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Post Info TOPIC: World Series: Surprise at San Francisco

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World Series: Surprise at San Francisco

Neither of these teams had an easy road to the World Series.  The Surprise Zombies (113-49) defeated Brooklyn in the FL Wild Card, then barely survived epic 7-game series with Camden and their bitter rivals from Santa Fe.  San Francisco (100-62) at least avoided playing a WC game but had to win epic 7-game series against Shiner and Harmony Grove.  For San Francisco, it was their first World Series appearance.  This was number 8 in the LONG history of Laramie/Surprise, who won 3 in a row before WC losses the past 2 years.  Could they win one more before starting their rebuild, or would San Francisco make the most of their debut?  Lets find out!   

Game 1: Miles Mikolas vs. James Paxton

Although the WS didnt actually start until 2020, this is an odd-numbered season, so the CL had home-field advantage.  SF drew first blood on an early HR by Leonys Martin, who also hit a couple huge ones to knock my other team out of the playoffs.  I really hate that guy.  The lead held up until the 3rd, when young Gleyber Torres crushed a homer to tie it up.  Mark Canha untied it with a solo HR in the 5th.  SUR pulled Mikolas after 1 out in the 6th and the bullpen walked a couple guys to make that look like a bad idea, but SF failed to score.  Both teams blew other scoring chances and SUR was still clinging to a 2-1 lead with 2 outs in the 9th.  Thats when Freddy Galvis shocked Knebel with a solo homer!  Treinen allowed a leadoff single, but Pham hit into a game-ending DP.  SUR 3-1   

Game 2: Corey Kluber vs. Michael Wacha

Kluber has had a fantastic 5 year run with the Zombies, but struggled in the 2019 playoffs.  Once again, SF grabbed the early lead on a solo HR, this time by Story.  However, Story made a huge error in the 3rd to set up an RBI single by Turner.  SUR had a chance to blow the game open with the bases loaded, but Votto flied out.  Kluber was pitching well until the 6th, which started a Hanson triple and Pham single.  Price struck out PH Duggar, but served up a 2-run HR to Blackmon.  Story followed that with another HR off Jackson and the rout was on!  Or maybe not.  The Zombies battled back with a run in the 8th, but left 2 more runners in scoring position.  SF turned the 3-run lead over to Knebel in the 9th and he served up a solo HR to Marte, but got the save.  SUR left 12 men on base to only 1 for SF, who scored 5 runs with only 6 baserunners.  SF 5-3 

Game 3: Mike Minor vs. Rick Porcello

The series returned to Surprise, with FLCS Legend Rick Porcello taking the hill.  SUR took the early lead this time, with back-to-back 2-out doubles from Canha and Torres that followed a DP.  However, Porcello looked shaky in this one.  He still had a shutout going in the 4th, but his luck ran out in the 4th.  A HBP and BB set up Canos RBI single.  SUR went to the bullpen and Jeffress struck out a pair to make sure Porcello wouldnt get a loss.  On to the 6th, when SUR called on lefty Will Smith to retire lefty Rizzo, who hit a big home run instead!  SF was clinging to a 2-1 lead in the 7th with Lugo pitching.  PH Cervelli drew a leadoff walk and Torres singled with 1 out.  Lugo threw a WP to put both runners in scoring position for the mighty Freddy Galvis, who delivered a huge 2-run single!  Votto walked and Turner singled to cap the big 3-run inning for Surprise.  SF took advantage of a rare Galvis error to score a run in the 8th, but Treinen nailed down another save.  SUR 4-3.    

Game 4:  John Gant vs. Miles Mikolas

Mikolas pitched well in Game 1, but this was a disaster.  He hit Pham to start the game and then Hicks (RF-2) misplayed Martins fly ball into a single.  That led to a walk, 2-run SI, 2-run DO, and another RBI single.  It would have been even worse, but the last out was made on a throw home.  SUR answered with one run in the bottom of the 1st, but Grandal hit a 2-run HR in the 3rd and the rout was on!  Oh yeah, its never easy in the playoffs.  The Zombies battled back again, scoring a run in the 5th, another in the 6th, then 2 more in the 7th.  Knebel allowed homers in his last 2 appearances, but got 5 big outs this time.  SF went to Morrow in the 9th and he nearly killed Rick with 2 walks and a wild pitch.  Kevan Smith had a chance to play the hero, but flied out to end it.  SF 6-5

Game 5: James Paxton vs. Corey Kluber

Paxton was really playing with fire in this one, but SUR missed 50% BP HR chances 3 times, twice with a runner on base.  Blackmon broke the scoreless tie with a no-doubt solo blast in the 4th inning.  In the 5th, Torres drew a 1-out walk and advanced on a groundout.  That brought up Freddy Galvis, who delivered another huge hit to tie the game!  Both starters were gone by the 7th and it was still tied in the bottom of the 9th when SF called on lefty Caleb Smith.  He walked PH Cabrera, then Cervelli, and then he hit Marte to load the bases. Yikes!  Rick had finally seen enough and sent in Knebel to face Gleyber Torres.  How would the kid respond to this big moment?  Oh well, he just crushed a walk-off grand slam!  SUR 5-1

