October 25, 2019

WS3: Astros 4, Nationals 1

Astros    - 011 011 000 - 4 11  0
Nationals - 000 100 000 - 1  9  2
The necessity of earning a living prevented me from watching almost all of Game 3. I saw the top of the first, the last batter in the bottom of the sixth, and the bottom of the ninth. This is what I saw:

Washington's Victor Robles made an amazing catch on the warning track in deep center for the first out of the evening. George Springer had reached on an infield single and Jose Altuve made a bid for extra bases off Aníbal Sánchez.

In the other two moments I watched, plate umpire Gary Cederstrom made blatantly bad calls, which made me wonder about his overall performance; could he have blown calls only when I caught a batter or two? In the bottom of the sixth, Adam Eaton batted against Will Harris as the potential tying run. Houston led 4-1, but the Nationals had two men on with two outs. Harris threw a high pitch on 0-2 and Eaton tried to check his swing, but did not. However, Cederstrom said No, it was a ball. Eaton ended the inning by grounding out to first, so that bad call had no effect on the game.

Roberto Osuna pitched the bottom of the ninth for the Astros. His control initially seemed a bit off - and he received a gift from Cederstrom on his first batter. Osuna threw a 3-1 pitch that was just low enough to be out of the strike zone. The pitch was borderline and clocked at 97 mph, and Cederstrom called it a strike. Turner fouled a pitch off and then flew out to deep right-center. Eaton singled on a 2-0 pitch. The Nats could well have had the first two men on - perhaps they should have - and then who knows? But Osuna got Anthony Rendon on a first-pitch foul popup to the catcher and froze Juan Soto (on his 21st birthday) with two nasty pitches, an inside fastball right on the black for called strike one and a 99 mph fastball in the low/far corner of the zone for a game-ending called strike three.

Anthony Castrovince, mlb.com:
Houston got on the board in the second inning, when Josh Reddick blooped a base hit to shallow left to score Carlos Correa, who had doubled, from second. Juan Soto fielded the ball and heaved a wayward throw toward home plate, allowing Reddick to skip to second base, and the 21-year-old birthday boy would have another fielding foible in the third, when he misplayed a ball in the left-field corner to turn a José Altuve leadoff double into three bases instead. Michael Brantley grounded an infield single off Sánchez's glove to score Altuve and make it 2-0.

The Nats responded in the fourth when Ryan Zimmerman drew a leadoff walk from Zack Greinke and Victor Robles ripped and skipped a triple past third baseman Alex Bregman to make it 2-1. But Robles was stranded after Martinez opted not to pinch-hit for Sánchez, who bunted for strike three before Greinke made a nice play on a short grounder from Trea Turner to end the threat.

Robles was one of 10 baserunners the Nats stranded just in the game's first six innings. When they had two runners in scoring position with two outs in the fifth, Hinch replaced Greinke with young Josh James, who got Zimmerman swinging on an 89 mph changeup inside. When the Nats had two on with one out in the sixth, Will Harris calmly struck out Turner and compelled a groundout from Adam Eaton. The Nats' frustration was amplified by the sixth-inning loss of catcher Kurt Suzuki to a hip injury that has his status uncertain for Game 4.

The Astros, on the other hand, had added valuable insurance against Sánchez on a Brantley RBI single in the fifth and Chirinos' 108.4 mph solo dinger off the left-field foul pole in the sixth.
An article featuring "13 Facts, Figures About World Series Game 3" began thusly: "Given that only one team in baseball’s postseason history has come back from a 3-0 deficit, Friday night’s World Series Game 3 in Washington, D.C., was essentially a must-win for the Astros." ... It will never get old. [However, everyone needs to be taught the proper way to reference it: "a 0-3 deficit", not 3-0.]
The Astros are trying to become the 14th team all-time to come back from a 2-0 deficit in a best-of-seven postseason series, and the first to do so in the World Series since 1996. In all series with the current 2-3-2 format, teams that have taken Game 3 after falling behind 2-0 have come back to win the series 12 of 43 times (28%).

The Nationals entered Game 3 with an eight-game winning streak this postseason, which was tied for the longest single-postseason streak with the 2014 Royals, 2005 White Sox and 2004 Red Sox. Friday's loss snapped that streak, meaning they'll remain tied with those three other teams for the record. Washington had also won 18 of its past 20 games overall, which tied for a franchise-best dating back to its Montreal era. ...

The Astros entered Game 3 having hit just .127 with runners [at second and/or third] since the beginning of their American League Championship Series matchup against the Yankees. But they turned that around in a big way Friday, going 4-for-10 with runners [at second and/or third] and notching their first three runs via [RATS] hits.

