Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Legacy Of The 2015 Royals, Part 3.

I know I may be too hung up on the final game of the World Series, but I need to document it here so I’ll have a way to look back on this when I’m 90 years old and my memory is failing me. One of the things that made the 2015 Royals not just a championship season but a storybook season was the way it ended. Game 5 of the World Series hearkened back to earlier moments in the Royals’ playoff run over and over again. In particular, the events of Game 5 and the events of last year’s Wild Card Game, the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega, the two best games of the past two seasons, are connected in a way that’s almost eerie. One game was played on the last day of September – the earliest playoff game in Royals history – and the other was played on the first day of November, making it the latest game in Royals history.

If they were to ever make a movie about these Royals, imagine a series of flashbacks occurring before each of these plays.

- Lorenzo Cain leading off the top of the ninth: a flashback to him leading off the bottom of the eighth against Toronto in Game 6 with a walk, and him drawing a walk in the top of the eighth against the Mets in Game 4, set to the words of someone (in my mind it’s Mike Moustakas) screaming out, “keep the line moving!”

In 16 playoff games this year, Cain drew 11 walks. Granted, three were intentional, but even eight walks in 16 games was a much higher rate than his seasonal total of 37 (a career-high!) in 140 games. As a team, the Royals were only a tiny bit more patient than in the playoffs as they were during the regular season – they drew 2.38 unintentional walks per game in the postseason, compared to 2.19 UIBB/game during the regular season. But Cain, perhaps getting a great view of Ben Zobrist’s plate appearances from the on-deck circle, fought for three difficult walks – all three came on full counts, one in a seven-pitch at-bat and the other two on eight-pitch at-bats – in three crucial situations.

- Eric Hosmer, batting next: a flashback to his triple off Dan Otero in the Wild Card game last year. Or perhaps, if the footage exists somewhere, a flashback to his performance in the Texas League playoffs in 2010, which I was calling the greatest clutch display by a Royals player since 1985. (Hosmer homered six times in the playoffs. Twice he batted in the eighth or later with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals facing elimination; both times he homered to tie the game. The Naturals would win the championship.) I know it’s not rational, but ever since his 2010 performance I’ve thought of him as someone who would never let the pressure of the moment get to him. Nothing that happened last postseason, when he hit .351/.439/.544, changed my mind. I expected him to have another monster October.

And then he hit .212/.236/.288 in the playoffs this year. He was terrible…except, somehow, he drove in 17 runs in 16 games. Multiply his numbers by 10, and imagine a player over a full season hitting .212 with 20 doubles and 10 homers – and 170 RBIs. That’s how weird Hosmer’s performance was this postseason. He had more RBIs (17) than hits (14). He almost had more RBIs than total bases (19). His RBI total is a testament to his teammates, who were on base over and over again – he had three sacrifice flies during the playoffs, equaling his amount for the entire regular season – and then made Hosmer look good with their brilliance on the basepaths: Cain scored from first base on a Hosmer single twice in the playoffs.

But it’s also a testament to Hosmer’s performance with runners on base. I don’t think it was a skill of Hosmer’s – for his career, he’s hit worse with men in scoring position (.279 BA, .417 SLG) than with the bases empty (.294 and .448). But this postseason, for whatever reason, he concentrated his meager production into those moments when it would pay off the most. Twelve of his 14 hits came with runners on base; 10 of them drove in at least one run.

And in the ninth inning of Game 5, as in the 12th inning of the Wild Card game, with the Royals again down to their final at-bat, with Hosmer again representing the tying run…he again drilled a fastball the other way over the outfielder’s head. It was a double this time instead of a triple, which set up…

- Salvador Perez at the plate, Hosmer leading off third: a flashback to Game 7 of the World Series last year, Alex Gordon batting in the ninth inning, hightailing it to third base when his line drive was misplayed by two outfielders, and…stopping. It was the right call. A good throw would have nailed him. A bad throw probably would have nailed him. But still, a year of regret had passed, regret enabled by the hindsight that comes from knowing what Perez did next. Maybe Brandon Crawford would have panicked and his throw would have sailed over Buster Posey. Maybe it would have bounced and Posey would have had trouble getting a handle on it. Maybe Crawford’s throw would have pulled Posey away from home plate, and there would have been a desperate foot race between him and Gordon, making for one of the most dramatic moments in baseball history.

