We all headed to Tighthead, where Spit Cup holder Steve was awaiting with our table and a credit card. Good times had by all.
Keith and I each arrived at Gregg's around 7, and started games around 715. Little did I know it then, but that was the beginning of 5 grueling hours of playoff baseball.
Game 1 - 17z Clayton Kershaw vs. 20gz Jake Arrieta - In a matchup of staff aces, I take a 1-0 lead in the 4th, the only game of the series that I scored the first run. Keith gets on the board with Jarrett Parker's 3-run jack in the sixth, added a Justin Upton solo shot in the 7th, and won 4-1.
Game 2 - 13z Max Scherzer vs. 14L Marco Estrada - Estrada managed to record one out before walking his second batter and leaving the game. My bullpen survived until the 3rd inning, when Keith exploded for 4 runs off 18-game winner 18H Carson Smith. The Levee Breaks tacked on one in the 4th to go up 5-0, and hung on to win 6-2. Carpenter with a homer, 3 H and 3 RBI
We're 30 minutes into the night, and I'm down 2-0. The President's Cup team trailing against the surprising 81-win underdog. We need to get our crap together and win some games.
Game 3 - 12G Edinson Volquez vs. 14 Felix Hernandez - Volquez pitches a scoreless first, but walks the leadoff hitter in the second. Soria comes in and lets him score. The Levee Breaks score two more on a Trout HR in the 3rd for a 3-0 lead, and widespread panic is breaking out in the Wrangler dugout. We cut it to 3-2 in the top of the 5th, and score two in the 6th to take a 4-3 lead. The bullpen holds on and we get our first win of the night.
Game 4 - 12G AJ Burnett vs. 12G Lance Lynn - Burnett gives up a leadoff single to Choo to open the game, and I immediately go to the bullpen. 16Z Osuna can't stop him, and Keith leads 1-0 after the first. In the second, Osuna gives up a 2 run jack to Justin Upton, and here we go again, down 3-0 after 2 innings. The game remains 3-0 until the 7th, with both bullpens mowing guys down. The Wranglers explode for 4 runs in the 7th, with Nelson Cruz's 3 run HR being the big blow. Keith plates a run in the bottom of the inning to tie it at 4-4.
David Peralta leads off the 8th with a solo shot to give us a 5-4 lead, then Slidin' Billy Hamilton scores on an Eaton single to make it 6-4. Maybe we can hold on? Not so fast, my friend. Carpenter and Casali double to open the frame, pulling the Levee Breaks within one. Altuve squeezes Casali home to tie the game, and we head to extra innings. Little happens until the top of the 12th, when Cespedes blasts a solo shot with two away. Levee Breaks go quietly in the bottom of the 12th, and we have a tied series at 2 games a piece.
Game 5 - 17z Clayton Kershaw vs. 20gz Jake Arrieta - Tied at 2-2, and we have the Cy Young award winner on the hill. He lost game 1, we need him to throw a gem and take a series lead. In the top of the 2nd, Upton walks, and Altuve H&R doubles him home. After a walk, Molina singles Altuve in for a 2-0 lead. After that, its all Wranglers. We get one in the 4th, 2 in the 5th (Bogearts H&R HR), and 1 in the 6th for a 4-2 lead. Adrian Gonzalez hits a 2-run HR in the bottom of the 8th to complete a 6-2 victory.
We get three straight victories to take a 3-2 lead. We trailed 3-0, 3-0, and 2-0 in them, yet found a way to win. Two games left, to win one, lets get 'er done.
Game 6 - 14L Marco Estrada vs. 13z Max Scherzer - The Levee Breaks get on the board early (sound familiar?) with Trout singling home Choo to go up 1-0 in the bottom of the first. Dozier then pulls off an unassisted triple play to get out of the inning. In the top of the second, Bogearts doubles home Gonzalez and Eaton, maybe we have a chance to win the series? Teixeira disagrees, hitting a solo shot to tie it in the 4th. In the 6th, a Dozier error puts runners on the corners, and Carpenter doubles both of them home for a 4-2 lead that will stand. Keith's pen throws 4.2 IP and gives up one hit and one walk as we go quietly.
