Well, hey, you can’t say that Pedro Feliz makes a painfully foolish play in every game, because he sat out yesterday’s. Tonight, though… well, let’s set the scene: scoreless tie, nobody out in the fifth. Jason Kemp topped a little dinker toward the mound and sprinted toward first base, well inside the baseline (and thus outside the three-foot-wide lane he’s supposed to be running in, but hey, this is the Dodgers—the rules don’t apply). Noah Lowry, as if by royal command, flung the ball down the right-field line. How Kemp stayed at second is a mystery.
Granted, he didn’t stay there for long. Lowry then threw a changeup to the backstop, the ball impeded only slightly by contact with the glove of Bengie Molina. So now Kemp was on third, still with nobody out. Wilson Betamit smacked a ground ball to third, and Kemp headed home. He stopped halfway. Feliz… stopped. “Guh?” he may well have said. I know I said it, but for a different reason. Whereas Feliz seemed to be thinking, “Whatever shall I do now?” I, along with everybody else watching the game, was thinking, “Why didn’t he throw it home?” There was utterly no reason not to (if you don’t count the now standard Orders From Lasorda). But he didn’t, until it was too late. The throw was in the dirt, and Kemp ran 80 yards out of the baseline to avoid the tag by Molina, then sprawled toward the plate and tapped it with his fingers.
But Feliz led off the bottom of the fifth with a single. Yay! Randy Winn immediately doubled down the left-field line, and with Luis Gonzalez and his rag arm in left field, third-base coach Tim Flannery decided to send Feliz home, figuring that Lowry, up next, wouldn’t help the cause any. Two throws later, a superb leg block by catcher Russ Martin ensured that Feliz—who is built for neither comfort nor speed—never got near the plate. Dave Roberts then singled into the hole, where interim shortstop Ramon Martinez (whose personal pledge, upon leaving the Giants, was to keep killing the Giants) made a point of playing this ball well, keeping it in his glove. So with runners now on first and third, Omar Vizquel—incidentally, both he and Ray Durham were thrown out stealing tonight—grounded one into the hole, and Martinez made another terrific play, throwing Roberts out at second to end the inning with Bonds on deck.
It should go without saying that the Giants ended up losing 2-1. I’d hate to be unfair and pin the loss entirely on Feliz (who also hit into a double play), but I do have the feeling that he’s going to bear the brunt of much of my baseball-related anger this year.
These are my Giants.