Probably not. But we’ll never know. All we know is what Perez did, which makes it tempting to second-guess. We’ll probably also never know if the memory of that moment, buried deep inside Hosmer’s subconscious, triggered the synapses in his brain that sent the electrical signal to his legs to run like your life depends upon it the instant David Wright committed to first base.

I’ve seen it written in places that Hosmer got lucky, that even a decent throw by Duda gets him at the plate, even that it was a bad baseball decision. I could not disagree more. The situation was very nearly the same as last year – if he holds, the Royals are down a run with a man on third and two out, meaning the break-even point for trying is no higher than 30%. But the odds of success this time were much higher. I put the odds that Gordon would have been safe last year at no higher than about 15%, while I’d put the odds that Hosmer would be safe the moment he committed to home at around 40%, perhaps even higher.

Here are some notable differences:

1) While Crawford’s throw would have been much longer – somewhere around 200 feet – it was only one throw. The Mets had to make two throws – Wright’s throw was (I’m approximating) about 95 feet across the diamond, and then Duda’s throw home was about 85 feet. Factor in the time it took for Duda to catch the ball, transfer the ball to his throwing arm, wind up and throw home, there’s no question the Wright-to-Duda-to-D’Arnaud relay would take longer than the direct line between Crawford and Posey.

2) Hosmer had a large lead off third base, and because the ball was hit well to Wright’s left, Hosmer didn’t instinctively retreat to the bag as Wright gloved it. He then did a phenomenal job of anticipating the perfect moment to take off for home – as soon as Wright made perfunctory glance back towards him and then looked to first base. By the time Wright let go of the ball, Hosmer was 15-20 feet past third base and accelerating quickly. By contrast, Crawford had the ball in his glove a split second before Gordon touched third base. Even if Gordon had been waved home by Mike Jirschele and never broken stride, he’s probably not more than 5-10 feet past third. True, he was already at full speed and Hosmer wasn’t, but then Hosmer wasn’t worn down from running 270 feet at top speed. The time it would take from the time Wright let go of the ball until Hosmer touched home plate was, I’m pretty certain, less than the time it would take from Crawford letting go of the ball and Gordon touching home.

3) Crawford has a really, really good arm – he somehow unseated Andrelton Simmons as the NL Gold Glove winner this year, which is a little silly, but it speaks to how well his defense is considered. Wright, on the other hand, has a weak arm at this point in his career. Not just that, but he tends to throw sidearm, as he did on this play – and his sidearm motion made it easier for Hosmer to time it and start running for home even before Wright had let go of the ball. Duda’s arm is nothing special for a first baseman, even before talking about his accuracy or lack thereof.

4) This last point, I think, is the one that doesn’t get talked about enough: Crawford was throwing from left-center field, meaning Posey could wait for the throw while being turned almost all the way towards Gordon hurtling from third base. D’Arnaud, by contrast, had to face first base, not only meaning that he couldn’t see where Hosmer was out of the corner of his eye, but that after catching the ball, he would have to turn his body and swipe his glove – again, without knowing where Hosmer was exactly. Four years ago, before the rules changed, D’Arnaud could have set up just behind the plate, using his foot to block Hosmer and allowing him to catch the ball and drop his glove straight down. But now that catchers aren’t allowed to block the plate, it adds a precious split second to the time it takes to get a tag down on a ball coming from the right side of the field.

With all that, a perfect throw from Duda – one that leads D’Arnaud to his left slightly and into the runner’s path – gets Hosmer easily. A decent throw – one that hits D’Arnaud’s glove right at eye level – and safe or out, the play is almost certainly going to review. The odds still favored the Mets at the moment Wright threw the ball. But, as it did last year, the odds would have favored the Mets had Hosmer held anyway. This time, the Royals went for it. And that made all the difference.

- Bottom of the ninth, tie game: Kelvin Herrera returns for a third inning of work. Flashback to the fourth inning of Game 7 of last year’s World Series, when Jeremy Guthrie came out to pitch.

You might remember after Game 7 that my greatest lament was that Ned Yost, knowing that there was no tomorrow, and with the greatest bullpen trio in major league history having two full days of rest, let Jeremy Guthrie start the fourth. He would go to Herrera anyway later in the inning, after the Giants had men on first and third with only one out, and Michael Morse fisted a blooper to right field with two strikes to score the last run of the season. Herrera would go 2.2 innings, Wade Davis two, and Greg Holland one. Afterwards, I wondered why, if Yost was prepared to go to Herrera in the fourth inning anyway, he wasn’t prepared to start the inning with Herrera. If Herrera could get eight outs, he could have gotten nine. I also wondered why, in the final game of the season, on four days of rest – Holland hadn’t pitched since Game 3 – Yost wouldn’t have planned for Holland to throw two innings.

