Editor's note: This article is Part 2 of a five-part series in which Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford breaks down his stand-out defensive plays from the team's 2014 World Series run
The situation: This play came a week after the one in Atlanta, and I remembered it most for the fact that Crawford fooled the cameraman. The Giants led the Dodgers 3-2 at the time, blew the game in the ninth, and then won 7-4 in extra innings. When I asked Crawford which plays he remembered most fondly this was one that immediately stood out, but really, this exercise could have been done with just about every play he made on a road trip through Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles. Crawford had such a strong road trip that two different websites put together montages.
After one game on the trip, Ryan Vogelsong was asked what his plan on the mound was. “Getting ground balls to Crawford,” Vogelsong said. “That was the plan.”
[RECAP: Giants 7, Dodgers 4 (10)]
“It really depends on the ground balls you’re getting,” Crawford said of the hot streak. “The opportunities don’t come around in stretches like that very often. I think I was just fortunate enough to get the opportunity to make good plays like that just by the ground balls I was getting.”
Crawford said he sometimes gets more confident during a stretch like this, but in general he doesn’t believe in hot or cold streaks in the field. In fact, sometimes a mistake can lead to a highlight.
“If I make an error earlier in the game, I feel like I’m more likely to try and make a really good play like that to cancel out an error,” he said. “That’s probably the main thing defensively I need to work on: That mentality of not trying to do too much.”
Crawford remembered coming into this game as a defensive replacement. He thought he came in in the seventh (he was right) and said he would have been trying to “keep them from getting a runner in scoring position with two outs and, I would guess, Gonzalez coming up?”
(Yep … Adrian Gonzalez followed Ramirez.)
“I’m trying to contribute any way I can since I came in the game just for defense,” he said. “I remember that off the bat, I don’t think I thought I would be able to get to it, and then I closed on it pretty well and I was trying to figure out how I would be able to throw him out from that deep in the hole. I kind of went into that slide so I could get my feet set and make that throw from deep in the hole. In college, I actually made that play a lot.”
Crawford said that while he was at UCLA, he didn’t quite know how to make this throw that he now uses, showing off the arm strength that allowed him to be a high school quarterback and a 93-mph-throwing college pitcher:
“I wasn’t sure how to do it so I would go into a slide,” he said. “I actually did that a lot, but I don’t as often anymore because I’ve figured out how to make the other play and get rid of it quicker. But on this one, especially with a runner on base, (the turning throw) is kind of risky because it can sail on you. I was able to get my feet under me here and get my momentum at least kind of going back in the other direction.”