With his Giants up 10 runs in the ninth inning, though, on a day in which he got an off day, Brandon Crawford suddenly felt tense.
Crawford walked out to the bump for the ninth inning of a 13-3 blowout Giants win to a huge ovation. “They seemed to be pretty into it right away,” Crawford, 36, said. He’d played 1600 career games — and only taken the field as a shortstop. Now he can add the best ERA in MLB history to his legendary résumé.
The crowd fed him adrenaline and nerves, which may have played a part in him starting off with six straight balls. But Crawford settled in, eventually touching 90 mph on one fastball — a number he was quick to correct a reporter.
Blake Sabol threw down signs, leaving the PitchCom behind. Crawford even shook the rookie catcher off a couple times, wanting to take his slider out for his spin instead of just throwing heaters. His pitches ranged from 72.2 to 89.7 mph in velocity. Tracking technology categorized five distinct pitches: fastball, four-seam fastball, changeup, curveball and slider.
Crawford said he only got five or six warmup pitches in the batting cage before it was his turn. He insists he would’ve lit up the radar gun even more if he had more time to loosen up his arm.
After a walk and a single, Crawford retired the next three Cubs in order on a groundout, flyout and shallow pop-out. He threw 20 pitches, which wasn’t even enough to prevent the veteran from going through a postgame workout.