While the Royals have never addressed this directly, we may have gotten an answer to that last question. Given that we now know that Holland had a partial tear in his UCL dating back to August of 2014, it’s possible that the Royals simply weren’t comfortable with him throwing two innings, particularly since as the last pitcher in the chain, if he had tired and gotten into trouble in his second inning, his backup would have been Jason Frasor or someone of that ilk.

But that still left the possibility of getting three innings from Herrera. Last year, Yost only committed to 2.2. This year, even though Herrera was pitching on just one day’s rest, and even though there were potentially two more games to go (albeit after a day of rest), Yost stuck with Herrera for nine outs. It only took Herrera nine batters (a single was erased by a double play) and 33 pitches to do so. It certainly helped that Herrera had just struck out the 1-2-3 batters in the Mets’ lineup in order in the eighth, and that Juan Lagares had replaced an ailing Yoenis Cespedes to lead off the ninth. But still: in the final game of last season, Yost only trusted Herrera to get eight outs, and the Royals lost. This year, he trusted Herrera to get nine outs, and the Royals won.

- Luke Hochevar takes the mound to start the bottom of the tenth: a flash back to Brandon Finnegan starting the tenth inning of the Wild Card game. Of course.

Hochevar has to rank towards the very top of the list of players who most appreciates what the Royals accomplished this season. Eight years after he was drafted with the #1 overall pick in 2006, after five of the worst years as a starting pitcher (a 5.45 ERA and a 78 ERA+ in 127 starts from 2008 to 2012), he had finally found success as a set-up man in 2013, with a 1.92 ERA in 70 innings, when his UCL blew out just in time to miss the Royals’ first postseason in 29 years. It was probably the most success he would ever have as a professional, and it occurred in a season in which he was unable to make a contribution.

And then this year, after a slow and erratic start in his return from Tommy John surgery, he threw 10.2 scoreless innings in the playoffs. He got out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the sixth inning of ALCS Game 2, setting the stage for the Royals to come back against David Price an inning later. With the tying run at the plate, he got the final out of the fifth inning in relief of Chris Young in Game 4, earning him the win. And now, he would throw two scoreless innings – like Finnegan, he pitched a perfect tenth, then gave up a harmless baserunner with two outs before closing the door in the 11th – in the final game of the World Series. He would end up with the most coveted win of the season: the last one.

- Salvador Perez, leading off the 12th: flashback to his walk-off single in the Wild Card game. This time, he had to start the rally instead of end it, and this time he cracked an opposite-field blooper that just stayed inside the right field foul line instead of pulling a hard ground ball just inside the left field foul line. But he ended this amazing two-year playoff run the way he began it: with a 12th-inning single that changed everything.

Perez, sadly if wisely, would get pulled from the game for a pinch-runner, keeping him from catching the final out in a postseason in which he was behind the dish for all but six innings. As compensation, he would be awarded the World Series MVP award. Seems like a fair trade.

- Perez departs for a pinch-runner as Jarrod Dyson hops out of the dugout: flashback to Dyson pinch-running for Josh Willingham in the ninth inning of the Wild Card game. That night, Dyson was bunted over to second base because closer Sean Doolittle is left-handed and had a clear view of him at first base. In Game 5, with Addison Reed, a right-hander, on the mound, Dyson didn’t waste any time messing around: he stole second base on Reed’s 2-0 pitch to Alex Gordon, and was safe easily. The only thing that was missing was his vroom-vroom move.

Gordon would then hit a groundball to the right side, serving the same purpose as a bunt to put Dyson at third base with one out, the same position he found himself in during the Wild Card game, bringing up…

- Christian Colon, batting with a man on third and one out in the 12th inning: flashback to, well, Christian Colon batting with a man on third and one out in the 12th inning of the Wild Card game.

