Ah, Game Seven. I wrote this five years ago on my blog, and I see no reason to change my mind.
There’s no more dramatic phrase in sports, as far as I’m concerned. I’ve said so before and I’ll say it again: Game Seven is evocative of heroics on the field in do-or-die circumstances: Bill Mazeroski’s and Joe Carter’s home runs, Sid Bream’s slide, Carlos Beltran’s strikeout, Luis Gonzalez’s dribbler off Mariano Rivera, Koufax’s gutty 10K, three-hit shutout on two day’s rest … so many instances of melodrama.
Today’s edition offers two former Cy Young Award winners, righthanders Max Scherzer for the visiting Nationals and Zack Greinke for the Astros. I’m sure Scherzer will be on a very short leash with all hands on deck to relieve him if the neck spasms which prevented him from starting yesterday recur. Greinke dodged and weaved for 4 2/3 innings in Game Three of this series in a game the Astros eventually won.
It’ll be the MLB debut for the Dodgers’ RHP Tony Gonsolin, who’s a graduate of St. Mary’s College in Northern California east of Oakland. He’s only been in eight games at the AAA level; he’s 1-1 with a 2.77 ERA. He’ll face the D-Backs’ RHP Taylor Clarke (1-3, 6.48 ERA), who started his big league career with two good starts this season but has gone 0-2 with a 10.00 ERA in his next five. Last Friday he lost to the Giants, giving up six runs in three innings.
1944 At the Polo Grounds with over 50,000 fans looking on, the New York major league teams face each other in a six inning three-team game (a team played consecutive innings against the other two teams then sat out an inning) to raise money for war bonds. The charity contest, billed as the Tri-Cornered Baseball Game, ends with the final score of Dodgers 5, Yankees 1, Giants 0.
1968 Cardinals right-hander Bob Gibson tosses his fifth consecutive shutout as he blanks the Pirates, 3-0, in the first game of a doubleheader played at Busch Stadium. The future Hall of Famer’s accomplishment is one shy of the major league mark, set earlier in the month by Don Drysdale of the Dodgers.
1999 At Candlestick Park, Todd Hundley’s second homer of the day, a ninth inning three-run shot to deep right field off Giants’ closer Robb Nen, sparks the Dodgers’ 7-6 comeback win. Ellis Burks had put San Francisco ahead in the bottom of the eighth, 6-4, with a three-run homer off Alan Mills.
2011 Three days after Jim Riggleman’s sudden resignation, the Nationals name senior advisor Davey Johnson as the team’s manager for the remainder of the season. The 68 year-old former skipper compiled an 1148-888 (.564) record during his 14 years in the dugout with the Mets, Dodgers, Reds, and Orioles, finishing lower than third place on only three occasions.
Things of no great import that are nonetheless interesting, Number 317: In 1995 Before rejoining the Yankees to make a start in Chicago, Columbus Clipper starter Mariano Rivera pitches a five-inning no-hitter against the International League’s Rochester Red Wings in Ohio’s Cooper Stadium. During his tenure in the minor leagues, Mo, the future major league leader in career saves, is used primarily as a starter, starting 68 games, including seven complete contests, en route to compiling a 27-18 record along with a 2.35 ERA.
I had no clue Rivera had been a starter and that he was that good at it.
The Yankees start RHP Masahiro Tanaka (13-12, 4.74 ERA) on the road (6.48 ERA), where he was markedly worse than at home (3.22 ERA) this season. His opponent will be LHP Dallas Keuchel (14-5, 2.90 ERA), who’s 5-2 with a 1.24 ERA in seven career starts against the Yankees, including a three-hit six-inning shutout in the 2015 Wild Card Game in which he got the win.
Today in baseball history:
1960 At Forbes Field, Bill Mazeroski’s dramatic walk-off home run off Yankee hurler Ralph Terry breaks up a 9-9 tie, ending one of the most exciting seven game World Series ever played. Maz’s round-tripper remains the only home run ever to a win a World Series Game 7.
2001 The Yankees, being down 2-0 in the best-of-five series, stave off elimination, beating the A’s and Barry Zito, 1-0, thanks to the shutout pitching by Mike Mussina and Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada’s fifth-inning home run. Shortstop Derek Jeter backing up an errant relay throw down the first base line and flipping it home to cut down Jeremy Giambi as the potential tying run will be remembered as one of the best defensive plays in postseason history.