The next few post probably should have been written three months ago. But seeing as though I took a three month break from writing, I wasn’t able to write any World Series or playoff nostalgia post, and it’s been scientifically proven that reading those adds 20 more years to your life, so basically because of me you will live long enough to be able to see kittens teleport and kangaroos riding hoverboards. That is my view of the future, what is yours?
Anyways, most playoff articles were written 3 months ago, so by now fans are ready for another round of playoff nostalgia. I thought it would be best to start with the man that started it all: Brandon Phillips.
I suppose this should also be the Scott Rolen/Zack Cozart/Dusty Baker and Ryan Hanigan memorial post. There were a lot of Reds mistakes. But Brandon Phillips started it all, and without him, the Giants could very likely have been swept in the opening round, and Bronson Arroyo would haunt your dreams forever.
You probably already know the play: Giants down 2-0 in the series, first inning game 3, Brandon Phillips lead off single, Ryan Vogelsong wild pitch and then:
At the time, it seemed pretty insignificant relatively speaking. But then this is what the next four hitters did:
Nobody knows how Vogelsong would have pitched differently to the next few hitters from the stretch with a runner on base as opposed to the bases empty, so it’s not fair to say the same sequence of events would have happened. But judging by how the series was going to that point, and how Vogelsong never really settled down that game, I’m going to say in the alternate universe the results of the subsequent batters would have been pretty similar, with the Reds scoring 2 or 3 runs instead of just the 1. Instead of the game going to extra innings, the Reds win the game 2-1, sweep the series and Mat Latos is pouring champagne on Bronson Arroyo and then the world is enveloped in darkness.
But back to Phillips. It was not a smart decision. The reward of advancing to 3rd rather than 2nd was not worth the risk of getting thrown out completely. Here is where Phillips was when Posey bent down to pick up the ball.
Not even half way to 3rd. Posey has to throw almost from halfway to the backstop to 3rd base, which I’m going to guess it takes a little shorter or just about the same distance as throwing to 2nd. Phillips has good speed though, so he’s banking on the throw being erratic. Was the throw erratic?
I suppose if the throw was a little off kilter, the play would have been at least semi close. Maybe. In the end, Brandon Phillips made a dumb baseball play, among the thousands of dumb baseball plays that go on over the course of a season. The Reds were leading 2-0 in the series, and Phillips had nothing to lose. The only way the move would come back to haunt him was if the Reds were to lose in extra innings with his run being the difference, then lose the next game, and then lose the next game after that.
Literally nothing had gone right for the Giants before that caught stealing. In Game 1 Posey missed hitting the game tying homer by inches in the 9th inning. In Game 2, the Giants couldn’t get a hit off of Bronson Arroyo. Every line drive was caught. Every Reds hit found a hole. Also the Giants couldn't get a hit off of Bronson Arroyo. And then Brandon Phillips was thrown out at 1st on a terrible decision, and promptly knocked over the first domino. Then the breaks started to fall: Gold glover Scott Rolen bobbles a grounder allowing the game winning run to score in game 1, Zack Cosart drops a possible runs saving grounder in Game 5 that may have prevented Buster Posey’s grand slam and then the Reds kill their own rally with a strike’m out throw’em out double play . But without Phillips, none of it would have been possible.
Which is all a long way of saying, this is why the playoffs are a crap shoot. Brandon Phillips makes one easily preventable base running error that probably at least 70% of base runners don't make and that lone play changed the rest of the playoffs. Remember Game 3? The Giants were 1 hit for 8+ innings for the 2nd straight game, and they somehow survived. Brandon Phillips is partially to thank for that. Now Emmanuel Burriss is coming after his job. Life is not fair Brandon Phillips.
And then the Giants won the World Series.
And then the Giants won the World Series.