig at first. It never ceases to amaze me how every baseball game, and the outcome of every season, hinges on things like this. GAME OF INCHES, EVERYBODY. IT'S A GAME OF INCHES.

Star-divide

Between Pitch #5 and Pitch #6 (Intermission)


Do you challenge the superiority of my flowing locks?


I do.


Do you challenge the supremacy of my well-manicured facial hair?


I do.


Then we must battle.


It is our way.


GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH


YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH


Pitch #6 (80-m.p.h. curveball)
This is the payoff pitch, and it deserves the triptych treatment.


I'd guess this is about where Crawford said, ruh roh, curve ball.


He's made his decision to swing, hoping it doesn't bottom out of the zone.


He didn't square it up. The 3-1 swing was probably a better one. But this swing was timed well, sending the ball right up the middle.

The at-bat as GameDay saw it:

Screen_shot_2012-10-20_at_4

Before the season, I was desperate for Crawford to be competent. He was. At-bats like this give me hope that he can improve even more one of these days. It might not be especially likely, but it's possible. He's still young enough.

And that's the story of a heckuva at-bat that helped keep the Giants alive in the playoffs.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join McCovey Chronicles

You must be a member of McCovey Chronicles to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at McCovey Chronicles. You should read them.

Join McCovey Chronicles

You must be a member of McCovey Chronicles to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at McCovey Chronicles. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker