Shortstop can't handle potential game-ending double-play ball in ninth
By Willie Bans
Special to MLB.com |
SAN FRANCISCO -- All day Sunday, there was no such thing as a routine double play. Especially when the Giants needed it most.
Brandon Crawford, a talented shortstop who so often makes even the unusual seem usual, mishandled what would have been a game-ending and game-winning double play on Christian Bethancourt's grounder. Instead, it set the table for the Braves' 7-5 comeback win against the Giants at AT&T Park.
In fact, if there was a routine, it was that double plays were no lock. Crawford had two reviews on consecutive double-play attempts in the eighth inning, too.
"It just looked like he rushed it a little bit trying to get the double play" in the ninth, said manager Bruce Bochy, whose club split the four-game series with Atlanta. "We had a tough time getting a double play today. A couple of real close calls. It just looked like he rushed it a hair."
Said Crawford of the play in the ninth: "It wasn't hit real hard, so I came to get it and it took a little funny hop off the grass, but I just came at it too hard and I was trying to get two before I ever caught the ball."
But there was no one else Bochy wanted on the mound besides Casilla, and he induced the kind of ground ball that closers are specifically called on to induce.
"There's nothing [else] he could do," Bochy said of Casilla. "He pitched good, got the ground ball. They got options over there [on the Braves bench]. We're a little short there [in the bullpen]. We had a couple of guys that went two innings last night. [Javier] Lopez was up and available but they could make some changes, too, and I didn't really have anyone behind him. But I got my closer out there. I'd like to show that confidence in him. With Sergio [Romo], I might have worked things a little different."
Romo was unavailable because of a stomach issue.
San Francisco fell one win short of a 22-win month to tie the franchise mark last reached in June 1954. The Giants' final two games in May were tough losses, including Saturday's 8-0 drubbing. But Bochy doesn't think it took any shine away.
"You have to deal with these types of games occasionally," he said. "Hopefully, it's not all the time."
Willie Bans is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.