Greinke and Company Quiet Baby Shark, at Least for One Night

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 Hi all. Here’s how I saw last night’s third game of the World Series. While it’s adorable to watch a toddler dance to “Baby Shark,” you have to figure it’s the Astros’ least favorite song.  Thanks to the almost forgotten Zack Greinke, the Astros managed a 4-1 win to keep the crowd quiet and the Baby Shark dancing to a minimum.

 It’s been 23 years since a World Series home team lost games 1 and 2, then won the Series.  The Yankees were the last team to pull that off.  With the Internet a couple of years in the future, I consider myself lucky to have lived close enough to New York to hear the games on radio, as well as hearing the local sports talk show honks approach hysteria after Greg Maddux whitewashed the Yankees in game 2.  Wile it’s technologically possible, I haven’t heard what Houston sports talk radio sounded like Thursday and early yesterday before the game got underway.  I can’t imagine them losing their minds the way New York radio hosts did.  Zack Greinke kept his act together.  He struggled, yes.  But he and his formerly beleaguered bull pen earned a win over the Nationals in game 3.  In so doing, they guarantee one more journey for the Cole Train, which will happen when weather permits.  Particularly for tomorrow the forecast for the DC area isn’t good.  Houston has the difficult task of winning a bull pen game in game 4 if tonight’s weather allows it to be played. 

   As outstanding as Cole and Justin Verlander have been, the hired gun the Astros got at the end of July somehow became almost a forgotten man.  He didn’t strike out 300 men this year or any year, (which his two more prestigious teammates did) but 6 times over Greinke has been named an All-Star, with 5 of those honors coming after he turned 30.   In the years before that, he battled depression and anxiety, and those are no easy opponents. Depression is an old enemy of mine, and of late years anxiety has occasionally come calling when depression was bothering somebody else.   While Greinke hadn’t appeared in a World Series game before, his record is 80 games above .500. Had he stuck with the Dodgers beyond 2015, he very well might have World Series experience by now, if not a ring. He opted out of the last 3 years of his deal with the Dodgers and joined the Diamondbacks where he stayed until the Houston deal gave him a shot at glory. His role was that of David Cone in 1996, rescuing the Yankees and saving the series.  Coney got a lot of help in the next few games, which Greinke will need now. 

  His team got him single runs in the second and third innings. In the second, a single to shallow left by Josh Reddick brought Carlos Correa home.  An inning later, Michael Brantley drove home Jose Altuve on an infield hit.  The Nationals got their only run of the night when Victor Robles put up a 3-bagger driving Ryan Zimmerman across the plate. The Astros’ Brantley notched his second single and second RBI in the visitors’ half of the fifth. Again, Altuve crossed the plate.    The Nats put up 7 hits in 4.2 innings against Greinke.  Especially with a bull pen game tonight, the visitors might have trusted Greinke longer if they had more than a 3–1 lead. Josh James took over with runners on second and third and ended the fifth inning. The Astros scored the game’s last run in their half of the sixth on a home run by catcher Robinson Chirinos.

  23 years ago, after the Yankees  took game 3 from the Braves, game 4 was what in later years would be called an “Instant Classic.”  They didn’t plan on a “bull pen day,” since the term didn’t exist.  However, Kenny Rogers was so awful he was gone in the third inning, and it took the entire bull pen to hold the Braves down and give the Yankees time to mount an improbable comeback.  To even the present series, the Astros hope not to have such a back-and-forth battle, though they feel they have the offense to win such a game.  They are banking on their bull pen and their bats to even the score, which would leave a best 2 out of 3 going forward.  While that’s how Houston wants it, the Nationals hope one of their usual starters, Patrick Corbin can get the job done and the hitters can return to their game 2 form.     


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