This really has been one of the best World Series of recent memory. Consider this:
Literally every game of this Series has been a good one. Only once (the Dodgers’ 6-2 victory in Game 4) has the margin of victory been greater than two runs, and that featured a five-run rally by Los Angeles in the ninth.
It’ll be the fourth time in the past seven years the Fall Classic has stretched to the max and the second year in a row. There have been 38 previous Game Sevens, and the Cut Four team at MLB has ranked them all.
Tonight it will be Yu Darvish hoping to erase memories of his awful Game Three start (1 2/3 innings, six hits, four runs) followed by every other pitcher the Dodgers have, as needed. I’d expect to see Kershaw in relief unless Darvish has a fantastic performance deep into the game. The Astros will ask Lance McCullers to replicate his Game Three performance in which he went 5 1/3 innings, giving up three runs. He could be followed by Keuchel and Morton and any other arm in the Astros’ bullpen.
Today in baseball history:
2001 The first major league game ever started in the month of November is a memorable one when the Yankees, for the second consecutive night, make a dramatic comeback in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game and go on to a World Series victory in extra innings. Tonight’s heroes are Scott Brosius, who hits a game-tying two out two-run homer to knot the game at 2-2, and Alfonso Soriano, who singles in Chuck Knoblauch in the 12th, giving the Yankees a 3-2 victory and 3-2 lead in the Fall Classic over the Diamondbacks.
2010 Edgar Renteria, who drove in the winning run for the Marlins against Cleveland in the 11th inning during Game 7 of the 1997 Fall Classic, joins Yankees legends Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, and Yogi Berra as only the fourth player in baseball history to collect two World Series-winning hits. The Series MVP’s three-run homer off Cliff Lee in the seventh inning leads to San Francisco’s 3-1 victory over the Rangers, bringing a World Championship to the Giants for the first time since 1954.
The Astros have a 3-2 lead in the Series and, in a rematch of Game Two pitchers, ask RHP Justin Verlander to close it out. The Dodgers counter with LHP Rich Hill. Neither pitcher got the win in that extra-inning affair.
The Phillies have hired Gabe Kapler, the Dodgers’ Director of Player Development, to be their next manager.
Today in baseball history:
2001 For the first time since Philadelphia A’s Mule Haas hit a game-tying two-run homer in Game 5 of the 1929 World Series, a team comes from behind to tie a Fall Classic game in the ninth and goes on to win in extra innings. Tino Martinez sends the game into overtime with a two-out homer off Diamondbacks’ closer Byung-Hyun Kim and Derek Jeter, dubbed Mr. November, wins it after the stroke of midnight with a full count two-out round-tripper giving the Bronx Bombers a 3-2 victory and knots the series at two games apiece.
2009 Alex Rodriguez’s Game 3 fly ball in the right-field corner of Citizens Bank Park becomes the subject of the first instant replay call in World Series history. The Yankee third baseman’s hit, originally ruled a double, is changed by the umpires to a home run after the replay clearly shows the ball going over the fence before striking a television camera and bouncing back to the field.
Lefty Clayton Kershaw goes for the Dodgers and lefty Dallas Keuchel goes for the Astros in a rematch of Game One starters. Kershaw went seven innings, struck out eleven and gave up one run on 83 pitches while getting the win in that game. Keuchel went 6 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on six hits and taking the loss.
Odd statistical note: all eight runs Kershaw has allowed this month have been via the home run.
Today in baseball history:
1942 Branch Rickey, the innovator of the farm systems which helped to build a strong Redbird franchise, resigns as the Cardinals’ vice president. Three days later, the Dodgers will announce the Mahatma has been named president of the Brooklyn club, a move that will help to fill the void created by Brooklyn’s general manager Larry MacPhail’s enlistment in the army to serve in World War II.
2008 The Phillies complete the first-ever suspended game in World Series history, playing three innings at Citizens Bank Park, beating the Rays, 4-3, in Game 5 to win the Fall Classic. The World Championship is only the team’s second in franchise history, and its first since 1980.
Down two games to one, if the Dodgers’ backs are not against the wall (the train tracks?) they’re being pushed closer and closer to it. They ask LHP Alex Wood (16-3, 2.72 ERA) to stop the Astros’ offensive onslaught or hold it off until they can get their own bats in gear. They’ll have to do it against RHP Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA). Wood pitched 4 2/3 innings of Game Three of the NLCS against the Cubs, giving up three runs and taking the loss. Morton lost Game Three of the ALCS to the Yankees but came back to pitch five two-hit innings in Game Five and get the win.
