Livan Large

Wednesday, October 30 2002 @ 05:35 AM EST

Contributed by: Coach

(transferred; posted Oct. 7)

How about Livan Hernandez last night? The big fella isn't always motivated during the regular season, which makes him frustrating to fantasy owners, but he's never lost a postseason game, and with the Giants facing elimination, the former NLCS and World Series MVP showed his best stuff. But it was a fielding play that mattered more than any of his pitches, and sent his team to tonight's deciding game.

When a harmless infield popup fell in for a "hit" (see my next post about "team errors") and the next batter bounced one up the middle that deflected off Jeff Kent's glove, the emotional Cuban was visibly upset. So on the next ball in play, a grounder to the right side, neatly fielded by J.T. Snow and fired to second, where was Livan? Hauling ass (for him it takes two trips) over to first in time to make an athletic catch-and-step at full speed (insert your own clever remark) and complete a brilliant, critical 3-6-1 double play. I want to play the video for my high school pitchers next spring; it was a great example of putting the team, and your responsibilities, ahead of personal frustration.

Because the Giants have such depth in their rotation, Russ Ortiz is fully rested for Game Five. Bobby Cox looked at his choices beyond Glavine-Millwood-Maddux and chose to bring his lefty back on short rest last night; the Giants ripped Glavine early and often. Kevin Millwood is also returning to the mound a day sooner than usual, and while he was very effective in his previous start, it's an advantage in the minds of San Francisco hitters. I would not be surprised to see Maddux enter this one in relief if they start getting to Millwood. Dusty Baker has starters Ryan Jensen and Kirk Rueter available, and a realistic expectation of 6-7 strong innings from his ace. It's a hard game to predict, but my heart and my head lean to the Giants.