From today’s Reds-Dbacks game, a sequence that will never get recounted by the folks like Paul Daugherty who like to say Joey Votto is a bum and Brandon Phillips is the team MVP.
Third inning: Shin-Soo Choo leads off with a single. The second batter — today Todd Frazier — strikes out looking. Choo reaches second on a wild pitch. Joey Votto comes up and isn’t given a thing to hit, walking on four straight pitches. Another wild pitch sends Choo to third, Votto to second. Then Brandon Phillips grounds out to score a run.
The two-hole hitter does nothing. Votto, clearly a hitter the pitcher wants no part of, is given nothing to hit because he’d rather face Phillips. Chance, circumstance and wildness put the runners in scoring position and what would be considered a failed at bat in most other situations gives Phillips is oh-so-valuable RBI.
But sure, if we want to go with the notion that Votto is somehow less of a player because of it, feel free.
MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.
Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.
Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.
Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.
The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.