For pulling Rich Hill in the fourth in Game Two when Hill clearly lost his stuff, Dave Roberts got roasted because of what happened five innings later. For leaving Yu Darvish in Game Three to get jumped for four in the second on a night Darvish had no stuff to begin with, it wouldn’t be out of line to deep fry him.
Was the second game of this World Series played in Dodger Stadium—or Bellevue? Were those baseball players we watched—or the inmates becoming the asylum?
World Series heroes past had nothing on Wednesday night’s, and no past Series goat ever got as much time to redeem himself as Wednesday’s, or proclaimed it with such becalmed near-defiance.
Bill Mazeroski, Carlton Fisk, Dave Henderson, Mookie Wilson, Tino Martinez and Derek Jeter, Scott Spiezio and Darin Erstad, Miguel Cabrera, Dave Roberts and David Ortiz, Lance Berkman and David Freese, David Ross and Rajai Davis? Who they?
If you’re looking for perspective with the World Series underway, you could always begin with this. No pitcher struck out as many as eleven Astros in a game on the regular season. Until they ran into Clayton Kershaw in Game One.
For that matter, no pitcher in Dodger silks had struck out ten or more in any World Series game since Game Seven of the 1965 World Series—a fellow named Sandy Koufax, who struck out fifteen Twins that day—until Kershaw punched out his eleven Tuesday night.
There are some things about which baseball players ought not to pop off, when it comes to their former clubs, especially when they’re about to face said clubs in a World Series. Things like .220/.273/.300 slash lines against their former teams. Things like their .258/.307/.335 slash lines when playing for said former teams, not to mention their measly two home runs and nine runs batted in.
Oh, well. Cinderella learned the hard way that fairy godmothers have only limited extra dispensations. Joe Hardy learned the harder way that you can fool the devil only once, after you were fool enough to cut a deal with him in the first place.
And if Applegate needed any way to hammer the point home, he couldn’t have chosen better than Clayton Kershaw looking like near-vintage Clayton Kershaw when he needed most to look that way in a postseason game.
Or, turning the Cub bullpen into arsonists.
Cinderella bought one extra day, at minimum, before the coach turns back to a pumpkin. Joe Hardy had Applegate blocked at all gates. A guy who began Wednesday evening having gone 0-for-the-postseason at the plate hit two out.
And nobody had to steal a base with two out in the bottom of the ninth, either. It didn’t get that far in Wrigley Field. If it had, instead of singing “Go, Cubs, Go!” when it ended in the arduous 3-2 Cubs win, Cub Country would have been singing the Rolling Stones’s chestnut, “19th Nervous Breakdown.”
With one swing in the bottom of the ninth Sunday night, Justin Turner gave the Dodgers and their fans something they haven’t had most of this postseason. Just when it looked like both League Championship Series were going to be the anti-division series that preceded them, along came a little old-fashioned off-the-charts heroism.
Sweep the Diamondbacks just to get to this LCS in the first place? Boooooooring. Get to a 2-0 National League Championship Series lead like methodical businessmen or like John McGraw’s ancient “scientific” baseball men? Pfft. Too easy.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon doesn’t like Chicago’s soda tax. It took a play at the plate in Game One of the National League Championship Series to learn that.
Because Dodger shortstop Charlie Culberson was thrown out at the plate in the bottom of the seventh—no, he wasn’t, after Cubs catcher Willson Contreras blocked the plate before he had left fielder Kyle Schwarber’s throw in his possession.
Before Cub Country begins salivating over the prospects of the Cubs reaching the World Series for a second straight year—after all, they’re the only one between last year’s combatants to get as far as a League Championship Series this time—a sobering truth must be faced. They’re going into their tango with the Dodgers with one and a half arms tied behind their backs.
Psychologically speaking, when you get Sandy Koufax’s endorsement for a trip to the World Series it’s gilt-edged insurance. Speaking in baseball, alas, the Dodgers’ more than impressive sweep of the Diamondbacks out of their National League division series was just step one.
The Dodgers await the net results of the Nationals-Cubs division series. Which of them proves the Dodgers’ League Championship Series opponent didn’t exactly seem to faze Koufax as he stood outside the Chase Field visitors’ clubhouse while the Dodgers partied heartily enough after Monday’s 3-1 win.