At a loss for words

But we’ll try to write some.

First there was Jaime Garcia, getting out of runners on the corners, nobody out, a run already in, and facing Young-Beltre-Cruz.

Then there was Lance Berkman, putting the Cardinals on top quickly again, with a two-run home run.

Then there was Colby Lewis, bunting into a double play with two on and nobody out.

Then there was Ian Kinsler, driving home the tying run anyway.

Then there was Matt Holliday (and Rafael Furcal), dropping a pop-up that could’ve been easily caught, but letting it clank off his glove instead. At least it was his glove this time.

Then there was Michael Young and Colby Lewis, combining to make an error in the bottom of the inning where Lewis just flat-out did not touch the bag.

Then there was David Freese, dropping an infield pop-up.

Then there was the bottom of the sixth. Pujols struck out to begin it. (And by the way, at this point, Pujols had the massive Game 3, and no hits in any other World Series game.) Lance Berkman hit a ground ball to Adrian Beltre – and Beltre wasn’t able to throw it out, because it was placed so perfectly. Berkman reached on an infield hit. Michael Young made another error, a real one this time, and Holliday reached too. Freese walked to load the bases. Alexi Ogando, so untouchable in the first two rounds and so horrible in the World Series, came in… and promptly walked Yadier Molina to force in the tying run.

Then there was Matt Holliday, one of the game’s elite players, getting picked off third with just one out. Oops.

Then there was Nick Punto, walking. No, really.

Then, just when the Cardinals had used a serious assortment of weirdness to tie it back up, there were back-to-back home runs by Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz, and an insurance run driven in by Ian Kinsler.

Then, there was the fact that the insurance run was scored by Derek Holland.

Then, there was Allen Craig homering to pull the Cardinals just a little closer.

Then, there was a pitching change for Gerald Laird, and the bases loaded for the Cardinals… and a groundout by Rafael Furcal.

Then, there was Neftali Feliz striking out Ryan Theriot. (I mean, duh.) And then there was Pujols – in his last at-bat as a Cardinal, probably, and outside of the greatest World Series offensive performance of all time in one game useless in this series, funny as it is to say – doubling. And Berkman walking. But then Craig struck out looking on a pitch that hung so much it might as well have negated his homer earlier.

And then there was David Freese, and the two strikes on him. The Rangers were just one strike away from their first World Series ever. But then there was David Freese’s triple, and if the Rangers were going to win it tonight, they’d have to wait at least one more inning.

Then, there was Josh Hamilton. Josh Hamilton, who hadn’t homered in a month and over 80 at-bats, who likely has a sports hernia and would be on the disabled list if he wasn’t playing in the World Series right now, hitting a two-run homer in the 10th inning to take the Rangers to the brink of a victory again.

Then, there was Darren Oliver, coming on for the save but allowing the first two Cardinal batters to reach.

Then, there was Kyle Lohse, who had to bat because the Cardinals had already run out of all their bench players by the tenth, popping up a bunt – it could’ve really been a triple play – only it fell to move the runners to second and third.

Then, there was Ryan Theriot, grounding out but driving home a run. Rangers down to just one out, again.

Then, there was Albert Pujols, getting IBBed because, well. That’s what you do with Albert Pujols.

Then, there was Lance Berkman, facing a righty. And another two-strike count, St. Louis down to the last batter of their season. And a bloop, because Texas was playing no-doubles defense, to drive home the tying run. Again.

Then, there was Jake Westbrook throwing a scoreless inning because, at this point, why the heck not.

Then, there was Mark Lowe coming on for the Rangers, when Mike Adams had only thrown three pitches all game. (To be fair, he came in during the eighth, and if Neftali Feliz closes it out in the ninth, or the assortment of pitchers in the tenth, no one is talking about this at all.) And throwing a truly awful 3-2 pitch.

Then, there was David Freese, sending the ball into the green stretch of the batters’ eye.

Then, all that was left, after even Joe Buck and Tim McCarver had been struck dumb, and the clump of Cardinals had finally left the field, was the fact that yes, anyone who was watching this game had likely seen one of the best games of all time.

And we’ll see you tomorrow night.

(Well, at least Nelson Cruz got hurt. If nothing else makes sense, there is that. There’s some more great stuff at Stats & Info and Sweetspot.)

