Baseball yesterday

I usually follow baseball pretty closely, at least checking the scores every day (Calcaterra does a particularly good job of this, I think, although fangraphs win pct graphs are also quite interesting). But this season, I've almost completely ignored baseball.

Which was, in retrospect, apparently not a good decision. First, the Nationals were legitimately good (as opposed to their first season in Washington, when they, at times, appeared like they might be good), finishing with the best record in the majors. Contributing to that, Bryce Harper had the fifth-best OPS+ ever for a 19-year old. Strasburg had a very good season, but might have been only the third best pitcher on the team (if ERA+ is your measure of choise). Elsewhere, Mike Trout upstaged Phat Albert on his own team (and it wasn't close). Miguel Cabrera was the first Triple Crown winner in many years. The new Wild Card system resulted in some weird games, including a massive controversy over the infield fly rule in the NL game.

But, like I said, I missed almost all of that. I didn't watch a single Nats game until game five of the division series, when I saw the Cards chip away at, and eventually overcome, a six-run Nats lead. Even worse, they had twice been down to their last strike. It wasn't exactly what I was hoping for, when I decided to turn the game on.

I didn't watch another game until last night. I wasn't even going to turn the TV on, but my wife asked if anything was on, and that jogged my memory about the Giants and Tigers playing. When we turned it on, the Giants were down a run, but Posey came up as we turned it on, and knocked it out to turn that around immediately.

The Tigers put one out in the bottom of the inning to tie the game, and it became a bullpen duel. I figured that would heavily favor the Giants, but nobody scored until it got to extra innings. That generally favors the home team, but not last night, as the Giants managed to manufacture a run on a bloop, a nice sacrifice (applauding only the execution, not the strategy), followed by another dying quail in the top of the tenth.

Sergio Romo came in to close it out, and did so with style (but not subtlety). He threw five straight sliders to the first batter, getting a strikeout, five sinkers to the second (same result), and six sliders followed by one fastball to Cabrera for the final out (another strikeout).

It was an interesting, back and forth, game that the Giants took to cap a surprising sweep. So congratulations to the Giants on the win.  I think they can now consider Sabean's position a sinecure (if it wasn't already), for better or for worse.  And let's hope the Nats can do better next year, with a full year of Stras, and improvement in development (for Harper, especially) and health (for Werth, especially).

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