Game 6: Rick Porcello vs. Michael Wacha

The series returned to San Francisco with the home team on the brink of elimination.  However, they had already won 3 elimination games against SHI and HAR, so the fans were fired up at the start.  Wacha pitched well in G2, but clearly couldnt handle the pressure of this game.  In the 1st, he amazingly loaded the bases with 3 HBP and even more amazingly escaped without a run scoring.  He stayed wild in the 2nd, walking the bases loaded and walking in a run.  Crick tried to bail him out, but gave up a 2-run single to Turner before getting a DP to end the 3-run inning.  Porcello was shaky in his last start, but looked like the guy who owned SFE this time.  He rolled through 6 scoreless innings, allowing only 2 singles and striking out 7.  Lugo brutally misplayed a grounder to give SUR a 4-0 lead heading in the 7th inning.  Blackmon led off with a single and Porcello struck out Story before exiting to a standing ovation from the Surprise fans in attendance.  Rizzos groundout advanced the baserunner and Grandal doubled home a run.  Cano drew a walk and PH Vogelbach had a chance to tie it with one swing of the bat, but Treinen got him to ground out.  SF went with Knebel in the 8th to keep it close, but he did the opposite of that.  Instead, he incredibly served up solo homers to Cain, Cervelli, and Dwight Smith Jr.  Wow, thats just insane.  SF did manage to get a few baserunners against Treinen, but he wasnt going to blow a 6-run lead and was able to finish for another save.  SUR 7-1

Okay, so that series was incredibly close through 8 innings of Game 6, with both teams scoring exactly 16 runs.  Then Strat suddenly decided that it hated San Francisco with a burning passion and Surprise would have to win.  Okay then, thanks for that!   

The late flurry of Zombie scoring makes their offense look better than it was, but the big SF bats barely showed up at all.  Overall, SUR outscored SF by 27-17, although SF still outhomered them 8-7. SF hit .201/.265/.356 and SUR was .234/.346/.406.  Until the end, the SUR offense mostly consisted of drawing walks and leaving guys on base.  They crushed SF in LOB, 51-35.  Yay!

The best SF hitters were Martin (.294), Rizzo (.286, HR, 3 RBI) and Pham (.280).  It got very ugly after that.  Blackmon and Story each homered twice but hit under .200.  Cave was 0-13 with 7 Ks!

The last couple games inflated the SF team ERA to 4.67.  SF starters were pretty solid other than Wachas disastrous Game 6.  The bullpen really killed them.  Even the guys with low ERA contributed to the issues, but the biggest problems were Crick (5.79 ERA, but with a win), Knebel (12.46 ERA with an incredible 6 HR in 4.1 IP!) and Smith (13.50 ERA thanks to the 3 runs in Game 6).   

The top Zombie hitters were MIF Gleyber Torres (.333, 2 HR, 6 RBI) and Freddy Galvis (.333, 1 HR, 4 RBI).  Several of their part-time bats also made big contributions.  Cervelli was only 2-6, but had 5 BB and 3 HBP.  Votto, Pearce and Hicks were consistent rally killers. 

The Zombie pitching staff has been terrific throughout the regular season and playoffs.  They came up huge again with a 2.72 ERA to shut down another dangerous offense.  FLCS hero Rick Porcello (1-0, 1.86 ERA) was the best of the 3 starters.  Mikolas and Kluber split good and bad starts.  The Zombie bullpen was almost perfect, allowing only 4 runs (3 earned) across 20 1/3 IP.  Treinen led the way with 5 2/3 scoreless IP.  He also saved 3 games and got the win in his other appearance.

Congratulations to Rick for a great season and playoff run with San Francisco.  This was a very evenly matched series that seemed destined to go 7 games until everything fell apart for the Seawolves late in game 6.  The Zombies head home to celebrate their 5th championship, including 4 in the past 6 years.   It certainly wasn't easy!  Other than the WC game, they didn't have home field "advantage" in any series, but won 8 of 11 road games, while splitting 10 games at home.  Many of their players have already departed and this team certainly doesnt look competitive for next season, but they managed to go out on top anyway.  



Gratz to Eric on a great series win!  Like he said, it was a real good, tight series through 5 and a half games, then the roof collapsed as things went crazy in rash of walks and HBP's.  The crazy stat here is that in a span of 3 innings over the 9th inning of game 5 and the first two innings of game 6, the San Francisco staff handed out 6 walks and 4 HBP's and 7 earned runs.  Tough way to end a series that a game earlier, could have gone either way.

San Francisco, despite a strong offensive team, just couldn't hit.  In three separate games, we could only muster 1 run.  Our 3 and 4 hitters (Blackmon/Story) combined to hit just .152 with just 1 walk between them.  Its awfully tough to win a series against a good team when that happens.


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