2019 Baseball Post-season

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 7165
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: 2019 Baseball Post-season

Postby Mister Tee » Thu Oct 31, 2019 2:54 pm

It may seem a little late, with the champagne and trophies already presented, but, the game...

Greinke was as near untouchable for 6 innings as any pitcher this post-season. The Nats only managed two base runners over that stretch; it seemed like Greinke himself was accounting for half the outs, on pathetically weak grounders back to the mound. Scherzer, meanwhile, was struggling throughout (likely still grinding through that injury); it was the kind of game that felt like 5-0 rather than 1-0 or 2-0, because the Astros threatened in every inning. Crucially, though, Scherzer kept the scoring to a minimum.

A lot of us held our breath when Corbin took the mound, since he's been something like a run-producing machine all post-season long. But he was stellar on this night, getting through three mostly stressless -- and of course scoreless -- innings.

Rendon's one-out homer in the 7th of course woke things up, but there was no particular reason to assume the Astros were suddenly doomed. Even Soto's subsequent walk didn't ring loud alarms for most -- but they did, apparently, for AJ Hinch, because he removed Greinke on the spot. Two second-guesses arise here: 1) Why panic so quickly? Greinke was only at 80 pitches, had been more then superb up till then, and doesn't have a history of losing it suddenly. If the Astros had the Yankee bullpen, it would have made more sense -- the Yankees clearly trust their bullpen past their starters in key situations. But in Houston, it's the opposite: their starting staff is their strength. 2) Cole had been warming in the bullpen, but instead Hinch opted for the less-frightening Harris. Why? Hinch says Cole, being a starter, wasn't used to starting an inning with a man on base; the idea was to use him in the next clean inning -- the presumption being the Astros would still have a lead.

Houston paid dearly for this two-headed decision, as Kendrick whacked Harris' first pitch and hit the foul pole with it -- putting the Nats suddenly in the lead by a run. Given the Nats' well-documented bullpen woes, this was hardly a comfortable lead...but Corbin held fast in the bottom of the 7th, and the Nats added a two-out run off Osuna in the 8th (Soto possibly should have been intentionally walked, but since Kendrick was batting behind him, it was pick-your-poison), and then two more in the 9th to put the game out of reach. Hudson rather effortlessly retired the Astros in the bottom of the 9th -- creating, as someone noted, the rather nice picture of the series being closed out by a pitcher who missed playoff games to attend his child's birth, as opposed to a guy recently suspended for domestic violence.

(Parenthetically: the reporting on the Astros executive fired over taunting female reporters re: Osuna has unleashed a surprising amount of vitriol against the team in general. You'd never know it to listen to Buck/Smoltz, who seemed to slaver all over the franchise, but apparently quite a few other teams have a very negative, Patriots-like view of the means Houston has used to work its way to the top.)

So, the season ends, which, as Bart Giammatti famously wrote, is always a melancholy moment. But, for once, I think it had an outcome that made a solid number of people feel good about the sport. It's hard to say if this is the start of something big for the Nats (Soto having just turned 21), or the end of a period of contention (given their average age). It feels a bit like a last hurrah for a team that, if anything, should have made its way to the finals a few years ago. But that's a subject for hot-stove, and for subsequent seasons. For now, baseball looks and feels pretty good as it tucks itself away for winter.

danfrank
Temp
Posts: 478
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:19 pm
Location: Oakland, CA

Re: 2019 Baseball Post-season

Postby danfrank » Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:50 am

The Nats are a team that have beaten the odds and come from behind all season. In their first 50 games they went 19 and 31, for heaven’s sake. Never give up indeed!

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 7165
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: 2019 Baseball Post-season

Postby Mister Tee » Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:29 am

Just a reminder:

Wild Card game: Nats trail the Brewers by 2 in the 8th. They load the bases; Soto hits a single off Josh Hader that goes under the Milwaukee outfielder's glove. 3 runs score. Another inning, and the Nats are moving on.

NLDS: Game 5, 8th inning, Nats trail the Dodgers 3-1. Two home runs (the second by Soto) tie the game off Clayton Kershaw. Kendrick hits a grand slam in extras. Nats move on.

For the team that already did that to trail the Astros 2-0 in the 7th inning of Game 7 of the World Series and pull ahead on two home runs...come on: you're kidding me.

