A rough night for Fontenot

Don’t fix what’s not broken.

For the most part, that’s a rule baseball managers live by. It’s
surely one Giants manager Bruce Bochy refuses to mess with.

Throughout this surprising season for the Giants, Bochy expertly
tinkered with his lineup, matching certain hitters against certain
pitchers, sometimes going by feel, sometimes using statistics to
influence his moves.

Recently, though, Bochy stood pat with his lineup. His reasoning
was simple – don’t fix what’s not broken – and the Giants had won
three straight playoff games before the
Phillies evened the National League
Championship Series at one game apiece with Sunday’s 6-1 win at
Citizens Bank Park.

The lineup Bochy was riding showed some cracks. Journeyman third
baseman Mike Fontenot, playing for the more-dangerous Pablo
Sandoval, had a throwing error in the first inning that led to an
unearned run for the
Phillies and let an infield pop-up
drop for a single. He also went hitless.

Leadoff batter Andres Torres, who plays center field ahead of
veteran Aaron Rowand, struck out four times.

“You’ll see a couple of changes,” Bochy said without being
specific. “These are things we’ll discuss on the flight back.”

There’s nothing the Giants can change about the way
Phillies righthander Roy Oswalt
handled them. He held the Giants to three hits – one of them the
third homer in two games by Cody Ross – and struck out nine.

“He was hitting spots with his fastball,” first baseman Aubrey
Huff said of Oswalt, who went eight innings. “He threw a lot more
fastballs than he did the last few times we faced him, and he had a
real good one. The ball was really jumping out of his hand. He was
going after guys. He pitched a great game.”

Oswalt also fooled Huff on the base paths during the
Phillies’ four-run seventh inning.
Oswalt was heading for third on a hit by Placido Polanco. As Huff
was deciding whether or not to cut off the throw from the outfield,
he glanced at
Phillies third-base coach Sam
Perlozzo and saw he was trying to hold Oswalt at third. Huff cut
off the throw. Oswalt ran through the stop sign and slid across
home plate ahead of Huff’s throw.

“I made a bad decision on that cutoff,” Huff said. “I glanced up
at their third-base coach and he had his hands up. So I cut it off
thinking maybe he’s going to make a big turn around third. The
throw [from the outfield] would have nailed him. It was one of
those plays, a reaction play. What are you gonna do?”

Fontenot’s error came in the first inning when his throw after
fielding a grounder by Polanco pulled Huff off the bag. The inning
then deteriorated for Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez, who walked
Ryan Howard, struck out Jayson Werth, then walked Jimmy Rollins to
force in a run. The error also resulted in a swollen pitch count
for Sanchez, who threw 35 in the first inning. The run he allowed
was unearned.

In the fourth inning, Rollins hit a harmless infield pop and
flipped his bat in disgust. Sanchez pointed to the ball and
Fontenot moved toward the mound to make the catch. Then he
inexplicably took a step back and the ball dropped in front of him
for a single. No damage came of it, except perhaps to the
confidence Bochy had in Fontenot.

On the long charter flight back to San Francisco, Bochy had
plenty of time to tinker with his lineup for Tuesday’s Game 3.