October 31, 2017

WS6: Dodgers 3, Astros 1

Astros  - 001 000 000 - 1  6  0
Dodgers - 000 002 10x - 3  5  0
And there will be November baseball in 2017!

The Dodgers rallied against Justin Verlander in the sixth inning, with Chris Taylor's double knocking in Austin Barnes, who began the inning with a single, which ended Verlander's string of 11 straight batters retired. It was also only the Dodgers' second hit of the game. Then Corey Seager's fly ball to deep right brought home Chase Utley (who had been hit with a pitch) with the go-ahead run. Joc Pederson's solo home run added an insurance run in the seventh, but Kenley Jansen did not need it. He pitched two perfect innings, striking out three of the six batters he faced.

Dodger Stadium will host the first Game 7 in its history (55 years) tomorrow night with Yu Darvish and Lance McCullers on the mound.

Rich Hill (4.2-4-1-1-5, 58) was solid once again for Los Angeles. He allowed only two baserunners in the first four innings, but one of them was a home run by George Springer with two outs in the third. In the top of the fifth, Brian McCann lined a single to right and Marwin Gonzalez ripped an opposite-field double down the left field line. Hill then fell behind Josh Reddick 3-0, but gathered himself and battled back to strike him out. Hill then fanned Verlander and after Dodgers manager Dave Roberts ordered an intentional walk to Springer - which loaded the bases - Roberts came and got Hill. (Despite saying before the game that he might allow Hill to face the Astros' lineup a third time in Game 6, Roberts did not. In Hill's four postseason starts, he faced 18, 19, 18, and 19 batters.)

Brandon Morrow - who threw only six pitches and allowed four runs in Game 5 - faced Alex Bregman. The day off must have done Morrow some good, as his first pitch, a fastball at 98, was fouled off, and then Bregman grounded out to shortstop.

Morrow retired the first two batters in the top of the sixth, but Yuli Gurriel - who was booed lustily all night - singled to center. Tony Watson came in and hit McCann with his second pitch. Gonzalez got ahead in the count 3-1 (home plate umpire Dan Iassogna blew the 2-1 pitch; the count should have been 2-2), but Gonzalez lined out to second.

Verlander had been cruising through the first five innings, throwing 69 pitches and allowing only a one-out single to Yasiel Puig in the second. But Barnes singled to left on a 2-0 pitch and Utley (0-for-his-last-29 postseason at-bats) was hit in the front/right foot. Chris Taylor fell behind 1-2, but lined a single over first base and down the right field line, tying the game. Seager, also behind 1-2, crushed a pitch to deep right that looked like it might carry over the wall. But Reddick caught it at the base of the wall - and Utley scored the go-ahead run easily. The Dodgers had a runner at third with two outs, but Justin Turner fouled to first and Cody Bellinger struck out (he whiffed four times (again) tonight).

(Even though Verlander (6-3-2-0-9, 93) had allowed the Dodgers to take a 2-1 lead, Fox's John Smoltz kept heaping praise on the Houston pitcher, as if he was still dominating and throwing a shutout. It was very similar to what Smoltz did in Game 7 of the ALCS, gushing on and on about the glorious Yankees, who were (even as he spoke) both being shut out and getting torched for multiple runs by the soon-to-be-pennant-winning Astros.)

Watson walked Reddick to begin the seventh. After Evan Gattis was announced as a pinch-hitter, Kenta Maeda came in from the pen. Gattis forced Reddick at second, but beat the relay. Roberts questioned whether Reddick's slide into second was legal - and it was. Springer reached on an infield single that Seager dove to his right and knocked down. At the very least, that may have prevented Gattis from going to third. Derek Fisher went in as a pinch-runner at second base, and he advanced to third when Bregman flied to center. With the potential tying run at third, Maeda got Jose Altuve to ground to third. Turner ranged to his left; his throw was low, but Bellinger made a fantastic scoop for the third out.

With his opposite-field home run off Joe Musgrove, Pederson gave LA a 3-1 lead and became the first player in Dodgers history with an extra-base hit in five straight World Series games.

Jansen - who had allowed one run in each of his last three appearances (Games 2, 4, and 5) - got the ball for the eighth. Carlos Correa flied to left on an 0-1 pitch. (That would be the last fair ball of the night for the Astros.) Gurriel fouled to first and McCann struck out on three pitches. After the Dodgers stranded two runners on base in their half of the eighth, Jansen went back to work. Of his 12 pitches in the top of the ninth, 11 were strikes. Gonzalez (csf) fouled to first, Reddick (cbs) struck out swinging, and pinch-hitter Carlos Beltran (fff) struck out swinging, chasing a high fastball (at 94) for the final out.

For the first time since 2001/2002, the World Series will go to a seventh game in two consecutive years.

Justin Verlander / Rich Hill

The Houston Astros can win their first World Series championship in their 55-year existence with a victory tonight. And they have Verlander - 2.05 ERA in this postseason (five games, four starts) - on the mound. (The Astros' only other World Series appearance came in 2005, when they were swept by the White Sox (who broke a World Series drought that was longer than the one the Red Sox broke the year before).)

