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.

October 22, 2014

Ten Years After: The Radio Broadcasts

You can get copies of the WEEI broadcasts of most of the 2004 ALCS and World Series by clicking on this link.

The zip file includes ALCS Games 3-7 and all four World Series games. The final three ALCS games include the call-in shows either before or after the game.

Grab it now! Because the link will expire in seven days.

World Series 1: Giants 7, Royals 1

Giants - 300 200 200 - 7 10  1
Royals - 000 000 100 - 1  4  1
There is a growing body of evidence that would suggest James Shields is known as "Big Game James" the same way fat guys are called "Tiny" and bald-headed gentlemen are nicknamed "Curly".

In the first game of the 110th World Series, Shields (3-7-5-1-1, 71) surrendered five hits and three runs in the first inning. He was pulled from the game after the first three Giants reached base in the fourth. Although Shields retired the side in both the second and third, there were several hard-hit outs.

On the other side, Madison Bumgarner 7-3-1-1-5, 106) was magnificent, retiring 14 of 15 batters from the third into the seventh, as his San Francisco teammates were putting the game out of reach. The Giants are trying to become only the second National League team to win three World Series titles in five seasons. The St. Louis Cardinals did it in the mid-1940s, winning in 1942, 1944 and 1946.

Gregor Blanco began the game with a single to center. He raced to second on Joe Panik's fly to deep left-center and moved to third as Buster Posey lined a soft single to left. Pablo Sandoval doubled into the right field corner, scoring Panik. Posey also tried to score but was thrown out at the plate fairly easily. Hunter Pence drilled a two-run homer to right-center for a 3-0 Giants lead.

Pence reached base four times in the game, doubling in the fourth and walking in the seventh and ninth. He and Blanco both scored twice. Blanco and Sandoval reached base three times each, and Panda drove in two runs.

The Royals had a golden chance to get back into the game in the bottom of the third. An infield error and Mike Moustakas's double put runners at second and third with no outs. Bumgarner bore down, striking out Alcides Escobar and Nori Aoki. Lorenzo Cain walked, loading the bases, but Eric Hosmer grounded Bumgarner's first pitch to second.

The Giants then added insult to the Royals' ineptitude by scoring twice off Shields and reliever Danny Duffy, upping their lead to 5-0. Pence doubled, Brandon Belt walked, and Michael Morse lined an RBI-single to center. Duffy relieved Shields and after a sacrifice bunt put runners at second and third, Duffy walked both Brandon Crawford and Blanco, forcing in a run.

In the seventh, Panik tripled home Blanco, who had walked, and scored on Sandoval's single.

Salvador Perez homered for Kansas City's only tally. That Royals run snapped Bumgarner's streak of World Series shutout innings to begin a career at 21, second only to Christy Mathewson's 28 innings. Bumgarner's streak of postseason scoreless road innings was ended at 32.2, a major league record.


World Series
Game 1: Tuesday, October 21    Giants at Royals
Game 2: Wednesday, October 22  Giants at Royals
Game 3: Friday, October 24     Royals at Giants
Game 4: Saturday, October 25   Royals at Giants
Game 5: Sunday, October 26     Royals at Giants
Game 6: Tuesday, October 28    Giants at Royals
Game 7: Wednesday, October 29  Giants at Royals

Giants (8-2)
October  1  NLWC    Giants 8, Pirates 0
October  3  NLDS 1  Giants 3, Nationals 2
October  4  NLDS 2  Giants 2, Nationals 1 (18)
October  6  NLDS 3  Nationals 4, Giants 1
October  7  NLDS 4  Giants 3, Nationals 2
October 11  NLCS 1  Giants 3, Cardinals 0
October 12  NLCS 2  Cardinals 5, Giants 4
October 14  NLCS 3  Giants 5, Cardinals 4 (10)
October 15  NLCS 4  Giants 6, Cardinals 4
October 16  NLCS 5  Giants 6, Cardinals 3

Royals (8-0)
September 30  ALWC    Royals 9, Athletics 8 (12)
October    2  ALDS 1  Royals 3, Angels 2 (11)
October    3  ALDS 2  Royals 4, Angels 1 (11)
October    5  ALDS 3  Royals 8, Angels 3
October   10  ALCS 1  Royals 8, Orioles 6 (10)
October   11  ALCS 2  Royals 6, Orioles 4
October   14  ALCS 3  Royals 2, Orioles 1
October   15  ALCS 4  Royals 2, Orioles 1
This year's World Series features both wild card teams, only the second time that has happened in 20 years. (The other series was in 2002 (Giants/Angels.) The winner of this year's fall classic will be the sixth wild card team to win the World Series, joining the 1997 Marlins, 2002 Angels, 2003 Marlins, 2004 Red Sox and 2011 Cardinals.

