“I’m way better than the way I’m pitching right now,” Giles said after Game 2 at Dodger Stadium, when he blew a lead in the 10th inning of an eventual 7-6 victory. “I’m not pitching to my expectations and I’m beating myself up about it.”
The cracks had started showing in the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium when Giles — who had 34 saves in 38 chances in the regular season — lost a two-run lead in Game 4. He never pitched after the fourth game of the World Series, when the Dodgers battered him for three runs in the ninth inning to break open a tie game.
By then, Hinch had already shown a willingness to find other pitchers for crucial spots, eschewing the crutch that managers often depend on. Stubbornly hoping for the summer version of a reliever now fading in the fall had contributed to other teams’ World Series downfalls — notably the Boston Red Sox in 1986 and the Philadelphia Phillies in 1993.
Hinch refused to bury the Astros in that same graveyard. At three critical points in this postseason, he liked what he saw from a pitcher already in the game and let him finish it.