On Sunday night, the Astros became the fifth team in history to win a World Series game by overcoming three deficits:

1914 Game 3 - Boston 5, Athletics 4 (12)
Athletics - 100 100 000 200 - 4  8  2
Boston    - 010 100 000 201 - 5  9  1
1986 Game 6 - Mets 6, Red Sox 5 (11)
Red Sox - 110 000 100 2 - 5 13  3
Mets    - 000 020 010 3 - 6  8  2
1993 Game 1 - Blue Jays 8, Phillies 5
Phillies  - 201 010 001 - 5 11  1
Blue Jays - 021 011 30x - 8 10  3
2011 Game 6 - Cardinals 10, Rangers 9 (11)
Rangers   - 110 110 300 20 -  9 15  2
Cardinals - 200 101 012 21 - 10 13  3
2017 Game 5 - Astros 13, Dodgers 12 (10)
Dodgers - 300 130 113 0 - 12 14  1
Astros  - 000 430 410 1 - 13 14  1
The previous four teams all won the series.

Yasiel Puig, Dodgers outfielder: "This is not going to be finished Tuesday. There's going to be a Game 7."

Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times: "It's Been A Crazy World Series, And We're Clamoring For More"
The World Series is driving you bonkers, and there's nothing you can do about it.

Every time you think the Dodgers have won, some wide-eyed Houston Astro swings from his fancy cleats, clangs a ball into a bleacher and dances all over your heart.

Every time you think the Dodgers have lost, Cody bellows or Corey flexes or Puig becomes Puiiiiig and suddenly you're clutching that scratchy rally towel and tugging on that faded blue T-shirt and hopping around the middle of your living room to the rattling of your Vin bobblehead.

You scream, you groan, you nearly pass out twice, then, early Monday morning in Houston, your world is turned upside down when the series shifts on a 10th-inning Astros single ...

The Astros' memorable, painful 13-12 victory over the Dodgers in Game 5 was yet another example of a week filled with both miraculous drama and unabashed kookiness. And though you can't take it anymore, you also can't get enough.

This cannot yet be declared the best World Series ever ... [but] this certainly qualifies as the craziest World Series ever, with balls flying, bats flipping, bullpens crumbling, legends dissolving, fans trespassing, players insulting, and a manager feuding with fans.
(That column also features the phrase "sunbathing their testicles".)

David Barron, Houston Chronicle: "Astros, With Justin Verlander On Mound, In Position To Win First World Series"
Minute Maid Park and Dodger Stadium, separated by 1,540 miles of Interstate 10, are opposite poles in a weeklong competition of attrition, success, failure, magic and calamity that is the 2017 World Series.

Five games of the best-of-seven series are in the books, and it will end - must end - on the western side of the commute, where the Astros will win their first World Series championship or the Dodgers will stage a historic comeback before their home fans at Dodger Stadium. ...

The Astros are in position to clinch the series ... because they prevailed Sunday night (and the wee hours of Monday) in one of the most extraordinary games in World Series history, a 13-12 win in 10 innings in which the teams combined for 25 runs, 18 hits, three ties and four lead changes. ...

The situation in which the Astros find themselves entering Game 6 also has historic punch. The Astros in 2004 traveled to St. Louis in search of their first National League pennant, leading the series 3-2 and flying high after a dramatic Game 5 victory, only to lose twice to the Cardinals, who went on to the World Series.

For that matter, these 2017 Astros faced a similar challenge against the Yankees, trailing 3-2 in the American League Championship Series, and returned home to win Games 6 and 7 to advance to the World Series. It was a triumph, but, this week, it's also a warning of what can happen.
Dylan Hernandez, Los Angeles Times: "Dave Roberts' Managing Skills Will Be Put To The Test In Dodgers' Must-Win Game 6 Of World Series"
For Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, running a game borders on a religious experience in that it's an act of faith.

Faith in his players. Faith in the organization's system. ...

The ultimate test is coming up. ...

"You just can't really get caught up in just chasing results," Roberts said. "You have to kind of really believe in the process and I know I do." ...

Roberts also has remained loyal to the organization's philosophy on how to run a pitching staff. Instead of counting on relievers to extinguish fires, he calls on them to prevent fires from even starting. This translates to fewer innings by starting pitchers, who, with the exception of Clayton Kershaw, are typically allowed to pitch to the opposing lineup only twice. ...

The line of thinking came under fire in Game 2 when Roberts removed starter Rich Hill after only four innings. Hill allowed only one run and the Dodgers almost ran out of pitcher in the 11-inning defeat. ...

Over the remainder of this World Series, the challenge for Roberts will be to balance his philosophical beliefs and the physical realities that have taken hold of his team. His bullpen is exhausted ... Roberts acknowledged that would make him more inclined to give Hill a longer leash in Game 6.
Astros: Since 1985, teams with a 3-2 advantage in either an LCS or the World Series have won the series 37 of 56 times (66%). But they have won only 14 out of 28 times (50%) when on the road for Games 6 and 7.

Dodgers: Since 1985, teams down 3-2 in either an LCS or the World Series have come back to win the series 19 of 56 times (34%). When those teams are at home, they have won 14 of 28 times (50%). And if that team won Game 6, they have won Game 7 14 of 16 times (88%). ... In the World Series, 20 teams have come back to win the series after being down 2-3; 14 of the 20 teams did it by winning Game 6 and Game 7 at home.

Recent history of coming back from 2-3: The 2017 Astros won Games 6 and 7 of the ALCS at home. The 2016 Cubs won Games 6 and 7 of the World Series on the road.


David Cho said...

Fantastic write up. A lot of it goes over my head, but I am learning.

but Yuli Gurriel - who was booed lustily all night

Yep. Hats off to Rich Hill for making that moment so delicious

David Cho said...

So far, each of the two pairs of starting pitchers traded a win and a loss.

Kershaw took the first, but Kuechel took the rematch. Verlander took game #2, but tonight Hill revenged.

I see a pattern here :). Go Yu, Go!

laura k said...

Rich Hill, very good, sir.