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.
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.
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).
Game Five doesn’t have the resonance Game Seven does, but it’s the end of the line for one of these teams. The Yankees have to feel pretty good that they’ve gotten this far after fighting through the Wild Card Game to get into the series, while the Indians are probably annoyed that they lost two straight in the Bronx after taking a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
The Yankees send C.C. Sabathia to the mound to face the Indians’ ace Corey Kluber. Again. This is a rematch of Game Two’s pitchers. In that game Kluber got knocked out early but the Indians came back from a five-run deficit and won in 13 innings. Sabathia gave the Yankees 5 1/3 innings and gave up four runs. The Indians also lost their slugger Edwin Encarnacion to an ankle sprain in the first inning and he hasn’t played since.
Today in baseball history:
1948 In Game 6 of the Fall Classic, the Indians beat Boston at Braves Field, 4-3, to capture the team’s second World Series title in franchise history. Bob Lemon gets the win, with Gene Bearden pitching the final one and two-thirds innings to earn the save.
1965 In Game 5, a 7-0 victory over the Twins at Dodger Stadium, Willie Davis becomes the second player to steal three bases in a World Series game. The L.A. center fielder joins Pirates shortstop Honus Wagner, who accomplished the feat on the same date 56 years ago against Detroit in Game 3 of the 1909 Fall Classic.
1975 As the first host of Saturday Night Live, George Carlin compares baseball to football in the opening monologue of the ground-breaking show. The comedian jokes the national pastime a gentler game, portraying the sport as one which is pastoral and played in a park as opposed to football, in which the objective is to march downfield and penetrate enemy territory in a stadium.
1999 An ailing Pedro Martinez, with both starters ineffective in the decisive Game 5 of the ALCS and the score tied at 8-8 in the fourth, enters the game and doesn’t yield another hit to the Indians for the next six innings. Troy O’Leary collects a grand slam and a three-run home run, both following an intentional pass to Nomar Garciaparra, contributing to the Red Sox’ 12-8 victory at Cleveland’s Jacobs Field.
The Red Sox ask LHP Drew Pomeranz (17-6, 3.32 ERA) to stop the Astros in his first playoff start. He appeared out of the bullpen for the Sox last year. The ‘Stros counter with LHP Dallas Keuchel (14-5, 2.90 ERA). Pomeranz beat the Astros last Sunday, allowing three hits and one run in six innings. Keuchel has faced the Red Sox three times in his career, two of them starts, and has a 9.88 ERA to show for it.
The Yankees ask hulking LHP C.C. Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA) to throw a spanner into the Indians’ works in Game Two. He’ll face Cy Young Award front-runner RHP Corey Kluber (18-4, 2.25 ERA), whose record since June 1 is startling: 15-2 with a 1.62 ERA in 23 starts. This is a storyline the writers like: former Indians ace Sabathia (c. 2008) versus current ace Kluber. Kluber started against the Yankees twice in August and gave up just three runs on six hits with 18 strikeouts in 17 innings. Sabathia made 27 starts this year but didn’t face the Indians. He has a ton of postseason experience: he’s made 18 starts and gone 9-5 with a 4.53 ERA.
On this date in baseball history Babe Ruth became the first man to hit three HRs in a single game in the World Series in 1926. He did it again in 1928. In 1945 William Stanis cursed the Cubs because they wouldn’t allow his ticket-holding billy goat Murphy into Wrigley Field for Game Four of the World Series. October 6 is also the anniversary of “the midge game” in Cleveland, when rookie reliever Joba Chamberlain was so distracted by the bugs that he threw a wild pitch which allowed the Indians to tie Game Two of the ALDS in 2007.
Youth versus experience is the feature here in a battle of lefties. The Dodgers send out just-turned-twenty Julio Urias (5-2, 3.69 ERA) to face the Yankees’ forty-something C.C. Sabathia (8-12, 4.27 ERA). “Sabathia was already pitching in the Major Leagues when Urias was 4 years old.” The Yankee pitcher has made 479 starts in his career but only two of them against the Dodgers, one in 2008 and the other in 2010. Urias made his first big league start in Queens against the Mets in May, so he’s pitched in the big town before.