October 26, 2017

I Am Still Shaking My Head Over Game 2

I am looking at my scorecard from last night's game and asking myself: Did all of that really happen?

Grant Brisbee has a fantastic piece for SB Nation:
At some point after the hills around Dodger Stadium caught on fire and a drunken fan jumped into the Astros' bullpen, there was a home run, a longer home run, an even longer home run, and a home run after the home run after that. There was an umpire moonlighting as a hockey goalie to prevent the winning run from scoring, and there was an immaculate bullpen that couldn't stop allowing runs. The Astros were dead before they were alive before they were dead before they were alive before they were dead before they were victorious, and as the smoke poured into the ballpark, it was impossible to know if the whump-whump-whump of the helicopters around the ballpark were for the fire or the World Series, and it's not like anyone could tell the difference. ...

The Houston Astros have their first World Series win in franchise history, and they had to earn it. They had to clamber over the narratives and self-doubt to reclaim their identity as the lumber-thumping monsters under every pitcher's bed, and they had to figure out which wire to cut, while the timer on the homemade bomb was ticking down to zero. They had to beat Kenley Jansen, who is an improbable analog to Mariano Rivera, who was improbable to begin with. They had to pick themselves up off the floor after yet another dismal offensive showing through the first seven innings, and they had to focus after their bullpen blew yet another sure win. It was as if Ra's al Ghul crushed up a blue flower and made the Astros confront their deepest, darkest fears from the last week, and they succeeded anyway. ...

There was a solid two hours of Game 2 where I was going to center this article around the Branch Rickey quote, "Luck is the residue of design." Rickey was the former GM of the Dodgers and a sabermetric pioneer, and that quote was the perfect prism through which to watch this game. For the first seven innings, it was clear that the Dodgers had the luck, and they had the design. It didn't matter where one started and the other ended. All that mattered is that they were never going to lose again, even if that's not how baseball is supposed to work. ...
Brisbee concludes that "Laz Diaz [the second base umpire] is the reason why the Dodgers don't have a 2-0 lead".

Here is some more crazy shit about Game 2:

The Astros and Dodgers combined for eight home runs, the most in any World Series game.
5th inning - Joc Pederson
6th inning - Corey Seager
9th inning - Marwin Gonzalez
10th inning - Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Yasiel Puig
11th inning - George Springer, Charlie Culberson
Before last night, there had been 17 extra-inning home runs hit in the 113-year history of the World Series (651 games). There were five in Game 2.

This was the first game in history - regular season or postseason - with five extra-inning home runs. (None of the 200,000+ regular-season games ever played had more than four home runs hit after the ninth inning.)

The Astros became the first team to hit at least one home run in the ninth, 10th, and 11th innings of a postseason game.

The Astros became the first team to hit three home runs after the ninth inning of a postseason game.

In the top of the ninth, the Dodgers were three outs from a victory, and they had only two hits (both home runs). The last World Series team to win a game with only two hits was also the Dodgers, who won Game 4 of the 1963 World Series 2-1 and finished a four-game sweep of the Yankees. (Frank Howard had both hits.)

If the Dodgers had hung on and won, I thought they could be the first team to win a World Series game with no singles. Well, the Dodgers did not win in nine innings, and they eventually hit a single, and there have been four World Series games in which the winning team did not hit a single (including two in the same series!):

1930 World Series Game 1 - A's beat Cardinals 5-2 (1 double, 1 triple, 2 home runs)
1930 World Series Game 6 - A's beat Cardinals 7-1 (5 doubles, 2 home runs)
1947 World Series Game 4 - Dodgers beat Yankees 3-2 (1 double)
1952 World Series Game 4 - Yankees beat Dodgers 2-0 (2 doubles, 1 triple, 1 home run)

This was also the third game in World Series history that produced four game-tying or go-ahead hits in the ninth inning or after, joining Game 4 of the 1957 World Series and Game 6 of the 2011 World Series.

The Dodgers entered Game 2 with a 98-0 record when leading after eight innings (including the playoffs), the only team with a perfect mark. Their bullpen had pitched 28 scoreless postseason innings between NLDS Game 2 and the eighth inning last night (a MLB record). And that streak utterly crashed and burned, as the Astros scored in four straight innings off the LA pen.

Altuve and Correa hit back-to-back home runs in the 10th inning. That had happened only once before in extra innings of a postseason game. In 2000, the Mariners' Edgar Martinez and John Olerud hit consecutive homers off Keith Foulke of the White Sox in the 10th inning of ALDS Game 1.

When Puig led off the bottom of the 10th with a home run, it was the first time in postseason history that three home runs were hit in a single extra inning. There had never been more than one homer in any previous extra inning during the World Series.

Enrique Hernandez's two-out single in the bottom of the 10th was the Dodgers' fourth hit of the game, with the first three being home runs. It was the latest in a postseason game that any team had produced its first non-homer hit. (The old record: the aforementioned 1947 World Series Game 4, when the Brooklyn's Cookie Lavagetto broke up a potential no-hitter by Bill Bevens of the Yankees by hitting a two-run, walkoff double with two outs in the ninth inning.)

One more time: There have been 22 extra-inning World Series home runs. Five of them were hit last night.

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