Sports Talk with Chris Grant: Extra innings


I finally got the playoff pitching moment I was looking for in the first game of the World Series. For seven innings, Clayton Kershaw showed why he is the best pitcher on the planet, shutting down the potent Houston Astros’ offense and leading the Dodgers to victory. There is nothing better than a dominant pitcher in a playoff game, I know I’ve said it before, but I stand by the assertion and always will. Unless you are rooting for the team the guy is pitching against, a dominant postseason starter is baseball at its best.

The second game of the series certainly showed the other side of the pitching coin. Both teams got decent enough starts, but their bullpens came unraveled as the ball flew out of Dodger Stadium. Pitching is great, but so is the home run and we got plenty of those in dramatic fashion on Wednesday night. That game will have to go down as one of the greatest ever played in the World Series. There was so much drama and tension, even for a guy like me who has no real rooting interest in the series, that it was impossible to turn the channel until the last out was recorded by the Astros.

The Dodgers lost the home field advantage by dropping that game, but I suspect the series comes back to Los Angeles. I would love to see Kershaw square off against Justin Verlander in a Game 7. I cannot imagine a better end to the series than that. The starters don’t seem lined up for that to happen, but a guy can dream, right?

It was fantastic seeing Vin Scully take the field to throw out the first pitch of game two. It was even more fun to see Fernando Valenzuela and Steve Yeager join him. Scully is a national treasure at this point and even the Astros’ fans I know had to give him his due. Even if they were grumbling about it as they did. It is a shame the Dodgers didn’t get to the series a year earlier, so Scully could have called some games, but his appearance Wednesday night was special in its own right.

The New York Yankees let Joe Girardi walk on Thursday. While he wasn’t exactly fired (they declined to offer him a new contract) Yankees’ General Manager Brian Cashman made it clear his longtime skipper was no longer wanted in the Bronx. I honestly don’t get this. Girardi took a young team and got them within one win of the World Series. No one was expecting this from the Yankees this year. They overachieved and now their manager has no job. New York’s chief nemesis, the Boston Red Sox, did something similar after their playoff exit, declining to bring back John Farrell who had led the team to back-to-back American League East championships. I suppose there is a higher standard in Boston and New York than there is for most teams. Because any other franchise in baseball would be pretty content with managers who’d achieved as much as Girardi and Farrell have. But this was not the case for two of the game’s titans. Boston already replaced Farrell. It will be interesting to see who New York finds to take the reigns of their good, young team. I don’t think Joe Torre is coming back and the other options out there don’t see like better managers than they guy they already had. That said, I am sure the applications will stream in for another of the game’s best/worst jobs.