Greatest or Most Bizarre World Series Game Ever?
Houston has hosted three of the greatest… or weirdest… World Series games of all time. Photo by Elliot Mendoza
By all accounts, Game 5 of the 2017 World Series should have been boring. Clayton Kershaw for the Dodgers and Dallas Keuchel for the Astros.
All accounts would be incorrect.
Instead, the final was Houston 13-12 in 10 innings. The series is breaking records for home runs, pitchers pulled in the fourth inning, goofiest base-running, error-committing potential goats turning around and hitting three-run home runs, and morons stealing home run balls from other fans to throw on the field.
Great? Bizarre? Undeniable? Unbelievable? This had it all.
Let’s recap…just the weird stuff. Grab a cup of something. This’ll take awhile.
For starters, the third run of the game scored when Dodger runner Logan Forsythe got picked off first base but still made it to second base on a throwing error by first baseman Yuli Gurriel.
Keuchel was shelled early and didn’t make it out of the fourth inning.
Kershaw was rolling for a couple of innings, but also struggled in the fourth and didn’t make it out of the fifth. He was also the victim of Gurriel’s revenge: a 389-foot homer off a pitch 10 inches off the inside of the plate.
Dependable lunacy of the evening: the way home plate umpire Bill Miller was calling the game. The pitch to Gurriel might have been called a strike if it had been allowed to pass.
Inch off the right side? Strike. Two inches? Strike, Three? Maybe!
Note to Bill. Just because the pitcher hits the mitt doesn’t make it a strike. The time you called out Kike Hernandez? He was closer to getting hit by it than it was to crossing the plate. Just sayin’.
And no, I don’t want to give Miller credit for calling it the same for both clubs. Being wrong 64 times doesn’t make him right 32.
Regardless, game tied 4-4, until the Dodgers come right back and Cody Bellinger knocks in three with a shot to right on a hanging curve.
Note to Cody: Every time I have ever seen a player shush anybody else during a game, that player’s team has lost the game. Focus on celebrating. Leave taunting to morons. Dodgers up 7-4.
Kharma came calling shortly thereafter as Kenton Maeda came in to relieve Kershaw and served up a meatball to Jose Altuve. 7-7.
And then it got really weird.
Astro manager AJ Hinch turned again to Brad Peacock, he of the 53-pitch save in Game 3. He came out and tossed 39 more in Game 5.
He actually threw the ball 40 times. Dodger skipper Dave Roberts had cleanup batter Kike Hernandez try to move runner Justin Turner from second to third with no outs…because that’s what cleanup hitters do? Peacock pounced on the bunt and threw out Turner.
Peacock was rewarded… not… when center fielder George Springer dove for a line drive off Bellinger’s bat with Hernandez now at first. Springer missed the ball, it went to the wall, Bellinger went to third, and Hernandez scored easily.
Just like Gurriel, Springer would atone for the error. Note to Dodger catcher Austin Barnes: stop having your guys throw George Springer fastballs up and middle in. Not Brendan Morrow’s fault that Springer hit it 448 feet. That’s where Barnes wanted it. 8-8.
And why is Brendan Morrow in the game for the third-straight day for the Dodgers when he’s never, ever, ever pitched in three straight? Maybe because your other option is Ross Stripling? The Dodgers bullpen all of a sudden doesn’t look so hot.
Another note to Dodgers battery mates: Houston third baseman Alex Bregman hits fastballs very hard and weak, off-speed stuff in the strike zone also very hard. Please, please make a note of it.
If the Astros win the series. Bregman should be MVP. His defense was again sparkling.
More notes for the Dodgers: Jose Altuve lovvvvvves high fastballs, like the one he hit off the left center field wall. You remember that one?
Same goes for Carlos Correa, like the one he hit in the Crawford Boxes in left. 11-8 Astros.
Peacock and his tailing fastball and helpful strike calls by Miller hold the Dodgers at bay until Joc Pederson hits a ball so high he doesn’t think it can be anything but an out. Oops. Double. Run! Then Peacock drills Chris Taylor in the ribs.
Enter Will Harris and his amazing hanging slider to Dodger Corey Seager. 11-9 Astros.
The colossal error in communication award went to Chris Taylor on this evening. It’s a golden ear horn with confetti stuffed inside.
As third base coach Chris Woodward is screaming, “Go! Go! Go!” after Justin Turner lines to the Astros’ Josh Reddick in right field, Taylor takes three strides and stops. The ball was plenty deep enough for Taylor to go, the throw came up the third base line and bounced away from catcher Brian McCann, who dropped it. Shoulda been 11-10.
Taylor gave his coach a meek, “I thought you were saying “No.”
More bad pitch selection as Tony Cingrani would have hit the target Barnes presented during McCann’s subsequent at-bat. McCann pulled the pitch into the right field seats. 12-9 Astros.
Roberts then pulls Cingrani.
Note to skip: How about pulling Barnes? Especially considering he stopped calling for pitches off the right side of the plate even though Miller was still calling them strikes for the Houston pitchers… Just sayin’.
Speaking of missing strikes, Astros’ closer Ken Giles is 0-2 with an 11.74 earned run average in the playoffs. He gave up a basket full in Game 3. He was one of two pitchers who didn’t get in the game for Houston.
Though it was a magical mystery tour of weirdness and stress, there was also more sheer power like the kind Gurriel and Correa displayed.
Dodger outfielder Yasiel Puig’s homer off Chris Devenski was not the pitcher’s fault. Puig did his best right-handed Kirk Gibson imitation and one-armed an outside, off-speed pitch into the seats in left. 12-11 Astros.
Note to deranged fanatics sitting near me at my next World Series game: If you steal the ball that my wife just caught and throw it on the field, I am going to hit you in the face. Not sayin’. Just sayin’.
Devenski didn’t make a bad pitch to Taylor either, who atoned for the running problem earlier andtied the game on an outside changeup. 12-12.
More Barnes problems in the 10th inning, though. Dodger closer Kenley Jansen starts off with high fastballs to Altuve, which gets a big “uh oh” from the scouting department.
They get the out, but Jansen and Barnes then have a series of meetings on the mound. One starts with Jansen not even looking at Barnes as he comes out. Another begins with Jansen meeting Barnes five feet from home plate and then shaking off Barnes with a “you gotta be kidding me” look.
Somewhere in there, the 400th pitch of the night was thrown.
Soon after, another was thrown… at McCann… and he trotted to first base.
Interestingly, home plate umpire Miller then forgets what his ridiculous strike zone is and George Springer takes two borderline fastballs and walks on a pitch that had been called a strike all night.
Finally, five hours after it started, Bregman, who homered off Jansen in Game 4 looks for a cut fastball, gets a cut fastball and rifles it up the middle. Pinch runner Derek Fisher, no not that Derek Fisher, but it would be par for the course, scored. 13-12.
Other than that, nothing much happened.
Greatest game? Don’t know about that. Wildest, kookiest, with the most dramatic swings of fortune?
Tough to bet against it.