What we learned: There is no joy in Wrigleyville, mighty Baez has struck out
Well, Chicago Cubs fans, your first World Series home game in 71 years wasn't stressful at all! Hope you enjoyed it. (OK, maybe not.) After a snoozer of a Game 2, we had a terrific game, a tense, intriguing 1-0 contest that came down to Cody Allen facing Javier Baez with runners at second and third and two outs ... a base hit to the outfield wins it ...
1. That 2-2 high fastball. Here's what you need to know about Baez: He likes to swing the bat. He likes to swing a little too much. He struck out 108 times and drew only 15 walks. Among players with at least 400 plate appearances, Baez had the fourth-highest chase rate on pitches outside the strike zone. So when Baez had a check-swing strike on a 2-1 curveball way off the plate and in the dirt, you had to think Allen would come back with the same pitch. Of course, if Baez doesn't swing, then it's a full count and the advantage evens out and Baez NFL Jerseys Nike is more likely to see a fastball. Instead, catcher Yan Gomes calls for the fastball, indicates to Allen he wants it up in the zone, Allen throws a 94-mph heater up and Baez swings through it. The Cleveland Indians take the series lead.
"You try to slow the game the best you can there, especially in this atmosphere," Allen said after the game. "You're trying to think through exactly what you want to do." The Indians have done an amazing job thinking through their matchups all postseason. The pitchers have to execute -- like Allen did with that 2-2 pitch -- but they seem to always know what they want to do, how to set up the opposing hitters. It was the first 1-0 World Series game since 2005, when the White Sox beat the Astros, and the Indians became the first team with five shutouts in a single postseason. The Cubs, meanwhile, became NFL Jerseys Wholesale only the second team to suffer four shutouts in one postseason.
One more point about that bottom of the ninth. After Anthony Rizzo led off with a single, Joe Maddon inserted Chris Coghlan as a pinch runner. He then let Ben Zobrist hit away (he struck out). No issue with Zobrist hitting there. He's your NFL Jerseys Nike cleanup guy, he'd had six hits in the World Series, he can draw walks. You're not going to give away an out. As for the Cheap Jerseys Paypal pinch runner, Maddon had made a curious move in the bottom of the seventh, when he used Jason Heyward to run for Jorge Soler with two outs after Soler tripled (on Lonnie Chisenhall's misplay). There's a very small advantage to using a pinch runner there, and you don't usually bring in defensive subs when you're trailing.
Sure enough, Heyward's spot came up with two outs. He ended up reaching on Wholesale Jerseys All Mike Napoli's error, but if Heyward hadn't been used in the seventh, he could have run for Rizzo, leaving either Soler -- or Coghlan, if you wanted a lefty -- to hit against Allen.