Just Wow: Onto the World Series

This was originally going to be a post entitled “Now It Gets Hard” that was supposed to come out on the travel day between the Astros’ Game Two 3-2 win over the Yankees and their Game Three game against Gerrit Cole. But that post never got past one paragraph, and finally, this post occurs after a Wowser sweep of the Yankees by the hometown good guys.

Some thoughts about the just completed ALCS:

       The tongue-in-cheek here is wonderful, but it emphasizes what fans of both teams should know. The         

       The Astros are the better team. Period. Yes, there was some luck that went the Astros’ way, especially

       with the bad timing of their fielding booboos leading to big innings by the Astros, but that is one way

       better teams often win. It’s not just Harrison Bader dropping the ball with Aaron Judge crossing in

       front of him, it is also Chas McCormick following with a two-run homer. It’s not just Gleyber Torres

       wildly missing on a short toss to the SS that voids a possible double play. It’s Yordan Alvarez and

       Alex Bregman took advantage of that miscue with solid hits to take back the lead. The Astros have

       dominated the Yanks this season and sent them home in 2015, 2017, 2019, and now 2022. They are

       the better team and have earned their spot in the World Series.

  • My son, Thomas pointed out that both the ALDS and ALCS ended with the Mariners’ and the Yankees’ best players, Julio Rodriguez and Aaron Judge, respectively, at the plate. This is as it should be. But the last-gasp rally that both the M’s and the Pin Stripes (and the announcers) hoped for did not occur.
  • Normally home plate umpiring, in the end, evens out. But the rotten ball/strike calls, especially in the last two games, seemed to be gouging the Astros a lot more than the Yanks. But the Astros shrugged it off and ran a sword through the mid-section of the Yankees.
  • While just a notch below the magnificence of their performance in the ALDS, the bullpen was still excellent as they put in 12.2 IP with 19 Ks, and gave up 5 hits and 2 runs. In comparison, the Yankees bullpen, which was being used more than the Astros due to shorter stints by their starters went 17.1 IP with 10 Ks, while allowing 14 hits and 5 runs.
  • The Astros offense….this is the old question. “If I told you that Jose Altuve would bat .188 BA with a miniscule .528 OPS with 2 runs scored and no RBIs, Kyle Tucker would bat .154 BA with a minisculer? .466 OPS with 1 run scored and 0 RBIs, and Yordan Alvarez would bat .214 BA with 2 runs scored and 1 RBI. You would be rightfully wondering whether the Astros could win the series, much less sweep?” But the Astros rode the bats of ALCS MVP Jeremy Pena (.353 BA/1.176 OPS/3 runs, 2 HRs, 2 doubles, 4 RBIs), Alex Bregman (.333 BA/.975 OPS/ 2 runs/ 1 HR/1 double/ 4 RBIs), Chas McCormick (.231 BA/ 1.026 OPS) and the under the radar catching combo of Martin Maldonado and Christian Vazquez (.300 BA/.500 OBP/ .900 OPS/ 3 runs/ 3 RBIs combined) to a series sweep.  
  • The strength of this sweep (for the first three games at least) was the starting pitching. Justin Verlander, Framber Valdez, and Cristian Javier combined for 18.1 IP, 0.50 ERA (with two unearned runs thanks to Framber’s collapsing pitcher play), 8 hits, and 25 of the record 50 Ks in this series. McCullers after the rain delay struggled mightily through most of his outing, but after giving up 3 runs early toughed it out through 5 innings and kept the team within range for their mid-game heroics. If the Astros can roll out this type of starting pitching in the World Series, they may well be able to stone the Phillies and their bombs-away offense.
  • This was mentioned on the radio this morning and I have to say, I can’t argue about it. Please, point out all the things Dusty Baker did right in this series as loudly as you normally point out what he does wrong. It was a great job of managing and the team backed up their manager all along the way. I can’t find a lot of fault with Aaron Boone’s management. I think he did the right thing in moving Harrison Bader to the leadoff. Maybe he should have put someone else at third base for Josh Donaldson, who was a huge rally killer in the lineup, but it might have been the same as the Astros pulling Altuve or Tucker from the lineup. My biggest complaint, and something that we’ve seen Dusty handles a different way….the manager and his trainer headed to the mound in the third inning when they saw starter Nestor Cortes struggling and his velocity down. They let him stay in and he coughed up the lead. We have seen Dusty go out many a time based on a reduced velocity seen by the bench or the catcher and bring back his pitcher to the bench. Sometimes you have to tell your pitcher, “I know you want to tough it out, but there is something wrong and you can help your team by leaving now instead of 3 runs from now.”

