September 26, 2021

Christian Yelich’s run game and other lessons from Bill James Handbook (ESPN)

So much happens during the World Series — and there’s always another game to look ahead to until the final one — that a lot of small, important plays get lost in the big-picture takes. Two plays, quickly forgotten in aftermath of Stephen Strasburg‘s mastery and Anthony Rendon‘s brilliance and Howie Kendrick‘s home run and Max Scherzer‘s gutsy effort, helped swing the World Series to the Nationals.

In Game 6, the Nationals led 3-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning, but Strasburg was teetering a bit as the Astros put runners on second and third with one out. The bullpen was starting to scramble. Strasburg struck out Jose Altuve on three pitches, but Michael Brantley connected with a 1-1 fastball:

Brantley hit it hard — 102.7 mph — but right to shortstop Trea Turner, who was playing on the second-base side of the bag in a shift, even though Brantley isn’t a hitter teams always shift on. A lot of attention was given to the Altuve strikeout — he fanned with an off-balance swing on an 0-2 curveball in the dirt — but if Brantley’s ball goes through, the Astros take a 4-3 lead and who knows how the rest of the game…

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