Se­ries en­ter­tain­ing, for sure, but pity the poor pitch­ers

World Se­ries could wrap up tonight in Los An­ge­les; Hous­ton leads host Dodgers 3-2

The Daily Courier - - FRONT PAGE - By TIM DAHLBERG

An epic game. No, make that an in­stant clas­sic.

Words that get tossed around way too much to have much mean­ing. Words that don’t re­ally de­scribe Game 5 of the World Se­ries, no mat­ter how en­ter­tain­ing much of it was. And en­ter­tain­ing it was. By the time Alex Breg­man and Ken­ley Jansen com­bined to fi­nally bring it to a close at 12:38 a.m. lo­cal time Mon­day in Hous­ton, there had been so many plot turns for the Astros and Dodgers that it was hard for fans around the coun­try to sort them all out be­fore fi­nally head­ing off to bed.

Great drama, yes. So much so that the game scored a rare TV rat­ings win over the NFL Sun­day night game be­tween Pitts­burgh and Detroit.

Great fun, too. At least the peo­ple danc­ing be­tween in­nings in the ex­pen­sive seats be­hind home plate at Minute Maid Park seemed to think so — and that was be­fore the Astros ended things 13-12 in the bot­tom of the 10th in­ning.

So did the Astros’ Car­los Cor­rea, who de­clared it the “best game ever, for sure.”

But was it great base­ball? Not even close.

The best pitcher in base­ball blew a four-run lead, then blew another three-run lead for good mea­sure. The for­mer Cy Young win­ner who started for the Astros didn’t even make it out of the fourth in­ning.

The best closer in the game had a melt­down for the sec­ond time in this se­ries. And the closer on the Astros never saw the mound af­ter be­ing ham­mered the night be­fore.

It wasn’t like they weren’t given a chance to suc­ceed. Um­pire Bill Miller’s strike zone was as wide as the train that kept chug­ging atop the left field wall at Minute Maid every time the Astros scored.

But in a band­box of a ball­park, balls flew ev­ery­where. Seven of them cleared the fences, five of them hit by the home team.

You can’t just blame mod­ern architecture. In Game 2 at Dodger Sta­dium, the teams com­bined for a record eight home runs, and the se­ries record for homers has al­ready been shat­tered — with po­ten­tially two games re­main­ing.

It’s enough to get the tongues of the con­spir­acy the­o­rists wag­ging. In­ter­est­ingly enough, one of them will be start­ing Game 6 tonight for the Astros against Dodgers lefty Rich Hill in a re­match from Game 2.

Justin Ver­lan­der thinks the balls for this se­ries are slicker, mak­ing slid­ers tougher to throw.

“I think it’s pretty clear,” Ver­lan­der said be­fore Game 5. “I think our com­mis­sioner has said pub­licly that they wanted more of­fence in the game. I’m pretty sure I’m not fab­ri­cat­ing a quote here when I say that.”

He’s not, be­cause as lit­tle as two years ago Rob Man­fred was search­ing for ways to get more of­fence in the game. No one, it seems in this day of non­stop ac­tion, wants a 2-1 game any­more.

En­ter­tain­ing, yes, but so was Game 1 when Clay­ton Ker­shaw pitched an im­mac­u­late seven in­nings in a game that took less than half the time of the five-hour, 17-minute marathon that was Game 5.

Ker­shaw is go­ing to have a tough time deal­ing with his lat­est out­ing, which adds to his post-sea­son woes. But he’s not alone in a se­ries that is de­stroy­ing a lot of pitch­ers’ rep­u­ta­tions.

For base­ball, it’s all good if it draws eye­balls. And the rat­ings Sun­day night seems to show the big bats are do­ing just that.

Keep this up, and we’ll all be worn out be­fore this epic World Se­ries fi­nally ends.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.