An absolutely joyous series for the Nats. For those of us sick of hearing how perfect the Astros are, serious schadenfreude.

And we all have the pleasure of knowing that a certain someone, who was ready to tweet "They might have won if they hadn't booed me", will now have to keep his mouth shut.

More elaborate thoughts tomorrow. For tonight, as much happiness as I can have for a team without an NY on its jersey.

danfrank
Temp
Posts: 478
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:19 pm
Location: Oakland, CA

Re: 2019 Baseball Post-season

Postby danfrank » Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:09 am

Yes!!!!!

User avatar
Sonic Youth
Tenured Laureate
Posts: 7573
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 8:35 pm
Location: USA

Re: 2019 Baseball Post-season

Postby Sonic Youth » Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:17 pm

Sonic Youth wrote:Will there even be a game 5?


What? Who said that?

Congratulations, Nationals! That win just felt right.

As for the Astros, it's uncanny how they can be masterful and garbage simultaneously.
"What the hell?"
Win Butler

danfrank
Temp
Posts: 478
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:19 pm
Location: Oakland, CA

Re: 2019 Baseball Post-season

Postby danfrank » Wed Oct 30, 2019 9:41 am

If this is David v. Goliath, count me all in for David. I’m for the Nats anyway, but it will be a fun asterisk in baseball history to have a World Series where all 7 games are won by the road team. As for that out-of-the-baseline call, I can’t claim to fully understand that rule, but after watching the replay at least a half-dozen times I can’t for the life of me see anything that Turner did wrong. The explanation after the game by Joe Torre (looking sadly quite old, which I guess he is) didn’t convince me, either. It’s fortunate for the umpires that it didn’t cost the Nats the game. The other big story of the game: Strasburg is a stud. I didn’t agree with the babying of his arm early in his career, but it’s hard to argue with his current success.

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 7165
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: 2019 Baseball Post-season

Postby Mister Tee » Wed Oct 30, 2019 1:42 am

An on-field brouhaha, and a Game 7 -- this is more like it!

It didn't begin well for the Nats. They did score a run in the 1st, but with a questionable bunt involved, which made one wonder why they'd play it so conservative so early -- a question amplified when the Astros answered with a lightning-fast 2 runs in the bottom of the inning (the second from a home run by Bregman, on which he rubbed some people wrong by carrying his bat with him to 1st). Strasburg straightened up after that, racking up strikeouts, but those runs were in the bank, and, though Verlander was putting runners on, the 2-1 lead held stubbornly for the next few innings. When the Astros were bailed out of a 2-on 4th inning jam thanks to a fly ball caught just short of the left field wall, it began to seem the Nats were out of luck.

In the 5th, though, Eaton -- who'd been responsible for that early bunt -- tied the game on a home run, and, two batters later, Soto hit a moon-shot homer that put the Nats ahead. (Soto carried HIS bat to first, making clear his contempt for Bregman's earlier move.) At this point, Strasburg's strong pitching became the central focus, and he kept the Astros scoreless in both the 5th and 6th.

The brouhaha came in the top of the 7th. Gomes led off with a single, following which Turner hit a dribbler down the third base line. He appeared to have the play beat at first, but the situation was complicated when Bregman's throw bounced out of Guriel's glove and into foul territory. The Nats had 2d and 3rd/no outs, an excellent position from which to expand their too-thin lead -- until the umpires ruled that Turner had been out off the baseline, meaning he was out, and Gomes was returned to 1st. This running-out-of-the-baseline thing has often meant trouble (ask Chuck Knoblauch about it, sometime), but it's safe to say many people (including the TV team) disagreed with the umpire's ruling. There was a very long delay checking with the replay crew, at the end of which the play stood. Nats manager Dave Martinez threw a full-on tantrum that got him tossed (it's a lucky thing this game wasn't in DC; we might have had close to a riot). And then, wonderfully, Rendon wiped it all away by hitting a 2-run homer that expanded the lead to 3 runs -- plenty for Strasburg, who pitched into the 9th, barely letting another runner get on. It was the perfect kind of baseball justice -- especially if one entertains the notion that the long replay delay might have put the pitcher enough out of his rhythym to serve up the fatal pitch.

So, we'll have Game 7, our 5th in the last 9 years (this after only 3 such in the preceding two decades). Baseball wins.

