Grab a cold beer and a sausage dog. Slather that sucker up with some mustard, onions and peppers and take a seat. It’s the World Series post.
Before we jump right into looking back at Game 5 and then forward to 6, there are a couple stories I wanted to hit on real quick.
The first is Aaron Lewis. I did not see the Anthem before Game 5, but I’ve seen tons of stories that Lewis flubbed one of the opening lines. Instead of singing “what so proudly we hailed, at the twilight’s last gleaming” he sang the second half as “were so gallantly streaming.” He’s getting absolutely ripped for it. I don’t really have an opinion one way or the other on it. I’m not going to rip the guy mercilessly like some are, but I’m not going to just give it a pass either. What I did want to do, was make sure you guys saw the statement he put out later that night.
“All I can say is I’m sorry and ask for the Nation’s forgiveness. My nerves got the best of me and I am completely torn up about what happened. America is the greatest country in the world. The Star-Spangled Banner means so much to so many, including myself. I hope everyone can understand the intensity of the situation and my true intent of this performance. I hope that the Nation, Major League Baseball and the many fans of our national pastime can forgive me.”
The other news item is a very sad one. Cardinals rookie Oscar Taveras, along with his girlfriend, was killed in car accident on Sunday in his native Dominican Republic. TMZ Sports (who knew there was such a thing and no, I’m not linking TMZ) has a story up that no alcohol is suspected in the crash. Fast car, wet road.
Manager Mike Matheny released a statement and, maybe it’s just me, but I could almost feel the pain and sorrow coming through his words. The whole article is worth a read, but especially Matheny’s comments.
Taveras was, by all accounts, an amazing talent with a very bright future ahead of him. He was considered one of the top prospects in all of baseball and the Cardinals had said that he was the best hitting prospect to come through their organization since Pujols.
A sad story of a life gone too soon.
Ok, enough of the bad news, on to more fun stuff. Game 5.
My. God. Jim.
Madison Bumgarner. I’ve been watching baseball a long time. What Bumgarner did in Game 5 was one of the most impressive pitching performances I’ve seen. I played for a long time. I know what it takes to go 9 and I know what it takes to shut another team out. That performance truly was special and magnificent and all those other words we normally roll our eyes at when big headed, cheesy voiced announcers gush them out. But last night they were deserved.
When I think of “dominating post season pitching performances”, two games come to mind. One is Tom Glavine’s Game 6 in the 1995 World Series against Cleveland. (Sorry/not sorry Alex) Glavine threw 8 shut out innings and then turned the ball over to Mark Wohlers to close out the 9th and the Series. The other is Curt Schillings’ infamous “bloody sock game” in Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS. Schilling went 7 innings and only surrendered one run while being obviously injured. (Shut up truthers. It was not ketchup or red dye.)
Bumgarner put both of them to shame. He’s now thrown 30 innings in his career in the World Series and he’s given up one run. One. Single. Uno. That’s insanity. That’s an ERA of 0.29. That simply doesn’t happen. Certainly not in today’s baseball culture. I’m begging for a Game 7 so I can see him come back on short rest.
Two things were lost in Bumgarner’s domination: 1) James Shields came back and had a strong outing. He threw very well and had given up two runs through 6 innings. Normally, that would be enough. 2) KC’s bullpen, which was one of the biggest strengths of the team, got knocked around again. Herrera and Davis gave up three runs in their two innings pitched. I believe I have this right, KC’s bullpen has given up 11 runs in their last 6 innings. That has to be corrected or tonight’s game will be it.
So what are we going to see tonight in Game 6?
Kansas City calls on Yordano Ventura to extend this Series and their season. Ventura threw fairly well in Game 2, giving the Royals 5+ innings and surrendering 2 runs. Honestly, with the recent woes of the KC bullpen, they’re going to need better from him. They also need their bats to fire up again like we saw in Game 2. They broke out for 7 runs there, but we haven’t seen a whole lot from them since. Maybe the trip back home will inspire them. More than anything, the Royals need Huffy, Davis, Finnegan and Herrera to get their acts together. That bullpen simply must be firing on all cylinders if the Royals want to compete.
The Giants look to veteran Jake Peavy to finish the Series off and give them their 3rd World Series in the last 5 years. Peavy got touched up pretty good in Game 2, giving up 4 runs in 5+ innings. Peavy doesn’t need to be Bumgarner good, he just needs to give them a quality start. In this instance, I’m defining that as 5+ innings and 3 runs or less. Yes, I know that’s not really “quality”, but SanFran’s bats have averaged over 7 runs in their 3 victories. If Peavey can keep it close, the Giants offensive power will have a chance to close things out tonight.
Who are we looking at tonight?
For San Francisco, it’s Buster Posey.
Yes, he looks 15. No, I don’t think he can shave. BUT, he was the starting catcher for the Giants in the Series victories in 2010 and 2012. He’s an All-Star, a Rookie of the Year and an MVP. He is, undoubtedly, one of the leaders of that team. He’s an excellent defensive catcher and, typically, an outstanding hitter. However, this World Series has not been his best. He’s hitting just a bit over .200, has just 2 runs batted in and only 1 run scored. If the Giants’ offense comes alive tonight and Posey’s bat wakes up, look for some serious offensive fireworks.
For Kansas City, watch for Lorenzo Cain.
Cain is only in his second full year as a starter for the Royals, but his speed and skill in center field have already made him a standout. Add to his defensive prowess the fact that he’s hitting the ball very well in the postseason and Cain becomes a huge part of the Royals’ success. The 2014 ALCS MVP is hitting above .300 in the postseason and has scored 12 runs. He’s getting on base and he’s coming around to score. Batting in the 3rd spot, he’s also setting up those guys behind him. Cain’s offense and defense are critical to the Royals getting a victory.
That’s all I’ve got for tonight folks. As always, I hope you enjoyed the post and I hope you enjoy the game more.