Normally on a Sunday night this Fall, I’m a frustrated Giants fan, lamenting another loss, and debating if I should watch Sunday Night Football or The Waking Dead. Last night I set the DVR and decided to watch the World Series. And again, this 2017 series game was must watch TV. If you managed to stay awake for the five hours and 17 minutes you witnessed a game that was an exhilarating wild baseball adventure.
The Houston Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 13-12 in a 10-inning slugfest of epic proportions as the Astros hit 5 home runs. They became just the fifth team in World Series history to rally from 3 separate deficits and just the second to rally from two three-run deficits -- and after all that, they still had to score the winning run off the best closer in baseball.
The 25 runs scored tied for the second most in a World Series game. The teams combined for 7 home runs. The offenses were so locked in that the teams combined for 28 hits. The teams have now hit 22 dingers through five games. That breaks the record of 21 for most home runs in a single World Series, set in 2002's seven-game Fall Classic between the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Angels, headlined by peak-steroid-era Barry Bonds.
The long balls have been plentiful and notable, putting a fitting punctuation mark on a season in which both leagues combined to hit the most home runs in MLB history.
So here’s the question: Is there something funky going on with the baseballs? Several pitchers have complained that the ball seems slicker and the stitching tighter. It’s not a new complaint. Even during the regular season, fresh baseballs come out of the box with a smooth surface that must be dirtied up with special mud by clubhouse personnel in order to get the tackiness that pitchers prefer. Sliders are tough to throw when the ball is slick, thus more fastballs which have equated to more Home Runs. At least that’s the theory.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred insists nothing nefarious is going on. Back in 2015 he said there weren’t enough runs being scored. Since then, scoring and Home Runs are up.
Baseball has never stopped wanting more long balls, because fans have always gravitated toward them more so than 2-1 pitcher duels with sacrifice bunts and hit and runs. Turns out, baseball found a way. If you don't believe me just replay last night’s game.
I’m sure you have seen the rumors that Joe Giardi will not return as Yankee manager. Apparently they are true. Joe won’t be returning. The decision appeared to come from the Yankees side.
After their final game of the season, Brian Cashman said he was pleased with the job Girardi did in guiding the Yankees to a 91-71 record and chaperoning the Baby Bombers into prime time, taking them within 1 game of the World Series, and a very bright future ahead.
Girardi, 53, will walk away from the Yankees with an outstanding 910-710 regular-season record as well as a 28-24 record with the Yankees in the postseason. That playoff record includes a 2009 World Series Championship and this past season’s deep run in what many expected to be a transitional year for the Yanks.
Girardi, who had the unenviable job of replacing the great Joe Torre in 2008, never once had a losing season during his tenure in the Bronx, going 910-710, a .562 winning percentage.
I have had more than my fair share of complaints about Girardi over the years, mostly based on his rigid bullpen use, resting of young players and his “by the numbers” managerial style, though he is a good man and was a good all around manager. Rumor has it that the Yankee front office felt that he relied too heavily on analytics, and they wanted someone who could have a better feel for the game.
Anyway, it’s done. I admit I’m sad to see Joe go, especially with the future looking so good, and he being responsible for the development of many of its rising stars.
The Yankees have an exciting roster with lots of good young talent and more on the way. Now it’s time to find the right man to lead them.
The Giants stink and yesterday GM Jerry Reese, tried to explain why. Reece claims the Giants bought into the hype that they were a good team. The GM said that was true of “the entire team,” but particularly the defense. After finishing second in the league in points allowed last season the Giants are currently 17th. The defense failed to hold fourth-quarter leads against the Eagles and Buccaneers, and Chargers. He claimed that the players aren’t motivated. In my view, it’s virtually impossible not to take saying that players weren’t properly motivated as anything other than criticism of the head coach.
Justin Verlander has not just established himself as one of the great October pitchers of all time. He turned out to be one of the great in-season acquisitions of all time. He pitched brilliantly against the Yankees in the ALCs. If the Astros have a chance against the Dodgers, he must do it again, otherwise the Astros season ends quickly.
The shame of the Giants’ 1-6 start is how wide-open the NFC now looks because Aaron Rodgers has broken his right collarbone, and it’s only the Eagles.
Mets hitting coach Kevin Long was one of the six managerial finalists for the job that Mickey Callaway locked up after his interview last week. Long will now reportedly talk to the Nationals about their managerial opening after Dusty Baker was fired last week. It’s unlikely that Long will return to the Mets and I think unlikely he lands a job as a manger.
