Former Giants outfielder Michael Morse knows a thing or two about hitting a clutch postseason homer when no one was expecting it, so his latest take on the ending of Game 5 of the National League Division Series between the Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers is a bit surprising.
As every Giants fan knows all-too-well, Wilmer Flores was ruled out on a controversial check swing call by first base umpire Gabe Morales to end the NLDS and the Giants’ season Thursday night.
It has been well-documented that Flores is 0-for-17 with one walk and eight strikeouts in 18 career regular season plate appearances against Max Scherzer, who was pitching in relief for the Dodgers in the ninth inning of Game 5.
So, even if Morales had ruled Flores didn’t swing and the at-bat continued, there’s no guarantee that the Giants’ first baseman would have gotten a hit to extend the game.
Morse is among those who believe Flores had no chance to get a hit off Scherzer in that at-bat. Responding to a story about Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow saying he was “hurt” by the ugly scene following the game in which fans threw things, including cups of beer, at Morales and the other umpires, Morse rolled his eyes — with emojis — at the idea of Flores getting a hit.
So …. Let me guess Flores was going to hit a 2 run homer off Max. A guy he hasn’t sniffed his whole career. ????— Michael Morse (@MorseBeWithU) October 16, 2021
It’s ironic that Morse is convinced Flores wouldn’t have succeeded in that at-bat, because in 2014, it was Morse who connected for an improbable home run late in a playoff game.
In Game 5 of the 2014 NLCS between the Giants and St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco was trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth when Morse pinch-hit for Madison Bumgarner against reliever Pat Neshek.
Neshek, a right-handed pitcher who threw submarine-style, similar to current Giants reliever Tyler Rogers, had great numbers against right-handed batters in 2014. As The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly pointed out in a reply to Morse’s tweet, right-handed batters hit .176 off Neshek during the 2014 regular season. In 148 at-bats against righties, Neshek only allowed two homers that season.
Neshek had the advantage on that night, but Morse clobbered a dramatic, iconic game-tying homer, setting the stage for Travis Ishikawa to hit the pennant-winning three-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth.
Morse, of all people, should know that in the game of baseball, players can come through in the most unlikely of situations or matchups.
RELATED: TBS announcers call out terrible check swing to end Giants’ season
For what it’s worth, Morse did have a decent take about Giants’ Game 5 loss.
the check swing didn’t loose the game for them let’s get that clear.— Michael Morse (@MorseBeWithU) October 15, 2021
The Giants went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position Thursday night, failing to come through in those situations in the first, second and fourth innings. If they had gotten a clutch hit in any of those innings, the bottom of the ninth inning might not have been needed and Morales’ mistake never happens.
But Morse should know better than to completely rule out the possibility of an unexpected homer.
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