Game Three of the World Series is in the books – a nail-biting 1-0 victory for the Indians that, once again, illustrated Cleveland Manager Terry Francona’s ability to “pull all the right levers.” The Indians now lead the Series two games to one, which means the Cubs will have to beat Cleveland “ace” Corey Kluber at least once to claim the title. In Game Three, Francona:
- successfully dealt with the absence of the DH, starting Carlos Santana in LF for the first time this year and using three players in LF, two in CF, two behind the plate, one pinch hitter and one pinch runner;
- adeptly used his bullpen (a WIN for Andrew Miller, a HOLD for Bryan Shaw and a SAVE for Cody Allen) after squeezing 4 2/3 scoreless innings out of starter Josh Tomlin; and
- got the game-winning hit out of pinch-hitter Coco Crisp (hitting just .211 for the post season, but with key hits along the way, including two home runs).
Read on for some BBRT observations on Game Three.
Apologies for Timing of this Post – and a Look at One of Baseball’s Greats
Baseball Roundtable’s World Series Game Three wrap is coming out a little later in the day than usual, but for good reason. I spent the top half of the day at the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) Halsey Hall Chapter Meeting – where we listened to former Twins’ player, manager and broadcaster Frank Quilici and heard presentations on baseball behind bars, in France and in “Dodgerland.”
We also head from Pete Gorton of the Donaldson Network on efforts to shine additional light on the career of John Donaldson – the African-American pitcher (early 1900s-1940) who amassed at least 399 documented wins and 4,995 strikeouts, while pitching in more than 500 cities. Donaldson was, indeed, Satchel Paige before Satchel Paige. As Baseball Hall of Famer Buck O’Neill said “John Donaldson showed Satchel Paige the way.”
Real Relief. Win. Hold. Save.
Just one run scored in Game Three, by the Indians, on a Coco Crisp pinch hit bloop single in the top of the seventh. The 1-0 win was Cleveland’s record-breaking fifth shutout of the 2016 post-season. All five blankings were team efforts. Yesterday, Cleveland got 4 2/3 scoreless innings from starter Josh Tomlin. Then Andrew Miller came on for 1 1/3 innings (and the WIN); Bryan Shaw followed with 1 2/3 scoreless innings (for the HOLD); and Cody Allen tossed the last 1 1/3 (for the SAVE). Win. Hold. Save. Game. Set. Match.
Note: Staff ace Corey Kluber started three of the remaining four shutouts – going 7, 6 1/3 and 6 innings in those contests. The fifth whitewashing was started by Ryan Merritt, who went 4 1/3 – followed by Shaw (1 inning for the WIN), Miller (2 2/3 for the HOLD) and Allen (1 inning for the SAVE).
Bryzzo versus Millallen
The Cubs are looking to Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo (affectionately referred to as Bryzzo) to provide the offense. One the other side of the coin, Cleveland has the Millallen combination – relievers Andrew Miller and Cody Allen – who have thrown a combined 25 scoreless innings this post season, with 45 strikeouts, seven saves, six holds and two wins.
Sporting News Player of the Year – Astros’ 2B Jose Altuve
Houston Astros’ 2B Jose Altuve – in a player vote – was selected as the Sporting News MLB Player of the Year. The 26-year-old Altuve, with six MLB seasons already under his belt, led the AL with a .338 batting average and 216 hits. He also hit 24 home runs, drove in 96 runs, scored 108 and stole 30 bases. 2016 marked Altuve’s second batting title, fourth All Star Selection, third consecutive season of 200 or more hits and fifth consecutive season of at least 30 stolen bases. Each of the past ten Player of the Year winners has also won his league’s MVP Award. This season, Altuve’s competition for that honor is likely to come from Mookie Betts and David Ortiz of the Red Sox. We’ll see if Altuve can keep the streak going.
On the Wild Side
Chicago fans not only filled Wrigley Field, but also filled the streets and bars in Wrigleyville, celebrating the first Cubs’ World Series game in 71 years. Meanwhile, more than 20,000 Cleveland fans were going wild watching the game on the video board in Cleveland’s Progressive Field.
World Series Flashback
1908 – Cubs versus Tigers
The 1908 World Series featured a rematch of 1907 – Tigers versus Cubs. The Cubs were the defending World Champions (they had topped the Tigers in a sweep in 1907) and were in the Fall Classic for the third straight year (they lost to the White Sox in 1906, after a season in which the Cubs won a record 116 games). Cubs’ fans – after three straight World Series appearances – probably did not expect their next World Championship was at least 108 years away.
The Cubs took the Series four games-to-one, but it was not without its “moments.” In Game One (at Detroit) Chicago trailed 6-5 going into the ninth, but put five runs on the board in the top of the final inning to steal the victory (the inning included a double steal by CF Solly Hofman and 1B Frank Chance – Yes, the Chance of Tinker to Evers to Chance). The Cubs’ ninth-inning rally included six consecutive one-out singles, two stolen bases and a sacrifice.
Like the first game, Game Two (in Chicago) was close late – tied 0-0 until the eighth, when the Cubs scored six times to cement a 6-1 win. The major blow was a two-run home run by Cubs’ SS Joe Tinker – the only round tripper of the Series. Detroit rallied for an 8-3 win in Game Three and then the Cubs’ pitching took over. Chicago’s Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown (29-9, 1.47 in the regular season) shut out Detroit 3-0 on a complete game four-hitter in Game Four and Orvall Overall (15-11, 1.92) pitched even more masterfully in Game Five, tossing a complete-game, three-hit shutout with ten strikeouts. Note: Overall fanned a World Series (and MLB) record four batters in the first inning of Game Five, in an inning that went: walk to Tigers’ LF Matty McIntyre; strike out of SS Charley O’Leary; single by 3B Bill Coughlin; strikeout of RF Ty Cobb; strikeout of 1B Claude Rossman, who reached on a wild pitch; strikeout of 2B Germany Schaefer. The final game drew a crowd of only 6,210 – the smallest in World Series’ history.
Cubs stars’ of the Series were Overall (who won two games for the Cubs and gave up just two runs in 18 1/3 innings); 1B Chance (who hit .421 and stole five bases); Cubs’ SS Tinker (who drove in four); and CF Hofman (who hit .316 and also drove in four). Detroit was led by CF Ty Cobb, who hit .368 for the Series.
The Cubs have since gone to the World Series seven times (not including this season) – 1910, 1918, 1929, 1932, 1935, 1938 and 1945 – losing each time.
I tweet baseball @David BBRT
Member: Society for American Baseball Research (SABR); The Baseball Relliquary; Baseball Bloggers Alliance.