I can’t sleep. Can’t eat. I have a queasy feeling at the pit of my stomach. The Royals arrived in St. Louis down two games to zero in the World Series after scoring just three runs despite leaving 14 runners on base and knocking out 17 hits.
Royals starters Danny Jackson and Charlie Leibrandt have combined for 15.2 innings and until Jack Clark’s RBI single with two outs in the ninth on 10/20, they’d given up a combined two runs and thrown 11 perfect innings. And still the Royals are down two games.
So now what?
Now we call on Bret Saberhagen. Ron Guidry’s fine and all, but Sabes should take the Cy Young over him. But then, I keep hearing people say Don Mattingly will win MVP over George Brett, which is just ridiculous to even consider.
Anyway, let’s look at Game 3.
The big update is that Vince Coleman will be out for the rest of the series. That’s a big chunk of speed out of the Cardinals lineup, though Tito Landrum has kept up really well. The Royals send out Bret Saberhagen who seems to be alright after the shot off his hand against the Blue Jays.
Here’s a sign of immense respect. Willie Wilson singled with one out in the first inning, stole second on the first pitch, and the Cardinals walked George Brett intentionally. Can’t say I’ve ever seen that. Unfortunately, on a 3-2 pitch to Frank White, the Royals sent the runners, White hit a sharp grounder up the middle, but Tommy Herr came over to cover the base and turned a 4-3 double play, ending the threat.
The Royals again threatened in the third inning, starting with a Lonnie Smith single. Smith got thrown out trying to steal which became pretty big considering Willie Wilson and George Brett singled after he was gunned down. Frank White walked to load the bases but Pat Sheridan struck out to end the inning. With the problems in the first two games, it didn’t look good for the Royals offense.
For the third straight game, the Royals scored first. Jim Sundberg led off with a walk in the fourth inning, advanced to second on a chopper by Buddy Biancalana. Cards starter Joaquin Andujar fielded the ball but Herr and Clark had converged on it too and nobody was covering first. After a Saberhagen sacrifice, Lonnie Smith doubled to the gap, scoring two runs. It was a key hit and the kind of play the Royals had needed in the first two games.
In the fifth, Brett singled to lead off the inning and Frank White drilled a homer deep to left to give the Royals a 4-0 lead. Considering White is one of the more unlikely cleanup hitters – 22 homers or not – for him to hit the first homer of the World Series is pretty incredible. White again drove in Brett in the seventh after Brett led off with a walk, moved to second on a balk by Ricky Horton and White doubled to left.
The Cardinals put up one run on three singles in the bottom of the sixth inning but Saberhagen snuck out after flyouts by Andy Van Slyke and Terry Pendleton.
Other than that one blemish on the day, Saberhagen was stellar. Like his left-handed starting teammates, he threw five perfect innings, including the last three of the game. Coming off only 7.1 innings in the ALCS, Saberhagen had eight strikeouts in a complete game where he dominated the Cardinals.
Watching the broadcast, Tim McCarver and Jim Palmer were talking about how someone had to answer the bell for Kansas City and it’s no surprise that the leaders of the day were George Brett, Frank White and Bret Saberhagen. White went 2-4 with a double, homer and drove in three runs. Brett had two singles and walked three times, reaching every time up, a feat reached only by a handful of others in a World Series game. And Saberhagen was exactly what Kansas City needed – a stopper. There’s hope. If they can take Game 4, the momentum may work their way.
The Royals still left too many runners on base, but they look like the better team – St. Louis is only taking advantage of their opportunities more frequently. It’s just going to take some more clutch hits from some Royals in the right situations to turn this back around…
Michael can’t wait until the Game 6 recap, because he’s heard about the Orta play a billion times over the years. You can stay current on all the Kings of Kauffman content and news by following us on Twitter, Facebook, or by way of our RSS feed.