Oct 24

World Series Game One, 2017

Astros at Dodgers, 5:09 PM PT, TV: Fox

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.

Lineup:

Oct 23

WS Day Minus One

In his regular Dodgers Dugout column Houston Mitchell of the LA Times does a position-by-position comparison between the Dodgers and Astros, which I think is tilted a little toward his hometown team. But here’s what I found interesting in the column: a discussion of ticket pricing and a prescription for what to do about the secondary market.

There’s something wrong in the world when I can fly to Houston, stay overnight and buy a ticket for a World Series game there for cheaper than I can stay in L.A. and buy a ticket for a game here.

Places like StubHub are asking for $1,250 for a seat in the top deck. Unless you were the lucky ones to win the chance to buy tickets through the Dodgers.com lottery, there’s no way an average fan can attend a game. That’s a crime. I have kids to send to college. Am I supposed to tell them, “Sorry, no college for you so we can go to a World Series game?”

If I was the Dodgers, here’s what I would do:

1. Discover which Dodgers fans are selling their tickets through a secondary market for a jacked-up price and bar them from ever buying a postseason ticket again.

2. Buy up as many secondary tickets as I could and pull more names from the online lottery. Sell the tickets to those people.

I was curious and looked at StubHub; I discovered that the least-expensive ticket available for a game at Dodger Stadium was $950, and that was a week ago. I don’t know if Mitchell’s suggestion would work, but he’s definitely got a point. Of course, this isn’t new. I remember a Roger Angell column from 40 years ago in which he wrote of a conversation with a player in the Series who looked up in the stands and asked “where are all the people who were here all year,” meaning all the seats were now in the hands and fannies of corporations and the like, not the long-term fans.

Seager is healthy enough to play, they and he say. Also, Charlie Culberson kept the ball he caught for the final out of NLCS Game Four, but he hasn’t yet found a really good place to display it.

Here’s an interview with Orel Hershiser in which he insists that what he did in 1988 (and there’s a brief recap of the number of appearances he made in the postseason) could still be done by today’s athletes if needed, but lineups and bullpens are built differently now.

Sports Illustrated baseball writers predict the Series outcome.

Oct 21

ALCS Game Seven, 2017

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.
Oct 20

ALCS Game Six, 2017

Yankees at Astros, 5:00 PM PT, TV: FS1

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.
Oct 19

NLCS Game Five, 2017

Dodgers at Cubs, 5:00 PM PT, TV: TBS

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.

Lineup when available.

Oct 18

NLCS Game Four, 2017

Dodgers at Cubs, 6:00 PM PT, TV: TBS

The Dodgers send the very well-rested LHP Alex Wood (16-3, 2.72 ERA) to the mound to try to close out the series. The Cubs will ask RHP Jake Arrieta (14-10, 3.53 ERA) to put up a roadblock in front of the Dodgers’ seemingly-unstoppable steamroller.

Wood hasn’t pitched in three weeks; he was scheduled to start Game Four of the Dodgers’ NLDS but they swept the D-Backs in that series. He’s been throwing simulated games and yesterday he declared himself ready to go. Arrieta pitched in Game Four of the Cubs’ NLDS against the Nats, going four innings, throwing 90 pitches, giving up an earned run and losing 5-0. He’s a former Cy Young Award winner and once threw a no-hitter at the Dodgers; presumably they won’t take him lightly.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1988 At Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Mark McGwire goes deep off LA’s Jay Howell with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, giving the A’s a 2-1 victory for its only win in the Series. With Kirk Gibson’s heroics in Game 1, ‘Big Mac’s’ walk-off home run marks the first time that two game-winning round-trippers are hit in the same Fall Classic.
  • 2013 The Cardinals advance to their second World Series in three seasons, routing the Dodgers, 9-0, in Game 6 of the NLCS. St. Louis, behind the timely hitting of Carlos Beltran and the strong pitching performance of rookie right-hander Michael Wacha, beats Clayton Kershaw (16-9, 1.83) for the fourth time this season, including a pair of victories in this round of the postseason.

Lineup when available.

Grandal gets a start, Ethier and Utley get second starts, and Granderson gets a start. This may be the Dave Roberts “keep guys happy as much as I can within the needs of the team” approach to managing.

