Maybe the baseball pendulum is swinging back the other way. Toward the way the game is supposed to be played.
Maybe this notion of bullpenning has run its course.
All the talk on MLB Radio the last couple days has been about how these are two classic teams, built the right way. Both built around starting pitching.
A lot was said about the Yankees vaunted bullpen, and how it was totally overused and overexposed. Their edge was no longer an edge once Astros hitters saw too much of them.
There was even the radical suggestion—brace yourself for it because this is really out there—that maybe, just maybe, the Yankees should have let their starters go more than two innings and not risk burning out the pen.
Crazy talk, right?
But maybe the value of starting pitching is finally being rediscovered.
After all, no matter how much the numbers nerds want to take over the game and make it one huge televised chess match, there’s no denying that great starting pitching is what this sport is all about, has always been all about, and should always be what it’s all about.
The Houston Astros versus the Washington Nationals in the 2019 World Series. Look at these potential matchups. These are dream games.
Gerrit Cole versus Max Scherzer. A sure Cy Young winner this year and three-time All-Star versus three Cy Youngs and a seven-time All-Star.
Justin Verlander versus Stephan Strasburg. A former Rookie of the Year, Cy Young winner, and eight-time All-Star versus three-time All-Star.
Zach Greinke versus Patrick Corbin. A Cy Young winner and six-time All-Star versus a two-time All-Star.
This is old-fashioned marquee pitching matchup stuff. And it’s up to these two deep lineups to keep plugging away and finding a hole, finding a mistake, finding some way possible to succeed.
This is baseball.
No openers. Because openers are for teams that don’t value starters. Openers win series in June. Openers don’t win series in October, when it really matters.
These are the kind of pitching matchups where every baserunner matters. Every ninety feet is a turf war. Every run is sacred. Every rally might be the last.
Let the World Series begin. And let the rest of the 28 teams that are home watching it copy this blueprint for success.
Starters are the key to baseball.
Max Scherzer vs. Garrit Cole
Game time: 7:08 on FOX