Archive for the ‘World Series’ Category

Perhaps it’s just me, but I feel like there was something artful about the way Fox’s broadcast captured Koji Uehara‘s game-ending pickoff of Kolten Wong last night. Unwittingly artful, maybe, but still artful.

Turn up the volume loud enough and you can hear the woman with the Angry Birds hat yelling “Come on, Beltran!” She has no reason to believe this game would be over within a fraction of a second. Neither did Kolten Wong, neither did Koji Uehara, neither did Carlos Beltran and neither did anybody in the Fox production truck.

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MLB: World Series-Boston Red Sox at St. Louis Cardinals

Nothing makes me feel dumber than typing the following sentence – the Boston Red Sox won Game Four the World Series because of guts. They aren’t in the World Series because of guts or intangibles or magic potions but they certainly look like a team on level footing because of guts. John Farrell, the erudite manager who combs through myriad reports and confidential cables from his front office brain trust, is making decisions that can only by his guts. His feel. Educated guesses informed by a watchful eye and a hopeful heart.

When half the baseball consuming public was ready to pull the plug on Clay Buchholz when his turn in the batting order was due up in the third inning, Farrell stuck with him. Farrell ended up ringing four excellent innings out of the stringy hair of his weary starter. His velocity obviously lacking, Buchholz worked around his lessened zip and pitched great, allowing three hits and three walks. “Great” might be strong but “good enough” fits nicely, given the situation. Dare we say…gutsy?

Then Farrell leaned on Felix Doubront for nearly three innings. Eight invaluable outs after Doubront threw two equally strong innings the day before. Farrell might not have the lefty again until Game Seven but going down three games to one is simple not an option.

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MLB: World Series-Boston Red Sox at St. Louis Cardinals

Game Three of the 2013 World Series was a vast and storied affair. It contains multitudes, layers, and, as I wrote last night, cascading ripples of insanity.

Those ripples built into a rogue wave that suck the Edmund Fitzfarrell, drowning all sorts of great little talking points and moments on which the game might have turned. More than anything, this game provides ample opportunities for second guessing. Let’s count’em down in the Second Guessing Power Rankings!

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MLB: World Series-Boston Red Sox at St. Louis Cardinals

This game, man. This game. There are about one million different things that made this game what it became – an all-time classic. It isn’t often that a game culminates with three umpires sitting behind microphones explain the arcane rules that make baseball baseball, but there they were. And here are the Cardinals and Red Sox, three games into an inexplicable World Series.

This game had it all. The weird sloppiness of the first two games, some unforgettable moments that were instantly forgotten and baseball’s most timeless trait – esoteric record-keeping – leaving an indelible mark on the series forever. It had surges and responses, moments that made your scratch your head and moments that made you scream. It was a supertanker steaming its way toward history, the waves from each team lolling it back and forth in the current. The ship listed one way and then the other before all hell broke loose in the ninth inning.

There were questionable calls and then questionable substitutions – everything about this 5-4 Cardinals victory will be analyzed and scrutinized for years to come.

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The moment you’re born, you start dying.

This is a particularly pessimistic outlook on one’s existence, but it’s also painfully accurate. We’re in the constant process of moving toward our own demise. Certainly, good things happen along the way. We learn. We find things that give us a sense of fulfilment. We seek out little moments of happiness, but then, we shuffle off.

The life of a Major League pitcher is a microcosm of all this. From the moment a pitcher throws his first pitch in the league, his velocity begins to decline, and with it, a good measure of everything else he’s capable of doing on the mound.

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MLB: World Series-St. Louis Cardinals at Boston Red Sox

The Cardinals weren’t going to play worse than they did in Game One and, for betterment of us all, they did not. As it turns out, the Red Sox were also unlikely to play as well as they did in Game One. It wasn’t as ugly as the Cardinals defensive performance in the first game of the series but the Red Sox picked the least opportune moment to get wild and loose in the field.

Both managers really starting yanking levers and pushing buttons but, in the end, it was Mike Matheny‘s dominant bullpen that bested Farrell’s friends 4-2 to even the World Series at one game apiece.

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MLB: World Series-St. Louis Cardinals at Boston Red Sox

Last night’s game was a little on the weird side – the Red Sox scored eight runs but did it in the most efficient manner possible – taking advantage of poor fielding to jump out to a big early lead. Dave Cameron wrote about how they put up so many runs while putting up offensive numbers that don’t quite jive with the actual game outcome.

While delving into single-game rate stats might be perplexing, it did get me thinking about the unusual nature of their offensive outburst. The Red Sox sent just 36 men to the plate in scoring their 8 eight runs. It reminded me of a phenomenon mentioned more than once in this space this year – the “keep your opponent under 38 plate appearances and you win” thing.

During Spring Training, Joe Lemire of Sports Illustrated wrote about the Orioles in-house metric that demonstrated the value in holding teams under 39 plate appearances. The Red Sox were the home team so they don’t fit squarely into the scope of the study. But Cameron used a table which showed the Cardinals only sent 34 batters to the plate, which is nothing short of a death sentence.

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