Oct 18

ALCS Game Five, 2017

Astros at Yankees, 2:00 PM PT, TV: FS1

The Astros send their ace LHP Dallas Keuchel (14-5, 2.90 ERA) to try to win the last game at Yankee Stadium in this series. He’ll face the Yankees’ RHP Masahiro Tanaka (13-12, 4.74 ERA). This is a rematch of the pitchers in Game One, in which Keuchel threw seven scoreless innings and gave up only one hit as Tanaka gave up two runs in six innings and the Astros won 2-1.

Today in Yankees’ history:

  • 1960“Resigned, fired, quit, discharged, use whatever you damn please. I’ll never make the mistake of being seventy again” – Casey Stengel, announcing his dismissal from the Yankees. The Yankees, five days after losing to the Pirates in Game 7 of the World Series, fire Stengel, believing he’s too old to manage. During his twelve-year tenure with the Bronx Bombers, the ‘Old Perfesser’ compiled a 1149-696 (.623) record, while capturing ten AL pennants and seven World Championships.
  • 1977 In Game 6 of the Fall Classic, Reggie Jackson, who also homered in his last at bat in the previous contest, hits three home runs on three consecutive pitches, propelling the Yankees to an 8-4 victory over the Dodgers at the ballpark in the Bronx. ‘Mr. October’s heroics assures the team of their twenty-first World Championship, their first since 1962.

Today in Astros’ history:

  • 2001 Larry Dierker, who left the Astros’ broadcast booth to take over the dugout duties as the team’s skipper in 1997, resigns as Houston manager (448-362, .553, four divisional titles), despite tying the Cardinals for the best record in the National League (93-69) and winning the Central Division. The team failed to win a playoff series in his five-year tenure, going 2-12 in postseason action.
Oct 17

NLCS Game Three, 2017

Dodgers at Cubs, 6:00 PM PT, TV: TBS

The visiting Dodgers send RHP Yu Darvish (10-12, 3.86 ERA) out to keep the Cubs at bay and take a 3-0 lead in the series. The Cubs counter with RHP Kyle Hendricks (7-5, 3.03 ERA). Darvish had a good outing in Game Three of the ALDS against the Diamondbacks, giving up one run on two hits in five innings while striking out seven and not walking anyone. Hendricks had an excellent start against the Nats in Game One of the NLDS when he allowed no runs, but a less-than-stellar one in Game Five when he gave up four runs on nine hits in four innings. He may take some confidence from his two NLCS starts against the Dodgers last year when he gave up only one run on five hits in 12 2/3 innings.

Here are several news items pertaining to the Dodgers and this series: first, from MLB: Memories of last year’s Game Six loss and the subsequent ring ceremonies this year might be a prod for the Dodgers. Second, SI’s Jay Jaffe writes about Yasiel Puig’s discipline and flair. And finally, Rich Hill is known for his curve, but it’s his fastball that’s doing heavy lifting this season.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1978 The Yankees capture their twenty-second and second consecutive World Championship, beating Los Angeles with a 7-2 victory at Dodger Stadium. Playoff hero Bucky Dent, who collects ten hits in the six-game series, is named the the Fall Classic’s Most Valuable Player.

Other historical note: in 1989 as the Giants and A’s get ready to play Game 3 of the World Series, the Bay Area is hit by the massive 6.9-magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake, which will be responsible for 63 deaths. The Candlestick Park contest is quickly postponed by Commissioner Fay Vincent, and he orders the evacuation of the ballpark.

Lineup:

Puig at cleanup. Pederson, Ethier and Utley starting. Grandal not starting. No siree, no lineup shakeups here.

Oct 17

ALCS Game Four, 2017

Astros at Yankees, 2:00 PM PT, TV: FS1

Despite yesterday’s resounding win, the Yankees are still down a game in this series. Today RHP Lance McCullers (7-4, 4.25 ERA) takes the hill for the Astros versus the Yankees’ RHP Sonny Gray (10-12, 3.55 ERA). This will be McCullers’ third postseason appearance; he went 6 1/3 innings in a start against the Royals in the 2015 ALDS and he pitched 3 innings of relief last week against the Red Sox, giving up two runs on three hits. Gray will be making his fourth postseason appearance; he started two games for the As in 2013 and started Game One of this year’s ALDS, going just 3 1/3 innings against the Indians while giving up three runs on three hits and four walks.

