Dodgers rookie Tony Gonsolin to get start in Game 2 of World Series

By Erin Walsh | Last updated 10/21/20

The Los Angeles Dodgers made sure they weren’t going to have to fight back from an 0-3 hole, similar to how they had to in the National League Championship Series, in the World Series with an 8-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 1 on Tuesday. 

Clayton Kershaw was dominant in Game 1, tossing six innings and allowing just one run on two hits and striking out eight. The Dodgers now are hoping they can get a similar performance out of rookie Tony Gonsolin, who will start on the mound in Game 2 on Wednesday.

Gonsolin faced 11 batters in Game 7 of the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves, throwing 41 pitches. The right-hander likely won’t last very long, and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts revealed he has a plan if that ends up being the case. Both Julio Urias and Dustin May will be available out of the bullpen in Game 2 and will be able to eat some innings if needed. 

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2020 World Series tickets sell out in roughly 90 minutes

By Zac Wassink | Last updated 10/6/20

Less than a week after Major League Baseball announced that up to 11,500 fans will be permitted to attend 2020 National League Championship Series and World Series games held at Globe Life Field, home of the Texas Rangers, tickets for the Fall Classic quickly sold out. 

A.J. Perez of Front Office Sports reported on Tuesday afternoon that all official World Series tickets sold out in approximately 90 minutes. MLB sold seats in “pods” of four and declared that individual seats within pods cannot be broken up and sold separately. 

Additionally, spectators must wear masks inside the ballpark when not actively eating or drinking and respect social distancing guidelines. 

Game 1 of the NLCS, scheduled for Oct. 12, will be the first MLB contest to welcome fans since the league temporarily halted play in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. The American League Championship Series played at Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres, will hot have fans in attendance. 

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Cubs president Theo Epstein admits fire sale could be looming

The Chicago Cubs head into the 2020 MLB season with mild expectations.

Sure, they would like to compete for another World Series appearance after missing out on the playoffs for the first time in five years last season. That has to be the goal.

Even then, team president Theo Epstein has gotten to this point in his career being a realist. There’s a number of teams that are seemingly better equipped in the National League than his Cubs.

In talking about this from spring training, Epstein admitted that Chicago could very well have to go into firesale mode come July if the team is not a legit title contender.

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Originally posted on Sportsnaut | By Vincent Frank | Last updated 3/3/20

Dodgers Tie World Series, We Got A Game 7

Written by David Schoenfield at ESPN.com

The pitching matchup for the first-ever World Series Game 7 at Dodger Stadium will pit a brash 24-year-old son of a major leaguer versus a veteran trade acquisition who has spent just three months in a Dodgers uniform.

Lance McCullers Jr. will take the mound for the Houston Astros, while the Dodgers will go with Yu Darvish. Both are hoping to rebound from rocky performances earlier in the World Series.

Darvish quickly exited the clubhouse after the Dodgers’ 3-1 win in Game 6 on Tuesday night, before the rest of his teammates had even finished showering; but McCullers went out to right field and played catch, going through his pitches as fans were still exiting the ballpark.

“I was in the bullpen toward the end; that’s why I had to throw on the field postgame,” McCullers said. “Just because I hadn’t thrown yet, because I was hot and ready to go, if the situation came up where they needed me.”

McCullers started Game 3 of the World Series, but he struggled with his command, walking four batters and giving up three runs in 5⅓ innings, before eventually getting credit for the win in Houston’s 5-3 win. He said that experience would help in Game 7.

“I learned I wasn’t very sharp,” he said after Game 6. “I knew that early, though. So I knew it was going to be a grind for me pretty much the whole outing, which it was. This is a very good hitting team. They’re patient, but they’ll make you pay for mistakes. So I have to go out there and just execute my game plan. And I need to execute a little better in certain spots.”

The Astros’ plan is to have everyone available behind McCullers, which means Game 6 starter Justin Verlander could pitch and Game 5 starter Dallas Keuchel will definitely be ready to go in the bullpen.

“I think all of our guys will have the adrenaline on their side,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “They are all going to be ready.”

Verlander will be a game-time decision as to whether he can give the Astros a batter or, maybe in the extreme, an inning. He threw 93 pitches in Game 6 and said he will play catch before Game 7 to evaluate how his right arm feels.

“I think it depends on when I get to the ballpark,” Verlander said. “I’ll throw the ball and see if I’m available or not.”

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Cubs Force Game 7, World Series Is Crazy


Written by Tyler Kepner at New York Times

It was 71 degrees at game time — which was 7:10 p.m. back in Chicago — when Josh Tomlin threw a baseball with 108 stitches to Dexter Fowler. This was the start of Game 6 of the World Series on Tuesday, when the Chicago Cubs faced elimination against the Cleveland Indians.

Of course, every baseball has 108 stitches, but not every baseball team has gone 108 years without a championship. Only one team has. Only one team has gone 71 years without a pennant. This is a franchise supposedly cursed by a billy goat and a black cat. Silly omens matter.

