On Game 3 Of The World Series

I don't have a whole lot to say. For no other reason than the fact that, when that game wrapped up, I barely had any notes. I don't know if it was a less eventful game relative to others or if I just wasn't in the zone, but as it happens, there's really only one bigger point I want to make. And that bigger point is that, when I sit down and think about it, it's absolutely amazing to me how close a game can come to being a completely different game.

The at bat that stood out to me tonight - as it did to most everybody else, I suspect - was Mitch Moreland's at bat against Jonathan Sanchez in the bottom of the second. Moreland came up with runners on the corners and two out in what was at that point a scoreless game.

Moreland got ahead in the count 2-0, and then Sanchez battled back to make it 2-2. Moreland then fouled off four consecutive pitches before ripping a low line drive into the right field seats for a three-run homer. A three-run homer that, in the end, pretty much decided the game.

And that three-run homer came ever so close to not happening. Those first two of Moreland's four consecutive fouls - those were solid fouls. Moreland stayed back and put a good swing on the ball, and the fouls jumped off his bat. It was almost like he hit them foul on purpose because they were too close to take, but too far from hittable.

But the second two - those were close. Those were just-barelies. Sanchez threw a 2-2 changeup down and away, and Moreland just scraped the top of the ball, fouling it down. Sanchez then came back with another 2-2 changeup, only more down, and more away, and Moreland scraped even less of the top of the ball, fouling it down. Where the two previous fouls showed that Moreland was seeing the ball well, with these two he was just staying alive.

Then Sanchez mixed it up and tried a low, inside fastball, and Moreland went down and got it and hit it so hard that Joe Buck read it off the bat almost immediately. Ordinarily, there's some delay between when a home run is hit, and when the announcer figures out what it is. Buck's voice shot up before the camera even switched to the ball in flight. It was like he read the swing instead of the ball, which I could maybe almost bring myself to believe if Joe Buck were the least bit insightful.

Moreland's blast made it a 3-0 game, and there would only be three more runs the rest of the way - all on solo homers. The Rangers won 4-2 to climb into the series, suddenly finding themselves a win away from being able to hand a tie to Cliff Lee. Who knows how this goes without Moreland's homer? What happens if he misses one of those changeups? He only barely nicked the both of them. There was so little contact one's inclined to say he got lucky. But because he made contact - just a little shred of contact, two times in a row - he earned that ninth pitch, and on that ninth pitch, he might as well have won the game.

They say that baseball is a game of inches, but sometimes it isn't about a full inch. Sometimes it's a matter of millimeters. If Mitch Moreland's swing is just a few millimeters higher, he doesn't get a chance to hit that home run. Maybe the Rangers still win. But maybe they don't. Maybe they lose, and maybe they get swept tomorrow. Who's to say? Moreland's home run may have changed the complexion of the entire World Series, and he only hit that home run by twice making about as little contact as possible.

Baseball's kind of like time travel. Or at least, what people think time travel must be like. The slightest little thing could make a whole world of difference. There's no telling whether the Rangers will go on to win the whole thing, but if they do, we'll be able to look back on this at bat and wonder.

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