I don’t know what Colon is going to become. He has a career batting line of .303/.361/.382 in the major leagues, albeit in just 168 plate appearances. He has a career line in Triple-A of .289/.350/.394, and a .268/.339/.360 line in Double-A – he’s gotten incrementally better as he’s moved up the chain. I do think he could become a poor man’s Placido Polanco, a good defensive second baseman who makes enough contact to hit .280 in the majors and be a valuable starter for the next five years. I don’t think he will ever end up with as much success as Chris Sale, the man the Royals almost drafted instead with the #4 pick in 2010, or as much success as Matt Harvey, perhaps the man the Royals should have drafted instead.

But I do know that none of that matters now. I know that because Colon could literally not have a better postseason record than he does. In his first postseason appearance, pinch-hitting for Terrence Gore in the tenth inning of the Wild Card game, he was asked to put down a sacrifice bunt, and he did so successfully. In his next plate appearance, batting in the 12th inning with the tying run at third base and one out, he chopped a single to tie the game, stole second base, and scored the walk-off run on Perez’s single.

He would not bat again in the postseason until this moment, and only because the Royals were playing under NL rules – Colon was pinch-hitting for Hochevar. He had not even appeared in a playoff game in 2015 yet, the last person on the roster to make an appearance – even Raul Mondesi (!) had played before him. Once again, he batted in a situation that called for contact. Once again, he came through, this time with two strikes, this time a no-doubt line drive, this time to give the Royals the lead, this time to put the Royals three outs away from nirvana.

They would get there 15 minutes later, after a one-run lead had become a five-run lead, after Wade Davis was given the easiest and most rewarding job of his life. The ending ensured that this would be one of the most memorable, magical games in Royals history. The drama that began in September, 2014 ended in November, 2015, and all the ups and downs along the way, even the heartbreaking finale to Act I, all made sense in the end. Even the failures served their purpose. All’s well that ends well, and few things in baseball history have ended as well as this season did.

That’s another legacy of the 2015 Royals - they didn’t just win it all, they won it all in a way that gave us something even better than a dogpile at the end: closure.


16 comments:

Michael Pirani said...

I agree it's a shame that Sal couldn't be on the field to catch the final out. On the other hand, I was very happy for Butera; after that walk he gutted out against the Astros, he earned his share of the glory. Given his career thus far, it's pretty safe to say that catching the clinching strikeout will be the highlight of his professional life, and that's something even a perennial All-Star could be proud of.

Curtis said...

It was right about early summer of 2014 that I thought the only reason Yost hadn't been fired was that why would we let Moore hire his replacement when he was about to be fired as well.

In summer 2014, Moose belonged in Omaha, Hosmer was averaging roughly 1 extra base hit a week, Colon looked like a poor man's Placido Polanco, and Bubba Starling looked like he might never make it to Omaha, let alone contribute at the major league level. "The process" was at its most pejorative place.

So this is closure, I think, it a much broader sense than just going from the 2014 WC game. I think this is closure on Jose Guillen and Yuniesky Betancourt and Jeff Francouer and Wil Myers.

Now, less than 18 months than I - late to this particular party - wanted complete change of the leadership of the team - Ned Yost has the most wins in franchise history in both the regular and the post-season and the highest winning percentage of any manager in post-season play (cut-off 10 games, I believe). Yost and Gordon now have to have their numbers retired, right?

I am the odd Royals fan in San Antonio, and for the better part of a month, have had people congratulating me at work, at church, in the grocery store. When the Spurs won their most recent title, after being heartbreakingly close the year before, it was a community experience that I thought could never be topped. For the Royals to have a similar journey after 20 years of utter irrelevance is befuddling to me even three weeks later.

Unknown said...

Awesome article, Rany! I appreciated your point of view and read it with a smile on my face and happiness in this Royals fan's heart!

Chris Esch said...

So, reading this actually put a slight damper on my joy. (Well, not really since no matter what the Royals are still World Series champs.) I have bristled at anyone suggesting the Royals got lucky. "Focusing on our D when the other team signed a bat to play second isn't luck" I would say in defense of my team. "Putting the ball in play isn't luck!" But Hosmer, the way you described his post-season, that's just luck isn't it? Yes, the team had to get guys on in front of him (and that mostly ISN'T luck), but to have 17 rbi and 16 hits (and just 19 bases!)? I might have to keep that stat to myself when I am having "The Royals just got lucky" arguments with haters. By the way, thrilled to have you back on the blog!

Drew Milner said...

Yost is still a moron and we won in spite of him. We have excellent horses. Yost Cost us 15 games in 2013, 15 in 2014 + 12 in 2015.

