Well, the game is over and so is our live blog.
What a terrible way for a great series to end. The Houston Astros defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 tonight to claim the World Series title, with scarcely a hint of a comeback from L.A., who trailed from the first inning. In a Series defined by each team’s bullpen, this one came down to the starting pitchers.
Specifically, Yu Darvish came out with one of the most unexpectedly poor starts of the playoffs. The decision to give Darvish the start instead of, say, Clayton Kershaw (or almost anybody else!) will be endlessly debated, and with good reason. If Darvish had been handed slightly fewer innings, this season would probably have ended very differently for the Dodgers. That Dave Roberts erred in pulling Darvish too late — after six games in which he arguably pulled his starters too early — is a poisonous irony for L.A.’s fans.
The Astros won the Series on the backs of their hitters. Between a shaky bullpen and Lance McCullers leaving seven Dodgers on base, neither the starters nor the relievers seemed to have the game in hand. (Except for Charlie Morton, the onetime Pittsburgh Pirates back-of-the-rotation arm who pitched four scoreless innings to close out the game.) But just as they had throughout the matchup, the lineup came through, starting (of course) with a George Springer double. The five runs the Astros scored in the first two innings were enough to win the game in part because of the Dodgers’ remarkable futility with runners in scoring position.
The Astros are a lovable Team Of Destiny. On top of some of the most amazing young talent in the game (Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, the aforementioned George Springer) they have Carlos Beltran, a 40-year-old slugger and likely Hall of Famer who, until today, didn’t have a title to his name. It’s good to see them win. Like the Cubs and Indians last year, it seems likely that both the winners and losers of this Series will sustain their success in the next few years. It wouldn’t be surprising if they meet again in the next Fall Classic. In fact, considering how exciting (most of) this World Series was, let’s hope that they do.
If Sports Illustrated can make bold predictions, so can I: Toronto Blue Jays 2018 World Series Champions. Good night.
After all that, for the second straight season the two World Series teams went seven games and scored exactly the same number of runs in the series. A golden age for close baseball.
If L.A. fans call an Uber now they can make it to Staples Center in time for the end of the Clippers game.
Final score update: Astros 5, Dodgers 1. Houston wins the game and the Series.
In all seriousness, if this score holds up, this is a great story for the city of Houston after the year they’ve had. Very pleased for them.
Before tonight, there had never been a World Series Game 7 in Los Angeles. Unless there’s a miracle, I’m guessing Dodger fans will wish there wasn’t a Game 7 there tonight.
If the results hold, this will be four straight World Series wins clinched on the road. Which is always a letdown. The San Francisco Giants won all three titles this decade on the road. Meanwhile, it’s still hard to believe the Giants won three titles this decade. I’ve never seen a dynasty be less of a dynasty. Baseball is weird.
A consolation prize for Los Angeles tonight is that they managed to fill a stadium. (Come at me, Rams fans.)
Charlie Morton’s lack of success at the plate is no surprise. He is a terrible hitter. His offensive WAR during his career is -2.1 thanks in part to batting just 0.74.
Since 2009, that Morton at-bat was only the third time a pitcher batted in the 9th inning of a World Series game.
The Astros have a ton of home-grown talent. In fact, their three original first-round picks to play in this World Series — Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa and George Springer — have combined for nine home runs and 17 RBI, compared with six home runs and 15 RBI by the rest of the team, per Douglas Clawson of ESPN’s Stats & Information Group.
Astros 5, Dodgers 1. Top of the 9th.
Come watch Game 7, they said. It will be fun, they said.
This Game 7 is down to the 33rd most exciting Game 7 in World Series history. All the less-entertaining games took less than three hours, though, and we’ve got an outside chance to hit four. Modern baseball!
If this Astros lead holds up — the Dodgers are rapidly running out of time — and Springer does go on to win the Willie Mays Award, he’d be the third alumnus of a very small private school in Avon, Connecticut, to win MVP honors for the championship round of one of the four major North American sports, per Zachary Singer of ESPN’s Stats & Information Group.
The others: Jonathan Quick (2012 Stanley Cup Final) and Brian Leetch (1994 Stanley Cup Final).
I love looking over and catching Unimpressed Larry King behind home plate.
In 23 minutes, we will have today off.
(Editor’s note: Still no.)
Score update: Astros 5, Dodgers 1. Middle of the 8th.
Time update: It’s 23 minutes till Thursday on the East Coast.
I love this country.
Daniel, you’re a little young to know what truly strange Duracell ads look like:
For anyone watching on FOX, that was a strange Duracell ad. But the last one, apparently!
Tough to fix timing in a sport without a clock, Jody.
Going back to Chris’s question, I’m also not convinced that Kershaw would pitch like that without a 5-0 deficit. It was a relatively low-pressure environment for a guy who isn’t himself in the postseason.
To Smoltz’s point about spinning baseballs, there have been 663 breaking balls thrown by both teams this series. That’s tied with the 2011 series for the most total breaking balls in a World Series since 2009, and I’m pretty sure that somebody will throw at least one next inning.
Right, Geoff, Yu Darvish is a hell of a pitcher, too (usually). On most teams, he’d be the Game 1 starter and ace of the rotation, so it’s utterly mystifying that he performed so poorly. Now, there is some second-guessing to be done because this wasn’t the first time this Series that Darvish struggled. And pitcher performance can be streaky — they can go through hot and cold streaks. But there didn’t look to be anything mechanically wrong with Darvish, and so to some extent, his bad start was unpredictable. Hindsight is 20/20 though; I bet Roberts wishes he had started Kershaw now too.
Chris, I think they had to give Darvish a shot. He’s one of the best pitchers in baseball and their prize midseason acquisition. Also, it’s some pretty bad optics for Roberts if Kershaw gets bombed. So in summary, I have no clue.