Playoffs get wild with wild pitches

Associated Press Published: October 7, 2012

These playoffs sure are getting wild.

With wild pitches, that is.

By the bay in San Francisco to Motown's Comerica Park and Busch Stadium in the Midwest, pitchers are flinging balls to the backstop with a regularity rarely seen in October.

Jitters? Adrenalin? Just plain overthrowing? It's something, all right.

"Perhaps some of the guys might be trying too hard and they're bouncing the balls way in front of the plate," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "The ones I've seen didn't give the catchers much chance to catch it. I just hope we don't have any."

Actually, all the wildness got the Reds coaches chatting about it on the way to AT&T Park for Sunday's Game 2 against the Giants.

Cincinnati closer Aroldis Chapman threw a pair of wild pitches Saturday night, including one that scored a run in his team's 5-2 victory in the playoff opener at San Francisco.

There were two more in the eighth inning at Detroit on Sunday that brought home runs — one for each team in the Tigers' 5-4 win against the Oakland Athletics. That's the first time in postseason history in which both teams scored a tying run on a wild pitch in the same inning, according to STATS LLC.

"Man, that Oakland game was wild, wasn't it?" Giants manager Bruce Bochy offered without prompting. "It's a little different time. Pitchers are trying to put a little bit more on it, trying to make that great pitch."

Then, Washington Nationals 21-game winner Gio Gonzalez had one of his own. The wild pitch scored a run after Gonzalez walked four of the first five batters in a 3-2 Game 1 win against the defending World Series champion Cardinals in St. Louis.

"If you see that, you have to be ready on the bases," San Francisco switch-hitter Pablo Sandoval said. "All the teams have been doing that. A situation like this, you have the pressure on you to try to do too much. That's the situation with the pitchers. They try too much and that's the time they throw wild."

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FADING MEMORY: Andy Pettitte was in his second season in the majors when the New York Yankees last faced the Baltimore Orioles in the playoffs, so forgive the left-hander if his memory of the 1996 AL championship series is a little fuzzy.

"I remember it was a good series. I believe I had the opportunity to pitch," Pettitte said Sunday, hours before the Yankees were to open their AL division series against Baltimore. "It helped us get to the World Series, that's something I remember."

Other than that, not much.

"It was a long time ago," he said. "I'm trying real hard right now but it's as good as I can get. I may be wrong, but I believe I was able to pitch here in Baltimore."

Not only did Pettitte pitch, but he won the clincher. He also started Game 1, although fan Jeffrey Maier's performance was arguably more memorable.

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