Mark Prout said...

In one of the many postgame interviews after Game 5, Hosmer said that the scouting report told them if they got the chance to test the arms of Wright or Duda, take it. He said it only once. In every other opportunity to explain his mad dash from third to tie the game, Hosmer said they had to be aggressive with Familia on the mound and leading the series 3-1, or that he must have crazy (to Jimmy Fallon). Maybe the front office told Hosmer after that one explanation not to reveal the depth of the scouting or their confidence in it. If the story was valid, the scouting was dead on. As you noted, Duda's arm is, ummm, adequate. Wright's bad back had resulted looping, sidearm low-velocity throws to first throughout the series, exactly what he threw on Perez's chopper. Combined with Duda's flustered fliing home, it made Hosmer's dash a no brainer.
-- Mark P.

KHAZAD said...

I am glad someone finally mentioned that Hosmer going was actually a smart decision. Analyzing the play the night of the game using my DVR, I actually decided (and still believe) that Hosmer is safe easily more than 50% of the time. I have been listening to people say he was meat with a halfway decent throw since, and they are all wrong.

In addition to the factors you mentioned, no one thinks about the other things that had to go right for Hosmer to be tagged out. Wright had to make a perfect throw, which he did. It was a typical David Wright throw, but it was placed perfectly. A one hopper after checking the runner, or one that makes Duda stretch up or brings him into the baseline, and he is safe from that. Duda has to make a clean exchange for the throw, which he did. Any little bobble, Hosmer is safe.

If he makes an on target throw, the catcher has to make a clean catch, turn and dive for the other side of the plate, making the tag without losing the ball. Duda, who went to first for a routine out, was probably surprised and alarmed when he realized Hosmer was going home threw the ball as hard as he could, maybe the hardest has ever thrown the ball in a game. It was too hard, and the ball sailed right to left.

If you freeze the tape at the moment when the ball glances off the diving catcher's glove, you can see Hosmer is 13 feet away launching into a headlong dive. From that time it is about half a second until his hand hits the plate. If Duda takes 10 mph off his throw or is more careful to make it accurate, the ball is about 9 feet away when Hosmer starts his dive. It has to travel the extra 9 feet, then he has to catch it clean, turn and dive accurately, and not lose the ball in less than half a second. If the throw was a perfect one, leading him into the tag, Hosmer is out. If it is the shoulder to waist high throw Duda was probably aiming for, he is most likely safe.

I put Gordon's chances last year at about 10%, and that was being generous. Besides the things you mentioned, and the extra things that had to go right this year, it is also the quality of the fielders (Crawford and Posey are both plus-plus gold glove types) and the routine nature of the throw and play. Crawford probably makes that throw 50 times a year in a game, and practices it every day. There was no element of surprise, because due to the nature of the play to that point, the throw was coming home already. Crawford was wound up and ready to throw it with Gordon at the base, and held on when he was held up. As mentioned before, there was definitely an "oh crap" factor with Duda, and there is also the fact that you almost never see a throw from first to home from the bag, around a runner, and it is not practiced either.

In the end, it was a great decision both years, and I would day that even if the outcomes were different.

Also, I will make a point that I have not heard from anyone else. The big mistake in the play was Wright making a "go through the motions" check of the runner and not really checking. The SS had just run behind him on his way to third, and if he had realized how far Hosmer was out there or that he might actually go, he could have kept the ball and run right at him. If Hosmer does anything but a headlong dash back to third with no hesitation AT ALL, (and they probably would have gotten him even if he did that) he is in a rundown and would be out easily. Wright didn't take into account the aggressiveness of the Royals, or the importance of the run, he just took a cursory look like it was any other play, and did not expect anything else to happen.

jimkrunk said...

No, YOU'RE crying at your desk after reading this.

Michael S. said...

No matter what you're opinion is on the chances of Gordon being safe last year, I still maintain those odds are still higher than the chances of them getting another base hit off Bumgarner last year. I still think he should have gone.

rs said...

One more point about Hosmer's dash home:

On the day after Game 5, Fangraphs writer August Fegerstrom posted an article “Let’s Build a Scouting Report on Lucas Duda’s Arm” in which he posted videos of every instance in which Lucas Duda has thrown a baseball to another base with the intent to make an out. He included all throws Duda made in 2015 plus all throws Duda has made to home plate in his entire career plus all throwing errors Duda's ever made. There were 21 videos. How well Duda throws is perhaps the least interesting thing about the videos, in my opinion. What’s astonishing is that during his entire career, Lucas Duda has only thrown the ball to home plate three (!) times. Furthermore, each of those three throws he made after fielding a ground ball, and he was standing at least 20 feet inside the bag as he threw the ball home, a far easier angle than were he standing on first base.

