What a letdown. After all the craziness and joy of the first six games of the World Series, game seven was an absolute dud.
It held some early promise. After the Astros scored two in the top of the first, the Dodgers seemed poised for their own first-inning rally, loading the bases before Lance McCullers Jr. wiggled out of the mess he made. Then Houston added three more runs in the second, chasing Yu Darvish, and the Dodgers again tried to rally, putting two on. Those runners were wasted, though, and the game settled into a slow slog toward the inevitable. For the first hour or so it seemed like we were on pace for another barnburner like game four. Sadly it was not to be.
Major props to Houston for solving their biggest problem of the post season – an ineffective bullpen – at the perfect moment. Brad Peacock, Francisco Liriano, Chris Devenski, and Charlie Morton were nearly flawless in locking down the Dodgers for seven-plus innings. I kept waiting for the Dodgers to string together a 3–4 hits to make it interesting, but they just could not figure out the Astros’ arms.
Which is a shame, because this series, between these teams, deserved some nervy moments late in the game.
There’s something especially cruel about the baseball season ending this way, at least for the losing team. The Dodgers flirted with the best record of all time for a good stretch of the summer. They won the division that produced both NL Wild Card teams by a ridiculous margin. They got through the playoffs relatively easily and then to the final game of the World Series. Then they were basically hopeless after the second inning. But baseball is a funny sport, and even the best teams have awful nights throughout the season. Sometimes those nights come in an elimination game, which sucks.
Let us not forget that Houston had just as impressive of a regular season. They battled from behind to beat the Yankees in the ALCS and provided some incredible moments during the World Series. They are a very likable team and are a lot of fun to watch. They’re probably going to be really good for awhile. This was not an upset.
I like to say that players, franchises, and cities never “deserve” championships simply because they’ve played for a long time, had a long era of poor records, or have been through devastation of one kind or another. But I think Justin Verlander and Carlos Beltran are both very worthy of grabbing the late career title. The Astros burned their organization down and built it back up, losing over 100 games three straight years in the process. They were remarkably lucky with so many of their top picks not just making the big leagues, but turning into stars. And the Houston area, after Hurricane Harvey, is a sentimental favorite to get the city’s first World Series title. I was pulling for the Dodgers because L was, but I had no problem with the Astros winning.
Now time for some college hoops…