Wednesday, October 29, 2014

World Series: Game Seven

With college basketball, I always have a sense that the game grows as the season goes on.  You start off in all these little gyms, all over the country, and the thing builds and builds until at the end, you're in an enormous football stadium, with a basketball game in front of 80,000 people.

But baseball feels different.  The game starts in Florida and Arizona in the winter, and then it spreads across the country in April.  For six months the game flourishes in big cities all over the United States -- New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco -- almost every significant metropolitan area in this country contains a place devoted to baseball, and night after night those places are filled with crowds, and noise, and laughter.  And then it all starts to wink out.  By the time school starts, those cities that are out of competition have mostly lost interest.  Then by the beginning of October only eight cities are still playing.  And then four, and then two.  And now baseball has gone quiet everywhere in America except for one stadium in Kansas City.  Outside of Kansas City, only the real baseball fans are still watching -- the folks who were just there for the sun, and the hot dogs, and the fifth-inning tee shirt cannon have long since left.  The Final Four is for everyone, but Game Seven of the World Series is for serious baseball fans -- one last night for the history books, before the lights go out for the rest of the year.

In 1979, Pittsburgh went to Baltimore and won Games Six and Seven of the 1979 World Series.  Since that time, the home team has won Game Seven nine times in a row:  1982 (Cardinals), 1985 (Royals), 1986 (Mets), 1987 (Twins), 1991 (Twins), 1997 (Marlins), 2001 (Diamondbacks), 2002 (Angels), and 2011 (Cardinals).

On the other hand, the visiting Giants have won eight post-season series in a row.

One of these streaks will end tonight.

The San Francisco Giants lost Game Seven in 1962 (to the Yankees) and in 2002 (to the Angels).  The Royals won Game Seven in 1985 (over the Cardinals).

Here are the lineups (with old-school 1970's style stats) for the last game of the year:

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS:
1.  Gregor Blanco, CF (.260, 5 HR, 38 RBI)
2.  Joe Panik, 2B (.305, 1 HR, 18 RBI in 73 games)
3.  Buster Posey, C (.311, 22 HR, 89 RBI)
4.  Pablo Sandoval, 3B (.279, 16 HR, 73 RBI)
5.  Hunter Pence, RF (.277, 20 HR, 74 RBI)
6.  Brandon Belt, 1B (.243, 12 HR, 27 RBI in 61 games)
7.  Michael Morse, DH (.279, 16 HR, 61 RBI)
8.  Brandon Crawford, SS (.246, 10 HR, 69 RBI)
9.  Juan Perez, LF (.170, 1 HR, 3 RBI in 100 at-bats)
Starting Pitcher:  Tim Hudson (9-13, 3.57 ERA)

KANSAS CITY ROYALS:
1.  Alcides Escobar, SS (.285, 3 HR, 50 RBI, 31 SB)
2.  Norichika Aoki, RF (.285, 1 HR, 43 RBI)
3.  Lorenzo Cain, CF (.301, 5 HR, 53 RBI, 28 SB)
4.  Eric Hosmer, 1B (.270, 9 HR, 58 RBI)
5.  Billy Butler, DH (.271, 9 HR, 66 RBI)
6.  Alex Gordon, LF (.266, 19 HR, 74 RBI)
7.  Salvador Perez, C (.260, 17 HR, 70 RBI)
8.  Mike Moustakas, 3B (.212, 15 HR, 54 RBI)
9.  Omar Infante, 2B (.252, 6 HR, 66 RBI)
Starting Pitcher:  Jeremy Guthrie (13-11, 4.13 ERA)

Any further thoughts will go in the comments.

76 comments:

  1. The betting markets like Kansas City tonight -- you would have to bet $145 on Kansas City to win $100.

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  2. Madison Bumgarner is available for the Giants tonight -- he is in the bullpen with the rest of the pitching staff.

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  3. The Giants go down 1-2-3 in the top of the 1st. The folks in Kansas City are thrilled.

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  4. Hudson walked Aoki, but had no other problems.

    After one inning, there is no score.

