Playoff Reset: ALCS Game 6

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Feelin’ pretty smart. Earlier this week I made some big investments over at the New York Word Exchange that are paying off pretty well right now. I dropped $100 on the word “commanding” just before NLCS Game 3 and ALCS Game 4, and that skyrocketed. Then, just as the Blue Jays were putting up those runs on Wednesday, I went big in “pivotal” and “crucial” in time for Game 6. I don’t get rich with this stuff, but I realize good enough returns to cover Christmas shopping and then put the rest in an IRA. Investing is about the future.

Now, on to crucial, pivotal Game 6:

The Game: Toronto Blue Jays vs. Kansas City Royals
The Time: 8:07 p.m. ET
The Place: Kauffman Stadium
The Channel: FS1
The StartersDavid Price vs. Yordano Ventura
The Upshot: When I saw David Price warming up in the bullpen during Game 5 on Wednesday despite a big Blue Jays lead, I was put in mind of Price’s largely unnecessary relief appearance in the ALDS and wondered what in the heck he had done to tick off John Gibbons. Thankfully he didn’t come into the game and the Jays now have what they traded a nice couple of prospects for: one of the game’s best pitchers on the mound for them in a game they have to win. I don’t put too much stock in “statement games” and storylines and such — baseball is basically randomness set to organ music — but you have to figure that Price is motivated to go eight or nine innings and strike out a gabillion guys simply to show his manager that he’s not a $19.75M swingman. And motivation isn’t totally meaningless.

For Kansas City it’s Yordano Ventura, who faced Price in Game 2. There he left thinking he was going to take the loss only to watch his teammates rally big against Price in the seventh inning. That was pretty great, but it hid the fact that he was sorta “meh” in that game, allowing three runs and eight hits in five and a third. That may be good enough given how many runs both of these teams are scoring, but like I said, my superstitious, magical realism side tells me that Price is gonna come up big tonight and that Ventura needs to be sharp to match him.

Finally, a word about Game 6s. They don’t get the press and the glory of Game 7s, but they’ve always been more interesting to me. I think it’s more of a late-80s NBA thing in my case. I’m too lazy to go back and look, but it at least seemed to me that every series featured some team going up 3-2, losing Game 6 and then totally getting crushed in Game 7, as if they left their souls on the court the day before. I can’t be the only one who felt this way because fan talk seems to be in strong favor of the notion that the team which wins Game 6 has some huge psychological advantage for Game 7, etc. etc. I don’t guess the numbers bear that out, but that’s the vibe.

Which is to say that, despite the fact that the Royals could lose tonight and still go to the World Series with a win tomorrow, they probably should win tonight if they wish their season to continue. I’m already out on some sort of “statement game”-gut instinct limb here with David Price, so there must be powerful forces at work if I’m likewise putting stock in that “crucial and pivotal Game 6” rebop.

Quick, someone open up that first aid kit and apply a copy of “How We Know What Isn’t So” directly to my wounds.