The visiting Red Sox need to win today to stay alive. They’ll give the ball to RHP Nathan Eovaldi (postseason 2-1, 5.51 ERA) and ask him to keep the Astros down. The Astros ask RHP Luis Garcia (postseason 0-1, 24.55 ERA) to end the Series right now.
Today in baseball history John Updike published his ode to Ted Williams as “The Kid” played his final game at Fenway Park in 1960, in 1975 the Reds beat the Red Sox in a World Series filled with reversals, home runs, and foul balls waved fair, Albert Pujols homered three times in Game Three of the 2011 World Series, and in 2016 the Cubs beat the Dodgers in Game Six of the NLCS to win their first pennant in 71 years.
A battle of aces! The Mets send RHP Jacob DeGrom (3-5, 3.75 ERA) to the hill to face the Dodgers’ LHP Clayton Kershaw (4-0, 3.33 ERA). DeGrom has made five starts in May and has a 2.81 ERA to show for them. He was 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers last season. Kershaw made his fifth quality start of the season last time out, and he’s got a 19-game unbeaten streak going dating back to last year. He’s 10-0 with nine no-decisions in that time, the longest active streak in the major leagues.
When Williams hit .406, the average major league game had 7.1 strikeouts. Now there are 17.5 strikeouts every game. Today the average reliever–not your All-Star closer, just your garden-variety reliever–strikes out batters at the same rate Sandy Koufax did (9.3 per nine innings). Of course, the average reliever also throws 94 mph with a wicked slider and every team is stocked with them.
R.I.P., Bill Buckner. The Dodgers traded him to the Cubs for Rick Monday in 1977, and you’d have to say the Cubs got the better of the deal. However, Garvey was entrenched at 1B and the newly-acquired Dusty Baker was signed to play left field. Buckner was coming off a serious ankle injury, the Dodgers didn’t think he could play center and they wanted more power at that position than they thought Buckner could provide. Monday promptly had the worst year of his career and after one more year as a starter he spent four years as a reserve with the Dodgers, retiring in 1984. Buckner went on to have 10 more productive years including a batting title in 1980.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1904 Giants’ infielder Dennis McGann steals five bases to establish a major league record. The 32 year-old Kentucky native’s thievery helps New York beat Brooklyn at the Polo Grounds, 3-1.
Also! In 2017
“We are honored to pay tribute to the 25th anniversary of Homer at the Bat.The Simpsons has left an impressive imprint on our culture as the longest-running American sitcom, and ‘Homer at the Bat’ remains as popular today as when the episode aired in 1992. ” – Hall of Fame President JEFF IDELSON, commenting about the Cooperstown celebration of the animated series.
The Baseball Hall of Fame inducts fictional cartoon character Homer Simpson as part of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Simpsons episode ‘Homer at the Bat.’ As part of the ceremony, a roundtable discussion of the much-beloved episode includes comments by real Hall of-Famers Wade Boggs and Ozzie Smith, who played themselves on the animated show, as well as executive producers Al Jean and Mike Reiss, director Jim Reardon, executive story editor Jeff Martin and casting director Bonnie Pietila.