Meanwhile, the Nationals were 0-for-10 with runners [at second and/or third] in the game, after going 7-for-21 in the first two games of the series. Washington became the first team since the 2008 Phillies to go hitless in 10 or more at-bats with runners [at second and/or third] in a World Series game -- though it's worth noting that the Phillies won that game, going 0-for-13 with [RATS] to set a World Series record along the way. [The Nationals had only two games all season in which they finished a game at least 0-for-9 (July 24 against the Rockies, and September 13 against Atlanta.]

José Altuve remains scorching hot. After going 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles in Game 3, Altuve's batting line this postseason stands at .362/.413/.724 with six doubles and five homers in 58 at-bats. Altuve's 1.137 OPS would be the highest in a single postseason (min. 50 AB) since David Ortiz finished at 1.206 in his magical October 2013.

[Robinson] Chirinos' dinger made the Astros the second team to have two different catchers homer in the same World Series, following Giants backstops Ed Bailey and Tom Haller against the Yankees in 1962. Chirinos' teammate Martín Maldonado went deep in Game 2. Per STATS, this is the first World Series to feature three different catchers homering overall, including Kurt Suzuki's go-ahead homer off Justin Verlander in Game 2.

Will Harris picked up five huge outs for Houston, stranding runners on first and second in the sixth and then retiring the heart of the Nationals' lineup in order in the seventh. ... The right-hander has yet to allow a run in 8.1 innings this postseason. Harris now has nine scoreless appearances this postseason. There have been 12 times in which a pitcher has finished a single postseason with at least nine appearances in a single postseason without allowing a run. The record is 11 by Jeremy Affeldt for the 2014 Giants.
Chad Thornburg, mlb.com:
Teams that win the first two games in a best-of-seven postseason series .... have prevailed in 71 of 84 instances, but all isn't lost for the team facing an 0-2 deficit ...

The 13 teams that overcame those long odds have proved, time and again, that no two-game lead is safe. Even an 0-3 deficit has been conquered once, by the curse-busting Red Sox against the Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship Series.

However, of the 25 teams to lose Games 1 and 2 at home in a best-of-seven series, only three have rallied to win the series. ...

Of the 13 comebacks overall, 10 have come in the World Series, while three were in a League Championship Series ...

Below is a closer look at that historic 2004 Boston team, as well as the other 12 instances of 0-2 comebacks in a seven-game playoff series:

2004 ALCS: Boston Red Sox
Lost Games 1 and 2 on the road, 3 at home, won in seven games

Boston's comeback against the Yankees in 2004 may be the most impressive series reversal on this list as the Red Sox became the first team in MLB history to overcome an 0-3 deficit in a seven-game series. The Yankees were on the verge of a sweep in Game 4, bringing a one-run lead into the ninth inning. But Dave Roberts' clutch steal and Bill Mueller's game-tying single against All-Star closer Mariano Rivera sent the game to extras, and David Ortiz capped Boston's comeback with a walk-off homer in the 12th inning. Game 5 also went down to the wire, and again, Ortiz was the hero, hitting a walk-off single in the 14th inning en route to series MVP honors. Game 6 was Curt Schilling's legendary "Bloody Sock" game, in which Schilling pitched seven innings of one-run ball with an injured ankle. Boston clinched the series with a 10-3 victory in Game 7 and defeated the Cardinals in the Fall Classic for the franchise's first championship since 1918.
Zack Greinke / Aníbal Sánchez

Aníbal Sánchez is the only pitcher in major league history with multiple postseason starts of at least six no-hit innings:
2013 ALCS Game 1: 6.0 hitless innings vs Red Sox (6-0-0-6-12, 116)
2019 NLCS Game 1: 7.2 hitless innings vs Cardinals (7.2-1-0-1-5, 103)
In 2013, at Fenway Park, the Tigers bullpen took the no-hitter into the ninth inning before Daniel Nava singled with one out. That was Boston's only hit in a 1-0 loss. In Game 2, a grand slam by David Ortiz! David Ortiz! David Ortiz! led Boston to a 6-5 win, and they won the pennant in six games, en route to yet another championship. In 2019, the Cardinals finished with one hit and lost 2-0. St. Louis also lost the next three games.

In 2012, Zack Greinke started three consecutive games for the Brewers. On July 7, he was ejected after facing two Astros batters (0-2-1-0-0, 4*). On July 8, he faced the Astros again (3-5-3-2-5, 66). Then, after the All-Star Break, he started against the Pirates on July 13 (5-7-6-2-6, 97).

*: Despite throwing the fewest pitches of Milwaukee's seven pitchers and allowing only one of Houston's six runs, Greinke was deemed the losing pitcher. #killtheloss

It was the first time in 105 years that a major league pitcher started three consecutive games in a single season. In 1917, Red Faber of the Chicago White Sox started both games of a September 3 doubleheader (G1: 4.2-11-5-0-0, 23 batters; G2: 1.1-4-4-3-0, 10 batters) and the game on September 4 (9-16-6-0-1, 44 batters).

1 comment:

Paul Hickman said...

MAY be the most impressive ....... ??????????

Chad MAY need a change in his medication ?