The reason I got a bit miffed at the Clayton Kershaw bashing a couple of posts ago is that, to some degree, engaging in that stuff takes away from what was really a fantastic baseball moment. Well, fantastic if you’re not a Dodgers fan anyway. I’d guess that 99 out of 100 times Kershaw strikes out a lefty in that situation and that 99 out of 100 times Matt Adams does something short of hit a homer off a tough lefty in that situation.
But it happened and it was fantastic and improbable. It had nothing to do with character or guts or any of that. At least the lack of them on Kershaw’s part; Adams had to keep a positive outlook to overcome the odds of that particular matchup, one assumes. Mostly it was just unpredictable.
Or was it? From Jenifer Langosch at MLB.com, who sets the scene as Adam Wainwright and Matt Carpenter watched that Adams-Kershaw at bat unfold:
Two singles, both just out of the reach of the Dodgers’ middle infielders, brought Matt Adams to the plate, and after a first-pitch strike, Wainwright turned to his right: “If he throws a curveball for a strike right now,” he told Carpenter, “he’s going to hit it out of the park.”
It was the perfect setup to the latest October magic under the shadow of the Gateway Arch.
Adams can hit a curve ball. And in that situation, he had to assume it was coming. But a lot of people assume a Kershaw curve is coming in that situation and still can’t do anything with it. That Adams did was pretty awesome. That Wainwright predicted it was a different kind of awesome.