The Vulture Report: World Series 2016 Edition

So far, no carrion eaters in this World Series. Not a single bird in the sky. They must have been destroyed by good pitching.

No Vultures Baby!

Honestly, I wish this series had closer games. We’ve had five of them and only two can qualify as nail-biters down to the last out. The other three were blowouts. Sure, Game 4 didn’t really become a blowout until the 7th inning but still, it felt like the game ended right after the home run blast by Kipnis.

But I’m setting the bar too high. It’s probably rare for a World Series to be close in each and every game. Well, we’ve at least had more games than last year’s World Series when KC stomped on the Mets. I think last year was terrible. Not only did it last just five games, but two of them were blowouts. Of the three remaining games, Game 1 was anticlimactic because I knew as soon as Bartolo Colon came in for long relief it was matter of time before the Mets were toast. Game 4 was close and exciting though when you are down by 2 runs against Wade Davis in the 9th it feels like you’re down by 5. And game 5 was marred by the fact that Reed and Colon combined for an extra-inning Circus act that gave KC 5 runs in the 12th inning. The World Series ended in the top of that inning for all purposes, the bottom of the inning was just a formality.

Well I’m sure KC fans enjoyed themselves.

Meanwhile, when was the last time we had a World Series Vulture? You need to go all the waaaaaaaaayyyyyy back to ….


What? It was long a time ago. That’s three years man!

It was St. Louis and Boston. The Cardinals had split the series in Boston and looked to forge ahead with the games going to Busch Stadium. Game 3, top of the 8th inning. The Cardinals are in the lead 4-2 and Carlos Martinez is pitching. Almost immediately he started to wilt under the pressure.

He allowed a single to Jacoby Ellsbury. He hit Shane Victorino with a pitch (to be fair Victorino had abandoned switch hitting at this point and his elbow was practically paying rent in the middle of the strike zone for the previous two months). He managed to induce The Evil Dwarf (a.k.a. Dustin Pedroia) to ground out to short, however the runners advanced. Man on 2nd and 3rd, one out and David Ortiz comes to the plate… you can imagine what happened next.

The Cardinals intentionally walked him of course!

Then came in Trevor Rosenthal, The Cardinal closer to get a 5 out save. He managed to get Daniel Nava to ground to short but again the Cardinals were unable to convert two outs. Ortiz was forced at 2nd but Nava made it to first. Ellsbury scored on the play. Still, it was just one run. The game was 4-3. Xander Boegarts stepped up to the plate and on a 1-1 pitch singled to short to bring in Victorino and tie the game.

It’s hard to blame Rosenthal too much, but that’s why Andrew Miller is so lauded this postseason. He’s a fascist strike out machine. If you get an out via the K there’s no opportunity for the runners to advance, no chance for your defense to mishandle anything. That’s why arms that mow down hitters reliably and frequently are in high demand for high leverage situations. The inning ended on a Saltalamacchia ground out.

Rosenthal would come back out for the 9th inning and you can say he did his job by keeping the game tied with a 1-2-3 ninth that included TWO strikeouts. Man those 2 Ks sure would have been more useful in the 8th. Then came the Cardinals to hit.

You may remember that this game ended in the bottom of the 9th after an obstruction call on Will Middlebrooks in favor of Allen Craig.

The Walk Off Obstruction Call. I’m pretty sure it must have seemed like the stars were aligning for the Cardinals. Boston would battle back and win that World Series in 7 games.

But that was a game ending for the Century.

I’m sure few people realized Trevor Rosenthal was the Winning Vulture of that Game.

A Rare Bird: The Red Headed Vulture. Trevor looks pretty smug don’t you think?

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