Next post will be on the matchup with the Phillies, but for now, we should be celebrating a truly remarkable sweep of a 99-win team.



36 comments on “Just Wow: Onto the World Series

  1. The Chief Cynic position [also known as ‘CC’] for the Chipalatta blog is officially open again. Yes, I have decided to take the Entertainment Director job Daveb offered.

    If you want to know what the Chief Cynic position pays, let me just say that there are a lot of zeroes. Almost more zeroes than you can count. Only Dan’s salary number contains as many zeroes as the CC position does. But that’s okay -he works a lot harder, too.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I like to say it has at least six zeros and a dollar sign; while yours has 7 or 8 zeros at least, a number of commas, and a dollar sign.


  2. I meant to include kudos to Yuli Gurriel, who was very solid and consistent with a .333 BA/ .867 OPS/ 2 runs scored/ 1 HR/ 2 RBIs and his normal excellence in the field.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yuli is a vacuum at first. He makes all our infielders – esp. JP3 and Altuve – look a lot better than they are. That’s why we don’t see Mancini playing first base alot – and may never see him there for us again.

      When Yuli’s doing all that and hitting .333/.867 and driving in runs in the playoffs too? Well, that’s the ultimate win-win!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m pleased that both World Series teams will be equally well rested come Friday, as ideally should be the case although it usually does not happen that way.

    Looking through the Phillie blog this morning, there was a post from a trolling M’s fan regurgitating another dose of Astro crap. An immediate response from a Philadelphia faithful told him to get lost. That was refreshing.

    I think this will be a heck of a competitive series. No, I don’t expect another sweep. But I also don’t expect our pitchers to throw as many dumb pitches as the Padres did.

    And heck I’ve been saying this for two weeks now, but I really think the guys we expect to hit will hit. And if the guys that have been hitting hit, then we should have some fun.

    Congratulations Mr. Bill on your new career path. Dan, should we take Chief Cynic applications for immediate placement, or perhaps wait and fill the role for the coming off season? There is only one guy I can think of that might take the job now, but I’ve forgotten his name and he went AWOL a couple of years ago. Dilbos, Bilbos something like that. You especially enjoyed conversing with him.

    And last for now, since you brought it up, I’m going to wait on final determination regarding Dusty going home to the winery full time as I have suggested previously. Maybe there is some flexibility. I’m glad Espada is all but gone. Poor form.


  4. Interesting developments on the way to the World Series. First there’s Yuli who we all though was going to be gone next year. Of course the jury is still out and a lot depends on Yuli but he has just been kick ass in both the division and league championship series. Who knows what happens next in this series.
    Same for Dusty. It looks like he’s pushing all the right buttons so far so if he wins or not do we want him back next year?
    And Chas McCormick might be coming into his own. Another slot that we might not have to fill next year. I’m looking forward to see what happens as soon as we win the WS.


    • Good thought. I am trying to enjoy the playoffs but I can’t help but think about next season. Will Yuli be back? Will Brantley be back?

      Chas is interesting. On one side – he is playing pretty well in the playoffs, and sometimes that confidence trends well into next season. Confidence in yourself is half the battle. He also doesn’t have any real competition currently on the roster at any level. Right now, Leon will strike out 33% of the time against big league pitching. At some point Leon is going to have to be given those growing pains – he isn’t going to improve his prospects against major league pitching by another year at AAA.

