Likely Cy Young vote-getter Madison Bumgarner matched up against 2012 Cy Young Award winner David Price in a tense one-run affair between two teams trying to regain their footing in the playoff race. After the first inning, the teams had combined for 6 runs and 9 hits.
Madison Bumgarner entered the game with 199 strikeouts on the season. He left the game with 199 strikeouts on the season. It was the first appearance in the majors (postseason included) where he failed to record a single strikeout.
For his career (postseason excluded), David Price has allowed only 65 earned runs in the first inning (176 total innings) and only three times in his career (postseason included) has he allowed 4 or more earned runs in the first inning (here, here, and here). The Giants roughed him up for 4 in the top of the first despite the first two batters making outs. From there, it was just fastball hitters hitting fastballs. Price had trouble with the strike zone today, but he had his stuff from start to finish.
Except when he faced Buster Posey. This is my cruddy cell phone capture of the slo mo the national broadcast played for Posey's fifth inning home run:
Glorious. Such grace. Such power. Such skill.
And it would be the difference in the game, as Posey boosted the lead to 5-3 ahead of a later appearance by Sergio Romo... but we'll get to that in a moment.
The national broadcasters talked a lot about how tremendous Buster Posey has been for the Giants of late and rather than rehash that I'll just throw this into the discussion:
Posey's last 15 games: 33 for 65, seven homers, 19 runs, 21 RBIs.— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) September 6, 2014
If you'll excuse me...
Madison Bumgarner didn't have his best stuff today and from the ol' eyeball test, home plate ump Mike Muchlinski wasn't really giving him the outside corner to righties. That location just wasn't there for either pitcher, but whereas Price was aided by a couple of lefties (and a really bad from the right side Pablo Sandoval), Bumgarner simply had to grin and bear the onslaught of uber-talented right-handed batters the Tigers threw at him.
Perhaps there were some game plan and sequencing issues with Susac behind the plate (at one point during a mound visit, Buster Posey joined them), but after a rocky first couple of innings Bumgarner managed to settle in a bit and pitch with what he had. He got that slutter in to most of the hitters and was even able to mix in a curveball or two in the middle innings. He pitched, in other words, and simply used what *was* working as best he could. He didn't make a tremendous mistake to Miguel Cabrera in the first, but it was a clear sign that his slider didn't have a sharp enough break and, well, that Miguel Cabrera is really darned good even playing on half a leg. The home run allowed to Victor Martinez was more obvious: just don't throw strikes to Victor Martinez. He's possessed.
Miguel Cabrera predicted he'd hit a home run off of Sergio Romo's slider during the 2012 World Series. Perhaps Miguel Cabrera's predictive powers are on a delay because he finally made good on that prediction by crushing a helpless slider today in the eighth. It was a pitiful slider, sad and weak. It accidentally backed up on Romo and floated right there for Cabrera to crush, and crush it Cabrera did. Or maybe he just doesn't have the strength to get it to break like it used to break. In any case, that was a not great eighth from Romo but against Miguel Cabrera a lot of pitchers don't look great.
Santiago Casilla flopped a curveball across the plate to get a called third strike on pinch-hitter Alex Avila in the ninth. Casilla usually has two usable pitches in every appearance and one of them is a 94-mph fastball. When Romo's got nothing he has nothing to fall back on. So, while it's unfair to bury him for one pitch against Cabrera, I think it's fair to point out that whatever Romo has he only has it sporadically. Kinda like every pitcher, but not really. He's got one pitch in his arsenal. If that's gone... look out. Or, wait. Don't look. Avert your eyes.
The Giants have won 9 of their last 11. They haven't lost a game in Detroit since July 3, 2011 and are 4-0 since then.