I talked this morning with McCovey Chronicles’ editor Grant Brisbee about Sunday night’s game and what’s to come for the rest of the series. Here’s what he had to say:
Steve Hirsch: Why did Madison Bumgarner struggle so much in game one? Was it arm fatigue or was it just a bad night? Could you possibly see Bruce Bochy switching up the rotation and starting Tim Lincecum over him later in the series?
Grant Brisbee: Bumgarner is tired. He had a 120+ pitch outing in August, and he’s been a different pitcher ever since. It’s not exactly smart to pretend that’s the obvious, inarguable demarcation line, but it sure fits. He’s a pitcher who succeeds with perfect command, running balls in on righties and teasing corners. He can’t do that as effectively right now.
SH: Which Ryan Vogelsong are we going to see on Monday night? The one who had a 2.36 ERA in the first half or the one who had a 4.78 ERA in the second half?
GB: He’s been better lately. He’s like Bumgarner, in that he needs fine command. Unlike Bumgarner, Vogelsong is willing to walk hitters and not give in. He’s a really unique pitcher in that regard. But for a while in August, he was leaving too many pitches up in the zone, and he abandoned his two-seamer almost entirely because it wasn’t working. The pitcher that showed up after the first inning of the NLDS was the one I’m expecting in Game 2.
SH: The Giants have some of the best offensive numbers in the Majors this season on the road but have had a hard time scoring at AT&T Park. Are they almost looking forward, in a way, to going to Busch Stadium for three straight games?
GB: They’d kind of have to, right? It’s weird, they used to have this confidence in their staff that allowed them to win 2-1 games at home without thinking too much of it, but now the staff is leaking oil, and everything’s askew.
SH: Do you think it’s a disadvantage for the Cardinals in this series that they are only carrying one left-handed reliever? (Marc Rzepczynski)
GB: Not so much. The Giants bunch all of their lefties together at the bottom of the order, and it’s not like they’re all a bunch of Ryan Howards, who’ll kill you if you don’t respect their platoon splits. The one guy on the Giants I’d constantly want facing lefties if I were Mike Matheny, actually, is Pablo Sandoval. That’s not going to happen, though, with him sandwiched between Scutaro and Posey.
SH: Having watched Carlos Beltran for half a season in San Francisco, what is it about him that you think continues to make him so effective and why is he particularly successful in the postseason?
GB: I don’t think there’s a single reason. Dude’s just good. He’s also calm — he gets that reputation of not caring, when it’s really more about being very even-keeled. Heck, maybe that has something to do with it. Makes as much sense as anything else.