Today in baseball history:
1981 The Dodgers, after dropping the first two games of the Fall Classic, defeat the Yankees, 9-2, capturing the World Championship in six games. The victory at the Bronx ballpark marks the third time this postseason that Los Angeles has come from behind to win a series, having been down 0-2 against the Astros in the five-game strike-necessitated NLDS, and 1-2 behind the Expos in the NLCS five-game series.
1981 Entering Game 6 of the World Series in the fifth inning, Yankee right-hander George Frazier, relieving starter Tommy John, gives up three go-ahead runs in the team’s 9-2 elimination loss to the Dodgers at Yankee Stadium. The 27 year-old right-hander becomes the first pitcher to lose three games in a best of seven World Series, and the second hurler to lose that many in any Fall Classic, joining White Sox southpaw Lefty Williams, who also dropped a trio of games in the best-of-nine series played in 1919.
1995 In Game 6, Tom Glavine and Mark Wohlers combine on a one-hitter to defeat the Indians, 1-0, giving the Braves their third World Championship, the first since moving to Atlanta. David Justice’s leadoff homer in the sixth inning off Jim Poole proves to be the difference.
“It is especially fitting that this legislation honors a courageous baseball player and individual, the late Curt Flood, whose enormous talents on the baseball diamond were matched by his courage off the field. It was 29 years ago this month that Curt Flood refused a trade from the St. Louis Cardinals to the Philadelphia Phillies. His bold stand set in motion the events that culminate in the bill I have signed into law.” – BILL CLINTON, U.S. president commenting on the Curt Flood Act.
President Clinton signs Curt Flood Act of 1998, revoking baseball’s antitrust exemption for labor matters, but not for matters involving relocation, expansion or the minor leagues. The passage of the legislation by the 105th Congress comes over seventy-five years after the Supreme Court ruled that the sport was not involved in interstate commerce or trade as customarily defined within the context of the Sherman Antitrust Act.
2009 In Game 1, Chase Utley, en route to a record-tying five World Series homers, becomes the first left-handed batter in 81 years to hit two round-trippers off a southpaw in a Fall Classic game. The Philadelphia second baseman, who also set a postseason record by reaching base in 26 straight games with his first-inning walk, goes deep twice off Yankee southpaw CC Sabathia in the Phillies’ 6-1 victory in New York, to match Babe Ruth’s performance in the fourth and final game of the 1928 series.
The Dodgers’ RHP Yu Darvish (2-0, 1.59 ERA in postseason) will face RHP Lance McCullers (0-0, 1 SV, 2.08 in postseason) in Game Three in Houston’s roofed-over Minute Maid Park.
“Past performance does not guarantee future results,” the financial industry cautions, so Darvish and his 4-1 record with a 2.16 ERA in six career starts at the Astros’ park including a near-perfect game and a separate near-no-hitter in 2013 probably just means he’s comfortable pitching there. McCullers used a lot of curveballs in his four-inning save in Game Seven of the ALCS. The Dodgers had the best batting average in baseball against the curve this year (.274) per Statcast, but they are hitting just .167 (7-for-42) off curves this postseason.
1985 The Royals become the sixth team to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win the Fall Classic when series MVP Bret Saberhagen, who became a new dad yesterday, blanks the Cardinals on five hits, 11-0. Kansas City is the first team in World Series history to lose its first two games at home and then come back to win the World Championship.
1991 In Game 7 of the ‘Worst to First’ World Series, the Twins beat the Braves, 1-0, when Dan Gladden scores the winning run in the bottom of the tenth on Gene Larkin’s single, clinching its second world championship since relocating from Washington D.C. in 1961. Atlanta and Minnesota had both finished in last place in their respective divisions the previous season.
Jack Morris goes the distance in the game, blanking the Braves, 1-0, in the Twins’ ten-inning, dramatic walk-off win at the Metrodome. The 36 year-old right-hander, who posts a 2-0 record along with a 1.17 ERA during his three starts, is named the Most Valuable Player of the Fall Classic.
2002 In the team’s 42nd season, the Angels finally win a World Series title by beating the Giants, 4-1, in Game 7 at Edison Field. Garret Anderson’s three-run double provides enough offense for John Lackey to become the first rookie to win a seventh game since 1909 when Babe Adams accomplished the feat for the Pirates.
2004 Under the moon’s reddish tint caused by a lunar eclipse, the Red Sox exorcised 86 years of agonizing losses by winning their first World Series since 1918. In one of the most dominating Fall Classic performances, Boston, who never trailed during the four games, blanks the Cardinals, 3-0, to complete the sweep.
