October 30, 2014

World Series 7: Giants 3, Royals 2

Giants - 020 100 000 - 3  8  1
Royals - 020 000 000 - 2  6  0
The San Francisco Giants are the champions of baseball for the third time in the past five seasons.

It is only the second time in the history of the National League that a team has won three titles in a five-year span (Cardinals, 1942, 1944, 1946).

Madison Bumgarner, who pitched a complete game, four-hit shutout in Game 5, came out of the bullpen on two days rest to throw five scoreless innings of relief (5-2-0-0-4, 68), allowing only two singles and receiving credit for a save. The 25-year-old Bumgarner, who was named the NLCS MVP, was an easy choicee as WS MVP.

Bumgarner pitched a record 52.2 innings during the postseason. ... He became the third pitcher to win 2+ games as a starter and pitch 3+ innings as a reliever, joining Cy Young (1903) and George Mullins (1909). ... Bumgarner's 0.25 ERA in the World Series is the lowest in history among pitchers with at least 20 innings.

Pablo Sandoval (3-for-3, 2 runs scored) and Michael Morse (1-for-3, 2 RBI) led the offense. Hunter Pence had two hits, giving him 12 for the World Series and tying a Giants record held by Buck Herzog (1912).

Sandoval was grazed on the right elbow by a Jeremy Guthrie (3.1-4-3-0-3, 49) pitch to start the second inning. He made no attempt to evade the pitch; indeed, he sort of steadied his elbow prior to contact. Nevertheless, he was awarded first base. Pence followed with a groundball single to left and Brandon Belt drove a hard single to right, loading the bases with no one out. Morse lined out to Nori Aoki in right and Sandoval scored, with Pence advancing to third. Pence's hustle was key because when Brandon Crawford flied out to center, he was able to come home.

The Royals tied the score in the bottom half of the inning against Tim Hudson (1.2-3-2-1-1, 28). Billy Butler singled to left-center and came all the way around to score on Alex Gordon's first-pitch double to the gap in right-center. Salvador Perez was drilled in the left thigh near the knee and as the Royals' trainer talked with Perez on the field, the Giants' bullpen got busy, with Jeremy Affeldt warming up. Mike Moustakas flied out to left and Gordon was able to tag and race to third. He then scored on Omar Infante's line drive sacrifice fly to center. Alcides Escobar singled, moving Perez to second, and ending Hudson's night. Giants manager Bruce Bochy called for Affeldt, who got a grounder for an inning-ending fielder's choice. Hudson's 1.2 innings was the shortest outing by a starter in a Game 7 in WS history.

Kansas City caught a tough break in the third. Lorenzo Cain singled to right. Eric Hosmer sent a ground ball towards right-center. Giants second baseman Joe Panik dove to his right and gloved the ball, then flipped it to shortstop Crawford for the force at second. Crawford's relay to first arrived at almost the exact same time that Hosmer dove head first into the bag. Hosmer was originally called safe, but the Giants challenged the play, and it was overturned, and ruled a double play. (None of the angles shown on Fox provided a definitive view. The Royals radio announcers pointed out that Hosmer likely would have been safe if he had run through the bag at full speed. They noted that in track and field events, sprinters run through the tape and do not dive head first across the finish line.)

The Giants took the lead in the next half-inning. Again, Sandoval led off and got on base, this time on an infield single as Infante moved to his right and slipped while trying to throw. Pence singled to center. Belt flied to left field and Pence went to third. Ned Yost then went to his bullpen, calling on Kelvin Herrera. Morse fouled off two pitches before breaking his bat and dropping a single into shallow right field. Sandoval scored what turned out to be the Series-deciding run.

Affeldt plunked Gordon in the back with a curveball to start the bottom of the fourth. But Perez chased the first pitch and grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end any thought of a KC rally.

After that, it was Bumgarner time. Not having as much time to warm up as he usually does as a starter, he might have been a little rusty in his first inning. Infante lined a single to right to start the fifth and Escobar bunted him to second. Aoki lifted a fly ball to the opposite field and Juan Perez ran a long way towards the line and hauled it in. Cain ended the inning by striking out on a high fastball.

