You got the drama of it all. The two big rivals of the last 9 years. Their matchups all-time favor the Pirates with 1-2 record against one another since the Pirates came in, in 2009. The Yankees come in chasing their 12th title and going after their third in this decade. Different squads with old and new faces but, the 15th Father-Son matchup (Jorge and Mike going up against one another. The standings on those two is 11-2 in favor of Mike. The two are veterans of the postseason. Jorge batted .526 against the Phillies in the first round and looks to have a hot bat coming in with his 117 career home runs of experience. Mike, however, comes in with 194 career postseason homers to lead the all-time leaderboard along with a career.642 postseason batting average in 135 total postseason games. He also bats .688 in WS play. On the pitching side, the better starts are behind him although, there is some better progress in the last two years. He is 48-27 all time and 10 saves in 12 opps. Mike is the catalyst for the Yankee offense and for 20 years has been one of the players to fear in the postseason, but he has to be able step up to the challenge and get out of his own way. He is their spark plug on offense.
OLD SCHOOL VS. NEW SCHOOL:
Then you got the old school vs. new school hurlers. You have Josh who comes in off of a 8-2 postseason last year and a 2-1 start this year. His career postseason ERA is 1.43 and he already has 78.5 innings pitched! He’s the nastiest pitcher in recent years to have on a postseason roster. It matches his great regular seasons over the past two seasons pretty well. He is the key player for the Pirates in this series surprisingly because you figured it would be the catalyst in Gadani. Where Gadani goes, the Pirates go. His counterpart is the 17 year old phenom, Murr. Fresh off setting the lowest ERA in league history in 2018 (0.38), he looks to rebound from a shaky 2018 postseason. He was 2-2, with a save, and a 2.33 ERA. Maybe it was the “gitters” of a rookie postseason? Maybe it was the chill of November? Or the 2017 Met tactics? Lots of questions surround last year for Murr on the mound and many would say the includes his attendance with his team. In just half of his games played this year (26), the Yankees were 13-0. In WS play last year, they were 2-2 with him and 2-3 without. Ultimately, he lost the Game 9 for the Yankees last year but the hunger for his first legitimate title has him ready to go. The 2018 matchups with these two was 3-0 in favor of Murr. But, there could way too easily be a change of the guard. Josh features a deadly rising slider that varies speeds with extreme accuracy against Murr’s classic Big Unit slider, two-seamer, and a Murray patented, more than “show me” Kunckler.
Kean and Gadani. The top pedigree of vets. One sits fifth on the all-time home run list, and the other is fifth in league history in ERA**. Both have played over 10 seasons, and both have over 40 postseason games played. But, both of them is in a chase of history. Gadani would become the third in history to ever have five titles under his belt but Kean, would love to tie him with four and keep that ring away from his “one for the thumb”. Both have won championships with two different teams and even at one point shared two together with the Pirates in 2013 and 2015. Kean comes in with a postseason resume of highlights. 35 homers is best for third all time in postseason history, 10 grand slams which is good for third all time as well, and a knack for clutch, game saving catches and plays. Gadani comes in as one of the best pitchers in postseason history. A 24-16 record, four shutouts, and 6 for 6 in postseason save-opps? That’s outstanding! It also goes along with his 55 postseason blasts, 313 hits, and 5 walk-off hits including the only WS ending walk-off home runs in Game 9 of the 2006 World Series. Both of these players are key players for their teams. They may even matchup fairly soon in this 20th World Series.
Kyle and Pat round up the postseason rosters of each team in the Pirates and Yankees. Both growing up, had little actual baseball experience. But now, are top bats for their teams and in a few ways are team leasers. Pat came into the league in 2013 and Kyle came in 2014 as what Colonie Wiffleball would like to call their “4th generation” of players. These are players that have developed so well over the years and are beginning to show signs of taking down names on the leaderboards for stats all over the place. Both players are going into their second World Series. Pat was in one against the Yankees in 2016 and has grown a lot as a hitter since his one game playoff in 2013 against the Nationals. He’s got five career postseason homers including a walk-off. Each is technically playing their 2nd series and for Kyle it is his first since 2015. He got his first career homer (although it doesn’t count in the regular season numbers) in the 2014 shortened World Series. These are your grinders, your sleepers, and great defenders on your rosters. Capable of doing everything that the all-time leaders do and it will be great to see the moments that they create for each of their teams in the 2018 World Series. The series starts today, October 7, 2018 @ 10:30 AM and will be broadcast on Facebook Live. More stats, updates, and some other media will be uploaded to Instagram as well. Everything is searchable and together on our website at www.coloniewiffleball.com.