Yusmeiro Petit has been an unheralded and surprising key during the Giants' postseason run and he came up big once again on Saturday night.
The Royals have seen Lorenzo Cain emerge as a star under the national spotlight in the postseason, but the Giants have their own secret weapon who has thrived under the bright lights of October. As surprising as it may be, long reliever Yusmeiro Petit has come up huge each time Bruce Bochy has called upon him this postseason and Saturday night was no different.
On the impossibility of the Royals getting up from a drubbing like that.
OMFSM! The Giants not only won the pennant, but they completely dominated the Royals last night. Hard to believe, but in a game where both teams had such amazing momentum coming in (8-0 vs. pennant winning walk-off!) one of them actually lost the game. And call me a conspiracy theorist, but I personally think it might have had something to do with Madison Bumgarner, rather than some sort of government conspiracy.
After months of moving downward, the October strike zone is suddenly rising.
Everybody’s been writing about the strike zone recently, and that’s for good reason. The strike zone is evolving, and for the first time in the history of baseball, we have the technology to directly record that evolution. Mostly, the bottom of the strike zone is dropping, and that plays some role in shaping the current pitching-dominated era (although exactly how much of a role is a matter of some debate).
What’s most astonishing about the strike zone’s changing definition is the rapidity with which we are witnessing the results. Year after year, the strike zone falls, and this year has been no exception. In this recent article, Jon Roegele chronicles the most dramatic drop in the bottom of the strike zone yet: In the last year, the zone’s real estate has increased by 16 square inches. But even without a rigorous statistical analysis of the zone, you could feel the impact of the strike zone’s accelerating fall in the numerous strikeout records which have been broken, and in the historic seasons of Clayton Kershaw and other pitchers.
Tonight, the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants (who knew!) will square off in Game One of the 2014 World Series. I’m guessing that at least one of the 50 gentlemen on the two rosters will be a little nervous before the game starts. Maybe more than one. And surely, someone at a bar or on your couch or on a national telecast will opine on whether butterflies are currently flying in the stomach of just about every player that flashes across the screen. The World Series is amateur psychology’s finest hour.
The Royals have the speed, the Giants have the skipper, and both teams have momentum in an unlikely World Series matchup.
On July 28th, the Giants were four games behind the Dodgers, the Royals were five behind the Tigers, and PECOTA put their combined odds of winning the World Series at 4 percent. Neither was a preseason favorite to win the division, neither won the division, neither won 90 games, neither has an MVP candidate or a Cy Young candidate. Neither team's manager will win manager of the year, and neither will be the favorite to win a division going into next year's season. They are a combined 16-2 against the postseason gantlet, and PECOTA puts their combined odds of winning the World Series at 100 percent.
The commissioner's lasting legacy isn't randomness and meaningless. It's a more fair world.
For all the excitement of this postseason’s individual games, there is a fairly common sentiment out there that something sucks about a system so random that sub-par teams get to fluke their way to the World Series, thus stripping the season of its power to make sure the best teams are rewarded. Why play a long season and then reduce the championship to coin flips? Why continually expand postseason until every champ resembles Chris Moneymaker? Zachary Levine foretold this postseason in his epitaph for Bud Selig, written in August:
Poaching is a big part of the agent business. Some especially sting and never stop.
What a postseason. What a year. I have one client playing on a postseason team, so that has been quite exciting to follow. Only one of my clients has ever won a ring before—Darren Ford. Such a strange concept to me. Ford has won one but Ted Williams, Ernie Banks, and Barry Bonds didn’t. It’s a huge honor and a numbing experience.
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