That is to say that before the top of the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series, Lucas Duda had NEVER thrown the ball home in an attempt to catch a runner directly after catching a throw at first base. Never. Professional athletes make hard things look easy because they have done those hard things thousands upon thousands of times. It’s possible that Lucas Duda has never once had to make that throw in a game going back to little league. It’s possible that he hadn’t even practiced that throw since spring training, and possibly longer. Hosmer’s dash forced Duda to make a throw that he had never made before in a situation of maximum pressure. Can you blame Duda for airmailing it?

KHAZAD said...

Thanks for the info rs. I almost didn't put the qualifying "almost" when talking about the first baseman throwing home around a runner, as it is very rare, but I didn't know if it had actually happened. I do know it is not practiced, at any level, because it happens so rarely. 99% of the time, if a first baseman throws home, it is after fielding a ball, and in a situation where he knows that is the play as he goes after the ball.

Michael S. - My opinion is based on reality, and yours is based the outcome of the game and nothing else. From where Gordon and Crawford were when Gordon was held up, it would take Gordon 4.5 seconds to cross the plate (It might be a little more factoring in the slide and the fact that he had already run 270 feet.) Crawford's throw would arrive in two seconds or less. I am 51 with a worn out (but accurate) arm and I can get it there in 3 seconds. Gordon would have been less than halfway home. Any major league hitter against any pitcher in history would have more of a chance of scratching out a hit than Gordon had of being safe.

Michael S. said...

Did you even watch the World Series last year? Maybe you need the dvd version so you can watch it again.

Bumgarner was dominant the entire series. We did nothing while he was pitching. There was slim to no chance of us getting another hit off him to score Gordon. You know how confident we Royals fans are when Wade Davis is on the mound? Yeah, Giants fans felt that same way when Gordon was held at third. They knew Bumgarner wouldn't allow him to score.

Michael S. said...

Did you even watch the World Series last year? Maybe you need the dvd version so you can watch it again.

Bumgarner was dominant the entire series. We did nothing while he was pitching. There was slim to no chance of us getting another hit off him to score Gordon. You know how confident we Royals fans are when Wade Davis is on the mound? Yeah, Giants fans felt that same way when Gordon was held at third. They knew Bumgarner wouldn't allow him to score.

KHAZAD said...

Perhaps you should watch it again. Bumgarner was gassed in the ninth and lacked control, and the Royals let him off the hook. As dominant as Bumgarner was in the series, (and he was historically dominant) even if you don't know enough about pitching to see that he was gassed, about 15% of the batters he faced reached base, which is higher than the chance of Crawford or Posey making a catastrophic error, and that is what it would have taken for Gordon to be safe. Not a little error, like an offline throw or the catcher bobbling it a little, they had plenty of time to overcome that. He might have been out even if Crawford airmailed the throw, because Madbum backed up the play properly, and could have STILL gotten the ball to the catcher in time.

John said...

I'm not a Royals fan, but I do read this blog and comment occasionally (if you follow sabermetric stuff at all, you learn about the Royals. I was reading Bill James' stuff 30 years when he was openly pulling for KC), and I was watching and pulling for KC in the playoffs both seasons.

I think you're both right in some respects about the ninth inning of Game 7 of the 2014 Series. Bumgarner was gassed, which is understandable considering he was going all-out on two days' rest. The pitch that Gordon hit was his 62nd of the game, after he'd thrown 117 in a complete-game win in Game 5. But...something just told me when they held Gordon that Bumgarner would get Perez and win the game. Sabermetrics and tired arms be damned, MadBum was going to drag the Giants to victory in spite of his teammates' best efforts to screw it up.

I'm glad the Royals got another chance and make the most of it. As for 2014, one day you'll be able to say it could have been two in a row, and it took a great pitcher in the finest two hours of a Hall of Fame career (I think MadBum makes it) to stop the Royals.

Mick Unsell said...

Even if you peg Hosmer's chance at scoring at 50/50, the obvious question is, does your next hitter bat .500? Case closed...