Venable's game-saving catch and Bochy's tragic double-switch

Denis Poroy

Late last night, a number of interesting things happened in San Francisco.

First, Barry Zito struck out eight Padres. He hadn't struck out so many anybodies in nearly three years.

In the bottom of the 12th inning with the game utterly on the line, Will Venable did this:

The Padres went ahead in the top of the 13th, and then tacked on a bit of insurance. But not before Bruce Bochy blew a double-switch:

San Diego added another run on a bases-loaded walk from Jake Dunning. Giants manager Bruce Bochy had made a double switch to bring in Dunning and had intended to have a fresh Buster Posey lead off the next inning, but mistakenly put him in the seventh hole.

"I messed up the double switch. I got distracted," Bochy said. "I was out there arguing and I totally brain-cramped on that. Once I said it wrong, I was done. I knew that. That's a first. I probably should have stepped back and thought a little bit. ... Once I called it wrong I can't take it back. Got distracted, you're upset a little bit, that shouldn't happen but it did."

This must have been immensely frustrating for Giants fans, as the Giants' third-string catcher led off the bottom of the 13th and Posey never reached the plate before Huston Street closed the Padres' victory.

Did the blown double-switch kill the Giants' chances? Hardly. Basic run expectancy suggests the Giants entered the bottom of the 13th with a seven-percent chance of winning. You can bump that up a few percent if Posey leads off the inning, and you can bump it down a few with Quiroz leading off. As these things go, it was just about the biggest mistake that Bochy could possibly have made. But the Giants were highly unlikely to win either way.

The biggest story Monday night was the Padres winning their seventh straight, passing the Giants in the standings; there are now four teams within one-and-a-half games of first place, which deserves a graphical representation ...


That's pretty cool! Not cool and not pictured, though? Both Sans have been outscored: Diego by 14 runs, Francisco by 10. Which doesn't mean they can't contend. Hell, they are contending. It does mean they probably have to play significantly better if they're going to keep contending. As usual, the Padres' ballpark -- even with the fences coming in this season -- has been terribly rough on hitters. The Padres' hitters have the third-best road OPS in the National League, which is terribly impressive. The Padres' pitchers have the third-worst road ERA in the National League, which is just terrible.

Then again, the once pitching-rich Giants have the second-worst ERA in the league.

The Padres and Giants are bizarrely similar this season. Both play in extreme pitcher's ballparks, both have scored more runs than we expected, and both need to pitch significantly better.

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