Bumgarner retired the side in the sixth (P6, F8, F8), seventh (F9, 5-3, K), and eighth (K, 6-3, P4).

He started the bottom of the ninth by striking out Hosmer (again, on high fastballs) and getting Butler on a foul pop to first. Gordon lined a 0-1 pitch to left-center. Gregor Blanco came in, but decided to play the ball on a hop rather than attempt a dive for it. But the ball skipped past him for an error, rolling to the wall. Perez came over from left to help out, but he booted the ball on the warning track. By the time the ball was returned to the infield, Gordon was standing on third, the game-tying run only 90 feet away.

All of the Royals' hopes rested on Perez's shoulders. Bumgarner threw him nothing but high fastballs and Perez could not stop himself from chasing them. He swung and missed the first one, took a ball, then swung and missed the third pitch. He laid off the fourth for ball 2, then fouled off the fifth. He popped up the sixth pitch into foul territory where Sandoval made an easy catch - and then collapsed on his back on the grass as his teammates flooded out of the nearby dugout in celebration.

Factoids: It was the first time in a WS Game 7 that neither starter went more than 3.1 innings. ... Pence and Belt became the second pair of teammates to hit safely in all seven games of a World Series, joining Hank Bauer and Billy Martin of the 1956 Yankees.

October 29, 2014

Posnanski On Bill James: Vanguard After The Revolution

Sportsworld:
Here is Bill James on one of his favorite words and causes: "Bullshit."

"Bullshit has tremendous advantages over knowledge. Bullshit can be created as needed, on demand, without limit. Anything that happens, you can make up an explanation for why it happened. ..."

Bill James is 65 years old, and he still has an acute sensitivity to bullshit. This has been the defining instinct in his professional life. For forty years now, he has been writing purportedly about baseball, but more about that grating buzzing sound of bullshit that has served as background music to our National Pastime. ...

Nobody was doing what Bill James was doing in the 1970s. He had predecessors, of course, people who tried to look objectively at baseball through the numbers, outsiders who studied the game's data and came to interesting and unexpected conclusions about the limitations of batting average or the self-defeating nature of bunts or whatever.

But no one before James had ever concluded that there was an AUDIENCE for such thoughts. ...

As it turns out, there was a very large audience of baseball fans who had grown tired of the same bullshit that drove James to distraction, tired of being spoon-fed clich├ęs about valiant pitchers who simply knew how to win, tired of reading quotes from managers about a .200 ballplayer who helped the team in so many hidden ways, tired of only being told a story from the insider's point of view.

World Series 6: Royals 10, Giants 0

Giants - 000 000 000 -  0  6  0
Royals - 071 010 10x - 10 15  0
The Royals exploded for eight hits and seven runs in the second inning and cruised to victory behind Yordano Ventura's seven shutout innings. And for only the second time in the last 12 seasons, the World Series will be decided in a Game 7.

Ventura (7-3-0-5-4, 100) was the pitching star of the night, allowing only three hits (though he did walk five). Sixty-four of his 100 pitches were clocked at 95+ mph.

Giants starter Jake Peavy (1.1-6-5-1-2, 42) allowed a walk and a single in the first inning. He fell completely apart in the second. Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez both singled to right center - and San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy got Yusmeiro Petit up in the bullpen. Peavy had been working every Kansas City hitter away, but when he came inside to Mike Moustakas, the Royals third baseman ripped a double down the right field line. Gordon scored, the the Royals led 1-0. Omar Infante flailed away at three outside pitches and struck out, handing Peavy and the Giants an easy out. Alcides Escobar tapped a ball to first baseman Brandon Belt. Belt looked towards the plate - and Peavy pointed towards the plate - but Perez was not running. Belt then raced Escobar to the bag, but the Royal slid in ahead of a tag. The bases were loaded. Nori Aoki fouled off four pitches before grounding a run-scoring, opposite-field single into left field. That was the end of Peavy's night. (It was the shortest outing for a WS starter since David Wells of the Yankees recorded just three outs against the Marlins in Game 5 in 2003.)