Today in Astros’ history:

  • 2004 In Game 4 of the NLCS at Minute Maid Park, Carlos Beltran goes deep in the seventh inning, giving the Astros an eventual 6-5 victory over the Cardinals. With the round-trippers, the Houston center fielder sets a new postseason record, hitting a homer in five consecutive play-off games, and ties Barry Bonds’ 2002 mark with a total of eight play-off round tippers.
  • 2005 The juiced Minute Maid Park crowd, anticipating the Astros’ first National League crown, after the first two batters are quickly retired, is ‘pulperized’ when Albert Pujols hits a two out three-run ninth inning homer. A two-strike single stroked by David Eckstein and a walk worked out by Jim Edmonds set the stage for the Cardinals’ dramatic 5-4 comeback.

Today in Yankees’ history:

  • 1964 The Yankees, who finished with a 99-63 record, fire Yogi Berra after the team drops the World Series to the Cardinals in seven games. The 39 year-old dismissed skipper will join the crosstown Mets as a coach, becoming team’s the manager in 1972, following Gil Hodges’ unexpected death in spring training. At the same time Johnny Keane, who had been rumored in August to be replaced as the Cardinals’ manager by Leo Durocher before the Redbirds surged to win the World Series, surprises team owner Gussie Busch and GM Bob Howsam with a letter of resignation that he had written at the end of September during the height of the pennant race with Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Cincinnati. The former St. Louis skipper will take the Yankee job, which opens as the result of the firing of Yogi Berra.
  • 1985 Billy Martin, who had become the team’s skipper for the fourth time after the Yankees fired Yogi Berra in April, is replaced by Lou Piniella. “Billy the Kid’ piloted the 97-64 Bronx Bombers to a second place finish, ending the season two games behind Toronto.
  • 2000 David Justice’s three-run homer propels the Yankees to their record 37th American League pennant in a come-from-behind victory over the Mariners, 9-7. The victory sets up a Subway Series in New York for the first time in 44 years.
  • 2003 Early editions of the N.Y. Post include an editorial claiming the Yankees lose to Boston and couldn’t get the job done in Game 7 of the ALCS. Although the Bronx Bombers did trail the Red Sox, the team rallies to beat their arch rival in 11 innings, 6-5.
Oct 16

ALCS Game Three, 2017

Astros at Yankees, 5:00 PM PT, TV: FS1

Down two games to none in the series, the Yankees ask LHP C.C. Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA) to be their stopper. The Astros counter with RHP Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA). Sabathia started Game Five of the ALDS against Cleveland and struck out nine over 4 1/3 innings, giving up five hits and two runs. David Robertson and Aroldis Chapman finished that game with a win for the Yankees. In Game 4 of the ALDS against the Red Sox, Morton’s first start of this postseason, he allowed two runs and struck out six over 4 1/3 innings. He was pulled in favor of Justin Verlander, who picked up the win in that deciding game.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1912 Fred Snodgrass’ 10th inning two-base error of pinch-hitter Clyde Engle’s routine pop fly in center field sets up the tying run en route to the 3-2 Red Sox victory over the Giants and a World Championship for Boston. The play, which will become known as “Snodgrass’ Muff”, is followed by his spectacular catch of a long drive hit by Tris Speaker, but the 20 year-old outfielder will always be remembered as a goat in the Fall Classic.
  • 1962 With the tying and winning runs in scoring position at Candlestick Park, Willie McCovey’s hard line drive is snagged by second baseman Bobby Richardson for the final out of the World Series. The Yankees win Game 7, beating the Giants, 1-0, capturing the franchise’s 20th World Championship.

  • 1969 The Mets, thanks to Ron Swoboda’s double and two Oriole errors in the eighth inning, win their fourth straight World Series game to become World Champions. Jerry Koosman tosses a five-hitter, beating Baltimore 5-3 in Game 5, a contest which will be best remembered for manager Gil Hodges winning the ‘shoe polish’ argument.
  • 2003 In Game 7 of the ALCS, the Yankees capture their 39th American League pennant, beating the Red Sox, 6-5, thanks to Aaron Boone’s 11th inning home run at the Bronx ballpark. The defensive replacement becomes the fifth player to end a postseason series with a homer, joining Bill Mazeroski (’60 Pirates, WS Game 7 vs. Yankees), Chris Chambliss (’76 Yankees, ALCS Game 5 vs. Royals), Joe Carter (’93 Blue Jays, WS Game 6 vs. Phillies), and Todd Pratt (’99 Mets, NLDS Game 4 vs. Diamondbacks).