Elias reports that the combined winning percentage of the Giants (88-74) and Royals (89-73) - .546, 177-147 - is the second-lowest for any World Series, only one percentage point higher than the .545 (176-147) mark for the 1973 WS between the A's (94-68) and (82-79).

The 2014 World Series is the first ever (following a non-shortened regular season) without a team that won 90+ games. The only two World Series to date without a 90-win team were in 1918 (Red Sox 75-51, Cubs 84-45; World War I) and 1981 (Dodgers 63-47, Yankees 59-48; players' strike).
And then there were two!

Only two readers correctly picked the Royals and Giants to make it to the World Series in the JoS 2014 Postseason Contest.

And, as luck would have it, one picked the Giants to win the World Series and the other chose the Royals.
             ALCS      NLCS      WS        WS RS
Peter Y      KCR 6     SFG 6     SFG 5       39
Drew B       KCR 7     SFG 5     KCR 6       32
The winner will receive a copy of "Don't Let Us Win Tonight", autographed by me, co-author Bill Nowlin, and former Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar (who wrote the book's foreword).

October 20, 2014

Ten Years After: 2004 ALCS 7: Red Sox 10, Yankees 3

Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Red Sox - 240 200 011 - 10 13  0
Yankees - 001 000 200 -  3  5  1
Peter Gammons, ESPN: "The most anticipated game in baseball history."

John Powers, Boston Globe: "Seventy-eight years, it has been, since the last time the Yankees lost the final two games of a best-of-seven series at home. ... [U]nless the beleaguered Bombers can win tonight's American League Championship Series finale at the Stadium, they'll become the first ball club ever to blow a 3-0 lead and go down as the biggest chokers in the history of organized baseball."

Gordon Edes, Boston Globe: "Can 86 years of tainted history be swept clean by one sweet, absurdly improbable act of redemption, the likes of which has never been seen in hardball history? ... After what we have witnessed the last three days, is there anyone of the non-pinstriped segment of society who believes the Sox are not capable of finishing what will eclipse all the bitter disappointments of the past century as the defining moment of this franchise?"

Eric Wilbur, Boston Globe: "There is a Game 7 tonight. Keep saying that and let it sink in. These are unprecedented moments in Red Sox history that we're witnessing. Everything is going Boston's way in this ALCS against the Yankees, and not against the Olde Towne Team. They've already overcome a 3-0 deficit, something no team in baseball history has ever done. There are no records for what a team has done in the seventh game after completing such a historic turnaround because again, IT HAS NEVER BEEN DONE."

Karen Guregian, Boston Herald: "For the Yankees, this is no longer just about advancing to the World Series. It's no longer just about continuing to torture their archrivals, and their fans. ... Tonight, in Game 7, it's about saving face. It's about avoiding the biggest choke job baseball has ever witnessed. It's about sparing themselves the embarrassment of living with that dubious label for posterity: losers of a 3-0 lead. No team has ever coughed up that kind of lead in a baseball best-of-seven series. No team has ever come back from that deficit. No team has ever rallied to win from that far behind. Ever."

Thomas Boswell, Washington Post: "What are the stakes now? If the Red Sox, the team synonymous with collapses, misfortune and despair, win Game 7, then, in a blink, the blackest mark in Yankees history will actually be darker than any disgrace in all Boston annals. If the Red Sox somehow win one more game, it won't make up for the last 86 years without a world title, while the Yanks have amassed 26 of them. ... But it will, for at least the next decade, and perhaps the next century, allow every Red Sox fan anywhere to face any New York fan and say, without fear of contradiction, 'How does it feel to root for a team with the biggest payroll ever that has the biggest choke in the history of the game?'"

We scare 'em shitless just by showin' up alive!

Finally, here is a shot of Newsday's Long Island early edition for the morning after Game 4. I don't know if this was simply a planned cover which was then scrapped when the Red Sox won in extra innings or if any copies were actually printed.

Joy of Sox

October 20, 2004: "The Most Anticipated Game In Baseball History"
October 20, 2004: They Need Help
October 21, 2004: ALCS Game 7: Boston 10, New York 3
October 21, 2004: With Apologies To Bob Dylan
October 22, 2004: Lifes Rich Pageant
March 30, 2005: ALCS 7: Red Sox 10, Yankees 3

October 19, 2014

Ten Years After: 2004 ALCS 6: Red Sox 4, Yankees 2

Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Red Sox - 000 400 000 - 4 11  0
Yankees - 000 000 110 - 2  6  0

Joy of Sox

October 20, 2004: ALCS Game 6: Boston 4, New York 2
March 28, 2005: ALCS 6: Red Sox 4, Yankees 2