Congratulations to Joe Auletta! His Brobdingnag Barbarians took the Transcontinental Baseball League championship two weekends ago. It took some doing though. His Barbarians had to defeat the Midwest Mongrels in Game 7 in a 12 inning battle.
Below is Joe’s write up of Game Seven forwarded to me by Stephen Stein.
Congrats again, Joe!
2015 World Series, Game #7
Midwest (J. Zimmerman) vs Brobdingnag (S. Strasburg)
Each team has won over 120 games in the regular season and playoffs to get this far. One game left. Fifty players striving for another championship ring. Both franchises knew the feeling of victory.
The visitor’s first went quietly. Victor Martinez, the most productive hitter in the series so far, earned a two-out walk after fouling off six straight 3-2 pitches, but Adam Jones struck out to end the half-inning.
The home first was anything but quiet. Zimmerman was a surprise starter on short rest, and his velocity was clearly off from pre-game warm-up on. Trout sat on a fastball that lacked zip and pulled it for a single. Mauer too two pitches low and away, and then with Trout running Mauer turned on another “fast” ball that wasn’t and singled to right, Trout taking third. That was enough, and Zimmerman was replaced after the shortest start of his career. Bret Cecil started the bullpen revolving door. Davis K’d but Hanley Ramirez blooped an opposite field double, Trout scoring and Mauer to third. Papi then walked to load the bases and there was a threat that this one might be over very quickly. Cecil handed the ball to Simon, the Mongrels playing the Righty vs Righty match-up against Jason Werth with only one out. Simon got ahead in the count 1-2 and tried to get Werth out with a curve ball, but the ball hung and Werth sent it into the left center alley for a two run double—anyone faster than a turtle would have cleared the bases, but that has never been Papi’s forte. Simon settled down and retired both Rios and Scutaro to strand a pair in scoring position. End of 1st, MID 0, BRO 3.
Three runs in this series has proven to be near insurmountable and there was a sense of urgency in the Dawg hitters. CarGo swung hard and sent a screaming fly into straight away center but Trout broke well and caught it running full speed towards the wall, a la Willie Mayes. Ryann Zimmerman swung from his heals and weakly topped a change-up to Scutero who retired him with a flip to Davis. With two out and no one on Carlos Santana abandoned his normal hitting approach and sat looking fastball all the way. He found one on Strasburg’s third offering, turned on it, and send the ball rocketing into the seats in the left field corner—just fair. Home run Dawgs. No further damage. The bottom of the second was a 1-2-3 inning for the now-coasting Simon. End of 2nd, MID 1, BRO 3.
Neither team’s hitters did anything in the third, and the middle of the visitor’s line-up was due in the 4th. Victor—again—started the damage with a lead-off double. That ended Strasburg’s day and brought in the lefty Bastardo. The first pitch was way inside and caused Jones to sprawl in the dirt, and resulted in a warning by the umps to both benches. Jones didn’t look comfortable the rest of the at bat, and wound up flailing weakly at strike three. Out with Bastardo, in with Parnell to face Gonzalez. Same result: a swinging strike out. Two out, Martinez still on second. Ryan Zimmerman sees a whole on the right side and aims for it, and a sharply hit bouncer finds the outfield grass, Martinez scoring to cut the lead to one run. Santana flies out to end the bleeding.
Simon, facing his 10th hitter and having thrown 49 pitches and having retired the last eight Barbarians, starts to fatigue and throws four straight balls to Werth leading off the bottom half inning. Simon—getting some polite applause for a good performance—gives way to hard throwing Rodney. Rodney pitches Rios away until the count reaches 2-2, then busts him inside with a 95 mph fastball on the hands. Rios, still looking away, checks his swing but hits it weakly to Rollins who turns two. Good thing for the Mongrels since Sutaro follows with a single that would have extended the lead. Machado ends the threat by hitting into a routine 6-4 force. End of 4th, MID 2, BRO 3.
Having climbed within one, Midwest moved no closer in the 5th as Parnell and Loup retired the three batters they faced. In the bottom of the 5th the Barbarians again played small ball, much to the Guru’s chagrin. Trout bunted for a single, stole second without a throw, and Joe “The Bunting Fool” Mauer sacrificed him to third with only one out. Perkins replaced Rodney to face the scary bats of Davis—blew strike three past him—and Ramirez—a lazy fly to left. More harm averted.
Both sides mounted mild threats in the sixth. A two-out single and stolen base by Jones was squandered when Gomez hit a warning track fly to Werth in right. Then a two-out single and steal by Rios was misspent when Scutaro hit a one-hopper to Rollins and over to Hosmer. End of 6th, MID 2, BRO 3.
In the seventh, up one, the Barbarians pulled Scutaro, Ramirez, and Rios for three superior gloves in Ackley, Cabrera, and Chris Young, added to the WS roster after the conference championship round. Defensive changes don’t always work as advertised. Tanner Roark, the RH set-up man all season, took the mound. He retired Zimmerman and Santana, then when Romine—who had been 0 for 2—hit a soft grounder to Ackley the inning looked over. OOPS! Ackley, the defensive sub, threw it into the dirt and Davis couldn’t scoop it. Romine was safe on first. Rollins looked fooled on a cut fastball that moved inside and was hit on the arm, pushing Romine to second and getting Roark ejected, even though it did not look intentional on Roark’s part. Neal Cotts, the LH set-up man for Brob, faced Hosmer and got him to ground out Cabrera to Ackley for the force. On to the seventh inning stretch.