Devils fans picked up the assist for Lauralie Mufute Friday night when the national anthem singer forgot the words halfway through her rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The teenaged performer started out strong but stopped before reaching “through the perilous fight.” After a pause Mufute restarted from the beginning of the lyric but again stumbled, so the crowd of 14,000 sung in unison helping her out. Pretty cool.
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman , who has long been critical of fantasy football, shared a tweet Monday night promoting a fantasy football draft. Just a few weeks ago, Sherman blasted fans for having a lack of compassion for NFL injuries because of fantasy football. I guess money can change anyone’s mind.
All great things must come to an end. The 2017 Yankee season came to a close Saturday night, with a 4-0 loss to the Astros in Game Seven of the ALCS. When you score 3 runs in 4 games on the road you can’t expect to win and they didn’t.
It was a heartbreaking finish to an encouraging season for the resurgent Yankees in their first full year of a youth movement. But with the fast rise of Judge and power-hitting partner Gary Sanchez in a dangerous lineup, this certainly looks like a team with potential to go deep for years to come.
It was unexpected, fun and a wild ride!
By the end of the ALCS we learned to never question these Yankees. At many points during the season they were expected to fade away, but that never happened. After falling behind Cleveland 0-2 in the ALDS, they were expected to fade away again. It didn’t happen. Then when they fall behind Houston 0-2 in the ALCS, there was simply no way they could rebound again. But they did, winning three straight at the Stadium.
That’s a sign this team was hungry, and we’re guessing that hunger will only grow now that they’ve gotten a taste of the postseason. Their back was constantly against the wall, but the moment rarely seemed too big. Sure, there were times they faltered, but next time they’ll have experienced pretty much everything the postseason could throw at them.
So many questions about who stays and who goes (including Giardi) but my guess is we’ll see basically the same team next season.
If you’re a Yankees fan, the only thing you should be thinking when the dust settles is that 2018 can’t come fast enough.
It’s almost unfamiliar territory for these Yankees who have become used to playing with their backs against the wall, to actually have a series lead. Then again, being in the playoffs is supposed to be unfamiliar territory as the Yankees were picked by most to win 82-84 games in a rebuilding year and not even make the playoffs. Yet here they are within one win of the World Series.
Here’s why the Bombers are making playoff history…
They are now 6-0 at home this postseason, and changed the momentum in both the AL Division Series and the ALCS with their strong showings at home. The Yankees displayed impressive resiliency considering they lost both Game 2s in brutal fashion. They outscored Houston, 19-5, in the past three games.
Although Yankee Stadium is a hitter friendly park, the Yankees have stymied Houston's hitters the entire season. Houston scored 4 runs in the two games in Houston, and the Yankees limited them to 5 runs in three games here in the Bronx. For the series, Yankees pitchers own a 1.45 ERA.
Aaron Judge had back-to-back strong games to help the Yankees claim the past two games. He had a rally-igniting homer in Game 4 and the game-tying RBI double, and his RBI double in the third inning Wednesday gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead.
Gary Sanchez has struggled this postseason, but he delivered his first hit of the ALCS in a clutch moment Tuesday. With two on and one out in a 4-4 game in the eighth, he roped a two-run double into the right-center gap off Houston closer Ken Giles.
While Houston had the breaks go their way in the first two games, the Yankees have had luck on their side since then. They had some some bloops and dribblers fall in during Game 3, and Chase Headley’s comical safe journey into 2nd base in the eighth inning Tuesday in a critical play. Judge's double Wednesday stayed just fair.
Finally…Tanaka, CC, Grey, Severino, Didi, Bird, Kahnle and Todd Frazier all doing their thing when it counts the most. Actually the whole dam team is playing it’s best baseball at the most crucial time of the season.
No matter what happens in Houston, this Yankee team has already given us one of the most inspiring and fun seasons in memory. It may well be this magical mystery Yankee joy ride comes to a screeching halt at the hands of Justin Verlander tonight. If it does, no problem, team comeback has tomorrow to punch their ticket to LA. Lets go Yanks!
You didn’t doubt their Fighting Spirit, did you? The October ghosts have returned to Yankee stadium. The Bombers mounted a remarkable comeback in Game Four of the ALCS on Tuesday night to even the series at 2-2. The final score: 6-4.
Astro starter Lance McCullers Jr. was razor sharp. He held the Yankees to one hit, a bloop single, through 6 innings. The Yankees were completely overmatched by that mid-80s curveball and mid-90s fastball. Just about everything they hit was on the ground. McCullers mowed them down. Then Aaron Judge did what he used to do on a regular basis. He hits a long dinger into Monument Park. His previous two postseason homers were pulled to left and only a row or two back. This was a true Aaron Judge shot. Gone off the bat, the whole nine. We hadn’t seen a swing like that since September.
