|Posted by Radatz on October 22, 2017 at 12:55 AM|
The run to the World Series was mostly exciting in both leagues, but it had its flops too. Focus here on the fun stuff:
Flop #1 far and away was Cleveland. Best team in the AL, streaking, they took the first 2 from NY at home (the second with an incredible comeback). Then they went to NY needing one win, lost a 1-0 duel, then got blown out and returned home to get hammered again. Three in a row. Shades of last season. Francona's stock fell like the DOW in 1929.
Flop #2 was the Red Sox, flop #1 to many but not to serious fans of the Red Sox, who knew the team was going nowhere after yet another Farrell finish. It was a virtual snapshot of last year, and the main (but not sole) culprit has paid with his job.
Flop #3 was the Nationals. It turns out the Cubs weren't really that good after all. No resemblance to last year's winners, no hint of last year's dynastic predictions. But the Nationals, with a better team, still managed to lose to them. Dusty Baker should have bought tickets for most games.
Flop #4 was the Cubs. See above. The D-Backs were mildly understandably blown out (though they held the season series with the Dodgers), but the Cubs were supposed to be... special. They were anything but. Boring series.
Flop #5 was the Yankees. Losers of two nailbiters in Houston, they came home and waxed Houston in all 3 games, taking all the momentum plus a 3-2 series lead. Then they proceeded to be outscored 11-1 in the last 2 games in Houston. Neither was close. The firepower went invisible, and it wasn't all Houston's pitching (which nevertheless was good) that did it. They just flopped. Victims of raising their own bar? Strange ending for what seemed to be (and probably is) happening in NY.
And so Houston goes to its 2nd World Series, one from each league. I guess that's a record of some sort. Boston was easy. New York wasn't as easy; in fact it looked bleak after Game 5 (think Bruins/Black Hawks 2012) but they made it look easy in the last 2 games. The slide that took away a commanding lead in the AL was as much the result of the Indians' ridiculous late hot streak as of any collapse, but the dream matchup never happened thanks to the Yankees' emergence in the ALDS.
The Dodgers won more games than anybody else and along the way suffered probably a bigger midseason collapse than the Astros, but nobody was going to catch them anyway and Roberts, who's emerged so far as a shining star, put them back on track. Nobody's touched them so far in the postseason. Kershaw looks 100% again. They're 4-0 at home and 3-1 on the road.
Will Houston be able to overcome LA? A rule that made the All-Star Game mean something besides pride (which is in short supply in the millionaire era) and was removed this season to the joy of local media shouters (and the chagrin of yours truly) may be their undoing. It gives LA, who had a superior record in an arguably inferior league, home field. The Astros are 6-0 at home in this postseason, but 1-4 away.
Last thought: who's the biggest player flop? Could be a lot of guys on the D-Backs, Nationals, Cubs and Indians, but Boston's Chris Sale, invincible stopper about 2/3 the way through the season and leading the Cy Young debate, has to be first. His endurance was inadequate, making him owner of over 300 empty strikeouts for 2017. But that may be a tad unfair. His rival Kluber was every bit as bad in the postseason for a better team. Only a great Cleveland comeback in game 2 kept his first blowup under the radar. Each star stunk the house out twice in a short series.
Categories: MLB Blogs