Sunday, October 21, 2018

The Sound and the Fury

So everybody did their Super Mega Strategy last night, in the game to decide the National League pennant.  There were 11 pitchers, bringing the total to 84—that is, six pitchers per game, per team—for a new, postseason series record.

Nobody pitched as many as five innings, and only two pitchers threw three or more innings.  They struck out 26 guys between them, and allowed 17 hits.

The Brewers delighted all the press box strategists by bringing in their fast young closer, Josh Hader, to hold the fort when the Dodgers took a 2-1 lead.  He did his job, blazing through three shutout innings.  But that only took Milwaukee through the first five frames, and his successor promptly gave up the three-run homer that essentially clinched the game for the Dodgers.

The Dodgers responded by pulling their leadoff hitter and left fielder after just one at-bat, in which he grounded out, for a pinch-hitter who then went into play second, while their starting second baseman switched to left.  The new second baseman had a harmless single on the night and struck out three times, stranding four runners on base.

For all the Super Mega Strategy, there were three different times in the first four innings when both teams might have stayed out of a double-play through the old-fashioned micro strategy of starting a runner.  No could do.

In general, everyone celebrated as if they had won the lottery when they so much as reached first base on a single, pointing to the crowd, their teammates, God.  Bill Mazeroski never looked quite so excited after hitting his home run to win the 1960 World Series.

For all the histrionics, and the excited crowd, and the inherent tension of a seventh game, this was a pretty dull contest, with all the runs scoring on three swings of the bat, off mistake pitches left too far in the strike zone.  Transplant it to the middle of July—or worse yet, a cold April night—and you'll be pulling in the crowds by the twos and threes.

One final note:  everyone last night was singing the praises of the Brewers' journeyman, part-time catcher, 38-year-old Erik Kratz, who Brian Cashman managed to get rid of twice in 2017-2018—the first time for nothing and the second time for one Wendell Rijo, a 22-year-old infielder, who batted .209 at three different Single- and Double-A stops this season.

Throw in Steve Pearce, and so far this postseason has been littered with useful lug nuts whom Coops, in his vast wisdom, felt free to chuck away because, of course, the Yankees HAVE to carry 13 pitchers at all times.  That way, they can almost be assured of finding the rotten apple in the barrel, every night.


TheWinWarblist said...

Torino Class 9.

JM said...

That last line should be enshrined somewhere. It's hysterically funny and ruefully true. Which is probably why it's hysterically funny.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Okay, Warbler, I'll bite. What does "Torino Class 9" mean?

TheWinWarblist said...

What I'm rooting for.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Now, now, Warbler! I don't know how you can be so heartless. Why, such an impact could easily hurt a ball girl, or a peanut vendor.