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 7165
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: 2019 Baseball Post-season

Postby Mister Tee » Tue Oct 29, 2019 2:07 pm

As we head into what seems an inevitable Astro championship -- only the possibility of heroics from Strasburg stands athwart -- a few comments about Game 5:

It's strange for a game that ended 7-1 to engender deep complaints about umpiring, but baseball is a game of small fulcrums, and sometimes the smallest of bad calls can have widespread result.

First instance: top of the 4th, the Astros leading by a surmountable 2-0 score, Correa up with two outs/man on first. Emergency starter Ross throws what the on-screen box -- and John Smoltz -- deem a clear inning-ending strike. The umpire says otherwise. A few pitches later, Correa hits one out of the ballpark, and the deficit is suddenly 4-0, a mountain to scale with Cole on the mound.

Second case: Bottom 7th, the Astros still have just those 4 runs. A Soto homer puts the Astros on the board. With 2 out, Zimmerman walks, then Cole goes to a 3-2 count on Robles. This time, the pitch registers outside the TV box, but the umpire calls a strike. No one is saying this was a clearly game-changing moment, but it would have given the Nats their last shot at bringing the tying run to the plate, and, more important, made Hinch decide whether to stick with his starter (who'd just thrown his 110th pitch) or risk using his still unproven bullpen. It's easy to wave all this off; say, what does it matter, the Astros scored 3 more runs in the 8th/9th to make the game a laugher. But baseball has this thing called the Fallacy of the Predetermined Outcome -- where things that follow cannot be presumed to have followed in even slightly changed circumstances. Nats fans will always wonder if their future might have been different without two calls that both went their opponents' way.

In any case...the seeming predetermined outcome tonight is that the Nats have suddenly turned back in pumpkins -- that they will lose to the team everyone knew from the start was superior. The rosy view is that Strasburg can rise to the occasion, that he can beat Verlander (who, despite much post-season success, has never won a Series game), and that if Scherzer can manage to revive from his injury, it would be the Nats with the pitching advantage in a Game 7. David still has his shot against Goliath. But, you know...the smart money says, bet on Goliath.

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 7165
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: 2019 Baseball Post-season

Postby Mister Tee » Sun Oct 27, 2019 4:07 pm

Just a word before tonight's game:

The Nats had been riding a flying-carpet scenario, but, as Tom Boswell said today, they had to remember not to look down. The past two games have been a rather forceful look down, and they have to face the fact that the real 107-win Astros are on the field and ready to take them out. Last night's game was theoretically close through 6 innings, but it never felt that way, since Urquidy was pitching better than any of either team's vaunted starters. When the Nats lucked into a bases-loaded situation in the 6th and only netted 1 run (on a groundout), it seemed all but over -- a feeling reinforced by Bregman's grand slam in the very next inning.

I know the Nats have those two wins banked, but they look like a team ready to be swept. The late-breaking news that Scherzer has been scratched due to injury suggests that, if the Nats have made it this far on smoke and mirrors, the mirror may have shattered.

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 7165
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: 2019 Baseball Post-season

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Oct 26, 2019 1:28 pm

I didn't see much of last night's game, but it doesn't seem I missed much. Both teams left a ton of runners on base (which seems a running theme this post-season), but the Astros managed to build a picket fence from the second through sixth innings -- four single-run frames out of five -- while the Nats stranded the bulk of their runners against Greinke. As happened multiple times in the ALCS, the Houston starter got knocked out fairly early, but the unheralded bullpen shut down further scoring.

Tonight's game -- Corbin vs. a bullpen-y Astros -- is probably crucial to DC hopes. If the Nats can win, they'll have the big advantage and the possibility of closing it out at home. Should they lose, however, it'd become a best-of-three series, with Houston having both home field and its fearsome one-two pitching monster to carry them home. They would once again be the prohibitive favorites they were when the series began.

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 7165
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: 2019 Baseball Post-season

Postby Mister Tee » Thu Oct 24, 2019 12:37 am

It remains to be seen if this carries on in the same fashion, but at the moment we seem to be in one of those "don't tell me the odds, this is a team of destiny" movies, and Houston will have to straighten up quick if it wants to avoid playing the 1969 Orioles in a remake of the Amazin' Mets. Not that the Nats are as hapless as the Mets were deemed to be that year, but their agonizing history of playoff losses has made them clear underdogs, especially to a team ESPN has been lionizing since Spring training, and for them to be off to such a stellar start -- two wins in the Astros' home park, against their ostensibly unbeatable two-headed pitching monster -- is attention-getting.

