Astros: Everything is Awesome! Ken Giles Version
By Ric Sweeney
EVERYTHING IS AWESOME! FACTOR #2:
A.J. Hinch used Giles on just four multi-inning saves during the regular season. In the postseason, Giles was deployed three times in the 8th inning and brought back to work the 9th. In fact, most of the nightmare-inducing memories you have of Giles’ postseason occurred in that second inning of work, something he’s simply not accustomed to doing.
Giles’ first multi-inning appearance happened in game 4 of the ALDS. In the 8th inning, he faced Boston’s 4, 5 and six hitters and sat them down 1-2-3. In the next inning, Giles gave up an inside-the-park home run and then retired the next three for a series-clinching save.
He was then brought in with one on and one out in the 8th inning of game 1 of the ALCS to face the Yankees’ 2-4 hitters. He sandwiched Judge and Didi Gregorius outs around a Sanchez walk. In the 9th, after starting it with two strikeouts, he gave up a monster home run to Greg Bird before ending the game on his third strikeout.
Giles’ final multi-inning appearance, of course, was game 2 of the World Series when he coughed up a two-run lead. But lost in that collapse was Giles’ first inning of work in which he retired the Dodgers’ 2-4 hitters to send the game to extra innings.
Expecting too much?
By now, you likely see where this is going. Acknowledging the extremely small sample size, here are Giles’ numbers, by inning, when he was asked to get more than three outs in the postseason:
1st inning: 0.00 ERA; 0.33 WHIP; 2.86 FIP
2nd inning: 12.00 ERA; 1.67 WHIP; 13.20 FIP
You probably don’t need me to tell you that, well – he wasn’t very good in that second inning. But, but, but! He was very good in the first inning, often against the opponents’ best hitters.
Was this then a failure on Hinch’s part, regarding putting his pitcher in position to fail? Not really.
Again, we’re dealing with an incredibly small sample size. But Giles did make four multi-inning appearances during the regular season. He was lights-out good in that second inning, allowing just two hits while striking out eight of 14 batters faced.
Of course, retiring six Orioles on a Tuesday night in June is not the same thing as trying to work your way through the heart of a playoff team’s order with your season on the line.