The talk of the NLCS after Game 2 was Matt Holliday’s slide into second base to disrupt an attempted double play by the Giants in the third inning. Holliday succeeded in breaking up the double play, but caused an injury when he rolled up on Marco Scutaro’s ankle. After the play the Giants erupted for four runs, including a two-run single by Scutaro. The Giants ended up winning the game 7-1, but Scutaro had to leave with a twisted ankle.
Still, many thought the story was not over, and that the Giants would seek retaliation later. However, the controversy seems to be overblown for a number of reasons.
First, Holliday himself acknowledged his error in multiple forms. Holliday quickly checked on Scutaro immediately after the play. Then, in his next at bat Holliday could be seen talking to Buster Posey, presumably about the play. Yesterday Holliday talked to the media, and acknowledged that he probably began his slide a step too late while also making clear he had no intention of hurting Scutaro. Finally, Holliday personally called the Giants’ clubhouse to check in on Scutaro’s status. Holliday did not get a hold of Scutaro, but the gesture was acknowledged by Scutaro in an interview yesterday.
Secondly, the Giants have too much to lose if they seek retaliation. The Cardinals already have the highest on-base-percentage in the league without plunking Cardinal hitters. In a game where every run matters a retaliatory move could cost the Giants a game in the series while also lighting a spark under the Cardinals. The Giants are smarter than that.
Third, Scutaro did not suffer a major injury, and should be able to start Game 3. If Scutaro had been lost for the series it may have enflamed emotions further. Instead, Scutaro will return and the best method of revenge for him and the Giants will simply be winning three more games in the series.
Lastly, Scutaro himself seems to have gotten over the play In an interview with writer Tim Kawakami, Scutaro made it abundantly clear that he is not upset over the play. When asked whether he was upset with Holliday Scutaro said,
“Uhh… after I saw the replay… you know… that guy always plays hard,” said Scutaro. ”I think he just kind of slid a little bit late. But I guess he wasn’t trying to do that. He was coming full speed. But to be honest, I’m just happy that nothing real bad happened…”
Later when asked what he would do if Holliday tried to talk to him before Game 3 Scutaro said, with a laugh “I’d kick his ass.” When asked how he wants Giants’ pitchers to retaliate Scutaro made clear that his number one priority was winning, “I want them to throw a nine-inning shutout and we win.”
So in the end, the play made for some good fake controversy. Baseball writers and commentators wanted to find a way to juice up this series with some drama, but in all reality these are two very good teams and the games themselves should provide plenty to write about.
Ryan Witt is a freelance writer covering all things St. Louis Cardinals. His work can be found on Examiner.com.