Thursday, October 26, 2017

Crazy Things in Game 2, ranked

So we need to talk about all the crazy things that happened in last night's epic come-from-ahead-no-wait-behind-no-yes-back-ahead Game 2 win. Let's rank them in order of Not Crazy to Guano Crazy:

8. Dodgers fan gets arrested in the Astros bullpen.
Verdict: Not even close to being crazy. 
Looking those up took two minutes.

7. Ken Giles gives up a run.
Verdict: Not crazy. Like, at all.

This postseason hasn't been Giles' best work. While Giles was overall excellent in the regular season (2.30 ERA / 1.04 WHIP, 11.9 K/9) he hasn't exactly held up under the glare of the postseason lights. Giles has made six appearances, and given up a run in five of them. Game 6 of the ALCS was the only one he didn't allow at least one run, and he gave up a hit and a walk in that one. So he has thrown 7.2IP, and given up 10H/7ER, with 10K:4BB, 3HR. Opponents are hitting .303/.378/.636 against him in the postseason, a 1.015 OPS on a .350 BABIP. He gave up four home runs in the regular season. So obviously he's getting knocked around the postseason. Him allowing 2H/2ER, with 3K:1BB on a homer is not crazy. Not for Ken Giles.

6. Justin Verlander's outing
Verdict: Unlucky is not crazy

Verlander was dominating, something he's done for a while now. Last night he threw 6IP, 2H/3ER, 5K:2BB. Both hits he allowed were home runs, and the second came right after a walk. Consider that the three runs he allowed last night were equal to the number of runs he allowed in his three prior starts this postseason. Consider that Verlander has made 21 postseason appearances and had given up 2HR in just three of them. Last night was the 4th, and the first since...Game 1 of the 2012 World Series against the Giants. Joc Pederson's 5th inning home run broke up Verlander's no-hitter. It was Pederson's first home run since July 26. Corey Seager's two-run homer was no joke, and he hit 22 of them in the regular season, but this was his first of the 2017 postseason after missing the NLCS.

Verlander was pulled after 79 pitches, so you can bet he'll be fresh for a potential Game 6 next Tuesday, if not Game 5 on Sunday.

5. George Springer's two-run homer
Verdict: A well-timed statistical correction is not crazy
Springer had a good ALDS, hitting .412/.474/.706 with three extra-base hits. We know he had a bad ALCS, hitting .115/.233/.115 with no extra-base hits and seven strikeouts. We know he had a terrible Game 1, going 0x4 with 4Ks. It was actually Springer's 2nd career postseason 4K game - he went 0x4 with 4K:1BB in that fateful G4 of the 2015 ALDS against the R***ls. Game 1 of the World Series was the first time all year he had 4Ks in a game.

4. Marwin's game-tying home run
Verdict: Pretty crazy
It was only the 5th game-tying home run on the road in the 9th inning or later in World Series history, and the first since Dwight Evans in 1975. Let's not forget that Marwin has struggled this postseason - he came into last night hitting .150/.227/.200 on a .207 BABIP. He had two extra-base hits in the 12 previous games this postseason. Also, in Marwin's previous 16 career postseason games, he drew two walks. He drew two walks last night. So of course he goes yard to tie the game in the 9th inning...against Kenley Jansen...which, speaking of...

3. Coming back against LA's bullpen.
Verdict: Definitely crazy.
The Dodgers' bullpen had thrown 28 straight scoreless innings in the postseason. And in the regular season they were the best bullpen in the NL (according to FanGraphs' WAR). Their 3.55 FIP is the 4th-best in baseball and the best in the NL, and the 3.64 xFIP trailed only the Indians (just behind them were the Astros, at 3.69). They were 98-0 (including the postseason) with a lead heading into the 9th inning. The fact that the Astros got to the Dodgers in the 9th, and again in the 10th, and again in the 11th is crazy. (Or you can replace "Crazy" with "And the Astros are very good.")

2. Ball bounces off Chris Taylor's hat right to Joc Pederson
Verdict: Stupid crazy.
If the ball gets over the bill of Chris "30 Seconds to Mars" Taylor's hat, the Astros are up 2-0 with Bregman standing on 3rd, if he isn't able to complete the inside-the-park home run. Instead, the Astros had runners on 1st and 2nd with one out. Altuve and Correa struck out to end the inning. Cut4 noted that, had the Astros taken a 2-0 lead, their win expectancy would be about 76%. Instead, we Astros fans were conditioned to declare the series over because Base Ba'al had worked its demigod magic against our favorite team. Again.

1. Devenski hits Laz Diaz with pickoff throw
Verdict: Guano crazy.
It was a terrible pickoff throw. Where Maybin was positioned, he would have been nowhere near the ball, and the run at 2nd maybe could have scored, a walk-off on a throwing error to 2B. Instead, Devenski's throw hit Laz Diaz, preventing the runners from advancing, and Chris Taylor flied out to end the inning. The Astros won the game in the next inning.