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5 Responses to At a loss for words

  1. ivantopumpyouup says:

    Not to mention three blown saves in one game, by one team, which had never happened before in the World Series. o___o

  2. Rob Harris says:

    If we live to be a hundred, we’ll never see a better baseball game than the one last night. I’m willing to let Game seven try to top it, though.

  3. Chad says:

    This goes beyond one of the greatest World Series games of all time. There’s talk about this potentially being one of the greatest World Series of all time.

    It’s got the “went the full seven games”. When considering a World Series for the title of greatest of all time, ending in six games or fewer is an automatic disqualifier. The only reason I worded it that way is because one member of the top ten, the 1912 World Series, actually went eight games (Game 2 was called because of darkness, a 10-inning tie.)

    It’s got a pinch-hit go-ahead RBI in Game 1, which turned out to be the game-winner. That’s one 1-run game.

    It’s got the same player breaking a scoreless tie with a pinch-hit single in the second game, except this one isn’t a game-winner because the Rangers rallied for two in the top of the 9th, knotting the series at one game apiece with a 2-1 win. Two one-run ballgames.

    It’s got a slugfest in Game 3, which due to the lopsided final margin would normally be a detriment but it’s redeemed by Albert Pujols putting up the best individual performance in a World Series game, ever. The previous record for homers in a World Series game was 3, and Albert merely tied that, but all of those previous occurrences, the 3-HR hitter had no other hits in the game, making 12 the record for total bases. Albert also tied the record for total hits in a game, 5, by adding a pair of singles to his trio of home runs. Incredible.

    Game 4, there was a great pitching performance–the Cardinals were held to 0 runs on 2 hits–but with a 4-run margin, Game 4 is the weak link. That’s fine; the other candidates for the title weren’t all one- and two-run games.

    Game 5 was tied late, and the Rangers scored two in the bottom of the eighth to snap a 2-2 tie, winning 4-2. A solid addition to the oeuvre.

    Game 6 was, of course, the all-time classic. It was extra innings; it was a one-run game; it was lots and lots of comebacks. It was Game 7 of the 1960 World Series and Game 6 of the 1991 World Series rolled into one. But for all the drama that had preceded this game, it was the first extra-inning game of the Series.

    Let’s look at the two series that are usually ranked 1-2 in some order when ranking World Series.

    Game 1: Boston 6, Cincinnati 0
    Game 2: Cincinnati 3, Boston 2; Cincy scored twice in the ninth. Sounds comparable to Game 2 of this series.
    Game 3: Cincinnati 6, Boston 5, 10 innings. Controversial play leading up to Cincy’s win, and Boston had late homers, including a ninth-inning shot, to erase a 5-2 deficit.
    Game 4: Boston 5, Cincinnati 4; scoring was over by the end of the fourth.
    Game 5: Cincinnati 6, Boston 2
    Game 6: Boston 7, Cincinnati 6, 12 innings. We all know this one, and it’s likely the most comparable to our Game 6 here, only with better defense. (Fred Lynn crashing into the wall; Dwight Evans making a game-saving catch in the 11th much like the one Rangers fans wish Nelson Cruz could’ve made in the ninth).
    Game 7: Cincinnati 4, Boston 3; tie game entering the ninth.

    Verdict: With 5 one-run games and two extra-inning games, it’s definitely got the edge for now, but if tonight’s Game 7 goes into extras, I think 2011 has a chance to be compared favorably with 1975.

    Game 1: Minnesota 5, Atlanta 2. Put this one head-to-head with 2011 Game 4, and 2011′s got the advantage for now–and the reason I’m putting it up against Game 4 will become obvious soon enough.
    Game 2: Minnesota 3, Atlanta 2. Minnesota’s first two runs were unearned, a two-out home run where the lone baserunner had reached on an error. Solo shot in the bottom of the eighth snaps a 2-2 tie. I guess we put this one up against Game 5 of 2011, which also had a 2-2 tie snapped in the bottom of the eighth, and give 1991 the slight advantage for this game but still advantage 2011 overall–barely.
    Game 3: Atlanta 5, Minnesota 4, 12 innings.
    Game 4: Atlanta 3, Minnesota 2. Mark Lemke, who drove in the game-winner in the twelfth the previous night, triples with one out in the bottom of the ninth and scores on a sac fly. Going to put this one up against the Rangers’ 2-1 come-from-behind win in Game 2, since that also involved the winning run scoring in the ninth, and this one’s a clear advantage to 1991, shifting the balance in favor of the 1991 Series.
    Game 5: Atlanta 14, Minnesota 5. With the same nine-run margin, Game 3 is the obvious comparison, and 2011 does favorably here.
    Game 6: Minnesota 4, Atlanta 3, 11 innings. The comparison is obvious here; Joe Buck even made it, quoting word-for-word his father’s famous call of Puckett’s home run when Freese hit his game-winner. This one’s 2011′s again, which theoretically swings the pendulum back in 2011′s favor, but…
    Game 7: Minnesota 1, Atlanta 0, 10 innings. The winning run was driven in by a pinch-hitter, which is why I ended up going with Game 5 rather than Game 1 (identical 3-2 final) to compare with Game 2; Game 1 gets compared here. Which is absolutely unfair, but the only game that 2011 has that even has a prayer of matching 1991 Game 7 is Game 6, and with a 10-9 game vs. a 1-0 game, it’s apples and oranges. Massive advantage to 1991.

