World Series Game 1: Bumgarner bests “Big Game James”

Madison Bumgarner's 2010 Topps baseball card

Madison Bumgarner’s 2010 Topps baseball card

The first game of the World Series didn’t exactly follow the script. The battle of aces never materialized.

James Shields was completely ineffective, yielding five runs on seven hits in three plus innings. Waiting 10 days between games probably didn’t help Shields, but he has rarely looked like an ace come playoff time.

When the Giants scored three runs in the top of the first inning, that sucked a lot of energy out of the crowd. Even though the Royals have been masters of late-inning magic this month, it seemed like a longshot that they’d be able to best Madison Bumgarner after giving him a lead.

The Royals had their chances. Nori Aoki and Eric Hosmer managed some hard-hit outs in the bottom of the first. And in the third, Kansas City put runners on second and third with no one out. Unlike “Big Game James,” Bumgarner was able to shut down his opponent.

The Royals didn’t score until the seventh inning when Salvador Perez hit a two-out solo home run. By that point, Shields and Danny Duffy had combined to allow the Giants to score seven runs.

Maybe it was a moral victory – it was the first run Bumgarner had allowed in a World Series game, snapping a streak of 21 scoreless innings. Only Hall of Famer Christie Mathewson had a longer World Series scoreless streak at the start of his career. It was also the first run Bumgarner allowed in a major league record 32 2/3 playoff road innings.

Maybe the close, competitive series that most of us were expecting will materialize later tonight. On Tuesday, the Royals looked overmatched.

I’m going to post some Mets baseball cards even though they’re not still playing

I’m still working on my 2014 Topps Heritage Mets team set, but I’m a bit closer to finishing it today thanks to a surprise envelope from Jeff of 2x3Heroes.com.

Johan-Santana Johan-Santana-B

I was probably annoyed to see Johan Santana on the checklist this spring – he hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since 2012 and he’d signed a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles right around the time Heritage came out. Now, it could be Santana’s last baseball card (well, until Topps signs a contract to include him as an “all-time great” or “fan favorite”). Seems fitting to have a portrait photo with Santana smiling and a stat-filled card back with the “complete major league pitching record” of his great career.

David-Wright David-Wright-B

Hopefully David Wright will have more to smile about next season. This is the more common of two photo variations on Wright’s card #284. I should have the other one by the end of the week, too.

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World Series starts tonight – who are you rooting for?

I’d almost forgotten that baseball’s playoffs aren’t over yet. Tonight, the Wild Card World Series finally gets underway and we can find out if the Kansas City Royals will claim their first trophy in 29 years or if the San Francisco Giants will get their third in the last five.

Yep, I know who I’m going to be rooting for.

(I really thought this song’s 15 minutes of fame was over, but thanks for bringing it back, Bay area radio stations.)

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Awards accumulate for deGrom

Jacob deGrom (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Jacob deGrom (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Jacob deGrom is the 2014 Sporting News’ National League Rookie of the Year, the publication announced today.

The Sporting News award dates back to 1946, one year prior to Major League Baseball’s first official Rookie of the Year award. Winners are selected based on the votes of players in their own league.

Earlier this month, deGrom was named to Baseball America’s All-Rookie team (along with Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud) and he won the Baseball Bloggers Alliance Willie Mays Award as the top rookie in the National League.

I’m beginning to think deGrom could be the Mets’ fifth official Rookie of the Year award winner. The first four were Tom Seaver (1967), Jon Matlack (1972), Darryl Strawberry (1983) and Dwight Gooden (1984).

Baseball bloggers recognize Betances & Kimbrel as MLB’s top relievers

Baseball Bloggers Alliance logoThe Baseball Bloggers Alliance announced the winners of its Goose Gossage Award, which recognizes the best relief pitcher in each league. The National League award voting was no surprise – Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel won for the fourth straight year.

In the American League, New York Yankees All-Star Dellin Betances edged out Kansas City’s Wade Davis for the award. Kansas City closer Greg Holland finished a distant third.

It’s interesting to see bloggers shift to honoring the best pitchers rather than the guys who get the saves….I wonder how long it will take for the mainstream media to adapt.

Full details, including vote totals, are available in the press release posted on the Baseball Bloggers Alliance website.