It was the Cubs’ night, from start to finish, as they thumped the poor Indians, 9-3, to set up the 37th winner-take-all game in World Series history. The Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks will face the Indians’ Corey Kluber.

“If you’re a fan of baseball, this is the best outcome that you could possibly hope for in a World Series anyone’s been alive for,” said the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo, who had a homer among three hits Tuesday. “A couple of years ago, it went Game 7, but the Indians not winning since ’48 and us since 1908 — it’s gonna be good. History’s gonna be written tomorrow one way or another, and we’ll be a part of it forever.”

The Cubs coasted to a playoff berth with 103 victories in the regular season, eight more than any other team. But their path to Game 7 has been pocked with strife, and so far they have survived it all.

They needed a ninth-inning comeback, down by three runs, to escape the first round in San Francisco, against a Giants team with three recent titles. Their offense disappeared for 21 innings in the National League Championship Series, which they trailed, two games to one, in Los Angeles. Then they routed the Dodgers the next three games, beating Clayton Kershaw in the finale.

The biggest test has come in the World Series. The earlier trials have helped.

“I think for sure they did,” Rizzo said. “It wasn’t no cakewalk for us facing the three-time champions in the first round, and the Dodgers with Kershaw and the way they’ve figured out ways to win all year.”

In the Indians, the Cubs have faced a team that tore through the American League playoffs, losing just once in eight games, and a manager, Terry Francona, who started his World Series career 11-1.

After splitting the first two games here, the Cubs charged into Wrigley Field last week with a chance to win it all at home. That went away in a 1-0 loss in Game 3, and then they lost to Kluber — again — in Game 4.

That raised the dispiriting possibility of a visitor’s winning the World Series on the Cubs’ grounds. It happened in 1945, when Hal Newhouser pitched the Detroit Tigers to a Game 7 victory at Wrigley and sent the Cubs into a World Series hibernation that lasted seven decades.

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Cubs Force Game 6, Indians Lead Series 3-2


Written by Jill Martin at CNN.com

Breathe, Chicago Cubs fans. The Cubs aren’t done just yet.

Kris Bryant hit his first World Series home run, part of a three-run fourth inning, and the Cubs came away with a 3-2 win in Game 5 at Wrigley Field on Sunday night.

Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester allowed two runs and four hits in six innings, striking out five, getting the win. Closer Aroldis Chapman recorded the final eight outs for the save.

The win keeps the Cubs’ World Series title hopes alive. They trail the Indians 3-2 in the best-of-seven series, which heads back to Cleveland. Game 6 is Tuesday at Progressive Field, where Chicago’s Jake Arrieta will face Cleveland’s Josh Tomlin.

Sunday’s win also marked the first time the Cubs have won a World Series game at Wrigley Field since October 8, 1945, which was Game 6 against the Detroit Tigers. The Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908.

“I’ve never been looking forward to wanting to play the seventh game of a World Series in my life,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.

The pressure isn’t just on the Cubs to end a long title drought. The Indians haven’t won a World Series since 1948. The 174 combined seasons between titles for the two clubs is the most in World Series history.

The Cubs are trying to become the first team to win the World Series after trailing the series 3-1 since 1985, when the Kansas City Royals did it.

“Why not us?” Bryant said. “I mean, that’s kind of our — I feel like we play our best with our backs up against the wall. We went out there today, took care of business. Hopefully we can get out there and win Game 6, because you never know what can happen in a Game 7.

“But we’re all about writing our own history. This team is a special one, and we look at so many times throughout the year where we haven’t been playing good, but I feel like we turn that around.”

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Indians Take Game 1 From Cubs


Written by James Wagner at New York Times

As the World Series opened on Tuesday night, a matchup between the two teams with the longest championship droughts in the major leagues unfolded before a once-in-a-lifetime backdrop for this city.

The night began with Cleveland Cavaliers unveiling their N.B.A. title banner and rings before their first game of the new season. And 30 minutes later, the Indians resumed their own pursuit, led by the pitcher who has flawlessly guided them through these playoffs.

Already in the midst of a dominant postseason, the Indians ace Corey Kluber, the 2014 American League Cy Young Award winner, outdueled another October hero, the Chicago Cubs’ Jon Lester, en route to a 6-0 victory.

“He’s as good as they come,” Indians reliever Andrew Miller said of Kluber.

An expected pitchers’ duel was decidedly lopsided as the Indians were powered by an unlikely source, the light-hitting catcher Roberto Perez’s two home runs, and Kluber buzzed through a potent Cubs lineup with ease. The Indians seized on Lester’s wayward command for an early lead, while Miller reined in his own to extinguish two potential game-changing rallies by the Cubs.

In a city once known for miserable losing, the Indians capped a joyous day and moved one victory closer to securing their first World Series title in 68 years.