Petit entered the game with the bases loaded, down 2-0. Lorenzo Cain fought off a 2-2 pitch and dropped a single into short right-center - and two runs scored, Escobar running through a stop sign at third base. KC 4-0. After a wild pitch moved Cain to second, Eric Hosmer doubled to left-center for two more runs. 6-0. Then Billy Butler doubled to the right-center gap, and Hosmer scored. 7-0. Petit was able to retire the 10th and 11th batters of the inning and get his team back in the dugout.

Ventura walked the bases loaded with out in the top of the third - and there was a faint hope the Giants could get back in the game. But Buster Posey went after the first pitch and grounded into a 6-3 double play to end the frame. The Giants were able to get only two runners past first base for the rest of the game.

Two ground-rule doubles - by Infante and Cain - gave the Royals a run in the third. It also marked the second time in World Series history that all nine starters on a team had at least one hit through three innings. The first was the 2001 Diamondbacks, in their Game 6 rout of the Yankees.

Escobar doubled home a run in the fifth and Moustakas homered to lead off the seventh.

Six different Royals had two hits: Escobar, Cain, Hosmer, Perez, Moustakas, and Infante. Cain drove in three runs, and Hosmer and Moustakas had 2 RBI each.

Tonight's 10-run margin was the largest in a World Series shutout since the Royals whipped the Cardinals 11-0 in Game 7 of the 1985 WS.

The last time there was back-to-back shutouts by opposing teams in the World Series was 1958.

Home teams have won nine straight World Series Game 7s. The last visiting team to win a Game 7 was the 1979 Pirates.

Since 1982, 10 World Series teams have come home trailing 2-3. Eight of the 10 won Games 6 and 7. The Royals will try to make that 9-of-11 tomorrow night.

October 27, 2014

Ten Years After: 2004 World Series 4: Red Sox 3, Cardinals 0

Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Red Sox   - 102 000 000 - 3  9  0
Cardinals - 000 000 000 - 0  4  0


Watch Game 4 here.



Joe Castiglione, Red Sox radio announcer:
Swing and a ground ball, stabbed by Foulke. He has it. He underhands to first, and the Boston Red Sox are the World Champions! For the first time in 86 years, the Red Sox have won baseball's world championship. Can you believe it?
Joe Buck, Fox Sports announcer:
Back to Foulke! Red Sox fans have longed to hear it – the Boston Red Sox are world champions. ... It has been 86 years. Generations have come and gone. And for the first time since 1918, the Boston Red Sox are champions of baseball.























The New York Daily News - which I do not seem to have a jpg of - had this on its back page: "See You In 2090"! (Because the Red Sox win the WS every 86 years.)

A zip file of a LOT of newspapers (jpgs and pdfs) can be downloaded from here (link expires in seven days (November 3)).

October 26, 2014

World Series 5: Giants 5, Royals 0

Royals - 000 000 000 - 0  4  1
Giants - 010 100 03x - 5 12  0
Madison Bumgarner (9-4-0-0-8, 117)!

In Games 1 and 5 of this World Series, he has pitched 16 innings and allowed 7 hits, 1 walk, and 1 run. He has struck out 13.

In four career World Series starts, he has a 0.29 ERA.

The Giants lead the series 3-2. Game 6 is in Kansas City on Tuesday night, with a possible Game 7 on Wednesday.

Example
I was going to have a running account of each half-inning, but work got in the way in the top of the fifth.

KCR 1: Madison Bumgarner in Game 1: 7-3-1-1-5, 106. In five postseason starts in 2014, the man some people refer to as MadBum has a 1.40 ERA. Alcides Escobar hacks at the first pitch and pops to left. After Alex Gordon grounds to second (Giants second baseman Joe Panik makes a nice slide to his left), Lorenzo Cain drops a single into short right field. Eric Hosmer strikes out, and looks bad doing it.

