Game Seven: The Play That Likely Swung the Game to the Giants

In the 3rd or 4th inning, with a KC runner on first and nobody out, Eric Hosmer poked a hard-hit grounder up the middle, looking like it would go through to center field.  Out of nowhere Panik (the Giant’s second-baseman) dove and just managed to catch the ball in the tip of his glove.  Somehow he managed to flip the ball, back-handed, to his shortstop Brandon Crawford who was at second base, getting the runner out there!  Crawford then fired the ball to first base.  But, the runner was called safe on a very close play.  The Giants elected to challenge that call, and after a very long delay while officials in NYC studied all the videos, the call was over-turned and the runner at first was called out!  So the Royals, who could have had runners on first and third with NO OUTS, ended up with NO RUNNERS on base and two out!

Had Panik not caught that grounder, there was a high likelihood of the Royals scoring at least one run and maybe more, giving them a lead.  Their great bullpen would have then soon entered the game with either a lead or a tie.  Over the last 5 innings of the game BOTH bullpens (not just MadBum) put nothing but zeroes on the scoreboard!

That is how close the 7th game really was folks!

Oh-oh, KC is now favored to win game 7!

Don’t miss Tom Boswell’s article in today’s Washington Post.  It is all about sabermetric’s analysis of the Royals chances of winning the World Series up to the start of last night’s game.  For the past 32 World Series, the team that goes home for the last 2 games becomes almost unbeatable!  And ten of those teams were BEHIND 3 games to 2 when they returned home.  The winning percentage for the home teams in those final 2 games is .885.  For American League teams in this group (think Kansas City) that means even more because they get to use their designated hitter

The World Series is SET!

So we now have two wild-card teams in the Fall Classic.  Who-da-thunk?

While Ned Yost’s managing has been oft-questionned, his players have silenced those drumbeats.  And so far this year’s playoffs have been the best in recent memory.  We have seen once again that when the regular season ends, the game changes radically and the teams that can get HOT at the right time, with good defense and pitching are most likely to end up in the World Series.

As for the Nats, they have all winter to wonder how all but two hitters suddenly went cold when the playoffs began.  Baseball is often inexplicable, even to the experts.