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2017 World Series Game 7 Running Diary

(originally written 11/19/17)

Preface: I am a Giants fan of 27 years and counting. As a Giants fan, it is my duty to passionately loathe the Los Angeles Dodgers at all costs and wish them nothing but anguish and misery. That should explain who I rooted for in this decisive Game 7.

Stupidly, I almost didn't watch this game out of fear of jinxing Houston—for the first half of Game 5, the Dodgers scored whenever I tuned in, but the Astros scored whenever I didn't. Too much was riding on this Game 7; L.A. HAD to lose, and I could not live with being "responsible" if they won.
Eventually, I compromised by missing the first inning, then watching the DVR playback—almost like a 25-minute tape delay, for those of you alive in the 1980's.

This is my running internal diary of the game, beginning in the top of the 1st inning:

⦁    Yu Darvish's first pitch misses the target by a mile. Good sign for the Astros.
⦁    George Springer leads off with a 1-1 double to the LF corner...did that ball GAIN speed after it caromed down there? I wish I remembered physics class better.
⦁    Clay Bellinger's throwing error puts the Astros up 1-0. What if that score holds up? Will his gaffe be replayed 1,000,000,000 times over the next 30 years like Bill Buckner's?
⦁    Alex Bregman just stole third. He is one ballsy player offensively and defensively. This cannot be tallied on the back of a baseball card...but it's quite valuable.
⦁    Yuli Gurriel is up now. In the wake of Slantgate, I have yet to see one headline referring to both he and Darvish as "Yu". Something like "Yu Disses Yu". If only Yuniesky Betancourt was still in the league.
⦁    Good GOD, force me to sit through 12 pitches and you don't even reach base?! I'm pulling for your team but come on, man, I gotta sleep by nine.



Bottom 1st, 2-0 Astros


⦁    God damnit. Chris Taylor led off with a double, too. Every time he gets on, LA seems to rally. That bastard is like a hot girl walking by—he can give all his teammates' wood a boost.
⦁    This game is dragging.
⦁    You often see batters ask umps if pitches they fouled off or whiffed at were actually in the strike zone. You seldom see them actually thank them for their response, as Corey Seager just did. He's still young, though; give him a couple years and/or ejections and that will change.
⦁    Lance McCullers just plunked Justin Turner on 1-2. Nothing against Lance, who could get Turner out, but I can't be the only one thinking that's not such a bad thing. I also can't be the only one who sort of expected it once McCann set up inside.
⦁    Has there ever been another McC battery in the World Series? Who else threw to Tim McCarver in 1967, i wonder...not enough to look up though.
⦁    When the broadcasters can essentially call your K pitch-by-pitch before it happens, you know you're all screwed up—Cody Bellinger is now officially all screwed up.
⦁    Yasiel Puig is also hit by a pitch. No theatrics, no glaring. Good for Puig to actually recognize the situation this time. Maybe there's hope for him yet.
(McCullers escapes the 1st unscathed)



Top 2nd, 2-0 Astros


⦁    Let's be fair: McCann should have been called out on Darvish's 1-2 curve. But I'll gladly accept the walk. The Astros got a little squeezed earlier in the series IMHO.
⦁    Dave Roberts is already getting jumpy. One more runner and and Yu could be Thru.
⦁    Good GOD Joe Buck sucks. His voice and style could work well as a news anchor. But he is too bland and too detached for baseball play-by-play. He is totally unrelatable. Oh, well, at least McCarver is long gone.
⦁    Marwin Gonzalez doubles McCann over to 3B. I'm sure in his mind he was covering a lot of ground. No one questions McCann's hustle. But the truth is, I'm not sure he could have scored if Gonzalez had hit it out of the ballpark. 
⦁    Let's never have a YouTube-sponsored broadcast, PLEASE? Seeing live action with the "Play" button over it is messing with my sanity.
⦁    Wow, Darvish just got Springer to whiff on a 3-1 slider. He might just escape this mess after a—no, wait, three-run homer on the payoff. 5-0 Astros, goodnight, Yu. Awesome sauce!
⦁    Why are Dodgers fans still standing behind the dugout? You don't stand when something BAD happens! Oh, wait, this is LA—at least they didn't leave. 
⦁    I like John Smoltz (Braves legend turned FOX color man) a lot. But why on earth is he questioning Roberts' decision to remove Darvish now, rather than let him finish the inning since he's due to bat soon? Here's the reason, Smoltzie—he doubts Yu can get another out. I mean, haven't you been WATCHING?


Bottom 2nd, 5-0 Astros


⦁    Bregman's face after diving and throwing out Austin Barnes: epic. That mofo ain't scurred of nothin'. 



Top 3rd, 5-0 Astros


⦁    Clayton Kershaw is in now, on two days rest. He's throwing strikes. Not to sound ungrateful for Darvish's poor command, but...nice to move things along a bit.