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  5. The Giants are in business now. Pedro Sandoval was hit by a pitch and then Hunter Pence lashed a single to left. The Giants have men on first and second with no one out.

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  6. The Giants are back to hitting line drives. Belt lines a single to right, and the bases are loaded with no one out.

    Michael Morse, former Washington National, comes to the plate.

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  7. Guthrie v. Morse with the bases loaded and no one out:

    Pitch 1: Foul
    Pitch 2: Deep fly out to right, Sandoval scores, Pence advances to third, Belt stays at first.

    Great AB by Morse.

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  8. Crawford hits a deep fly to center, and Pence comes home to make it 2-0. Great hitting from the 7 and 8 batters in the SF lineup.

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  9. Juan Perez strikes out to end the second, but the Giants put up two very professional runs. Fangraphs now gives San Francisco a 68 percent chance of victory.

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  10. On the Kansas City radio network, they just played clip of Andy Reid (coach of the Chiefs) urging the Royals to bring home the title.

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  11. Here come the Royals. Billy Butler starts off the bottom of the 2d with a single up the middle.

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  12. And now Alex Gordon clouts the first pitch he sees into the gap in right-center field. Butler comes all the way around to score. Gordon is at second with a double. San Francisco's lead is now 2-1.

    ANDY REID HAS INSPIRED THE ROYALS!

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  13. Hudson hits Salvador Perez, so the Royals will have the lead run on first with no one out.

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  14. Now Fangraphs gives the Royals a 54 percent chance of victory.

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  15. Salvador Perez appears to have been hurt pretty badly by that pitch, but he makes it down to first base.

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  16. The KC announcers comment that Hudson doesn't look much better than Peavy did last night. Of course, Peavy gave up 7 runs in the second inning.

    Moustakas flies out to left, and Gordon advances to third. So the Royals have runners at the corners with one out.

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    Replies
    1. Who are the Kansas City announcers? Steve Busby and Freddie Patek?

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    2. Denny Matthews is the traditional, hall-of-fame guy who leads the broadcast. I don't know who the other guy is.

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  17. Infante flies out to center, and Gordon comes home. We're all tied at two.

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  18. Now Escobar lashes the first pitch to left for a single, and Gordon advances to second.

    That's all for Hudson, who lasted 1 2/3 innings. The Giants are bringing in Jeremy Affeldt (4-2, 2.28 ERA in 62 appearances).

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  19. This is the second game in a row where the Giants' starter could not get out of the second inning.

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  20. Affeldt v. Aoki (runners on 1st and 2nd, two out):

    Pitch 1: Ball
    Pitch 2: High grounder to Crawford who is standing on second to force Escobar.

    After 2, the score is tied 2-2.

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  21. For the second time in three innings, Guthrie retires the top of the Giants' order 1-2-3. After 2 1/2 innings, it's still 2-2.

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  22. By the way, this is the last game to be played with Bud Selig as the Commissioner of MLB.

    This year, total attendance for MLB was 73.7 million people -- an average of 30,346 per game.

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  23. Lorenzo Cain leads off the bottom of the third with a single.

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  24. Hosmer appeared to have a single up the middle, but Joe Panik made a great diving stop and then flipped to short to force Cain. A huge play there by Panik.

    In fact, the Giants may have turned a double play. The play at first was really close, and the play is now under review.

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  25. And on review, the umpires find that it was a double play. Hosmer is out -- what a huge play by Panik!

    The KC announcers point out that Hosmer should have run through first base instead of sliding in head first.

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    1. "Wouldn't Olympic sprinters, with one shot at a gold medal, dive for the finish line if they could get there quicker?"

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    2. This is a very good point, of course.

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    3. Thus speaks the Midwest. As soon as I saw that dive, I knew the Kansas City announcers would have to complain about it.

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  26. Butler grounds out and the Royals are gone in the third. We're still tied 2-2.

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  27. Sandoval leads off the fourth with a tricky ground ball. Infante bare-hands the ball, but slips trying to make the throw. Sandoval is safe.

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  28. Hunter Pence flicks his usual dying swan hit to center field, and the Giants have runners on first and second. Still no outs.

