Andrew Bailey, who missed the first two months with a strained forearm, just pitched his second perfect inning in two appearances since coming off the DL, getting two groundouts and a flyout in the ninth inning with the A’s down by two against the Yankees.
Bailey has yet to get a strikeout since returning, but he is throwing his usual 93-94 mph, suggesting that they’ll be coming soon enough. The A’s may give him one or two more appearances in non-save situations first, but it’s clear he’ll resume closing for the team soon.
Brian Fuentes, who closer in Bailey’s absence, is 11-for-13 saving games, though he’s lost seven times and given up 18 runs — 12 earned — in 24 1/3 innings. He’ll move back into a setup role.
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)