In tonight's game, the teams hit the 7th inning tied at 2, Strasburg having barely escaped a serious jam in the 6th. Verlander gave up a home run to Suzuki, which was unfortunate for Houston, but hardly conclusive, the Nats' bullpen being what it is. What put the game out of reach was a ground ball to Bregman that would have ended the inning -- except he bobbled it not once but twice, scoring two runs. This opened the floodgates, as more hits and an official Houston error (Bregman's bobble was ruled a hit) upped the score to 8-2. The final was was 12-3, with the last inning played before a half-empty, sullen crowd.

As was noted on-air, three teams have rallied from this 0-2 at home deficit, two of which I recall vividly (Mets '86, Yanks '96). It can be done. But, looking at the teams in their separate dugouts tonight, it didn't seem either was counting on it.

User avatar
Sonic Youth
Tenured Laureate
Posts: 7573
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 8:35 pm
Location: USA

Re: 2019 Baseball Post-season

Postby Sonic Youth » Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:23 pm

Will there even be a game 5?
"What the hell?"

Win Butler

Bog
Assistant
Posts: 847
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:39 am
Location: United States

Re: 2019 Baseball Post-season

Postby Bog » Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:16 am

Either it's
1) my season long belief in the team and its merits beyond being Bryce's former team
2) my belief Davey Martinez wasn't just a Maddon version of Charlie Weis
3) my love for Soto since he became the youngest player in the majors last June, or
4) (ahem most likely) my 19/1 ticket from the preseason for a title and my 20/1 ticket (cashed already) late in the season to win the pennant that has me believing...but any team with pitching this good, even against the daunting AND fun Astros lineup is not to ever be dismissed in my estimation.

As Tee mentioned it isn't going to get any easier for the Astros. Soto wasn't scared of a high heater from Cole...unlikely he will have sudden fears of JV's. Getting vets like Kendrick and Zimmerman into the same game being in the AL park again for game 2 is sure something I'd consider flipping JV and Greinke as crazy as this sounds....

danfrank
Temp
Posts: 478
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:19 pm
Location: Oakland, CA

Re: 2019 Baseball Post-season

Postby danfrank » Wed Oct 23, 2019 1:08 am

So much for Gerritt Cole being invincible. He hadn’t lost a game since May—an incredible achievement—which just goes to show how much harder it is to be an ace throughout an entire postseason. Yes, the Nationals and Yankees both stole a game 1 from the Astros, but the fact that the Nationals did it against the heretofore unstoppable Cole gives them an extra psychological edge, I would think. It’s hard not to root for the young Juan Soto. That was quite the World Series debut! Looks like this could be a fun series. Go Nats!

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 7165
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: 2019 Baseball Post-season

Postby Mister Tee » Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:53 am

So, it won't be the Houston 4-and-out series some smug pundits predicted.

Two premier starters struggled tonight. Scherzer, perhaps rusty from the long layoff, gave up two first-inning runs, and threw a ridiculous number of pitches -- he was at 96 through 4 innings. But he managed a quick 5th to be in line for the win.

He was in that line because Gerritt Cole, while lasting far longer -- 7 full innings -- also gave up several more runs, largely thanks to growing young legend Juan Soto, who walloped both a solo home run and a two-run double off the wall TO THE OPPOSITE FIELD. For those reading who don't really follow baseball: only a very few can hit balls that hard without pulling the ball. This kid -- he's only 20! -- is some kind of talent.

Anyway, by the time Scherzer left, the Nats had a 5-2 lead. Their bullpen, however, has a reputation for disaster, so it surprised no one the Astros scored in both the 7th and 8th to make it a scary 1-run game. On this night, though, the back end of the pen held on, and the Nats drew first blood in the Series.

The Astros will no doubt point to their losing the first game of the ALCS and shrug this off; I'm pretty sure they think they're WAY superior to the Nats. But the Nats are on a crazy roll at this point, and who knows how far it might take them?


Return to “General Off-Topic”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests