SAN FRANCISCO — Things just remind Marco Scutaro of that final game of the Red Sox’ September collapse in Baltimore.
In the National League Division Series — Game 5 — Jay Bruce was up in the bottom of the ninth after the Reds had cut the Giants’ lead to 6-4. Bruce fouled off a bunch of two-strike pitches.
Giants catcher Buster Posey had two meetings with Sergio Romo during the at-bat and Scutaro was getting nervous.
“I was saying please God don’t make this feel like last year. Please don’t make it feel like that ever again,” Scutaro recalled. Bruce flew to left field after 10 pitches. Romo got one more out and the Giants moved on to the NLCS.
“That’s how I think about that September,” Scutaro said. “I relate things like that Bruce at-bat to what [the Red Sox] went through back then. It was a tough time. I have no idea how I can explain it. I don’t think anyone can explain it.
“Everything just went wrong. It wasn’t meant to be. God has a plan, I guess, and that wasn’t in the cards for us back then. I mean the whole month. It was incredible to go through that. What I’m experiencing right now is so much better. It stinks to be on the other side of it.
“We had [Daniel] Bard, who had been striking everybody out all year and all of a sudden he started to struggle. It happened to a lot of players at the same time. You kept saying, ‘Is this really happening?’ And you realize you’re living it and you can’t stop it.”
And so the NLCS MVP, with a 14-f0r-28 performance at the plate, takes nothing for granted. He enters the World Series with a clean slate. He would love to repeat his NLCS performance but, “sometimes you can feel great at the plate and it doesn’t work out. When I was in Colorado, I thought I was hitting the ball great, but the numbers [.271] didn’t show that. I was hitting into a lot of bad luck. I come here and the hits start to fall in. You just don’t know.”
The rested Tigers also had to wait in 2006, then paid for it in the World Series when they looked out of synch and rusty. Manager Jim Leyland said the notion they sat around isn’t true. “We ran into bad weather so we were really handicapped. We were actually over at Ford Field trying to do some bunt plays and stuff,” he said.
Leyland said the Tigers elected to bring their instructional league team up so they could face live pitching.
“Our pitchers faced our hitters and our hitters faced our pitchers,’’ Leyland said. “We played a couple of games and had a couple of nice workouts. We had like a five and seven-inning game just to stay sharp. It wasn’t some wonderful plan, but it was pretty much common sense. We even talked about should we go down to Florida for a couple of days if the weather is going to be brutal because you can only get so much done on site. I definitely think it affected the last two World Series, but I would never say it had anything to do with who won because that would be disrespectful to the St. Louis Cardinals.”
AL Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera was reminded about how tough it is to hit at AT&T Park. “Same as our park [Comerica],’’ he said. “We’re even.” . . . Former Red Sox farmhand Anibal Sanchez, who will start Game 3 for the Tigers, would not comment on the firing of manager Ozzie Guillen. Sanchez played for the Marlins this season. He was traded to Detroit in July . . . Tigers reliever Octavio Dotel is high on the mood of the team. “This unbelievable that we haven’t had one team meeting all year,” Dotel said. “All the players here believe in themselves and in our team here. I’ve never seen anything like it.” Dotel should know — he’s been on 13 teams . . . The majors’ top MVP candidates — Cabrera and Posey — will oppose each other in this series.Nick Cafardo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @nickcafardo.