10/05/2003 7:39 PM ET
Herges what the doctor ordered
San Francisco reliever nearly perfect in NLDS
SAN FRANCISCO -- On the high-profile Giants, Matt Herges was relatively obscure this season.
By Rich Draper / MLB.com
Middle relief is his game, and his solid season was often overshadowed by the histrionics of San Francisco capturing the National League West title.
Even Herges' brilliance against the Florida Marlins in his first-ever National League Division Series could be -- as usual -- unsung, easily overlooked, ignored in the aftermath of shocking defeat.
Herges was a stretch-run hero, forging a superb 0.71 ERA over his last 11 games of the regular season, was 1-0 with a 2.31 mark over 27 games and 35 innings. For some reason, the right-hander is particularly tough in September and October, owning a lifetime 1.89 ERA over 49 appearances in those two months.
It was no surprise, then, when the 33-year-old entered the NLDS primed for the playoff pressure -- and where he proved the Giants made a smart move when acquired from San Diego on July 13.
Although San Francisco would fall in the series, 3-1, Herges was magnificent.
In three games covering 4 1/3 innings against the Marlins, he didn't allow a run, struck out five batters, gave up one hit. With every game a tightrope walk, Herges never slipped, although he did escape a self-made jam in the sixth inning of Game 4. We'll get to that in a minute.
Game 2 at San Francisco: The Giants lost, 9-5, but Herges stopped a three-run Marlins rally in its tracks in the sixth with an unusual 8-2-1 double play after a Luis Castillo fly to center.
Game 3 in Miami: Giants lose, 4-3. Herges fanned four batters in two frames, giving up a meaningless double.
Game 4 in Miami: A frustrating 7-6 defeat. Herges would load the bases in the sixth on two walks and a hit batter, but he struck out Miguel Cabrera then induced Juan Encarnacion into an inning-ending double play.
A very cool customer.
Rich Draper is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.