    Which brings us back to Game 3, left empty in the comparison sheet. 1991 had three extra-inning games; 2011 has only had one so far and can therefore have a maximum of two. 1991 had five 1-run games; 2011, if Game 7 is close, could have at most four 1-run games and a two-run game. Pujols actually making the lone blowout of this series still meaningful definitely helps bring it a little closer, but it seems like it would take an incredible Game 7 for 2011 to dethrone 1991. Which brings me to a quote from last night’s postgame.

    Lance Berkman called last night’s game the most exciting he’s ever played in, and while I suppose with it being a World Series game, I can concede the possibility, I have to disagree, because the most exciting postseason game in recent memory did feature Mr. Berkman, and in a fairly important capacity at that. I refer, of course, to Game 4 of the 2005 NLDS between the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves. A quick recap: The scoring began with Adam LaRoche’s third-inning grand slam, and the Braves added an insurance run in the top of the fifth, only to give it right back in the bottom of the inning. Leading off the top of the eighth, Brian McCann gives the Braves another insurance run with a solo shot, and it proves to be an important one as Lance Berkman makes history in the bottom of the frame, hitting a grand slam to pull the Astros within one (Atlanta leads 6-5). It was the first time that two grand slams had been hit in a postseason game in any capacity, be it two by one team or one by each team. It would be far from the only history made that day. With two outs–of course there were two outs–Brad Ausmus, light-hitting catcher who the broadcasters were saying should definitely be pinch-hit for right now, why isn’t Phil Garner pinch-hitting for Ausmus right now?!, hits a home run by the slimmest of margins–a little lower or a little further to the right, and it’s off the wall. Game tied, 6-6, where it would stay for another nine innings, long after Roger Clemens had entered the game as a pinch-hitter and stayed on to relieve, and just after the Rocket’s second plate appearance, when unheralded rookie Chris Burke hit a walkoff shot to give the Astros a 7-6, 18-inning win, the longest game by both innings (previous record 16 innings, Game 6 of the 1986 NLCS) and by time (5:50, just ahead of Game 5 of the 2004 ALCS which went 5:49) in postseason history, and giving the Astros the 3-1 series win. Obviously, the fact that it was only the LDS, and the fact that the Astros weren’t facing elimination, keeps this game from getting quite as much recognition as it deserves, but that’s another all-time classic.

    The reason I bring this game up? Because that is what Game 7 has to be for 2011 to take the #1 spot away from 1991. Any sort of extra-inning game, or possibly even a one-run game decided in the ninth inning, could easily get it as high as #2, and #3 should definitely be in reach (2001 seems to be the leading choice for that honor entering this year, due to the late-innings heroics by the Yankees in Games 4 and 5, Luis Gonzalez’s Game 7 walkoff, and all of the off-field meaning behind the Yankees playing in the Series after 9/11), but #1 all-time is probably out of reach unless Game 7 can compare favorably to, well, that. Or at the very least, to Games 4 and/or 5 of the 2004 ALCS.

  4. smurfy says:

    Well, sorry, but I have to demur for the love o’ the game, which includes a meaningful effort at defense. After mishaps which could be characterized as having booted it to the other side, returned more times than in amateur US soccer, I went to sleep after Nifty Feliz delivered to Freese and Nelson stabbed so incompetently that he and his coach should better confront reality. So, I’ll wait for the new list, more like what he was sayin’.

  5. Pingback: Sometimes Baseball Finds A Way To Rope You Back In (some notes and links on Game 6) | Dingers

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