Bottom 3rd, 5-0 Astros


⦁    Seager singles on 1-2, and goes SPLAT rounding first. That's what you get, trying to screw with destiny.
⦁    McCullers drills Turner again, and this time it hurts. In this day and age, 90% of dudes are ready to fight; kudos to Turner for recognizing the situation, like Puig, and more or less appreciating the bruises.
⦁    Bellinger whiffs again, on yet another down/in pitch. That makes 16 K in 27 AB (and a 1.000 SLG in the other 11). WHY is he not being booed yet? Aren't these Dodger fans we're dealing with?
⦁    McCullers gets the hook in favor of Brad Peacock. He seems a bit blah about it, but he's got to be completely dejected. Can't entirely fault (manager) A.J. Hinch; McCullers has been in trouble all night. He hit a record four batters. 
⦁    Peacock makes pickoff throw on Turner. I've long felt it should be illegal to make pickoff throws on runners who reached via HBP—it's like stealing your co-worker's lunch and then suing him when it makes you sick.



Top 4th, 5-0 Astros


⦁    That was one awkward Josh Reddick swing. Getting heat when he obviously expected offspeed, Reddick swung like his arms were glued together.



Bottom 4th, 5-0 Astros


⦁    1-2-3. Just 15 outs to go. Yes, I'm counting the remaining outs. It keeps me calm in games I'm so invested in, like this one.



Top 5th, 5-0 Astros


⦁    It's been at least five years since anybody's said this about Jose Altuve, but there's no way he is going to get a hit against Kershaw in this at-bat. (I was right; Altuve fouled out.)



Bottom 5th, 5-0 Astros


⦁    Even though it's "my" team doing so, these excessive mound visits are ruining this game and HAVE to be addressed by the league. 
⦁    Crap. Bregman just dove for and deflected a ball headed for his teammate Carlos Correa. This is how rallies often start.
⦁    Fox, STOP SHOWING CELEBRITIES, especially Kate Upton. We get it: she's pretty and Justin Verlander boings her. Good for him, but unless it's Tupac, I DON'T CARE WHO'S IN THE STANDS.
⦁    Chris Devenski is in now, facing Puig with two on and two out. Puig is taking some big cuts at some hittable pitches, but he ultimately lines out to first base. One of the scariest outs I've ever witnessed.



Top 6th, 5-0 Astros


⦁    With Correa's leadoff single, I feel more scoring is imminent—five runs do not seem like enough. But even though Houston loads the bags, The Claw escapes unscathed.
⦁    By now, having fast-forward through most of the commercials, I'm now watching fully live. Which means if LA comes back, I'm 100% to blame and must let Nolan Ryan pistol-whip me on his ranch, whenever he wants, for the rest of his life.



Bottom 6th, 5-0 Astros


⦁    Yet again, two Dodgers reach base. I would be blaming myself for this (because prior bullet point) if not for two Dodgers being on base all night.
⦁    AGAIN, THERE IS TOO MUCH CONVERSING GOING ON BETWEEN THE BATTERY—what the hell do you do in the dugout?
⦁    How fitting that the longest-tenured Dodger Andre Ethier breaks the SHO with a liner to RF. That's what I get for making fun of him on Twitter.



Top 7th, 5-1 Astros


⦁    Kenley Jansen is in for the 13th time in LA's 16 postseason games. Is Roberts hoping to get three innings out of him? Hashtag Goose Gossage...
⦁    Altuve walks and steals second, but is stranded. Even overworked, you don't get many chances to perforate Jansen. THIS BETTER NOT COME BACK TO BITE HOUSTON (I almost wrote "us"...)


Bottom 7th, 5-1 Astros


⦁    The three biggest Dodger threats, Turner, Bellinger and Puig, go down 1-2-3 vs. Charlie Morton. SIX outs to go...



Top 8th, Bottom 8th, Top 9th, 5-1 Astros


⦁    Nobody reaches against Morton or new Dodgers pitcher Alex Wood; Roberts must have only used Jansen to face Houston's biggest bats. It's a strategy I've long supported: using your best reliever—usually your closer—against the opposition's best hitters regardless of the inning. 
Of course, relievers don't get saves that way, and saves equal dollars, awards and recognition. So we won't see it much except in clinchers like this one.


Bottom 9th, 5-1 Astros...this is it!


⦁    I can't bear to actually watch this frame; the TV is on but I'm turned away. 
⦁    Chase Utley strikes out on three pitches. Chase Utley sucks. (Late edit: After what he said at Roy Halladay's memorial, he sucks just a bit less. But I still want to hit him in the back of the neck with an orange.)
⦁    Taylor, the NL's Most Improved Player if such an award existed, grounds out. Is Morton really gonna do it? Are the Astros really gonna do it?
⦁    Seager is up. I finally feel safe enough to watch the action again, but just as I start to turn, Seager puts the ball in play. GOD DAMNIT DID I JINX THEM?! NOOOOO!!!
⦁    Oh, wait, it's a routine grounder to Altuve. The longest-tenured Astro and the only one to suffer through all three 100-loss seasons earlier in the decade deserved to make the final play, which he does without incident. Take THAT, Dodgers! 
⦁    it's time like this I really wish for a way to alter "Dodgers" into something insulting and/or derisive. "Codgers?" Nope. "Dudgers?" Better, but not quite. If I were still 10 this wouldn't be so hard. Stupid maturity.


Another long World Series dry spell ends. Since 2004, eight teams have ended title droughts of 24 years or more, with Texas just missing being the ninth. With both Bay Area teams destined to suck for a while, I will throw my support behind long-suffering championship contenders such as Washington and Cleveland in next year's playoffs.
Although it really doesn't matter who wins it all as long as they aren't the National League team from Los Angeles! #LAGotBeat

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