    In the bullpen, Kelvin Herrera is warming up as quickly as possible.

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  29. Belt flies out to left, and Sandoval dashes to third, putting runners at the corners with one out.

    That's it for Guthrie, who lasted 3 1/3 innings. Here comes Herrera (4-3, 1.41 ERA in 70 appearances).

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  30. Of course, you don't normally see Herrera until the 7th inning. Getting through the rest of this game could be a challenge for the Kansas City bullpen.

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  31. Herrera v. Morse (runners on 1st and 3d, one out)

    Pitch 1: Foul
    Pitch 2: Foul
    Pitch 3: Line drive single to right, Sandoval scores, Pence runs to third.

    As a Nats fan, I wanted to keep Morse.

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  32. But now Herrera bears down and strikes out Crawford, thus preventing him from scoring Pence from third on an out.

    Juan Perez comes up with two outs, but is hopelessly overmatched. He grounds out to short, and the inning is over.

    After 3 1/2 innings, San Francisco leads 3-2.

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  33. Affeldt starts the bottom of the fourth by hitting Alex Gordon in the back -- second HBP for the Royals tonight. So the tying run is on with no one out.

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  34. But for the second inning in a row, the Royals hit into a 4-6-3 double play. This time it's Salvador Perez who hits the grounder, and the Royals have two outs and no one on.

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  35. Moustakas grounds out to Sandoval, and the fourth inning is over.

    San Francisco leads 3-2. Fangraphs give the Giants a 65.2 percent chance of victory.

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  36. The Giants now have Bumgarner warming up in the bullpen.

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  37. The top of the Giants' order has been terrible in this game, and Herrera has no problem with them -- they go down 1-2-3 for the third time tonight.

    Now we're heading for the bottom of the 5th, and Bumgarner appears to be coming into the game for San Francisco.

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  38. Just to remind everyone, so far Bumgarner has thrown 16 innings in the World Series. He has allowed 7 hits and only 1 run. He has 13 strikeouts and only 1 walk.

    But can he be effective after only two days of rest?

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  39. Infante greets Bumgarner with a line drive single to right. So this experiment may not work after all.

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  40. Escobar bunts Infante to second. One out, Aoki and Cain up next.

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  41. Aoki flies out to left.

    Bumgarner v. Cain (runner on second, two out):

    Pitch 1: Called strike
    Pitch 2: Swinging strike
    Pitch 3: Ball
    Pitch 4: Foul
    Pitch 5: Swinging strike

    Cain is retired, and the inning is over.

    After 5, the Giants lead 3-2. The Giants have a 67.6 percent chance of victory.

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  42. In case you couldn't tell, Bumgarner got better as that inning went on. But how far can he go?

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  43. For the third time tonight, Sandoval leads off an inning by getting on base. This time, he slaps a single to left.

    But Pence hits the first pitch to Escobar for a 6-4-3 double play. The Royals fans roar.

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  44. With two out and no one on, Belt singles to right to keep the inning alive. This brings up the Old Nat, Michael Morse. Herrera strikes him out to end the inning.

    That's 2 2/3 innings from Herrera, who has been great. After 5 1/2, the Giants lead 3-2.

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  45. In the bottom of the 6th, Bumgarner retires Hosmer, Butler, and Gordon on 12 pitches.

    After 6, the Giants lead 3-2. They have a 71 percent chance of victory.

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  46. After getting 2 2/3 innings from Herrera, the Royals send out Wade Davis (9-2, 1.00 ERA in 71 appearances) to pitch the 7th.

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  47. Davis has no problem with Crawford, Juan Perez, and Blanco, retiring them with ease. After 6 1/2 innings, the Giants still lead 3-2.

    Now we get the last "God Bless America" of the year. I can remember that in the 1990's, the Orioles used to celebrate the Seventh Inning stretch with "Thank God I'm a Country Boy."

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  48. It occurs to me that I have been a baseball fan since 1973, and I have never rooted for a team that played in the seventh game of the World Series. I can only imagine how stressed out I would feel if the Nats were in this situation.

