It might be fun, but baseball doesn't "need" a Yankees-Dodgers World Series

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William Rhoden in the New York Times:

Still, what Major League Baseball needs is a great World Series, a
Series for the ages. And with all due respect to those two other
potential matchups, it’s a Yankees-Dodgers World Series that could take
the game back to its roots at a time when baseball desperately needs to
recover a portion of the trust, if not the innocence, that it has lost
in the steroid era.

There would be a number of interesting story lines in a
Yankees-Dodger World Series, not the least of which would be the return
of Dodgers Manager Joe Torre to New York to face the team that he
unhappily parted with after the 2007 season.. But the greatest
attraction has to do with the history and traditions that the Yankees
and the Dodgers represent.

Two venerable franchises competing in a World Series would recall an
era in baseball when things seemed simpler and the game was more pure.

Please.  For starters, the best modern World Series — one that truly was “for the ages” — involved two teams from less-than traditionally stellar baseball markets, each of which had just finished in last place the season before.  It was the Twins and Braves in 1991, and apart from Kirby Puckett, the game was loaded with young hungry and relatively unknown talent at the time.  A Yankees-Dodgers World Series might be interesting, but that kind of star power is not needed to make a great World Series.  Great baseball is needed, and there is no reason whatsoever to think that the Angels, Phillies, and maybe the Rockies couldn’t provide it too.

But the bigger problem with this article is the time-worn and always ridiculous reference to “purity.”  Someone please point me to a single time in the game’s history where it truly was “pure,” as Rhoden seems to think it was.  Was it in the 70s and 80s when players were doing cocaine and teams generally let drunk fans ruin the experience for casual fans? The 60s when it was amphetamines? The 1950s when teams like the Athletics whored themselves and their talent out to the Yankees, serving as a defacto farm club and making a mockery of competitive balance? The 20s, 30s, and 40s, when segregation reigned supreme?  Before that when people threw spitballs and twelve home runs could lead the league?

Seriously, Bill, you’re the one citing “purity” here. Tell us when the game was “pure” and why.  And if you can’t, please explain to me how a Yankees-Dodgers World Series can “restore” a state of affairs which never existed in the first place.

A Yankees-Dodgers World Series would certainly be an interesting thing. It would have some bit of nostalgia to it for people who remember the 1970s or the 1950s. It may actually turn out to showcase the two best teams — though the Angels certainly will have something to say about that.  It would no doubt be a great thing for the fans of those teams. It would give writers like Rhoden and me some easy storylines.  I certainly have no problem if such a thing comes to pass.

But don’t for a minute suggest that baseball “needs” it, especially for reasons involving some imagined “purity.”

There’s no one to blame in Yankees’ loss

Joe Girardi

You’re going to boo All-Star Brett Gardner for striking out against a Cy Young contender?

You’re going to bash Alex Rodriguez for going hitless in another postseason game, three years after his last one?

Maybe you’d prefer to put it all on Masahiro Tanaka for giving up two solo homers to a lineup full of 20-homer guys?

The truth is that the Yankees were supposed to lose tonight. They were facing an outstanding left-hander with their forever-lefty-heavy lineup, and they simply didn’t have anyone pitching like an ace to set themselves up nicely for a one-game, winner-take-all showdown. The 3-0 result… well, that’s how this was supposed to go down.

It didn’t necessarily mean it would; what fun would it be if the better team always won? And the Astros might not even be a better team than the Yankees. However, the Astros with Dallas Keuchel on the mound were certainly a better team than the Yankees with whoever they picked to throw.

I just don’t see where it’s worth putting any blame tonight. Joe Girardi? He could have started John Ryan Murphy over Brian McCann against the tough lefty, but he wasn’t willing to risk Tanaka losing his comfort zone by using a backup catcher.

The front office could have added more talent, perhaps outbidding the Blue Jays for David Price or the Royals for Johnny Cueto, and set themselves up better for the postseason. However, that would have cost them Luis Severino and/or Greg Bird, both of whom went on to play key roles as the Yankees secured the wild card. Would it really have been worth it? I don’t think so.

Tanaka gave the Yankees what they should have expected. Had Keuchel’s stuff been a little off on short rest, Tanaka’s performance would have kept the Yankees in the game.

Keuchel, though, was on his game from the first pitch. The Astros bullpen might have been a bit more vulnerable, and late at-bats from Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Rodriguez and McCann definitely left something to be desired. Still, on the whole, the lack of offense was quite a team effort.

The Yankees got beat by a better team tonight.  I’m not sure the Astros would have been better in Games 2-7 in a longer series, but they had everything in their favor in this one.

Keuchel, Astros cruise past Yankees in AL Wild Card Game

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Dallas Keuchel faced the Yankees two times during the regular season and was fantastic in each outing, striking out 12 in a complete-game shutout on June 25 and whiffing nine batters over seven scoreless frames on August 25.

The 2015 Cy  Young Award candidate continued that trend in Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game, limiting the Yankees to three hits and one walk over six innings of scoreless ball as the Astros earned a 3-0 win and advanced to a best-of-five ALDS with the top-seeded Royals.

Keuchel was working on three days of rest but didn’t show very many signs of fatigue, whiffing seven and needing only 87 pitches to get through six. He sure looked like he could have gone an inning longer, but Astros manager A.J. Hinch decided to turn the game over to his bullpen and they added three more big zeroes to the scoreboard at a very loud then very boo-heavy Yankee Stadium. Tony Sipp worked around some early jitters to throw a scoreless seventh, Will Harris kept the Yankees off the bases entirely in a scoreless eighth, and closer Luke Gregerson went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth.

Impending free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus provided the first burst of offense for the Astros in the top of the second inning with a leadoff homer against Masahiro Tanaka. And then deadline acquisition Carlos Gomez, who missed a bunch of time down the stretch with an intercostal strain, got to Tanaka for another solo shot in the top of the fourth. Houston scored its third run on a Jose Altuve RBI single in the top of the seventh.

This is a young, talented Astros team with an ace at the head of its rotation.

Kansas City could have a problem.