Monday, November 4, 2013
Kernels: Postseason in review
By Doug Kern
By now you've probably heard that the Boston Red Sox won the World Series. And that a couple of the games had endings (a pickoff, an obstruction call) the likes of which we'd never seen before in the postseason. (We here at Kernels were hoping for Game 5 to end on a pitch getting stuck in the umpire's mask. That's an automatic base, you know.)
To get to the World Series, however, the 10 postseason teams had to play 32 other games first. So let's recap a few of our favorite nuggets from the earlier rounds.
• The Tigers lost ALDS Game 2 to the Athletics on Stephen Vogt's walk-off single. It was Detroit's first 1-0 postseason loss in team history. The Tigers and Reds had been the only two original franchises without such a loss. Ten days later, the Tigers lost Game 3 of the ALCS on Mike Napoli's solo homer, becoming the first team since the 1991 Braves and 1991 Pirates to drop two 1-0 games in the same postseason.
Napoli's homer was the first in 12 years to be the only run of a postseason game; Jorge Posada's solo shot for the Yankees held up to beat the Athletics in Game 3 of the 2001 ALDS (better known for Derek Jeter’s flip relay throw that nailed Jeremy Giambi at the plate).
Justin Verlander allowed Napoli's run and became just the second pitcher to take a loss with one run, one walk, and double-digit strikeouts. Brooklyn's Don Newcombe was the other, as he gave up a walk-off homer to the Yankees' Tommy Henrich in the 1949 World Series (the first walk-off home in the Fall Classic).
• The Tigers also won a 1-0 game this October; that's the ALCS opener where Daniel Nava's 9th-inning single was Boston's only hit.
Anibal Sanchez walked six in that game, becoming the first pitcher with zero hits, six walks, and a dozen strikeouts in any game since Nolan Ryan's no-hitter for the Angels in 1974. It was just the second game in postseason history where a team's only hit came in the ninth inning; the other was Cookie Lavagetto's pinch-hit walk-off double for the Dodgers against the Yankees in a near no-hitter by Bill Bevens in the 1947 World Series.
Max Scherzer fanned 13 in Game 2, giving the Tigers the second set of teammates with 12-strikeout games in the same postseason series. The other pair was Nolan Ryan and Mike Scott for the 1986 Astros.
Scherzer got a no-decision when David Ortiz hit his grand slam in the eighth. Thanks to Tigers pitching changes, all four runs were charged to different hurlers, just the ninth grand slam ever to have that quirk. Boston's six runs in the game came off six different pitchers, the first time in the live-ball era-- regular or postseason-- that a team had scored six or more runs with every opposing pitcher being charged with exactly one.
• Shane Victorino also hit a grand slam in the ALCS. Not only did that make the Red Sox the first AL team with two postseason slams since the 1987 Twins (Dan Gladden, Kent Hrbek), but it was the second of Victorino's career. He had one with the Phillies in 2008. Jim Thome is the only other player with two grand slams in postseason play.
Victorino-- who led the AL with 18 hit-by-pitches in the regular season-- got plunked twice more by the Rays in Game 4 of the ALDS. He's the first Red Sox hitter ever to get hit twice in a postseason game.
• The Dodgers' four homers in NLCS Game 5 were the most ever by a single team in a postseason game at Dodger Stadium. Adrian Gonzalez hit two; he and Carl Crawford (who did it in the Division Series) became the first Dodgers teammates with multi-homer games in the same postseason since Davey Lopes and Steve Garvey in 1978. The Dodgers also had an NLCS game with two triples (including the one that Yasiel Puig initially thought was a homer). They were the only National League team without a multi-triple game in the regular season.
• Jacoby Ellsbury had two singles, a double, and a triple in ALCS Game 4. The last Red Sox player with a four-hit postseason game as a leadoff hitter was Ellsbury in the 2007 World Series. Only one other player had done it in team history: Wally Moses in 1946.
And only one other major-leaguer has two such games in his career: Mickey Rivers of the Yankees. Ellsbury was also the second Boston hitter to go single-double-triple in the postseason; Mike Stanley did it in the 1999 ALDS.
• When facing elimination, the old saying is "everybody's available". In Game 4 of the ALDS, the Rays ran nine different pitchers to the mound, the first team in postseason history to use that many in a nine-inning game.
Jeremy Hellickson was pulled after allowing two walks and a single to start the 2nd inning; Jamey Wright got out of it without any damage. Hellickson thus became the second starting pitcher in postseason history to work one inning (or less), allow zero runs, and leave for non-injury reasons.
Curly Ogden of the Senators was used as a decoy in Game 7 of the 1924 World Series so that Giants manager John McGraw would set his lineup for a righty, but after two batters the defense switched to southpaw George Mogridge. It worked; that game gave Washington its only World Series title.