The Judge home run got the fans back into the game. They’d been silenced by McCullers and the dread of falling behind in the series 3-1 with Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander looming. The Judge home run energized the crowd. Then, when Didi Gregorius followed with a triple into the left-center field gap, the ballpark came back to life. Everyone was on their feet. Gary Sanchez hits a sac fly, Didi scores to cut the deficit to 4-2. Progress. Is a comeback possible? Hell yeah.
The eighth inning … that’s when the real magic happened. It all started with Todd Frazier who always seems to be in the middle of these things. Then Chase Headly’s pinch hit and tumbling, Three Stooges-esque slide into second base - maybe the biggest play of the game. Brett Gardner followed with an RBI groundout. After Frazier scored to bring the Yankees to within one run, Aaron Judge hit an RBI double to tie the game and then Gary Sanchez whacked a two-run double. What an inning!
When it was over and Team Comeback had pulled off its most death-defying feat yet in this thrill-ride of a postseason, you finally started to think…Maybe, just maybe. Over in the NLCS, the Dodgers are one game away from sweeping the Cubs and getting into the World Series. I have to say that a Dodgers/Yankees World Series sounds like a plan.
I was ready to talk Yankees this morning but then something unexpected happened last night - the Giants won.
The Giants were 13.5-point underdogs to the Denver Broncos. They opened the week as 9-point underdogs and, as player after player was ruled out by injury, the doubt only increased. There was no way they were going into Denver for a prime-time game without their top three wide receivers and seven starters and leave with a victory. No Way.
Wrong. That’s why they play the games. The Giants stunned the Broncos 23-10 for their first victory of the season.
Was it the defense actually not missing tackles, or an actual running game, or a new man calling the plays?
McAdoo didn’t call plays for the first time in a regular-season game since he was hired as the offensive coordinator in 2014. This can’t be minimized. OC Mike Sullivan had a good mix of run and pass. The Giants looked especially effective as he pushed the right buttons on the opening drive when they went 69 yards on 13 plays and settled for a momentum-setting field goal. While they didn’t exactly light it up (264 total yards), they moved the ball somewhat consistently against the league’s top defense.
The defense looked like last year’s model. Denver rushed for just 46 yards. With Damon Harrison clogging the middle, Kerry Wynn stout at right defensive end, B.J. Goodson all over the field from his middle linebacker spot and the Giants’ cornerbacks playing physical on the edges, the Broncos fell into an early deficit and had 30 yards rushing in the first half. The 3 sacks JPP recorded certainly helped. Nice to hear his name mentioned again.
Last night they came together and looked like the team everyone predicted would be a playoff team. It wasn’t pretty, but they finally got in the win column.
On a memorable night in Denver, Big Blue shocked the football public and gave a hint of what it’s capable of. But it’s just a start.
The good news for the Houston Astros is that they have advanced to the ALCS and begin the series tonight at home. The bad news? The New York Yankees will be in the visitor’s dugout. Houston has been the better team all season. The question in this series is whether the Astros are the better team now.
The Giants used to be the gold standard of the NFL. Thanks to Ben McAdoo, the Gold is tarnished. He’s lost his team and it’s time the Giant front office loses him.
You might get many different responses about when it is no longer still “early” in a season, and now at 1-3 after a 3-1 loss to the Blues Tuesday at the Garden, it’s not as if the Rangers don’t have plenty of time to get themselves going. They do, but how long will it be until the Garden crowd starts booing like the crowd booed Joe Giardi? Hopefully soon. Look what it did for the Yankees.
Someone mentioned the NBA season starts this coming week. Who knew?
Met fans have been tweeting about the chances of getting Joe Giardi as their manager for 2018. Not a chance. Their lucky if they get John Farrell, that’s even if he wanted to mange there.
Let’s be perfectly clear: The most embarrassing failure in U.S. Soccer history was consummated on Tuesday night in a near-empty stadium in the Caribbean tropics, culminating in a soul-crushing 2-1 defeat to a last-place opponent. No World Cup 2018.
About that Gardner at-bat against Corey Allen with two on in the ninth. Nothing embodied the way these Yankees never yield like that. It was epic and will be remembered as one of his best moments on a ball field. Perhaps one of the best at bats in a League Division Series ever.