The Astros send out their waiver-trade-deadline acquisition par excellence, RHP Justin Verlander. All Verlander has done since coming over from the Tigers is win nine games without a loss, including four postseason games this year. He’ll be opposed by the Dodgers’ LHP Rich Hill, who’s pitched nine innings in two starts in the postseason without a decision.
1981 In Game 5 at Dodger Stadium, Pedro Guerrero’s and Steve Yeager’s back-to-back solo home runs in the seventh inning off Yankee southpaw Ron Guidry give Los Angeles a 2-1 win, its third victory in the Fall Classic. Guerrero and Yeager, along with teammate Ron Cey, will be named as the co-recipients of the World Series MVP award.
1986 One strike from defeat, the Mets tie the game on a wild pitch and then, thanks to Bill Buckner’s error, win Game 6, knotting the Fall Classic at three games apiece. This event was selected as one of baseball’s 30 most memorable moments. “If one picture is worth a thousand words, you have seen about a million words, but more than that, you have seen an absolutely bizarre finish to Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.” – Vin Scully, describing the aftermath of the play after a long silence.
2005 The first World Series game ever to be played in the state of Texas proves to be memorable when Geoff Blum’s 14th inning solo home run (the 30th Major Leaguer to hit a HR in his first World Series AB) becomes the beginning of the end of the longest Fall Classic contest ever played. The 7-5 victory, which gives the White Sox a commanding 3-0 advantage over the Astros, takes 5 hours, 41 minutes to complete, with the 14 frames equaling the number of innings the Red Sox needed to beat the Dodgers in Game 2 of the 1916 series.
2005 Mark Buehrle becomes the first pitcher to start and save consecutive World Series contests. After receiving a no-decision starting Game 2, the 26 year-old southpaw gets the final out in the 14th inning of Game 3 to record a save as the White Sox beat the Astros, 7-5.
It’s lefty versus lefty in Game One, as Dallas Keuchel (14-5, 2.90 ERA) takes the hill for the Astros and Clayton Kershaw (18-4, 2.31 ERA) does the same for the Dodgers. Keuchel is 2-1 in three starts this postseason with a 2.60 ERA, while Kershaw is 2-0 in his three starts this postseason with a 3.63 ERA.
I didn’t realize the two managers worked together in San Diego and are good friends.
This is the first time two 100-win teams will face each other in the Series since the Reds and Orioles in 1970 (the Series Roger Angell of The New Yorker called “The Baltimore Vermeers”).
Today in baseball history:
1972 Jackie Robinson, weakened by complications of heart disease and diabetes, dies of a heart attack in his home in North Stamford, Connecticut. The 53-year-old nearly-blind baseball pioneer and social activist’s death comes nine days after his appearance at the World Series, where he threw the ceremonial first pitch before Game 2 at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium.
1987 The Twins, amidst the deafening crowd noise of the hanky-waving fans in the Metrodome, stave off elimination when the team scores a total of eight runs in the fifth and sixth frames of Game 6 to beat the Cardinals, 11-5. Minnesota’s southpaw-swinging Kent Hrbek hits a sixth-inning grand slam off left-handed Ken Dayley to put the contest out of reach for the Redbirds.
1992 In Game 6, Canada wins its first-ever World Series when the Blue Jays beat the Braves at Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium, 4-3. Forty-one year-old Dave Winfield’s 11th inning double is the key hit in Toronto’s victory.
Game Seven. Winner goes on, loser goes home. Elimination game. All the marbles. Pick your cliché.
Tonight at 8:00 PM EDT, 5:00PM PT, the Yankees play the Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston in one of those Game Sevens.
Tonight’s pitchers are the same men who started Game Three: for the Yankees, veteran lefty C.C.Sabathia; for the Astros, RHP Charlie Morton. In the earlier game Sabathia went six scoreless innings, while Morton went only 3 2/3 innings and gave up seven runs. Sabathia has a 2.30 ERA with 19 strikeouts over 15 2/3 innings in three starts this postseason. Morton started Game Four of the ALDS against the Red Sox and went 4 1/3 innings, giving up seven hits but only two runs in that game, which was won by the Astros to clinch the series and move on to the ALCS.
This day in baseball history:
1957 With major league baseball coming to the Bay Area, the Giants buy the single A minor league team in Arizona for the purpose of moving the San Francisco Seals to the nearby desert. Their new farm team will be known as the Phoenix Giants.