SFG 1: James Shields in Game 1: 3-7-5-1-1, 71. A 7.11 ERA this postseason for the free agent-to-be (15 runs allowed in four games). Shields matches Bumgarner. Blanco grounds the first pitch to Hosmer at first and Panik flies to center. Buster Posey knocks a two-out single to right-center, but is stranded at first. 13 pitches.

KCR 2: Salvador Perez grounds an opposite-field single through the infield into right field. Bumgarner then strikes out the side, getting Mike Moustakas (though it took him eight pitches), Omar Infante (only three pitches), and Jarrod Dyson (three, also).

SFG 2: Bad beginning for Shields, though not really his fault. Hunter Pence's ground ball goes off the backhand side of Escobar's glove. Brandon Belt beats out a bunt to the somewhat-vacated left side. The runners move up to second and third when Travis Ishikawa flies to deepish center. Shields needs to get Brandon Crawford, with the pitcher's spot up next. On a full count, Crawford grounds to second and Pence scores. Bumgarner grounds to third.

KCR 3: Bumgarner retired the Royals 9-1-2 hitters in order, on two fly balls to center and a strikeout. 40 pitches through three innings. My latest pet peeve are people referring to an inning like this as a "shutdown inning": after his team has scored, the pitcher comes out and shuts down the opposing team, and keeps the good momentum going. I've seen TV graphics with a pitcher's ERA in shutdown innings. It's annoying and stupid.

SFG 3: Top of the order for the Giants. Shields has no problem, retiring them on seven pitches. He also has thrown 40 pitches through three innings.

KCR 4: Anyone ever heard the upcoming hitters in an inning referred to as "the due-ups"? Not that X, Y and Z are due up for the Royals, but those guys are the due-ups in the next inning. Jon Miller, Giants radio play-by-play guy, used the phrase earlier in this postseason. ... The Royals are retired on three infield groundouts. 10 pitches for Bumgarner, who has retired the last 9 KC hitters.

SFG 4: Pablo Sandoval singles to open the inning. Shields bears down and strikes out Pence and Belt, but Ishikawa singles on a hard grounder to left. Crawford singles to short center and Dyson boots the ball a little bit. Panda scores, 2-0 Giants. Crawford's second RBI. Bumgarner strikes out.

Ten Years After: 2004 World Series 3: Red Sox 4, Cardinals 1

Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Red Sox   - 100 120 000 - 4  9  0
Cardinals - 000 000 001 - 1  4  0


Example











World Series 4: Giants 11, Royals 4

Royals - 004 000 000 -  4 12  1
Giants - 101 023 40x - 11 16  0
Ned Yost did not realize - or, being charitable, he forgot - that he was allowed to use his best relievers before the seventh inning. The Giants pummeled rookie Brandon Finnegan for three runs in the sixth, sending eight men to the plate and turning a 4-4 tie into a 7-4 San Francisco lead. Pablo Sandoval's two-run single was the big blow.

And then Yost brought Finnegan back out for the seventh! The beleaguered lefty allowed a single and a walk before finally being relieved. The Giants went on to score four times in the inning - and their rout in Game 4 has tied the Word Series at two games apiece.

Hunter Pence (3-for-5) reached base five times, driving in three runs and scoring twice. ... Joe Panik (2-for-4) doubled twice, scored twice, and drove in two runs. ... Gregor Blanco (2-for-4) singled twice, walked, and scored three runs. ... Sandoval was 2-for-5, with two RBI.

Yusmeiro Petit threw three shutout innings for the Giants while his teammates were claiming the lead.

October 24, 2014

World Series 3: Royals 3, Giants 2

Royals - 100 002 000 - 3  6  0
Giants - 000 002 000 - 2  4  0
Kansas City manager Ned Yost once again relied on the nearly infallible arms of his bullpen - to the point of letting Kelvin Herrera bat in the seventh inning with a runner on base just so he could stay in the game and pitch another inning - and it paid off. The Royals held on for a 3-2 victory and now hold a 2-1 lead in the World Series.

