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WORLD SERIES – SAC @ HOL G#4

GAME #4 – Clayton Kershaw vs. Cliff Lee

Game 4 would be a repeat match-up with Kershaw facing Lee for the second time in 4 games.  Again, folks, the pitchers would rule this one.  Hollywood threatens very early in this game, however.  Starting off the top of the 1st, Cliff LEE allows as lead-off single to Ian KINSLER, gets Starlin Castro chops it back to the mound for an easy out that moves KINSLER up to 2nd; while Alex Gordon spears it to J.J. HARDY for the 2nd out.  With a runner on 2nd and two outs, Hollywood stares down another opportunity to score; GOLDSCHMIDT up, and he coaxes a walk to set up the force.  BONIFACIO steps up to the plate with two outs, runners on 1st and 2nd, and LEE strikes him out!  Similarly, Clayton KERSHAW would have a tough time in the 1st … while Ryan ROBERTS flies out to left for the first out, KERSHAW subsequently walks Kevin YOUKILIS, and Robinson CANO lines a single to right center, for runners on 1st and 2nd with one out.  Pujols steps up to the plate.  Let’s listen to the announcers: “PUJOLS, facing KERSHAW, … KERSHAW now … it’s a shot to left center … base hit … STUBBS is racing over, he cuts it off deep in the gap … YOUKILIS is around third … CANO is around second … they’re waving YOUKILIS in and CANO’s headed for third; the throw home … here’s the play at the plate … and he’s … OUT!…on a close play.  YOUKILIS just doesn’t have the wheels for that … and CANO moves to third.  PUJOLS is on with a single.”  The aggressive play just doesn’t pay off for the Capitals.  J.J. HARDY up, two outs, runners on 1st and 3rd … the pitch … half swing … oh! … J.J. went too far … he’s out on strikes … that’s the third out!  Well, folks, it’s been a big inning of wasted opportunities.  WEREWOLVES 0, CAPITALS 0.

Hollywood earned itself another opportunity in the top of the 2nd, but with two outs.  Lee would take care of BRUCE and ROSS with relative ease, but STUBBS singles through the shortstop hole, and would quickly steal second … once again, runner on 2nd with two outs.  KERSHAW up to the plate … here’s the pitch … swung on … bounced toward the mound … LEE knocks it down … now he has it … he goes to first for the third out.  Bottom of the 2nd, Josh WILLINGHAM up to the plate.  Let’s listen to the announcers: “Now KERSHAW comes home with it … it’s hit deep to GORDON … over his head; say good-bye to this one…it’s gone! … home run for WILLINGHAM. WEREWOLVES 0, CAPITALS 1.  Yadier MOLINA follows up WILLINGHAM’s home run with a clean single to right … still no outs.  Torii HUNTER bounces it back to the mound, and KERSHAW gets the lead runner, for one out.  Now it’s LEE’s turn to face KERSHAW … grounded deep into the hole … CASTRO’s over … he’s got it, the long throw to first … for out number two … HUNTER moves up; HUNTER moved quickly with the pitch … there was no way to get the lead runner.  Another runner in scoring position … Ryan Roberts, facing KERSHAW, … a lazy fly ball to left … ROBERTS got under it … and now so does STUBBS … it’s in the bag … three down. WEREWOLVES 0, CAPITALS 1.

Top of the 3rd, Cliff LEE takes care of the Werewolves in order, no problem.  Bottom of the 3rd, however, would prove more interesting for Hollywood.  First up, YOUKILIS stroked solidly to left field, but right at STUBBS … one away.  CANO … strike three.  PUJOLS, however, draws a walk; one on, two outs, J.J. HARDY up to the plate … the pitch … looped to left … toward the gap, if it stays up he’ll get it … and STUBBS … cuts it off on the bounce, and PUJOLS holds second.  WILLINGHAM steps up to the plate, and (perhaps it’s revenge, just sayin’) KERSHAW sends the heat … and it hits him right in the helmet … he’s down … but he seems to be OK … and he wanders vaguely down to first … and the bases are loaded with two outs and Yadier MOLINA at the plate.  KERSHAW winds and fires … MOLINA piles into this pitch, this could be trouble … BRUCE races it to the wall … picked clean! … for the final out.  Still WEREWOLVES 0, CAPITALS 1.

The Werewolves and Capitals would scatter hits throughout the next 6 innings, but none would result in any significant threats.  Once again, it would come down to pitching.  The player of the game for Sacramento is Josh WILLINGHAM, for his go-ahead home run, and the pitcher of the game was Cliff Lee, for holding Hollywood down for 6 scoreless innings.  KERSHAW wins player of the game for Hollywood, holding Sacramento down to 1 run over 6 innings.  FINAL SCORE : WEREWOLVES 0, CAPITALS 1

SacramentoSeries Summary

Overall, Sacramento outscored Hollywood 6-2 over the 4-game World Series sweep.  Clearly pitching dominated.  Sacramento finished going 4-0 with a 0.25 ERA–giving up only one earned run in the series, in Game 1.  Mariano Rivera finished with four saves (4) in four innings pitched allowing only 1 walk, and putting the “Silver Bullet” in the Werewolves 2012 Season.

The MVP award, however, goes to J.J. Hardy who batted .538, batting 7 for 13, with 1 run, 1 home run, and 3 RBI–that’s half the runs the Capitals would score during the entire series.  Hardy is also responsible for knocking in the 9th inning tying run in the 1st game, hitting the 9th inning double that scored the go-ahead Pujols run in Game 2, and hitting the solo home run that would prove to be the game winner in Game 3.

As for Hollywood, Clayton Kershaw was the dominant force we all expected, pitching 13.3 innings in 2 starts while giving up only one run–a home run.  Jay Bruce is the batter of the game for Hollywood, with uninspiring numbers.  He batted .286 with 2 doubles, and 1 run scored.

Defensively both teams were about equal–Sacramento and Hollywood earned a .993 and .992 fielding percentages, respectively, while the only unearned run was given up by Sacramento.  Shockingly, Sacramento finished the 4-game series with a 0.25 team ERA, with 4 wins, 0 losses, and 4 saves, and giving up no home runs in 36 innings; Hollywood’s numbers were remarkable as well, maintaining a 1.59 ERA and striking out 35 batters in 34 innings.

Offensively, Sacramento barely beat out Hollywood, with a .197/.274/.311 slash, 3 home runs, 6 stolen bases, and 27 LOB.  By comparison, Hollywood had a .123/.189/.156 slash line, with no home runs, 5 stolen bases, and 22 LOB.

It was shocking how low scoring and how close this series was.  In EVERY game, there were missed opportunities by both teams, which displayed how incredibly good the pitching and defensive play was in this series.  I don’t know that there will ever be such a pitching-dominated World Series again.

While the Capitals are thrilled to have repeated as World Series Champions, we celebrate with utmost respect for Hollywood’s role in a historic series and their success throughout this entire season.  I have no doubt Hollywood will be back in the near future … have you seen that pitching staff?!

 

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