      On the flipside, Chas is a bad month of BABIP away from being a .220 hitter. The ALCS not withstanding he has a terrible batting average on 95+ MPH. He has holes, defensively he is kind of just standard fare, his arm isn’t the strongest, but they can’t all be starts right? He is a very cost controlled option and hits better than a lot of 8-9 hole hitters across the big leagues.

      Mancini looked like he belonged in the other dugout with the lost hitters crew. Just didn’t have confidence, isn’t seeing it well right now. I am not even sure he has made hard contact on even a foul ball so far in his limited time. Yuli is looking like he is still the 1B in Houston next year assuming contracts can be worked out.


      • Yes, there are warts, but have you looked at the position players as a whole across the league? I think we’re seeing three things come together to create a perfect storm of mediocrity. First, owners are paying for power numbers and causing players to go after home runs instead of playing to their strengths. Exhibit one is Jose Altuve who will likely miss out on 3000 hits all so he can hit, probably, 250 career HR. Second, shifts are making it harder to get hits unless you are willing to sacrifice power. See item one. Finally, MLB is doctoring the baseball in an attempt to get numbers to their liking. I wouldn’t pay Chas McCormick $20M a year, but I also wouldn’t sign anyone on the free agent market to replace him at this point. You could certainly find a better offensive first baseman than Guriel, but his defense provides a lot of value. It will be interesting to see what they do. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him come back.


      • I have no problem with Jose Altuve not getting 3000 hits. I don’t think he’s got a problem with it either. It really does not mean a whole lot. Yikes, he hit .300 with a .387 OBP and a .921 OPS. He’s a clean up hitter on a lot of clubs.


  5. Compliments to Dusty for sure. This is what happens when you keep writing your best players in all the time – and not convince yourself no one needs to play more than 135 games.

    The Yankees need an overhaul. They don’t need to necessarily flip the entire roster, everyone loves having Judge and Stanton in their lineup, but when you fill the roster with like minded 3 run HR guys you can’t scrap against good pitching. So many times they had innings ended with guys on a hero swing with zero results. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in the starting lineup, but if you have a guy on your bench that can take a scrappy at bat out there instead of Donaldson going down in 4 pitches when you need a base runner or two it could help their playoff future.

    It’s kind of what we thought, it’s hot pitching and timely hitting. I think we can take this Phillies team in 5. Have to be careful though, they have a hot hitter right now that can change a complexion of a game with a swing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Talk about Altuve and 3000 hits. He broke out of his slump by going with the pitch to right field. If we want to stay on top our hitters need to do that. Of course there is no shift next year but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a smart hitter. Brantley and Yuli (when he’s in the groove) come to mind. Anything that perturbs me more is seeing our guys trying to pull the ball and rolling it over for a double play or an easy out. Smart hitters last like a toosie roll (a long time) while others fizzle out like alka seltzer.


  6. I don’t think the Yankees need an overhaul. I think they’re just fine the way they are.

    In retrospect, I really can’t fault Dusty or the Astros for sitting guys when some of us thought they should be playing.

    Bregman went 155, Tucker 150, Yuli (I griped about him) 146, Jose 141, Pena 136 and Yordan 135. And it’s fair to say that we rarely knew what guys might have had minor injuries that resulted in rest during the season. That’s just the secretive nature of our organization. But to my recollection we never lost an overweight starting pitcher in the 3rd inning of a huge game to a groin injury. We were conservative with our guys, always. They stayed in shape too. We don’t have chubby guys on our roster either, unless used as a backstop.

    At the end of the day we won 106 and ended up with a 100% healthy roster heading into the post season if we don’t count Brantley. That’s pretty remarkable. That’s good management.


  7. I’m thinking again. I know, I shouldn’t. But I’m wondering if maybe the Yankees won’t have as many big name options to fill their roster as they have in the past. Might some players shy away from all the drama and media and fickle fans and guys like Cashman? Judge seems to have a foot out the door. Cole does not seem to be such a happy guy looking forward to six more years. He’s stuck. Rizzo wants more money. I suppose our old friend Carlos Correa will sign up if that’s where the biggest offer comes from. But then he’ll start getting injured again. The Yankees could be in for a retooling operation.