When KC starter Jeremy Guthrie (5-4-2-0-0, 77) allowed a single and an RBI double to begin the bottom of the sixth, Yost had his hook ready. In came Herrera. The flame-throwing righty had thrown 32 pitches in Game 2 and his velocity was down by 5-6 mph when he began his work. He walked Gregor Blanco on four pitches, though not missing by much on any of them. Herrera then got three groundouts, but another run scored, cutting the Royals' lead to 3-2.

In the seventh, Herrera battled Hunter Pence for eight pitches but lost him to a walk. He struck out Brandon Belt, before handing the ball to lefty Brandon Finnegan, the first man in baseball history to pitch in the College World Series and the MLB World Series in the same year. Finnegan got a fly out and a strikeout to end the inning.

Wade Davis pitched a perfect eighth (K, 2-3, K) and Greg Holland pitched a perfect ninth (7, 1-3, 1-3) and the Royals were victorious.

Kansas City took a quick lead on Tim Hudson (5.1-4-3-1-2, 76) in the first inning. (Hudson was the 3rd oldest pitcher in history to make his first World Series start.) Alcides Escobar whacked the first pitch of the game, a high fastball, to the base of the left field wall for a double. He came around to score as Alex Gordon grounded to first and Lorenzo Cain grounded to shortstop, the Giants conceding the early run.

Hudson allowed a single and a walk to open the second, but was aided by a lunging catch by Travis Ishikawa in left and a double play. Hudson retired 11 Royals in a row before Escobar grounded a single up the middle with one out in the sixth. Gordon crushed a double to deep center and Escobar raced around to score. After Cain grounded to third, the Giants brought in Javier Lopez. Lopez threw 11 pitches to Eric Hosmer (cfffbfbffb) and the Royals first baseman lined #11 into center, scoring Gordon, and upping KC's lead to 3-0.

The Giants' bats awoke from their slumber in the bottom of the inning. Brandon Crawford singled and pinch-hitter Michael Morse doubled down the left field line. That put San Francisco on the board - and that was when Yost leaned on his ever-reliable bullpen.

With the win, Yost became the second manager in MLB history to win 10 of his first 11 postseason games, joining Ozzie Guillen, who went 10-1 with the 2005 White Sox.

Ten Years After: 2004 World Series 2: Red Sox 6, Cardinals 2

Sunday, October 24, 2004
Cardinals - 000 100 010 - 2  5  0
Red Sox   - 200 202 00x - 6  8  4
Curt Schilling, from Don't Let Us Win Tonight:
That was one of the scarier mornings of my career. I woke up at about 7 a.m. in one of those mindsets where you know something's wrong. I looked around and wondered, why am I up? It's 7 a.m. I would normally sleep until 10 or 11, given game time. And as soon as I turned to my left, I felt like my leg was in a fireplace. I rolled the cover back and my right ankle was swollen as thick as my right calf. And it was red, very red. It was so sensitive. Just the covers touching it hurt. Shonda woke up and she was in shock: "Oh my God. What is that?"

I got on the phone and I called Chris Correnti, and I said, "You've got to get ahold of Derek Lowe immediately, because there's absolutely no possible way I can pitch. I don't even know if I can drive to the park." I couldn't step on it. I couldn't walk. Nothing. I waited a while and nothing changed. They called Derek. I drove to the park an hour earlier than normal, around noon or one. I was trying to drive with my left foot because I couldn't use my right foot. As soon as I hit the end of my driveway, there was like 200 signs on the way in from Medfield.

There were signs on fire stations, on telephone poles, wishing me luck. I was listening to WEEI and everybody was talking about the game. "What do you expect from Schilling tonight?" I thought, "These people have no idea that I'm not going to pitch tonight."

When I left the house, I told Shonda not to rush to the game because there was no way I was going to pitch. I got to Fenway and Doug Mirabelli was in the parking lot, filming with his handheld video camera. He was taking pictures of guys showing up at the park for Game Two. I opened the car door and he's got the camera on and he started making a joke, and I said, "Turn it off." He said, "Dude. . ." and I said, "Turn it off." I stepped out of the car and he said, "Oh, my God. What happened?" I said, "I have no idea." Doug helped me get into the clubhouse. They called Dr. Morgan and he said, "Ah, I know what it is. I'll be there in a minute."

