An article in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat catches up with Giants GM Brian Sabean, who notes that life hasn’t changed all that much for the World Series champs in terms of hype or outside media interest or anything like that. Part of that may be, he explains, because of the dreaded east coast bias:
“It teaches us that the game is East Coast-centric. If you came in here after traveling on a year-long safari in Africa and knew nothing about the events of last year, you would not know there was any difference.”
“We were joking about the Phillies’ press conference they chose to have, I guess, because of all the interest with their starting pitchers. Somebody told me they had 200 media people there. And they didn’t even get to the World Series.”
I don’t think Sabean is complaining here or taking a swipe at the Phillies rotation, but I also don’t think that interest in the Phillies rotation compared to the Giants winning the World Series is indicative of anything, east coast centrism or otherwise.
Someone wins the World Series in the fall and starts spring training the following February every single year. Unless they import some player with a singularly large media following like Hideki Matsui, the same media contingent that follows them each spring shows up. Maybe during your first game of spring training you get some guest members of the national sporting press hanging around — the Giants’ spring kickoff played host to me, Tyler Kepner of the New York Times and Dave Brown of Yahoo!, among others — but beyond that it’s the same half-dozen beat writers and a random camera crew or two who always cover the team.
What doesn’t happen every year is the assembly of an All-Star rotation like that in Philly. So when the Phillies — who were no doubt inundated with individual press inquiries — decide to hold a press conference about it, of course it’s going to garner considerable interest.
Put differently, the Giants aren’t news. They were news in October and if they do anything neat again, they will again be news. The Phillies rotation coming together is news. And reporters tend to go where the news is.
(link via BTF)
World Series Game 1 was billed as a battle of aces, the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw against Chris Sale of the Red Sox. Between them, they have 14 All-Star Game nominations. Kershaw has won three Cy Young Awards. Sale could his first Cy Young Award this year. Among his 10 seasons with at least 110 innings pitched, Kershaw has never posted a sub-2.92 ERA. Sale has been at 2.90 or below in each of the last two seasons. The two have combined for over 4,000 career strikeouts and both have averaged better than a strikeout per inning over their careers.
And yet Tuesday’s Game 1 was anything but a pitcher’s duel between Kershaw and Sale. Though a couple of fielding mistakes weren’t of any help to Kershaw in the first inning, Red Sox batters were squaring him up good. Of the five balls put in play in the first inning, three had exit velocities of 100 MPH or higher. Of the 12 total balls put in play against him overall, five reached triple digits in exit velo.
Kershaw gave up a pair of runs in the first, another run in the third on a J.D. Martinez double to straightaway center field, and another two in the fifth. Kershaw led off the fifth by walking Mookie Betts, then giving up a single to Andrew Benintendi, ending his night. Ryan Madson relieved Kershaw and proceeded to allow both inherited runners to score. All told, Kershaw yielded five runs on seven hits and three walks with five strikeouts on 79 pitches in four-plus innings.
Sale, meanwhile, was on the hook for individual runs in the second, third, and fifth. Dodger hitters weren’t squaring him up quite as well as the Red Sox batters squared up Kershaw, but Sale was still more hittable than usual. Of the eight balls put in play against him, four were at least 90 MPH in exit velo. One of the runs was a no-doubt solo home run to Matt Kemp in the second. The Dodgers chased Sale in the fifth when he issued a leadoff walk to Brian Dozier. Matt Barnes relieved him allowed the inherited runner to score. Overall, Sale threw 91 pitches in four-plus innings, serving up three runs on five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts.
The game is now, as has been generally the case throughout this postseason, a battle of the bullpens.