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“The city right now is pretty alive,” said Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, who became the youngest player to have three hits in a World Series game since 1997, the last time the Indians played in the Series. “I like the way people are talking and doing their things.”

Although the Indians entered the World Series as betting underdogs to the Cubs, they have controlled the playoffs. The Indians have lost only once this postseason. More than 63 percent of teams that have won the first game of the World Series have claimed the title. In his career, Indians Manager Terry Francona, who led the Boston Red Sox to two titles, improved to 9-0 in the World Series.

His streak was extended on Tuesday in large part because of Kluber’s stellar World Series debut. With a dizzying array of dancing fastballs and darting curveballs, Kluber struck out eight of the first 11 batters he faced, becoming the first pitcher in Series history to fan that many in three innings.

“Every young pitcher, even every professional pitcher, should watch him pitch,” Miller said. “It’s just a treat. The way he can manipulate the ball is incredible.”

With six dazzling innings, Kluber shut down a Cubs offense that had exploded past the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series. He allowed four hits, throwing 88 pitches while becoming the sixth pitcher in World Series history to strike out at least nine and walk none. He has allowed only two runs and struck out 29 batters in 24 1/3 innings this postseason.

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A Better Way to Choose a World Series MVP

Written by Jeff Shand-Lubbers at Sporting Charts

In the grand scheme of things, the World Series MVP is little more than a historical footnote (though the award presentation has been rather amusing in recent years). This year Salvador Perez seemed to be an appropriate winner, with a World Series traditional stat line of .364/0/2 (batting average, home runs, RBIs), and he also picked up the game-tying RBI in Game 5.

At the same time, aside from his traditional outstanding defense that should not be discounted, he didn’t have THAT great of a World Series.  He had a high batting average, but just two extra base hits, two RBIs (and the game-tying RBI in game 5 was all because of Hosmer’s baserunning, not because Perez produced a particularly positive result with the bat).

Generally speaking, there weren’t a whole lot of attractive options for MVP.  Mike Moustakas was the only other starting with a batting average above .300. Edinson Volquez was the only pitcher with two starts, and while he pitched well he didn’t pick up any victories. The bullpen was lights out, but traditionally only a closer will win MVP, and Wade Davis was unable to rack up enough saves to make him a viable candidate.

When looking at another statistic, Win Probability Added (WPA), there are some more attractive candidates. WPA calculates the likelihood that a player’s team will win the game as a result of each outcome. For example, in Game 5 Curtis Granderson led off the bottom half of the ninth inning with a home run. According to Baseball Reference, before Granderson’s home run the Mets had a 55% chance of winning the game.  After the home run they had a 65% chance of winning, so Granderson was credited with 0.1 WPA for that play alone.

When looking at WPA for the Royals for the whole series for their offensive players, Perez definitely isn’t anywhere close to the top of the list:

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Terry Collins Place Blame on Himself for Mets Collapse


Written by Liam McGuire at Bloguin

Matt Harvey was dominating in the most important start of his career. The Mets ace was in the process of throwing a complete game shutout against the Royals through eight innings with New York’s season on the line, and entering the ninth inning he let manager Terry Collins know he wanted a chance to finish what he started.

Collins was going to replace Harvey, but the pitcher told the skipper ‘I’ve got to have this game,’ and he went back out there and subsequently allowed the Royals to rally, which kept the game alive, leading them to win the game and World Series. Going against his gut decision, and betting on Harvey’s emotional response cost the Mets big and Collins said he’s going to question the decision for the foreseeable future.

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Royals Win World Series, Outlasting Matt Harvey to Beat Mets 7-2


Written by Ian Casselberry at Bloguin

The Kansas City Royals won the World Series championship that just escaped their grasp last season, beating the Mets 7-2 in a 12-inning epic Sunday night to seize the franchise’s first title since 1985.

It was a classic Royals victory, typical of the way this team has won during the past two seasons, clawing back, never quitting, and ultimately overwhelming the competition. Should Kansas City have win this World Series title any other way? It almost wouldn’t have seemed right. This is how the Royals do it. And it paid off with the final win of the postseason.

Facing elimination, the Mets took a first-inning lead on a leadoff home run by Curtis Granderson, his third of the series. Had the Mets stayed alive in the series and overcome that three-games-to-one deficit to win the series, there’s a strong chance Granderson would have won MVP honors. As it stands, he just had a strong series, providing one of the Mets’ few offensive threats.

But really, the Mets had a chance to win in Game 5 because of Matt Harvey. Jacob deGrom was the team’s best starting pitcher in the postseason, and Noah Syndergaard wasn’t far behind. But Harvey and most Mets fans consider him the ace of the starting rotation, and he absolutely pitched liked it on Sunday night. He held the Royals scoreless for eight innings, allowing only four hits, looking like the guy who was going to keep his team in the series all by himself.

However, with the Mets only scoring two runs for Harvey going into the ninth inning, their lead just didn’t feel safe. Not against these Royals. They’ve rallied too many times late in the game during the postseason.

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