When I last addressed you on Friday, we were discussing how much trouble the Houston Astros were in after dropping the first two games of the World Series at home.
Yeah, about that . . . The Astros went through Washington like the British in 1814.
Most of the baseball stories published on Friday or Saturday are now obsolete on Monday thanks to the Astros winning all three games in DC. It seems silly to link to a piece on how Gerrit Cole has to step it up after Sunday night’s game. There are lots of pieces like that.
I have power in California, but my local NBC affiliate is off the air because of a power shutdown. If it had been my local Fox affiliate, there would have been problems.
- The big story going into Game 5 was that Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer was scratched with neck pain. Scherzer addressed the media and said it would have been impossible for him to make the start in that condition. Scherzer is hopeful to start a Game 7 in Houston if the Series get that far.
- Tom Verducci thinks that Astros manager A.J. Hinch out-managed Nationals manager Dave Martinez to win Game 3.
- On the distraction that has been overshadowing the World Series, the Astros have finally personally apologized to Sports Illustrated reporter Stephanie Apstein and retracted their initial statement that accused Apstein of “fabricating” a story. You can bet that commissioner Rob Manfred was livid over this own goal by the Astros.
- Jeff Passan recounts how the Astros went about making a bad situation 100 times worse and how the Astros’ club culture (at least in the front office) played a role in the whole thing.
- Evan Drelich spoke to “more than 10” current or former Astros employees who called the work environment with the Astros “toxic” and “cutthroat.” (The Athletic sub. req.) Some also added that it was a winning environment as well, but definitely “not fun.” (If you don’t have an Athletic subscription, you can read a summary and an extended quote here.)
- Michael Baumann writes that Nationals outfielder Juan Soto is the breakout star of the 2019 World Series.
- David Schoenfield wonders how many future Hall of Famers are playing in this World Series.
- Bijan C. Bayne has a piece on the “complicated” history of baseball and Washington DC and the thread of race that runs through all of it. Worth reading.
- The Nationals lost all three games in DC this weekend, so it was a good thing that for the first time ever, you could legally drink a beer at a World Series game in Washington. The other three times that DC hosted a World Series were during Prohibition.
- Maybe that’s why this fan let the home run hit by the Astros’ Yordan Alvarez hit him in the chest rather then set down either of the two beers that he had in each hand.
- For Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez, the Nationals will always be the Expos to him. Martinez, of course, rose to fame as a member of the Expos.
- Montréal baseball fans always insist that the 1994 strike cost them the World Series and eventually their team. Neil Paine simulated the missing part of the 1994 season 1,000 times to see if the Expos really would have won the 1994 World Series. The answer is “probably not” although it definitely did cost them a playoff spot. The Expos were only the fourth-likeliest team to win the Series that year according to his simulations. What really gets me is that Tony Gwynn hit .400 in about 30% of his simulations. (And Paul O’Neill hit .400 in one out of the 1000 simulations.)
- In light of Jose Urquidy pitching the Astros to a huge win in Game 4, here are some of the most unlikely heroes in World Series history.
- Urquidy is one of the few Mexicans in MLB at the moment, but Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador wants to change that and turn Mexico into a baseball power like the Dominican Republic or Venezuelan.
- The Red Sox have hired Rays front office executive Chaim Bloom as their new head of baseball operations. Bloom has been a top GM candidate for a while and now he finally gets the job.
- Buster Olney looks at the challenges facing Bloom in Boston. (ESPN+ sub. req.)
- If Bloom decides to trade former MVP Mookie Betts, here are six teams that might make a deal for him.
- Andrew Simon writes that if you’re running a team that needs a pitcher as good as Gerrit Cole (and which team doesn’t need one?), then you might want to consider Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler instead, whom Simon thinks could be the “next Cole.”
- Former Mets skipper Mickey Callaway will be the new pitching coach for the Angels under Joe Maddon. Callaway pitched for the Angels when Maddon was the bench coach there in the early aughts.
- Alden Gonzalez had the three biggest challenges facing Maddon in Anaheim.
- Sad news as former umpire Chuck Meriwether died at age 63 from cancer.
- The FBI is investigating whether an insider was re-selling complimentary White Sox ticket vouchers.
- The Reds are ripping up the press box at Great American Ballpark and replacing it with luxury suites. The new press box will be in Dayton. (Not really, but it will be way down the left field line.)
- Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco is your 2019 Roberto Clemente Award winner.
- If you know Nats baseball, you know that the Presidents’ Race is one of the biggest events of a game and you know that Teddy Roosevelt (almost) never wins. As it turns out, Roosevelt hated baseball and never attended a Senators game, despite repeated invitations. Roosevelt thought baseball was a “mollycoddle game.” That means he thought it was a game for sissies, for those who don’t speak early 20th-century. (It’s also been speculated that he hated the sport because his poor eyesight would have made him very bad at the game as a child.)
- Dan Connelly goes back over the 2011 Draft and breaks down the first 15 picks by talking with the men who made them. Connelly makes the case that this could end up as being the greatest draft ever. (The Athletic sub. req.) For Cubs fans who don’t subscribe to The Athletic, this is the Javier Baez draft and Connelly speaks with former Cubs scouting director Tim Wilken who said Baez was his first choice. (Well, maybe not if Cole or Anthony Rendon fell to nine, but no one expected that.) If Baez had gone before the Cubs pick, his second and third choices were Francisco Lindor (who went at 8) and Jose Fernandez (14).
- And finally, talk show host Jimmy Kimmel took his show to Brooklyn this past week and discovered that Mets All-Star Noah Syndergaard’s offseason job is delivering Chinese food. Apparently the cost of hair care products adds up.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.