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  49. In the bottom of the 7th, Bumgarner retires Salvador Perez, Moustakas and Infante on nine pitches -- all of which were strikes.

    After 7, the Giants lead 3-2. They now have a 76.3 percent chance of victory.

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  50. In the top of the 8th, Davis was cruising along, retiring Panik and Posey with ease. But Sandoval, who is now 3-3 in this game, slices a double down the left field line. It's San Francisco's first extra-base hit of the game.

    Now can Pence knock Sandoval in?

    Pitch 1: Swinging strike
    Pitch 2: Pence grounds out to Infante.

    The inning is over. After 7 1/2, the Giants lead 3-2. Bumgarner is coming out again to pitch the 8th.

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  51. Replies
    1. My guess is that if you polled 40-somethings about their favorite baseball players from the 1970's, Brett would probably come in second behind Reggie Jackson.

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  52. Cain v. Bumgarner at the end of this inning is going to be something.

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  53. As we head into the bottom of the 8th, station KCSP breaks out that Andy Reid clip one more time. The last time they played it, the Royals scored two runs. CAN ANDY REID DO IT AGAIN?

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  54. I like KCSP for playing that Andy Reid clip again. Why not take a chance?

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  55. Bumgarner is facing the top of the Royals' order here in the 8th. The Royals' announcers, seeking to jinx him, mention that he has retired nine batters in a row.

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  56. Facing a 2-2 count, Escobar desperately tried to check his swing on a 2-2 pitch, but the First Base Umpire rules that he went around. One out.

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  57. Aoki grounds out to short, and now it's up to Cain here in the 8th.

    Pitch 1: Ball
    Pitch 2: Swinging strike
    Pitch 3: Called strike
    Pitch 4: Foul
    Pitch 5: Foul
    Pitch 6: Ball
    Pitch 7: Cain pops out to second, and the Royals are gone in the 8th.

    After 8, the Giants lead 3-2 and Bumgarner has retired 12 batters in a row. The Giants now have an 85.1 percent chance of victory.

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  58. The big question now is whether Bumgarner -- who has thrown 52 pitches -- will be called on to pitch the 9th.

    Meanwhile, the Royals are going with their closer, Greg Holland (1-3, 1.44 ERA, 46 saves).

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  59. Holland retires Belt, Morse, and Crawford with no drama. In the last game of the year, the Big Three for the Royals -- Herrera, Davis, and Holland -- have thrown 5 2/3 innings, allowing 0 runs and only 4 hits. They also combined for 9 strikeouts and 0 walks. They have been magnificent.

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  60. In the bottom of the 9th, the Royals will be sending up Hosmer, Butler, and Gordon -- their 4, 5, and 6 hitters.

    The Giants are going to ask Bumgarner to pitch the 9th.

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  61. Bumgarner falls behind Hosmer 2-0, but then comes back and strikes him out on high heat. Incredible pitching.

    One out.

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  62. Butler fouls out to Belt on a 1-1 pitch.

    Two out.

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  63. Gordon hits a sinking line drive to center field, it looks like a single -- but Blanco misplays the ball AND IT ROLLS ALL THE WAY TO THE WALL. Gordon dashes to THIRD, and the Royals have the tying run only 90 feet from home plate.

    It's all up to Salvador Perez now.

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  64. Bumgarner v. S. Perez:

    Pitch 1: Swinging strike
    Pitch 2: Ball
    Pitch 3: Swinging strike
    Pitch 4: Ball
    Pitch 5: Foul
    Pitch 6: Salvador Perez hits a huge pop up into foul territory, and Sandoval CATCHES IT FOR THE OUT!

    THE SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS WIN THEIR THIRD TITLE IN FIVE YEARS!

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  65. Well, we said that this night was a night for true baseball fans, and you couldn't ask for a much better game than that. A glorious ending to the 2014 season, and I am already feeling somewhat sad to see baseball go away. I'll have to see if there's another sport that goes from November to April.

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  66. It was a great game. Even the interviews after the game on Fox were great. Madison Bumgarner is from Hickory, N.C.!

    Great stuff the whole World Series, Go Heath.

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