The lingering memory of Game 7 of the 2014 World Series for Royals fans was Alex Gordon being stranded at third base when Salvador Perez popped out to end the ninth inning.
The Giants won the game 3-2, but Royals manager Ned Yost used his bullpen in an unusual manner. Yost called on relief pitcher Kelvin Herrera in the fourth inning that night. Herrera pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings, followed by 2 innings from Wade Davis and an inning from Greg Holland.
Yost used his bullpen a lot in that postseason. He wasn’t the first to do so, but this year has seemed to hammer home to fans how the game has changed. Relief pitchers have dominated this postseason.
In fact, the Indians’ 1-0 win over the Cubs in Game 3 of the World Series on Friday night was something we’d never seen before.
According to the postgame notes provided by Major League Baseball, it was the first World Series game ever in which both starters didn’t allow a run and pitched less than five innings. Cleveland’s Josh Tomlin (4 2/3 innings) and Chicago’s Kyle Hendricks (4 1/3 innings) pitched well but didn’t make it through five innings.
There had been just six starts like this in the history of the World Series: the Yankees’ David Wells in Game 5 of 2003 (1 IP); the Indians’ Dennis Martinez in Game 6 of 1995 (4 2/3 IP); the Dodgers’ John Tudor in Game 3 of 1988 (1 1/3 IP); the Giants’ Juan Marichal in Game 4 of 1962 (4 IP); the Yankees’ Oral Hildebrand in Game 4 of 1939 (4 IP); and the Senators’ Curly Ogden in Game 7 of 1924 (1/3 IP).
Here are seven other things to know about Game 3 from Major League Baseball’s postgame notes:
▪ Indians reliever Andrew Miller had at least three strikeouts in his seventh game of this postseason. That is a first for a relief pitcher in a single postseason. The only other pitcher ever to do it was Giants starter Madison Bumgarner (also seven games in 2014).
▪ The Indians have struck out at least eight batters in 12 straight playoff games (starting with the 2013 AL Wild Card Game). That is the longest in playoff history.
▪ Cleveland’s 60 strikeouts by its bullpen during the playoffs is fourth all-time by any team in a single postseason. The 2015 Royals have the record with 89, followed by the 2014 Royals (70) and the 2002 Angels (66).
▪ Among bullpens with at least 35 innings pitched in one postseason, the Indians relievers are fourth in history with a 1.60 ERA, behind only the 1973 Athletics (1.05 in 42 2/3 innings), the 2013 Red Sox (1.28 in 49 1/3 innings) and the 1992 Blue Jays (1.50 in 36 innings).
▪ The Cubs’ Jorge Soler went two for three and was the first Cuban-born player with multiple hits in a World Series game since Jose Canseco had two hits for the Oakland A’s in Game 4 of the 1989 World Series.
▪ The Indians’ five shutouts is record for any team in a single postseason. The old record was shared by four teams: the 2012 Giants, 2010 Giants, 1998 Yankees and 1905 Giants.
▪ It was just the 25th 1-0 game in World Series history and the first since 2005, which involved the other Chicago team. The White Sox beat Houston 1-0 in Game 5 of the 2005 World Series as they finished a sweep.