Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Monday, Oct. 30.
There are only a handful of individual baseball games which have warranted entire books being written about them. One is obvious although I can’t name a book written about it. That’s the Giants-Dodgers playoff game of October 3, 1951. If you know a book about that game, please let me know. Here are a couple of games I know books have been written about: 1975 World Series game 6, 1986 NLCS Game 6, the 33-inning AAA game between Pawtucket and Rochester in 1981. As goofy as game 2 of this World Series was Wednesday night, last night’s beyond amazing 13-12 win in 10 innings by the Astros makes game 2 seem like a restrained teatime luncheon by comparison.
I had been to a Halloween party and taken a nap before last night’s game began. When I woke up I misread my watch and thought it said 12:45 AM, not 10:45 PM which in fact it was. When I brought up the Astros’ broadcast of the game I discovered that, though it was nearly 11 PM and nearly 3 hours into the contest the teams hadn’t finished 5 innings yet and the Dodgers were up 7–4. Even considering the score I was surprised Clayton Kershaw was about to be removed from the game. Considering the bull pen behind him I don’t see how Kershaw could have done any worse. None of his relievers has a Cy Young, nor should they. Their closer is a converted catcher-which worked all right during the season but hasn’t worked at all during the Series. Meantime Kershaw has 3 Cy Youngs and presumably isn’t done yet. While he walked the last two men he saw, he deserved to go out on his shield considering he probably won’t pitch again in either games 6 or 7.
Early on it looked like a forgettable game with the Dodgers building a 4-0 lead, knocking out the Astros’ best pitcher, Dallas Keuchel and having the planet’s best pitcher on the mound for them. Kershaw outdueled Keuchel in game 1 and hostilities were finished in less than 2 and a half hours.
On top of that, with 4 runs on the board for the Dodgers Kershaw’s record was 137–19 in a little over a decade. That meant nothing when the Astros’ controversial Yuli Gurriel tied the game at 4 with a 3-run home run in the last of the 4th. That was the second home run Kershaw had given up in the World Series and the 8th he has allowed this postseason. The Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger and Houston’s acclaimed MVP candidate Jose Altuve swapped 3-run home runs in the 5th. If you wonder if Altuve should be MVP, ask the crowd at Minute Maid Park. He can hardly step to the plate without 50,000 Texans chanting MVP!” And you can see why-this was his 7th home run of the postseason. The Astros’ record is 8 by Carlos Beltran in 2004-a year they didn’t make the World Series.
Inning after inning the game went back and forth well past Midnight. In the 7th the Astros’ George Springer showed the world that offense is his long suit rather than defense. He played a single into an RBI triple for Bellinger. Springer then tied the game at 8 by unloading a no-doubter to left field off Brandon Morrow. Bregman then singled, Altuve doubled him home and Carlos Correa launched a 2-run home run, all during 6 pitches thrown by Morrow. Down 12-9, the Dodgers tied it with 3 in their half of the 9th off Chris Devenski, replacing Ken Giles in the closer’s role. Yasiel Puig pulled his team to within a run with a 2-run home run, after which Chris Taylor singled home the tying run. The Dodgers’ Kenley Jansen managed a scoreless half inning to force extras, the first half inning since the 7th when nobody scored. Running for catcher Brian McCann, Derek Fisher scored on Bregman’s first walk-off hit of his career in the home 10th.
Following a travel day, the two sides square off at Dodger Stadium tomorrow night. Since it was built at Chavez Ravine the Dodgers have rarely lost a World Series game there. They lost games 1 and 2 of the 1966 Series to the Orioles, game 1 of the 1974 Series to Oakland, games 3 and 4 in 1977 and game 6 in 1978 to the Yankees and game 2 last Wednesday night against the Astros. The Dodgers hadn’t lost a home game in either the 1981 or 1988 World Series. Game 6 features the same two pitchers who started game 2-Justin Verlander for Houston, Rich Hill for the Dodgers. Game 2 went as far off the rails as it did because Rich Hill was pulled after 4 innings. The bull pen almost made things work until Jansen blew the save in the 9th and the madness escalated from there. Whether there will be a game 7 this time around, this World Series has made history right now.2
October 30, 2017
Excellent column. Why don’t you write a book? 🙂