THE GAME: Dodgers vs Astros (World Series, Game 5)
When a series is tied 2-2, the team that wins Game 5 goes on to win the series 66% of the time. Armed with this overwhelming stat, ESPN trotted out this gem today:
Is that not the ESPNest of ESPN headlines? There is a chance this Game 5 matchup could possibly almost sort of have an impact on the World Series. (Maybe.)
Let me see if I can put it better: This game is freaking huge.
If the Dodgers win tonight, they take a 3-2 lead and Houston has to win the next two games on the road in Los Angeles. Conversely, if Houston takes the 3-2 lead, the Dodgers need to win the next two, including Tuesday night against Justin Verlander.
Whoever loses this game has zero margin for error.
NOTES ON THE FOOD:
- Fourteen yeas ago, there was a restaurant in my hometown that I absolutely loved. So did pretty much everyone else I knew, which made it strange when the restaurant shut its doors after only a year of business. (The location has been quite a few different restaurants since then, although Umami Burger has been there for a half a decade now and shows no signs of closing.)
- At any rate, they had something on the menu called a "French Fry Pizza," which I stayed away from on my first few visits, until I examined the description closely one evening: prosciutto, arugula, shaved cheese, and french fries. That didn't sound too bad, so I tried it. It was delicious, the flavors working much better than I had anticipated.
- I had not thought of that pizza in years; I honestly have no idea why I decided it would be good to eat tonight while watching this game.
- Most times when I make pizza, I buy dough from Trader Joe's. Some days I make my own. Tonight, I didn't want to make any effort with dough while watching the game, so I bought a package of flatbreads at the store.
- I topped the flatbread with a thin layer of sauce, then a sprinkling of pizza cheese - some kind of mixture of four different cheeses on sale at the market; I didn't really read the description - and a layer of prosciutto.
- I then shaved some slices off a hunk of asiago (I've always preferred that to Parmesan) and placed them on top of the prosciutto.
- I baked it like this in the oven for ten minutes.
- Then I topped the warm pizza with arugula and another handful of shaved asiago and let it sit for a couple of minutes....
- ... just long enough to pan-fry a handful of shoestring fries and toss them with a blend of seasoning spices. I then added them to the pizza, unsure how it was going to turn out.
- The final touch was a drizzling of balsamic reduction with red wine.
- Just as I was surprised all those years ago at how much I liked the restaurant pizza, I was equally shocked at how great this was. I'm not sure exactly why everything works - I suspect the seasoning on the fries adds as much to the pizza as the potatoes themselves - but it is delicious.
NOTES ON THE GAME:
- ARod informs us pregame that he expects Kershaw to get hit hard tonight. That would be a shame, because people would remember that far more than his dominance is Game 1.
- Of course, ARod said in the next breath that he expects Keuchel to be dominant tonight - and Keuchel has loaded the bases with one out in the 1st.
- The Dodgers are doing a bit of everything - they looked at something like 12 straight pitches, drew a couple of walks, got a two-RBI single, and then scored another run when the Astros committed an error. 3-0 Dodgers after half an inning.
- Perhaps worse news for Houston: Keuchel had to throw 32 pitches to get through the inning. Kershaw vs. Keuchel favors the Dodgers. If it becomes Kershaw vs. the Astros bullpen, it really favors the Dodgers.
- Kershaw is 124-19 in his career when he receives three runs of support.
- Keuchel gives up another run and exits in the 4th down 4-0 with two runners still on base.
- In the bottom of the frame, Yuli Gurriel crushes a first pitch off Kershaw to tie the game at 4. Kershaw has allowed 12 runs this postseason. 11 of them have come from home runs. That's... surprising.
- Collin McHugh comes out of the bullpen, walks two, and gives up a three-run homer to Bellinger. I've watched a lot of the Astros this year. Their bullpen was not great, but it was not nearly the shitshow it has been this series.
- The Dodgers staked Kershaw to a four-run lead and he blew it. Now they've given him a three-run lead....
- And he lets two get on. He's leaving with two outs in the 5th... which means he can't get the win.
- Altuve hits a three-run home run. 7-7. Jesus, this game. The Astros have hit game-tying, three-run home runs in back-to-back innings. I feel so sorry for people who don't like baseball.
- Kershaw's final line: 6ER in 4.2 innings pitched. Son of a bitch, ARod was right about Kershaw. (But wrong about Keuchel.)
- There have been seven walks issued tonight by both teams. All seven players have come around to score.
- (Two minutes after I write that, Pederson walks but fails to score.)
- Brad Peacock coming in for Houston, despite the fact that he pitched 4 innings on Friday. Oh well, it's tied in the 7th inning and they can't use Giles. I guess it's all hands on deck.
- Springer dives for a ball instead of playing it on the bounce. It gets by him, goes to the wall, and the runner scores from first base. Terrible mistake - way too much risk vs. reward. 8-7 Dodgers.
- It's all hands on deck for the Dodgers, too - Brandon Morrow is coming in to pitch for the third day in a row, the first time in his career that he's ever done that.
- And the first pitch he throws gets crushed Pujols-style (2005 Pujols, that is) by Springer into the Houston sky.
- Correa hits a homer, too. That's the 20th home run of the World Series. And we're only in the fifth game. (Last year's World Series went to extra innings in Game 7 and only featured 15 homers.)
- The Dodgers put runners on second and third with one out in the 8th but neither Justin Turner nor Andre Ethier can bring one home. Dodgers down to their last three outs. Ordinarily I would say that was their last best chance, but in this game, nothing would surprise me.
- Remember Game 1? It ended at 7:40 PM in Los Angeles. We're still in the 8th as I type these words, and it just turned 9:40.
- John Smoltz: "I don't think a single person has left this ballpark." Well, no, probably not. After all, the experts say this game could swing the World Series.
- Puig hits a two-run homer and it's 12-11 in the 9th. We are now at 22 homers, the most ever in a single World Series. It looked like Puig hit that with one hand. MLB might be getting a little carried away with these juiced baseballs. Are we gonna see Aaron Judge bunt for a homer next season?
- Down to their final strike, Chris Taylor hits an RBI single and it's tied at 12. The Astros have blown a three-run lead in the 9th inning.
- Astros walk off in the bottom of the 10th. 13-12.
- Time of game: 5:17.
- So, the Dodgers have to win two at home, starting on Halloween.
- I saw U2 at Dodger Stadium on Halloween when I was a kid. That has nothing to do with this game, really, but I'm kind of delirious after more than five hours of back-and-forth baseball.
- The Dodgers scored 12 runs in a game Kershaw started... and they lost. My God. I have three good friends who are die-hard Dodgers fans and I kind of want to text them just to make sure they're still alive. But I'm not going to; if the situation were reversed and this happened to the Angels, I would just want to be left alone.
- This is the 31st World Series I have watched. I don't know how many games that has been, probably somewhere between 175 and 200... I can't think of another game like this one.