One of the greatest upsets in MLB playoff history occurred last night at Progressive Field in Cleveland Ohio, when the underdog New York Yankees shocked all of baseball coming back from an 0-2 series deficit to send the Indians home and advance to the ALCS. The 5-2 win sends the Bombers to Houston to face the Astros in the American League Championship Series.
The Indians won the first two games of the ALDS before losing three straight. It is the first time they've lost three straight since July 30 through Aug. 1.
Corey Kluber, who won 18 games as the ace of the top rotation in the AL during the regular season, struggled for his second start in the ALDS. He allowed homers in consecutive at-bats to shortstop Didi Gregorius to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead they never relinquished. The Yankees added two insurance runs in the eighth when Bret Gardner singled in 2 and it was game over.
We should not forget the great job CC did. Sabathia had a 1-2-3 inning in the first, eventually retiring the first nine batters he faced, and 13 of the first 14 batters he faced. 9 of those 13 batters struck out. Nine!
I love that Girardi went to David Robertson as the first guy out of the bullpen. He didn’t try to mess around with Chad Green or Tommy Kahnle because Robertson usually pitches late in the game. Girardi went to his best reliever right away, and Robertson replaced Sabathia with two runners on base and one out in that fifth inning. Two pitches later, Francisco Lindor banged into an inning-ending double play. Didi turned it beautifully.
Aroldis Chapman, who helped apply the dagger to the Indians in Game 7 of the World Series last year with the Cubs, pitched the final two innings for his second save of the series.
Some credit has to go to Joe Giardi. Yes, Joe made several questionable moves in a disastrous game 2. He admitted blame and moved on. One move I love was the simple tweak to the lineup for Game 5 by moving left-handed hitter Didi up one notch from the cleanup spot, breaking up righties Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. Of all the moves he made — or could have made — this one seemed to get the least attention. Yet, it may have been the Yankees skipper's most brilliant decision of all.
The other important thing he has done is make his team believe. The young Baby Bombers and the veterans alike. CC Sabathia, Brett Gardner and David Robertson — all members of the 2009 World Series championship team — each delivered in a big way on Wednesday night and are now four wins away from going back to the Fall Classic — eight years after they won it in the Big Apple.
In a “rebuilding” year that no one thought they would be making history, the Yankees have rallied behind Joe Giardi and shocked us all. Maybe it proves to be an important building block for next year and beyond, or who knows, maybe it was just a first step to something much bigger this October.
I am shocked. Actually gleefully shocked that the Yankees have tied the ALDS 2-2. Many of the experts and this non-expert predicted that the Cleveland Indians would go straight to the World Series and win that too. NOT! Yes, after dropping Games 1 and 2 at Progressive Field — Game 2 in particularly gut-wrenching fashion — rallied to win Games 3 and 4 at Yankee Stadium to force a decisive Game 5 tomorrow night. This team, man. They don’t go down with a fight. We’ve seen it all year.
So, I ask myself, how? How did they do it? They’re going to play for an ALCS spot tomorrow night because they received great starting pitching from Masahiro Tanaka and Severino in Games 3 and 4. The bullpen, particularly Aroldis Chapman and Tommy Kahnle, helped along the way, as did some timely hitting, but the starters have been the stars of the show. After Severino’s poor start against the Twins, we all wondered — No problem, he bounced right back. The Yankee starters ARE the reason they are going farther than anyone could have imagined.
So, on to game 5. I think the Yankees are 100% making the right call starting CC Sabathia over Sonny Grey. You know Sabathia is not going to be overwhelmed by the moment and you know he is going to be motivated to beat his former club. He may not be the dominant pitcher of the past, but he’s a pro. By the way, the last time the Yankees won a full postseason series was the 2012 ALDS against the Orioles, when Sabathia threw a complete-game in Game 5.
I don’t normally put much stock in “they’re feeling the pressure!” and things like that, but geez, I have to think the Indians are starting to feel it a little bit, don’t you? They had a 2-0 series lead and couldn’t put it away in Games 3 or 4, and now they have to play a decisive Game 5. Furthermore, this team blew a 3-1 series lead in the World Series last year, remember. And aside from Encarnacion and Jay Bruce, it’s basically the same group of players. The Yankees are the Yankees, it’s hard to consider them an underdog, but they absolutely are the underdog this series given everything that’s happened the last 18 months or so. Cleveland was the best team in the league this season, they had that AL record 22-game winning streak, and they were supposed to win the ALDS after winning Games 1 and 2, yet here they are fighting to survive against a young team that has nothing to lose. All the pressure is on them.
This is all gravy baby. No matter what happens this should be a thrilling Game 5. Enjoy the ride.
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