You can all relax. For now. The National League adopting the designated hitter is mere speculation. For now. Even Commissioner Rob Manfred, a man who seems decisive one moment and hesitant the next, particularly on very serious issues, says the “most likely result on the designated hitter for the foreseeable future is the status quo.” For now.
Hands up to everyone who expected Game Six to be a blowout on either side. Join the club, I didn’t expect it either. So let’s be reasonable, consider the source, and call what the Kansas City Royals did Tuesday night a 10-0 slashout.
Now, hands up to everyone who thought the Royals would hang up a seven-spot in the second inning Tuesday night. Join the club, I didn’t expect that, either. But there they were. The Roach Coach’s windows were wiped, the oil was changed, the tank was filled with fuel, and the Royals sent it into runaway train mode before the San Francisco Giants had a clue to what was hitting them.
We’ve learned two more things from Game Five. Thing one: Madison Bumgarner is traveling in the World Series company of Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling, Whitey Ford, and Lefty Grove. Thing two: H-D-H, or at least H and D, are only human, too.
Bumgarner pitched a masterpiece of a shutout Sunday night, Kelvim Herrera left first and second for Wade Davis in the eighth only to see them score on Juan Perez’s fat-the-calf double, and the San Francisco Giants put themselves on the threshold of becoming the second team other than the Boston Red Sox to collect three World Series rings in the 21st century.
The seventh inning proved to be the poison that took down Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League division series. The sixth inning Wednesday night proved to be poisonous for the San Francisco Giants in Game Two of the World Series. In more than one way.
Some put it this way: The Kansas City Royals only have to win four out of the next six games, and they may only have to deal with Madison Bumgarner in the fourth of the six, if the World Series gets that far in the first place. Makes it sound simple enough, right? All they have to do otherwise is keep the San Francisco Giants from swarming forth right out of the chute.
Is it unreasonable for Cardinals fans to ask themselves whether their team is trying, literally, to throw this National League Championship Series to the Giants? Bad enough the Cardinals lost Game Three on a walk-off throwing error. Putting the Giants on the threshold of the World Series with two bad throws in Game Four’s sixth inning is worse.
Sorry to disappoint you. It’s not that Madison Bumgarner’s Wednesday night masterpiece was anything resembling boring, but that masterpiece plus the Giants’ bludgeoning of the Pirates in the National League’s wild card game wasn’t exactly the kind of hair raiser the Royals and the Athletics raised up the night before.
At this writing, the defending world champion San Francisco Giants—as in, the twice-in-three-years-defending champs—are in a dogfight with the Colorado Rockies for the National League West’s sewer. Adding insult to further insult, the Giants were eliminated mathematically from postseason contention on 11 September. And the Giants’ ignominious collapse from the top of the heap to the bottom of the sea has been what the conspiracy theorists seem to wish the original 9/11 atrocity was, an inside job.
“We could not find our game in the World Series,” Miguel Cabrera mourned, while the San Francisco Giants partied heartily in Comerica Park’s visiting clubhouse. Actually, the Detroit Tigers found their game in Game Four, when they needed it most. The problem was finding it against these San Francisco Giants, who were so accustomed to playing with elimination a game away they didn’t know how to get comfortable on the threshold of a sweep.
Two teams who’ve made a fine art of shoving back with their backs against the proverbial wall returned to San Francisco to square off in Game Six of the National League Championship Series Sunday night. This time, it was the San Francisco Giants with their backs to that wall—again—and a pitcher who’d gone from prospect to reclamation project making certain enough that the St. Louis Cardinals joined them in the same position for a seventh game.