A first place team goes into Midwestern town, gets its butt handed to it and leaves town barely clinging on to its division lead. That describes the Braves’ series against the White Sox, but it also describes the Twins and Brewers pretty well too.
The Twins aren’t quite as bad off as Atlanta — they still technically have a lead in their division — but it’s only by a single precious game following their 5-0 drubbing by the Brew Crew. This one was the Yovani Gallardo show, as he shut out the Twins, notching 12 strikeouts and giving up only five hits in the process. The Brewers got their runs behind twin two-run dingers from Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder in the third inning and a Corey Hart RBI single in the fourth.
The Twins have now lost five of their last seven and have the Tigers and the surging White Sox breathing down their necks.
Major League Baseball has announced the umpiring crew for the World Series. John Hirschbeck is the crew chief. It’s his fifth World Series assignment, third as a crew chief.
A surprising name on the crew is Joe West. It’ll be his sixth World Series overall, but first since 2012. There had been chatter for several years that Major League Baseball was making a more concerted effort to get its best umpires into the World Series more often while minimizing the appearances of its weakest umpires. Most assumed West’s absence from the Fall Classic in recent years, despite his seniority, was a function of that. Maybe they’re still making merit a priority and maybe West has just improved? I’ll leave that for you to judge.
Anyway, here is the lineup of umps for Game 1. They will rotate after that, of course. If the series goes six games, Cowboy Joe will be calling the balls and strikes:
Home plate: Larry Vanover
1B: Chris Guccione
2B: John Hirschbeck
3B: Marvin Hudson
LF: Tony Randazzo
RF: Joe West
Replay Official for Games 1-2: Sam Holbrook (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)
Replay Official for Games 3-7: Larry Vanover (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)