Game 7 - 14 Felix Hernandez vs. 12G Edinson Volquez - Game 7, for all the marbles. My Pen is running low on innings, and Keith is probably in the same boat. The Levee Breaks score in the first inning for the second straight game, with Trout doubling home Parker. Justin Upton hits a solo shot to make it 2-0 after 4, where the score remains after 7 innings. A Bogearts error plates a run to make it 3-0 in the top of the 7th, but Slidin' Billy Hamilton scores in the bottom of the inning to make it 3-1. Time is running out on the Wranglers. A risky double steal works for Keith, and a sac fly makes it 4-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth.
At this point, the whole series has been an uphill battle for me. Falling behind 2 games to none, then trailing by multiple run early in 3 straight wins. My pen is nearly used up, and I trail 4-1 in the ninth. Things are very bleak. Keith has 20XY Familia for the final frame.
Machado leads off with a double. Cespedes flies out, but Peralta walks with one away. Dozier goes down swinging for the second out, so our season comes down to Adrian Gonzalez. Chris later calculates that we had a 3% chance to win this game. Gonzalez defies the odds, hitting an incredible 3-run home run to tie the game, causing an explosion from the gathered SL managers.
* A. GONZALEZ facing J. FAMILIA, B 9th, 2 Outs, 1st and 2nd, Behind 1-4
GONZALEZ leans into it ... it's hammered high and hard to right
and the ball does a disappearing act ... it's long gone! ... Adrian ties the game!
never in doubt ... Adrian trots around the bases ... he loves a trip downtown
he claps his hands ... he's greeted at home plate ... congratulations all around
Levee Breaks 4, Wranglers 4
What an incredibly lucky roll, and we suddenly have a tie game. I'm thinking about the fact that, if we go extra innings, I have one available out from P*16 Soria, then I'll have my fifth starter, 12Y Garrett Richards, pitching the rest of the game. Considering I was just down 3 runs, I can't complain too much, but odds still aren't on our side.
Billy Hamilton is the next spot in the order, so we go to the bench and bring in Corey Dickerson. I was really happy to get Dickerson in the draft, with 5 power numbers and 1.44 ones. He was disappointing during the season, hitting 222/295/350 with 1 HR in 117 AB. Well, he made up for all that by hitting a walkoff solo shot, once again causing an explosion from the audience.
Trying to stir up a little magic ... Corey DICKERSON will now hit for HAMILTON
that makes him the DH ... bats left ... he grabs some timber ... strolls to the box
* C. DICKERSON facing J. FAMILIA, B 9th, 2 Outs, Bases Empty, Tied 4-4
The pitch ... DICKERSON piles into this pitch ... that could be trouble
UPTON races it to the wall ... back ... it's all over ... it's history!
home run for Corey DICKERSON ... back-to-back homers for the Wranglers!
DICKERSON will touch all the bases ... and he's sure taking his time
Levee Breaks 4, Wranglers 5
FINAL SCORE : Levee Breaks 4, Wranglers 5
What an incredibly lucky pair of back-to-back rolls, with incredible timing.
The whole series was a struggle. By my count, Keith led 36 innings, I led 16. He scored first in the final 6 games, and outscored me 29-27 in the series. The Levee Breaks had 2 errors to my zero in the first two games, while the last 5 games saw me having 9 errors to 2 for Keith. I felt proud that I ground out 3 wins when I didn't seem to have things going my way. In the end, I get the two luckiest rolls of all.
The World Series was a blur. I had my chance, then it went away, and the last two games really went away from me. Glad to be the guy who faced Chris in his final games before his hiatus.
Another great year. See you all for SL2017.