By Claire Reclosado-Baclay
It was the slide that brought out the groans and fearful silence from the crowd at AT&T Park. It was the slide the caused second baseman Marco Scutaro to grimace in pain. It was the slide that eventually took Scutaro out of the game.
Is it the slide that will bring the San Francisco Giants to retaliate in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals? Probably not—or so they say.
In the first inning of Game 2, Matt Holliday of the Cardinals slid into Scutaro in an attempt to break up a double play. The result of that slide was a strained hip for Scutaro, who would eventually leave the game in the fifth inning.
“All of a sudden I just saw this train coming,” Scutaro said on Tuesday. “I pretty much didn’t have time to do anything. As soon as I caught the ball he was pretty much on top of me. I don’t even know if I threw the ball to first, but I did right?”
He did and he continued to play well up until his exit. It was a true show of determination even when in pain.
Much of the discussion is if the slide was illegal, but while most say it was legal, it was definitely late.
“He’s the guy that always plays hard, but I think he kinda slid a little late, but I guess he wasn’t trying to do that,” Scutaro said. “He was coming full speed, but to be honest I ‘m just happy nothing real bad happened and I’m able to play tomorrow.”
Many fans would like to see some retribution for what happened to Scutaro, one of the players who has had the most impact on the team. Even Giants legend Will Clark admits that a move like that would elicit some type of retribution back in the day.
“You see how many warnings you get now. You never got them before,” Clark said following Game 2. “You remember the game 20 years ago? Game 20 years ago, you get somebody plunked and then you plunked ‘em right back. You never ever heard of a warning or nothing like that. Somebody gets hit now and all of a sudden there’s warnings left and right. Game’s changed quite a bit.”
It has changed and when asked, the Giants say they remained focused on one thing—winning.
“We’re not changing our game plan with what happened,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said on Tuesday. “We’re going to go out there and try to win this game and hopefully execute our pitches and not get caught into that. We don’t want any distraction. We’ll do what we can to win a ballgame and pitchers, hitters, hopefully the way we want to.”
Part of the game plan when facing Holliday includes pitching him inside. With some assumed tension between the teams, would Giants Game 3 starter Matt Cain feel a bit uneasy about doing so with the risk of hitting the outfielder?
“No, you have to go out there and pitch your game,” Cain said. “If something gets away from you inside, that’s kind of part of the game. But you’ve got to be able to pitch inside and you’ve got to be able to pitch away. You can’t have a fear with doing that.”
Despite so much chatter about possible retaliation, most of it comes from the media and the fans. Both teams emphasize their focus on winning the series, stating winning the series is their only concern.
After Game 2, Holliday tried to reach out the Scutaro, but by then he already left to get an MRI.
“That was kind of nice to, you know, hear from him … after he tried to kick my ass,” Scutaro jokingly said when asked about the attempt.
His jovial attitude remained on Tuesday, although he still felt a bit sore. And if Holliday tries to speak to him before Game 3?
“I might kick his ass,” he said with the same good-humored tone.
Claire Reclosado-Baclay is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco Giants. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.