Baseball, with 2,464 games played since Opening Day, now stares down the barrel of a single elimination game.
Game 7 of the World Series.
A phrase that has had far more usage in neighborhood pick-up games than in actuality now awaits us this evening. We all know the story lines and what has happened up to this point in the series. We are familiar with the teams. We have vested interest one way or another. So tonight, without any political debate, NFL game, or impeding TV scheduled, we can all just enjoy the spectacle that is Game 7 of the World Series. And when the game is said and done, one team will win, the other will wait, but baseball will shine. And for that, I’m extremely excited.
Notable Game 7’s
Oct. 10, 1945 – Tigers 9, Cubs 3 “The Curse of the Billy Goat”
The Tigers scored 5 runs in the 1st inning and Hal Newhouser went the distance. A curse was born.
Oct. 13, 1960 – Pirates 10, Yankees 9 “The Greatest Game 7”
Bill Mazeroski walked to the plate, score tied at 9, and proceeded to hit the only Game 7 walk-off HR in baseball history.
Oct. 27, 1985 – Royals 11, Cardinals 0 “Saberhagen Shutout”
Yeah I’m a little partial to this one. Bret saberhagen allowed 5 hits as The Royals won convincingly. The series was decided in Game 6 behind a daring 9th inning comeback and some excellent (and correct) umpire calls. Kansas City got their first World Series Championship.
Oct. 27, 1991 – Twins 1, Braves 0 (10 inn.)“A Pitcher’s Duel for the Ages”
Future Hall of Famer John Smoltz and World Series MVP Jack Morris squared off in Game 7 at the MetroDome. None were disappointed. Smoltz was lifted in the 8th for Mike Stanton and eventually Alejandro Pena and Morris went the distance. And by distance, I mean all 10 innings. A gene Larking pinch-hit single walked it off for the Twins 2nd World Series Championship.
Oct. 26, 1997 Marlins 3, Indians 2 (11 inn.) “Cleveland Collapse”
The Indians led the game 2-1 heading into the bottom of the 9th. They blew the save on a Craig Counsell sacrifice fly. Then in the 11th inning Edgar Renteria walked the series off with a single up the middle. The Cleveland drought continued.
Nov. 4, 2001 Diamondbacks 3, Yankees 2 “Rivera was Human”
The first World Series I distinctly remember watching every game may have been the best we’ve seen to date. The upstart Arizona Diamondback team was looking to put an end to the Yankee dynasty. Led by star starting pitchers, Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, the Diamondbacks controlled the series throughout. But their bullpen proved to be their lone bugaboo. Byung-Hyun Kim blew 2 saves in Yankee Stadium that led to the dramatic Game 7 in Arizona. With Mariano Rivera on the mound with a 1-run lead, a 4-peat seemed like a lock for the Yanks. But thanks to Tony Womack’s RBI double and Luis Gonzalez’ RBI single over a drawn in Derek Jeter, Arizona became the lone postseason blip in the illustrious career of ‘Mo.
Oct. 29, 2014 – Giants 3, Royals 2 “Madison Bumgarner”
From an outside perspective, this game had it all. Unfortunately I didn’t have that perspective. Neither starting pitcher made it through 4 innings. The bullpens were electric. The atmosphere was unreal. But 2015 was better..
So what about tonight?
I’ve had 4 people ask me for my thoughts/predictions on tonight’s game. So here goes:
Chaos. Pure chaos. I could see the Cubs’ offense continuing to roll. I could see Kluber dealing yet again. But I know my hedging stance won’t win anyone over here so let me break it down with the utmost detail.
1st inning – Kluber is sharp, but the Cubs have grown familiar to him and battle. He gets out of the inning unscathed but has to work for it. 18-22 pitches.
Hendricks gives up a solo HR to Kipnis by remains unscathed by the situation and appears to settle in. 1-0 Indians.
2nd inning – Russell doubles off the wall. The Cubs manufacture him in. 1-1.
Both pitchers battle, but remain in control.
5th inning – Fowler hits a 2-out RBI double to score Baez. Schwarber walks. Bryant singles home Fowler. 3-1 Cubs.
Hendricks caves as well by walking Rajai Davis. Davis steals 2nd. Comes around to score on an RBI ground-out by Francisco Lindor. 3-2 Cubs.
6th inning – Andrew Miller replaces Corey Kluber. He’s filthy. Holds Chicago scoreless for 2.1 innings.
Kyle Hendricks is replaced by Carl Edwards Jr.. Edwards allows a solo HR to Lonnie Chisenhall. 3-3.
8th inning – Joe Maddon sees how the Cleveland bullpen is controlling the game shoots his bullet. Aroldis Chapman comes in and labors. The increased workload has taken its’ toll. 24 pitches later he strands two runners. Still tied.
(Come on, did you really think I was going to predict a 6-2 yawner?)
9th inning – Cody Allen has taken over for the Tribe. Cubs look stifled. Rizzo hits a 2-out ball caught at the warning track. Joe Buck makes notice of the wind blowing in. *Camera pans to the flags. They are blowing out.*
Jon Lester replaces Chapman. Calmly retires the side.
10th inning – The Cleveland bullpen continues to dominate.
Carlos Santana leads off with a walk. Lifted for a pinch-runner Michael Martinez. Martinez steals 2nd. He is then bunted to 3rd. The Cubs then intentionally walk the bases loaded. Jose Ramirez singles to left. The Indians win the World Series 4-3.
In all honesty, I don’t have any more clue than any of you as to what is going to happen tonight. That’s why this is all so exciting. Just enjoy the game folks! It has the makings to be one of those “notable Game 7 classics.” Thanks for reading guys!