The San Francisco Giants punched their ticket to the World Series on Thursday night, after they defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in walk-off fashion. With a three to one series advantage in hand, the Giants sent their ace Madison Bumgarner to the mound. The 25-year old did not disappoint, as he tossed 8 innings of three run baseball, allowing just five hits while walking three Cardinals. After falling down 1-0 in the third inning, Giants rookie second baseman Joe Panik drilled a two out, two run home run to right field to give the Giants the lead. An inning later, the Cardinals swung the pendulum back in their favor after Matt Adams and Tony Cruz each blasted a solo homers to give St. Louis a three to two advantage. The Cardinals would hold their slim one run lead up until the eighth inning, when Michael Morse started the inning with a pinch-hit home run to left off Cardinals reliever Pat Neshek. In the home half of the ninth, St. Louis sent last postseasons rookie sensation Michael Wacha to the mound to try and hold the tie. However, Wacha quickly got himself into hot water, as Pablo Sandoval lead off with a single and Brandon Belt managed to draw a walk. With runners on first and second and one out in the inning, Giants left fielder Travis Ishikawa climbed ahead in the count two balls and no strikes. On the third pitch of the at-bat, the 31-year old drilled a high drive to deep right field that sailed over the brick wall for a three run walk-off homer. The Giants officially secured their third National League Championship in the past decade, and will now take on the Royals in the Fall Classic.
- With one swing of the bat, Travis Ishikawa etched his name in San Francisco Giants postseason baseball lure. While the 31-year old journeyman seemed like the least likely player to make an impact in a postseason game, that’s actually par the course for the Giants. On a team that doesn’t feature a ton of starts, San Francisco often finds themselves relying on a lesser know player when the lights are brightest. (Put Travis Ishikawa among San Francisco Giants’ legendary heros)
- Most Red Sox fans subscribe to the notion that Boston must add at least one elite starter this offseason, but is that the only way the team can go about upgrading the pitching staff? Perhaps instead of breaking their bank/farm for top tier talent, the Red Sox can construct their roster around run prevention. This model isn’t the most popular roster construction format, but it’s a blueprint that the World Series bound Kansas City Royals followed to a tee. (In defense of Royalty: Why Red Sox may want to follow Kansas City’s run prevention model)
- If you plan on watching the World Series, remind yourself to tune in early and tune out late, because you certainly won’t want to miss David Ortiz’ television debut. Last October’s World Series MVP is set to join the Fox pre and post game shows for the first two games of the fall classic. (Ortiz to serve as World Series TV analyst)
- After losing out on the Houston Astros job, and then failing to secure the Texas Rangers head role, the Minnesota Twins seem like Torey Lovullo’s last shot at managing in 2015. The current Red Sox bench coach has been rumored to be ready and waiting to take on the responsibilities of the job, but no team has been willing to give him a shot. Lovullo joins Terry Francona’s former right-hand man, Demarlo Hale, as a finalist for the Twins gig. (Red Sox’ Torey Lovullo a candidate for Twins’ managerial opening)
- You know the story by now — the Red Sox have too many outfielders, and not enough spots to put them. Certainly a true story, and certainly something that Boston will need to figure out between now and April. However, could the the solution in the Red Sox outfield lie in addition by subtraction. Boston is reportedly interested in Atlanta Braves outfielder Jason Heyward, but would unloading the necessary MLB talent/prospects be worth the return? Over his brief career, Heyward hasn’t exactly established his brand of baseball, and he only has one year left on his current contract. (Is Jason Heyward the Red Sox’ biggest trade target?)
- Tweet of the day: Simply put…yes.
Baseball is the greatest of all sports. It is ridiculous and glorious and utterly weird.
— Brendan O'Toole (@unexpectedbass) October 17, 2014