Manny Machado led off the home seventh with a fly ball to left that caught the air currents and landed two rows deep, just past the leaping Cuddyer. The lead was two, Kimbrell was warming in the pen, and the fans were starting to celebrate. Chris Davis added a loud double later in the inning, but didn’t get past second. End of 7th, MID 2, BRO 4.
Six outs left for the Mutt-Men. Cuddyer was a routine out, 6-3, but then came the hot Martinez. He waited for an off-speed offering he could drive and hit another double just inside the first base foul line. Chavez ran for Martinez. Jones lined out to the pitcher, the Gomez who had hit the ball hard twice in the game with nothing to show for it, lined a single over Ackley and they sent Chavez. The throw was on line, but a fraction too late as Chavez scored and cut the lead again to one run. Zimmerman flied out to end the visitor’s 8th.
The home 8th started promisingly for Brob as Ortiz walked and shocked the stadium by stealing second—his second stolen base of the playoffs. But on the slide he twisted his ankle and Jose Fernandez ran for him. Non pitchers, the Barbarians only had back-up catcher Navarro still available. Fernandez never made it past second Greg Holland retired Werth, Young, and Ackley easily. End of 8th, MID 3, BRO 4.
Top of the 9th, three outs left, closer Craig Kimbrell (39 saves and a 1.85 ERA during the regular season) warm and ready, Cotts (7 saves and a 1.37 ERA) on the mound, and the best defensive team in the league in the field. They were feeling good and limbering up to rush the field. Santana struck out. The decibel level reached jet engine proportions. Barney grounded out, Cabrera to Davis. Two outs and Vlad almost started to smile. Rollins walked. Vlad stopped smiling. Sciame went to the mound and called for Kimbrell to face Hosmer. The first pitch was a called strike. The second pitch was a pitch-out, but Maure had to double clutch for the ball and Rollins beat the throw. Tieing run on second, but only one out left. Hosmer was 0 for 4 and had looked bad all night, so it wasn’t a shock when he topped a ball right back to Kimbrell—who threw it over Davis’ head for an error. Hosmer safe at 1st, and Rollins ran through the stop sign at third and scored. Game tied. Dead silence in the stands. Vlad very much not smiling. Kimbrell reached back and punched out Cuddyer, but the lead had been lost.
One more chance for the Barbarians to win it in regulation, but they never even got started. Holland was overpowering retiering Machado, Trout, and Mauer. On to extra innings for the second time in the series. End of 9th, MID 4, BRO 4.
Between innings Kinbrell could be seen turning a bat into splinters and everyone else gave him room. When they started the 10th, he took his frustration out on the Dawgs. Chavez never got close to any of the three pitches he say, swinging and missing on a 101 mph fastball to end his at bat. Jones, seeming to fear for his life, flied weakly to Young in left. Gomez checked his swing on a full count and walked, but was gunned down by Mauer attempting to steal. Holland gave way to Perralta who was not as dominating. Davis singled. The crowd started to get louder. Cabrera sacrificed him to second. Louder still. Navaro pinch hit for Fernandez in the DH spot and flied to Cuddyer. Werth walked—semi-intentionally—to face Chris Young. Young played good defense all season, but only hit .139 and it showed as he struck out, looking helpless as he did. Two more runners left on for Brob. The fans were starting to get a bit hostile. And scared? End of 10th, MID 4, BRO 4.
Kimbrell still had the tiger’s eye in the 11th, retiering the side 1-2-3 with a pair of Ks. Perralta struk out Ackley to start the bottom of the inning, but then Machado singled—his second hit of the game. When Trout beat out an infield hit to put two runners on, Chen—the game 4 starter—came in to face the lefties Mauer and Davis. Mauer hit a high, playable ball to shallow right, runners hold. Two outs. The Chen struck out Davis. The Barbarians had now stranded 11 runners and a few boos could be imagined among the general crowd noise. End of 11th, MID 4, BRO 4.
Derrek Holland was warm in the Barbarian pen, but Kimbrell could be seen arguing with the pitching coach, and apparently Kimbrell was convincing enough because he came out to open the 12th. This was his longest outing of the season, but he was still reaching the low-mid 90s on many of his pitches. Rollins grounded out for the first out. Then Kimbrell hit Hosmer on the hand, and after a consultation with the third base up, Kimbrell was not thrown out. Roberts ran for Hosmer. Cuddyer, 0 for 5 in the game, made it 0 for 6 as he grounded into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
Bottom of the 12th. Cabrera bunted his way on. Navarro missed a hit & run sign and Cabrera was dead meat, thrown out at second by five feet. Navarro then compounded things by striking out. One out away from the thirteenth inning, and 3 minutes shy of 2 AM. Werth tried to check his swing but tapped the ball down the third base line. Zimmerman tried to one-hand it but couldn’t pick it cleanly. Werth safe at 1st, E-5. Chris Young the batter. Sciame looked up and down his now used up bench and shook his head. He called to the pen and told them Holland would start the next inning. Just as he was hanging up the phone, Young connected with a fastball. Up, up, and away it went into the left center stands for a two run walk-off home run. The Barbarians win the seventh game and their fifth World Series by the narrowest of margins over a very good, very tough Midwest team.
Midwest 4 runs, 6 hits, 1 error, 7 LOB
Brobdingnag 6 runs, 14 hits, 2 errors, and 11 LOB
HRs: Santana, Machado, Young.
Series MVP: No one stood out, it was lots of good pitching, lots of weak hitting. My vote would be for Victor Martinez who was the only hitter who seemed to actually know what to do with a bat.