It was the World Series. It was Game 7. So, what else was there to talk about, other than ‘you know what?’
And in this particular Game 7, it was a battle of contrasting styles.
The power, fire and intensity of Mad Max, the leader and lifeblood of the Nationals, versus the calm, composed artistry of Zach Greinke, with the surgical style the Astros hope will help fill the expected void left by free agent-to-be, Gerrit Cole.
That was Game 7. Through 6 innings.
You know Greinke’s story. Imagine. A former Cy Young Award winner, a perennial staff ace wherever he has been, comes to Houston in a head-turner of a trade to become potentially the final piece who could propel the Astros to another World Title.
That was the idea. And despite all his accolades, he would have to find his place behind 2 thoroughbreds. That’s right. Two.
The Astros would place Greinke third in the rotation behind Cole and Justin Verlander. Not a bad 1, 2 and 3 punch.
And what Houston found out, by the time they had finished advancing and found themselves in another World Series, Zach Greinke would be the right guy to put them in a position to win another title.
Inning after inning he baffled the Nats. Pitches ranging from an 89-91 mph fastball down to a breaking ball that didn’t eclipse 60, left Washington hitters completely out of sorts. He lulled hitters to sleep through 6 1/3 innings. Absolutely fascinating to watch.
And Scherzer? Well, you certainly heard the tale of Max’s battle with neck and back spasms that took him out of consideration to pitch Game 5, mainly because he was left with a physical condition that didn’t allow him to do anything, well, physical.
The man couldn’t move. So how in the world was he able to come back in 3+ days and pitch a Game 7 for all the marbles?
Well, cortisone, chiropractic sessions, deep tissue massage, a little cayenne pepper and plenty of garlic. That’s the way it seemed to me, because boy, he was one spicy fellow before Game 7, striding around like he was getting into a boxing ring to go 15 rounds with the champ. He had fire in his eyes on the mound in the first. And for the first time in a while, I was rooting for Max.
I questioned how effective he could be Wednesday night, given what he had gone through, just to be able to get back in uniform, get to the point where he could throw and then pitch and then consider himself ready to win a World Title.
He made it 5 innings. He did battle. He looked good, but he also struggled with command and control. Of course, he did. Given everything he had gone through, just seeing him out there throwing 97 was a victory for him, his doctors and his training staff.
For 5-6 innings, fans got to enjoy what I like to call pure competitive theatre between 2 completely different starting pitchers. They share a lot of the same career accolades. But they go about realizing their success in completely different ways.
I didn’t go to bed after the 6th. The game kind of went nuts after the starters left. And that’s the beauty of baseball. That’s the beauty of a Game 7.
When things change gears and momentum swings, a totally different game separates itself from the one you were just watching.
It was a battle between 2 of the game’s best arms on the grandest of stages. When they left the game after the 5th and then one out into the 7th, and watched with the rest of us, another kind of game broke out. Throats tightened. Tension mounted. Tides turned. Inning by inning. Until it was over.
We have a World Champion. And the tantalizing twists and turns getting their reminded me so much of …
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