Curses, Foiled Again

Snidely Whiplash

So congratulations to the Houston Astros on winning their first ever World Series. I have in-laws in Houston, so I know, admittedly from a distance, what the city has gone through and am glad to see the town finally have something to celebrate. Having said that, as a loyal Dodgers fan I can’t say I’m happy. Anyway, here are some random thoughts on the Series.

1. I’m already hearing “What went wrong with the Dodgers?” Actually, that’s pretty easy. Houston went wrong with the Dodgers. The Astros are a very good team. They run the bases well (although they don’t steal a ton of bases), the field well, they hit and hit for power well. They even have a pretty fair bench. They staff is decent and the bullpen is better than the announcers on TV would have us believe. A good team that can do most everything well as an opponent–that’s what went wrong with the Dodgers.

2. Both managers had incredibly quick hooks. By rule in order to be the winning pitcher, a starter must pitch five innings. In the entire Series (14 starters) Kershaw went 5 innings once, so did Keuchel, Wood,  and McCullers. Verlander did it twice. That’s six of 14 (43%). I’m beginning to wonder if modern pitchers can actually pitch. To get an edge a gnat couldn’t fly through, the managers change pitchers after almost every at bat at certain points. Tell me why a guy is a big league pitcher if he can’t get out at least one man from each side of the plate. The spirit of Tony LaRussa is alive and well. I’m beginning to think that there are managers who think the ideal roster is eight guys in the field (somebody’s gotta cover second), 17 pitchers, and to heck with the bench. Where’s Terry Francona when we need him?

3. They got it right by anointing George Springer the MVP. What a great Series he had. A lot of World Series MVP’s then slip back into obscurity or mediocrity. Springer is a wonderful player and I hope he doesn’t slip into either.

4. When the Dodgers got Yu Darvish from the Rangers the press trumpeted that they’d just sealed a World Series. How’d that work out, guys?

5. When the Astros got Justin Verlander from the Tigers the press trumpeted that they’d just sealed a World Series. Well, one outta two for the press. And thank God they only showed Kate Upton once (I think).

6. Great pitchers sometimes have bad games. Christy Mathewson was 5-5 in World Series play. Whitey Ford ended up 10-8. The last game Sandy Koufax pitched was a World Series game. He lost. I’m afraid that Clayton Kershaw is going to be known more for his awful game 5 outing than for the good job he did in both games 1 and 7. The “He can’t win when it counts” mantra is fast becoming a significant part of his legacy. I think that’s a shame. He’s already faced with the Koufax legacy and “he can’t win when it counts” isn’t helping him get beyond it.

7. OK, I like the home run as much as anybody else (and I’m not a chick), but can’t somebody manage to keep the ball in the park? This is getting to be too much. The Dodgers struck out 65 times (and Houston 54). It seems the game is trying to devolve into a homer/strikeout game with little in between. By contrast both teams together walked a total of 43 times; less than either team struck out.

8. Wasn’t Culberson a revelation in the playoffs? I hope he sticks.

9. Can either team repeat next year? Sure. Both are fine teams that can be right back at it in October next year. Of course there are a lot of other teams who are good enough to dethrone both.

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10 Responses to “Curses, Foiled Again”

  1. rjkitch13 Says:

    V, sorry about your Dodgers. I live in So Cal so there are a lot of depressed people around here. They’ll be back to the World Series a lot sooner than my Reds or Angels will…sigh.

  2. wkkortas Says:

    I guess it’s better to get close? Well, probably not.

    I agree with you about the odd handling of pitchers in this Series; it seemed like both managers ran every game like it was Game 7. I just don’t see why you decide to unlearn everything your learned over 162-plus games, and put guys into roles (and pitch counts) that are completely different than what they’ve done all year. A winner-take-all game, yes–but not every game.

  3. Jackie, The Baseball Bloggess Says:

    Very sorry, v. I was thinking about you last night. I have to say the Dodgers and Astros put on such a good show — I’ve lost about 18 hours of sleep from all the much-too-late nights in the past week.

    And, I’m so glad your Dodgers made a star out of Chris Taylor … it just warms my heart to see that Virginia kid make good after nearly being lost forever in the Mariner’s system.

    I am always amazed at how vibrant and healthy Sandy Koufax is compared with his contemporaries. He does make the case for the benefits of retiring early rather than playing through pain.

    Thanks to your Dodgers for such a great Series. Now get some rest … spring training will be here before you know it!

    • keithosaunders Says:

      I was thinking the same about Koufax – he looks tremendous. Can you imagine him pitching in the modern era. He would have been removed in a 0-0 game 7 v the Twins for a pinch hitter. So would have Kaat!

  4. Gary Trujillo Says:

    My thoughts: what a depressing game. Dave Roberts had a slow hook and Larry King’s corpse could be seen behind home plate reminding us of Halloween the day before. I predict the Dodgers will win it all next year!

  5. keithosaunders Says:

    At least Hinch stuck with his relievers when they were effective, i.e. Morton last night, and Peacock earlier on the Series. Another thing that is practically extinct is the sac bunt. You almost never see it any more. 1st and 2nd no out and the hitter is swinging for the fences.

    I agree with you that we should give Houston credit. They have a team of gamers and they outplayed a great team.

  6. Sean Thornton Says:

    I’ve never been a fan of the ‘Clayton Kershaw can’t pitch in the playoffs’ narrative. I still feel that narrative is way overblown. Sorry for the loss V.

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