Baseball government seeks ways to reduce the time of games. One of them, reportedly, is going to be tested in the minors, namely that extra innings will begin with each team coming to bat starting with a man on second, on the house. That should be rejected as utter foolishness, of course, but there are ways to shorten games without diluting them.
Jolly Cholly Grimm started Hy Vandenburg instead of Hank Borowy. The College of Coaches was decertified in its crib. Leo Durocher didn’t burn out his regulars and make nervous wrecks out of his subs and rookies. Leon Durham fielded the grounder. Steve Garvey made a long out. Dusty Baker lifted Mark Prior to start the eighth. Alex Gonzalez fielded the hopper cleanly and turned the double play.
Apparently, nobody showed the Cubs Jason Kipnis’s Game Three postgame remarks. Just as apparent in Game Four, it almost wouldn’t have mattered if someone had.
The Indians spent the fourth game of this World Series earning the respect they think, not unreasonably, they’ve been denied. A 7-2 win which felt like they were never behind despite an embryonic 1-0 Cub lead does that for you.
Jason Kipnis, the Indians’ two-time All-Star second baseman, grew up in a Chicago suburb with dreams of playing the World Series in Wrigley Field. Dreams shared by a few million Cub fans who couldn’t wait to get the party started when the World Series finally came to Wrigley Field after lo these many decades.
And after his Indians managed to squeeze their way to a 1-0 Game Three win in the Confines, Kipnis took into consideration the broken hearts in the ballpark, in front of the television sets, next to the radios, wherever Cub Country congregated, and had words for those hearts.
That was then: The team with the most ex-Cubs lost. This could be now: The team with the best ex-Red Sox wins.
The Cubs’ ex-Red Sox: Theo Epstein (president of baseball operations), Jon Lester (the Cubs’ World Series Game One starting pitcher), and John Lackey. The Indians’ ex-Red Sox: Terry Francona (manager), Mike Napoli (first baseman/designated hitter), and Andrew Miller (extraterrestrial relief pitcher).
Factors to consider:
The Blue Jays picked the absolute wrong time to get shut out for the first time in postseason play. Ever. And thanks to a kid who’d only thrown eleven major league innings ever until Wednesday afternoon, aided and abetted by that skin-tight bullpen, the Indians are going to the World Series after hammering down the Jays, 3-0.
If the Blue Jays have any prayer of coming back to win an American League Championship Series in which they opened two games in the hole, they have but one recourse. They’re going to have to arrange Andrew Miller’s kidnapping.
“[B]aseball is so rooted in traditions,” tweeted Dodger pitcher Brandon McCarthy, after the Indians beat the Jays a second straight time Saturday afternoon, “that hitters still take their bats to the plate against Andrew Miller even though they’re not needed.”
Both American League Championship Series combatants get there by way of division series sweeps. For the Indians it had to be a little extra special to get there by sweeping the Red Sox.
Twelve years ago Indians manager Terry Francona managed an entirely different club of Red Sox to the Promised Land the franchise hadn’t seen since a kid named Ruth was in the starting rotation.
Attention, Buck Showalter. Pull up a chair, Mike Matheny. Join up, any other manager who thinks there’s no such thing as using your best relief pitchers in any situation other than closing it out when you take a lead to the ninth.
Class was in session in Cleveland’s Progressive Field Thursday night. Schoolmaster, Indians manager Terry Francona. Lecturers, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen. Special guest victims, the Red Sox.
First, the Tigers all but threw the proverbial towel in on 2015 when they unloaded three otherwise key parts at the non-waiver trade deadline. Then, they showed they weren’t kidding by letting general manager Dave Dombrowski go just months before his current contract would expire.
“They basically told me they decided to change direction of leadership in the organization,” Dombrowski told the Detroit Free Press a day later. ”It’s kind of like an end of an era. You never like to see it end.” But he said he saw it end when his assistant GM Al Avila showed up at the ballpark Tuesday and looked as though something just wasn’t right.