Anyone else feel disappointed? I don’t mean just Yankee fans–although Game
One was pretty lousy for us–but those of you who might not have a rooting
interest in the World Series. I really expected a pitching duel, something
akin to the battles Curt Schilling had with Matt Morris in the
Division Series, something that would be riveting and get this Series off to
a great start.
Well, we didn’t get that, mostly because Mike Mussina didn’t locate
his pitches well in a few key at-bats. Schilling was excellent, but
Mussina’s 1-2 fastball to Luis Gonzalez in the third inning wasn’t
far enough inside, and Gonzo turned it into two runs. Mussina then gave up
an 0-2 single to Reggie Sanders on a curve or knuckle-curve that was
way too hittable, setting up David Justice‘s ugly error and the
subsequent sacrifice fly.
Then, when it looked like Mussina might get out of the inning down just 4-1,
he did it again, giving Damian Miller his very own gift 0-2 pitch.
Miller squeaked the gift inside the third-base bag for a run-scoring double,
and the game, for all intents and purposes, was over.
The D’backs followed that with four two-out runs in the fifth inning,
highlighted by Randy Choate giving up hits to Gonzalez, Steve
Finley, and Mark Grace. It didn’t matter in this game, but the
Yankees may need Choate to get one or all of those three guys later in the
Series; it will be interesting to see if Torre goes back to him in a key
Credit Bob Brenly with a couple of good decisions in this one. The first was
removing Schilling after seven innings. Schilling threw just 102 pitches, a
number that you have to figure makes him a realistic option to start Game
Four. After doing this, Brenly finished the game with Mike Morgan and
Greg Swindell two guys with almost 40 years of MLB experience between
them, but until last night, no World Series time. It was a classy touch.
- Do Craig Counsell‘s parents know about his after-school job? Does
he have to bring in a permission slip to go on road trips? He looks like he
should be playing on ABC in August, not on Fox in October.
- Between the Justice play and Scott Brosius playing a Matt
Williams ground ball in a way that brought back memories of my time as a
third baseman, the Yankees didn’t look like the
postseason-clutch-cool-header-veteran-type guys they’re supposed to be. I
can’t help but think that had a different team looked so bad, the game story
would be about how so-and-so tightened up under the World Series pressure,
and just wasn’t used to it the way the Yankees are.
The Yankees didn’t "choke" last night; they just had a bad game,
and that can happen to any team at any time without it being a reaction to
playing in the World Series. Let’s keep that in mind as the week unfolds.
- I haven’t spent much time in Phoenix. Is it hard to get a decent meal
late at night?
I ask because these two teams played the last five innings as if they’d been
told a troupe of mimes was on its way to the park. The last 4 1/2 innings
featured no hits, two walks, and were played in about an hour and ten
minutes, maybe an hour-fifteen. The entire game ran two hours and 44
minutes, making it the shortest World Series game since Game Two of the 1996
Series, also completed in a snappy 2:44.
Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. You can contact him by