The Most Off-and-Over the Wall Game Ever

How Game Four of the 2017 World Series Played Out in the Mind’s Eye.

 

How Game Five of the 2017 World Series Played Out in the Mind’s Eye.

 

After seventy years of attentive focus upon how the professional game of baseball is played, I had never seen anything like Game Five of the 2017  World Series in my life. Ever.

Oh yeah, as Post-WW2 kids, we did this sort of the thing on the Houston sandlots on a daily basis, but, jeez, these were the heavyweights of professional baseball in 2017, playing on the highest, brightest, most respected, tradition-rich stage that baseball has to offer. It isn’t supposed to work out that this way. Good pitching is supposed to stop good hitting, and this game featured two former Cy Young starters, one of whom (Kershaw) is still regarded as the greatest starter in the game today.

Neither Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers or Dallas Keuchel of the Astros got through the first 5 innings; both were bombed; and both suffered from poor defense. It was an ebb and flood evening of hitting monsters, ones who had come to the park this night to do bad things to good people on the other side who entered this battle with the small case “p” printed at the end of their last names in the box score. It was a night that could have shifted easily to the Halloween date. These monsters had shown up early to capitalize on the endless stream of uncapitalized “p” bodies that zombied their over-worked arms through the pit of misery that the MMP pitching mound had become for their kind this haunting night in baseball history.

Pressure and over-use sucked energy from pitchers like the bite of the vampire sucks blood from the living. The big-boppers-of-baseball-bashing then monstered their ways over pitchers whose low energy and high anxiety served up home run pitches like grab-and-go doughnuts from the Shipley’s drive-by window.  Less favored, but last resort pitchers began to parade into the game from the pens like so many mummy-paced zombies and – as for any real closers – they were only present as invisible men among the house of many wolfman-maned batters. And the scruffiest of those was both scraggly redheaded and all decked out in Dodger blue. What a cast – and it only missed Halloween by a couple of earlier time days.

The malevolent baseball gods were equivalently undermining to the large and small “p” men this night. Orange. Blue. It didn’t seem to matter. If a “p” man could throw a baseball, he could hit a bat in motion that would turn that baby around and send it soaring into the farthest home run regions of Minute Maid Park.

Three times in Game Five, twice for the Astros and once for the Dodgers, teams drew back into ties on the heels of 3-run homers.

In the end, it was the sound of Alex Bregman’s bat in the bottom of the 10th with two outs. A single to left center was in motion and pinch runner Derek Fisher was well into the final 180 feet run that would end the blood spilling, at least, for this game. Around third came Fisher, sliding easily into home long before the ball arrived for a no-chance play.

Game over. Astros, win 13-12, in a five plus hours game. Astros now lead the 2017 World Series pursuit, 3 games to 2, over the LA Dodgers.

We take nothing for granted, but we raise our cups in a toast of hope!

Dilly! Dilly!

 

************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

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4 Responses to “The Most Off-and-Over the Wall Game Ever”

  1. materene Says:

    Wanted: used defibrillator, another game such as this one and I might not be able to restart my heart muscles. What a game, no matter how you cut it this was one earned by Houston and not a gimme. Now let’s hope they are fired up and finish this thing up before it snows, or if in LA a brush fire starts and burns the stadium down.

  2. Fred Soland Says:

    Hopefully two things happen tomorrow night in Los Angeles. The first thing is that Justin Verlander is on and pitch at least 7 innings, if not more tomorrow night. Regardless of how far he goes though, AJ Hinch needs to do two things:

    First, under no circumstances should he pitch either Lance McCullers or Charlie Morton. They should both be saved for use on Wednesday if necessary.

    Second, under no circumstances should Ken Giles be on the hill.

    Verlander will hopefully be vintage Verlander making Wednesday moot if our hitting continues to pound Dodger pitching. I think they will fare well against Rich Hill, but once they get into that “feared LA bullpen” they will find a welcome to Josh Fields, Brandon McCarthy and the overworked Brandon Morrow. Kenta Maeta is also close to spent, and even Kanley Jansen is not as feared as the Astros have scored on him in Game 2 and beat him in Game 5.

    Tony Cingrani, Ross Stripling and Tony Watson are due to get clipped as we have seen them all at least 4 times now.

    Trust the heart of this team and with the guys swinging the lumber well again, I think we will wrap up the first World Series title for Houston on Halloween night!!

  3. Wayne Roberts Says:

    Hopefully not lost in the surrealism is Derek Fisher’s accomplishment. Here’s a kid with limited MLB play and who, according to the announcers was too green to be put into such a pressure game to play unless McCann got to second. So in he goes after Springer’s walk. If he never plays another game he has the story of a lifetime: winning run in one of the greatest World Series games ever played. Field of Dreams moment. Way to go Derek, I’m happiest for you.

  4. Mark W Says:

    This game (I believe) had a turning point. I know it looks like it had about a dozen turning points. But I’ve re-watched it about a dozen times on DVR, and I’m convinced now that the turning point was the bottom of the fifth. The Astros were losing 7-4, and Kershaw got two fairly efficient outs, one to go. Springer comes up and has a 9 pitch at-bat, finally walks on 3-2, and Kershaw gives in to nobody. He refuses to lay one in to Bregman, and that turns into a 10 pitch at-bat, with Bregman fighting off pitch after pitch, spoiling curves and sliders and fastballs, everything on the margins, high or low, in or out. Finally Bregman gets the walk on a 3-2 count and there’s 2 on for Altuve. Roberts pulls a supremely frustrated Kershaw and brings in Maeda, who’s been deadly every time he’s pitched. I was convinced he (and Morrow) was unhittable. John Smoltz wondered how fresh Maeda was, but he was dealing. And he had the book on Altuve. No fastballs. Slider after slider after slider, until the count went to 3-2. Then Altuve spoils a slider (that spun rather than turned according to Smoltz) and Altuve jacked it about 400 feet – foul. So Maeda maybe loses a little confidence in his slider after all those pitches, and he gambles with a fastball, which Altuve hits about 430 feet for a 3-run homer to tie the game. Yes, there’s a long road to hoe from this point, but it looks to me like the players now are locked into their at-bats, focused on taking the marginal pitches until they have to protect the strike zone, then spoiling the rest of the marginal pitches until they get one they can straighten out a bit. I think they were still a little spent when they faced Wood 2 days later, and he’s obviously got menacing stuff. But that 5th inning in game 5, that was the inning where I thought I detected something hard core about the ‘Stros, where they were never going to let up, barring an earthquake.

    The inspiring story of the heart and soul of the Astros can be found at this link.

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