  8. Sorry about this butcher job on your classic hit, Roberta, but …

    The last time… ever we faced Nola …
    we got shut out… on two measly hits … and K’d nine miserable times
    in just six-and-two-thirds frames …
    the roof was open … and Schwarber hit absolute bombs …
    The last time … ever we faced … their ace!

    The next time … we get to face Nola …
    we need to make him throw a lot of pitches, make him throw strikes, use our small ball and opposite field game, and not play into his hands the way we did last time.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A long, long time ago …
    I can still remember how the Phillies wrecked our big debut;
    We won just one to their seventeen …
    it was the worst win deficit ever seen.
    Poor Turk and Joey, Al, Roman, and crew!

    Amaro, Wine, and old Joe Torre;
    made game after game painful and gory;
    Mahaffey, McLish and Bennett;
    Those guys – they sure could spin-it!

    I still remember how I cried
    every time I saw them tan our hide.
    It would tear apart my hometown pride –
    when Colts and Phils collide.

    But bye, bye, you jerks that made young Bill cry!
    We were nubies pre-Altuve – now we’re up, ridin’ high!
    if Harry Craft could join us, he’d probably dress ‘fly’,
    and sing out ‘Philadelphia Freedom’ my eye!”

    Liked by 1 person

      • It’s been awhile, Kyle!
        Got to get in a Groove, Tuve!
        Time to make ’em all pay, Trey!
        And get a vict’ry!

        Go on, show ’em who’s-the-MAN, Yor-DAN!
        Cut ’em off at the legs, Bregs!
        Make ’em wish they hadn’t seen ya, Pina;
        and get that vict’ry!

        Give ’em all that Jazz, Chaz!
        Add some Razzamatazz, Diaz!
        Throw ’em stuff they can’t see, JV?
        And get that vict’ry!

        Carve ’em up like spaghetti, Machete!
        Show ’em how to Malaguena, Pena!
        Leave ’em fumin’ and cryin’, Ryan!
        Go get that vict’ry!


    • In case you weren’t around or paying attention in 1962 (our first year as an MLB franchise):

      The Phillies, though going only 81-80 on the year against the league, were 17-1 vs our Colts – and (as I recall) the only game we won all year was in the final series.

      ‘Turk’ was Turk Farrell, our best pitcher (he won 10, lost 20, with a 3.20 ERA and 1.097 WHIP);
      ‘Joey’ was Joe Amalfitano, our scrappy 2B;
      ‘Al’ was Al Spangler, our LF;
      ‘Roman’ was Roman Mejias, our power-hitting (24 HR) CF;
      ‘Amaro’ was Reuben Amaro, the Phils SS;
      ‘Wine’ was Bobby Wine, another Phils infielder;
      ‘Old Joe Torre’ was … well, you know, right?
      ‘Mehaffey’ was Art Mehaffey, the Phils best starting pitcher (19-14 in ’62);
      McLish was Cal McLish, another good Phils starter (11-5 that year);
      ‘Bennett’ was Dennis Bennett, another Phils starter (9-9 that year).
      Harry Craft, of course, was the first manager of the Colt 45s – and let’s just say he was not exactly known for dressing ‘fly’.


  10. I’m not joining in much this week – on the road on vacation – but loving the rhyming song writing going on.
    I’ll have a WS post later today sometime


  11. I believe the Astros won the last game against the Phils that year, after losing the first 17. I know I listened to that game on my Chevy Impala transistor radio that I kept under my pillow. I don’t remember any details of that win, only the joy I felt knowing we won at least one game against them.
    Wasn’t Richie Ashburn playing for the Phils that year?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll answer my own Question. Ashburn got traded to Cubs after the 1959 season and then went to the ’62 Mets in the expansion draft.
      That Mets team was worse than the expansion Colt 45’s. They went 40-120.


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