1973 In Game Seven, the hometown A’s capture their second consecutive World Championship, defeating the Mets, 5-2, when Darold Knowles, coming out of the bullpen with two outs and two on in the ninth, gets Wayne Garrett to pop out. The 31 year-old southpaw reliever, who hurls 6.1 Fall Classic innings without giving up an earned run en route to recording two saves, is the first pitcher to appear in all seven games of a World Series.
1975 In the bottom of the 12th inning of Game Six at Fenway Park, Red Sox backstop Carlton Fisk hits one of the most dramatic home runs in major league history, forcing a seventh game with the Reds. In 2002 this event, seen by a record-75.9 million viewers, will be chosen as one of baseball’s most memorable moments.
1976 The Reds beat the Yankees, 7-2, to complete the World Series sweep over the Bronx Bombers for their second consecutive World Championship. The ‘Big Red Machine’ is powered by Johnny Bench’s two-run and three-run home runs.
1980 In front of 65,838 fans at Veterans Stadium, the Phillies win their first World Series in the 98-year history of the franchise by defeating the Royals in Game 6, 4-1. Winning pitcher Steve Carlton limits Kansas City to 4 hits in seven innings, and Tug McGraw hurls the last two frames to pick up the save.
2000 In the longest World Series game ever played, the Yankees take Game 1 of the Subway Series, thanks to Jose Vizcaino’s 12th inning two-out single, defeating the Mets, 4-3, in four hours and fifty-one minutes. The victory surpasses the streak established by the Murderers’ Row clubs as the present Bronx Bombers win their 13th consecutive World Series game.
2009 When he is issued a first-inning walk by L.A.’s starter Vicente Padilla (Note: Vicente Padilla?!?) in Game 5 of the NLCS, Chase Utley ties a postseason record by reaching base in 25 consecutive contests. The slugging second baseman, who has reached base in every postseason game in which he has participated except for his first in 2007, equals Boog Powell’s mark established from 1966-1971 playing for the Orioles.
The Yankees have two games in which to win one, while for the Astros this is an elimination game. It’s a rematch of Game Two’s starting pitchers.
In Game Two, the Astros’ RHP Justin Verlander threw that most rare of things in this era, a complete game, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and striking out 13. His opponent will again be RHP Luis Severino, who was pulled from that game after just four innings “for precautionary reasons.” Before he left he’d given up just one run on two hits to the Astros.
Today in baseball history:
1988 The Dodgers become World Champions when Orel Hershiser limits the opposition to four singles in Game 5 of the World Series and beats the A’s, 5-1. The right-hander, who also won Game 2, is named the Most Valuable Player of the Fall Classic.
2004 After losing the first three games of the ALCS, the Red Sox win four consecutive games to win the American League pennant, beating the Yankees in the Bronx, 10-3. Johnny Damon’s two home runs, including a grand slam in the fourth, and Derek Lowe’s solid pitching performance help Boston to join the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 1975 New York Islanders as the only teams in the history of professional sports to overcome a 3-0 series deficit to win a seven-game series.
The Dodgers try to close out the series again today with LHP Clayton Kershaw (18-4, 2.31 ERA) pitching against the Cubs’ LHP Jose Quintana (11-11, 4.15 ERA). It’s a rematch of last Saturday’s Game One pitchers.
Kershaw went five innings in that game and got no decision. Quintana also went five innings and got no decision, giving up the tying runs and watching his bullpen and offense fail him.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1981 The first Canadian pennant hopes are dashed when Dodger Rick Monday’s ninth inning two-out dramatic home run beats the Expos, 2-1, in the deciding game of the NLCS. It will be the first and last time in franchise history the team makes it into the postseason until 2012, when the Washington Nationals, the team’s new name and home for the past seven seasons, finishes first in the National League East Division.
In other baseball history, in 2004 in an ALCS game which features two reversed calls by the umpires, the Red Sox become the first team in baseball history to force a Game 7 after trailing the series 0-3. Boston, which was three outs from being swept in Game 4, gets an outstanding pitching performance from Curt Schilling to beat the Yankees at Yankee Stadium 4-2. Schilling played with a dislocated ankle tendon, thus this game was called “the bloody sock” game. Also, in the NLCS Game 7 in 2006 Endy Chavez made a leaping catch at Shea’s left field fence, grabbing a ball seemingly destined to be a Scott Rolen two-run home run and starting an unbelievable double play. The heroics are overshadowed in the ninth inning as Yadier Molina hits a two-run homer and Carlos Beltran, who has the best HR ratio (11/81) in postseason history, looks at a third strike with the bases loaded with Mets, giving the Cardinals a 3-1 victory and the pennant.