This is like 2 o'clock, 2:30-ish, and I've got it in my head that I'm not pitching. Dr. Morgan comes in, looks at it, and goes into the training room. He'd put an extra stitch in this time, to hold the tissue down, and the extra stitch had punctured a nerve. Once he popped out that stitch, you could literally see my foot – in real time – shrinking. Immediately. And I'm walking around going, "What the hell?" He said, "Yeah, that was my fault, blah, blah." And I was like, "Oh, my God, I'm fine! I can pitch!"

Now I panicked! I'm a routine guy. I'm doing email and getting my notes together. I've got to hurry up. That Cardinal lineup wasn't something to laugh at. Pujols, Renteria, Rolen, Larry Walker. So now I'm going to pitch. I completely disregard calling my wife. I'm not even thinking of any of that. I'm just trying to hurry up and get ready.







October 23, 2014

Ten Years After: 2004 World Series 1: Red Sox 11, Cardinals 9

Saturday, October 23, 2004
Cardinals - 011 302 020 -  9 11  1
Red Sox   - 403 000 22x - 11 13  4






World Series 2: Royals 7, Giants 2

Giants - 100 100 000 - 2  9  0
Royals - 110 005 00x - 7 10  0
Salvador Perez smacked a two-run double and Omar Infante launched a two-run homer as the Royals scored five times in the sixth inning. The Giants tied a World Series record by using five pitchers in the inning. Perez and Infante got their hits off Hunter Strickland, who got into a shouting match with Perez as Infante finished circling the bases.

On the Fox broadcast, Harold Reynolds theorized that Strickland was yelling at himself into his glove and Perez, jogging from third to home, thought the words were directed at him. However, replays showed that when Perez turned to look at Strickland, the Giants pitcher was standing over by the third base line, clearly not talking into his glove. (No matter who he was yelling at, Strickland was obviously frustrated, having now allowed five home runs in this postseason.)

The series is tied 1-1 and the next three games are in San Francisco, on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.

The game began with a bang for the Giants as Gregor Blanco homered of Yordano Ventura (5.1-8-2-0-2, 87), but the Royals tied it right away in the bottom half, off Jake Peavy (5-6-4-2-1, 66). Alcides Escobar singled to start the inning but was thrown out trying to steal for the second out. Lorenzo Cain doubled to left-center and, after Eric Hosmer walked, scored on Billy Butler's hard single past the dive of Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford.

The Royals took their first lead of the series in the second when Infante doubled with one out and scored on Escobar's double into the right field corner. From there, Peavy got into a groove, retiring the next ten KC hitters on only 28 pitches. In the meantime, his San Francisco teammates tied the score on fourth-inning doubles from Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Belt.

With the double, Sandoval reached reached base for the 25th consecutive postseason game. It's the third-longest streak in history, tied with Boog Powell of the Orioles. Only Miguel Cabrera (31) and Chase Utley (27) have longer postseason on-base streaks.

The sixth inning was the key frame. Ventura allowed two singles and left with men on first and second and one out. Royals manager Ned Yost went into Playoff Assassin mode, bringing in Kelvin Herrera, the first arm in his lights-out trio of relievers. Herrera came in throwing darts at 100 and 101 mph, getting Belt to fly to left and retiring Michael Morse on a fielder's choice grounder.

In the bottom half, Peavy gave up a single to Cain and then walked Hosmer. Jean Machi came in from the pen and Butler greeted him with a single to left. Cain sprinted around from second and scored without a play, giving Kansas City a 3-2 lead. Giants manager Bruce Bochy then called on southpaw Javier Lopez, who got Alex Gordon to fly to left for the first out. Bochy brought in Strickland, who got ahead of Perez 0-2 before throwing a wild pitch, giving up the two-run double, and then the two-run homer before barking at Perez. Jeremy Affeldt finished the inning, allowing a single and getting a double play.

The Royals pen finished the game without incident. Wade Davis set down the Giants in order in the eighth, striking out two. Greg Holland recorded three strikeouts in the ninth, though he did allow a two-out single.