Jewish baseball players in the World Series
Tonight in Houston, when Max Fried of the Atlanta Braves — the greatest active Jewish pitcher in baseball — throws a first-inning pitch to Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros — the biggest active Jewish hitter, it will be the first time. that the two biggest Jewish baseball players faced each other in an MLB game. Whoever wins this contest, which will be repeated two or three times that night, and again in a possible Match 6, has a more than equal chance of winning the World Series.
According to gematria which governs advanced baseball statistics, this will likely be Fried’s ninth pitch. Houston’s first hitter Jose Altuve will see four pitches to start the first inning. Michael Brantley, second at bat, will also see four. Assuming a few minutes between the official start of the game and the first pitch, and taking a reasonable 60 seconds between batters, third at bat Alex Bregman will come home at 8:18 p.m. inverted palindromic Chai-what else?
He will pack the dirt near the catcher with his right foot and then take a short walk around the batter’s box. When he returns he will slam the bat against his shoes and settle into a wide stance. He will slowly circle his bat in the air.
Sixty feet and six inches away, Max Fried will wait until Bregman has finished his routine. The odds are slightly in favor of a man who rode the base, probably Altuve. Jose Altuve is 5 feet 6 inches tall and has short legs. Fried isn’t afraid of trying to steal. He only focuses on Bregman.
Bregman, consistent all year round, reached an even score of 0.300 against lefties like Fried. He’s an old-fashioned, patient, disciplined hitter. He tends to wait for a nice fastball and then shoot it calmly into the outfield.
Fried, who knows this, will step back, crunch his long limbs, and deploy a fastball at 95 mph. Bregman, who doesn’t jump on the first few pitches, will take the strike as he watches – if Fried can squeeze into that fastball on the first pitch, he can rely on his curve ball for the rest of the strike. Bregman makes half contact on curved balls than on fast balls, and hits almost 50% more often. Fried will probably test it with a low curve ball. Bregman won’t bite.
This is the critical point of the at-bat, 1-1, and it will get on the nerves. Fried has a slow, nasty curveball that goes down and goes towards the right-handed hitters. Bregman has an uppercut swing and the left field runs 315 feet.
Fried will stabilize. In Game 5 of the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers just days ago, he was hammered for five runs in four innings in what turned into an 11-2 rout that could have changed the momentum of the series.
It was a shockingly poor performance for Fried, comparable in tragic magnitude perhaps only to Yom Kippur 2019, when Fried, brought in relief, ceded a flood of points to the otherwise mediocre St. Louis Cardinals, who won the match and the series. 13-1.
Alex Bregman also played on Yom Kippur, going 0-4 in a 4-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. The Astros would advance to the World Series, where Bregman would collapse to a dismal 0.207 batting average and miss a title by a hair’s breadth. I’m just saying.
The numbers will tell you that in 2021 the tally will likely drop to 3-1 against patient Bregman before he hits something in the central field, likely a flyout, nothing Altuve could advance on, but also maybe- be a home run.
The 8 and 9 point freefall hitters for the Astros will be the last two outs of the second inning, so when Fried and Bregman meet again in the third inning, it will be in similar circumstances, with one out and a man. at first . Between the two home plate appearances, which explains Fried’s improvement the second time around in the roster, it’s about 50/50 that Bregman, who is about as good a hitter as Fried is a pitcher, will be on the pitch. base at least once in Game 2, especially if he manages to face him again in the 6th.
Overall, balancing the odds of a six-game start with the odds of Fried playing about four innings with the odds of Atlanta dropping in the series and getting to their field faster, the more likely number. times Fried and Bregman will see each other during the streak is five – three in game 2, two in game 6. Combining Fried’s opponent’s average against hitters like Bregman and Bregman’s average against pitchers like Fried, this will most likely result in a single left, one step, one groundout and two flyouts induced by Fried’s vicious curve. Considering both Bregman’s position in order (behind Altuve and ahead of hitters Yuli Gurriel and Yordan Alvarez) and his particularly excellent WRC + (a measure of run creation), this will boil down to a respectable RBI and a run.
But the probabilities get blurry on this kind of scale. Metrics like ERA and batting average are supposed to work over a long season, with plenty of time for outliers to be absorbed back into the average. So in five plate appearances anything could happen, especially since Max Fried has been unpredictable this season – a bad start, followed by a resurgence, a dive, and then a flawless finish, followed by shortly thereafter by his NLCS disaster. A record of 14-7 and an ERA of 3.04 masks a highly variable exit.
What the numbers won’t tell you is that after his infamous 2019 collapse, Max Fried hasn’t played a single Jewish holiday this year. He left the game before sunset on Shavuot, Tisha B’Av and Rosh Hashanah, allowing just two earned runs in 19 sets played before Yom Tov. While there have been times when it seems to have made sense to bring him in, he has been absent – while Bregman, in what can be described as a statistically unlikely event, has played almost every holiday this year – and furiously. After going 2-4 on the second day of Shavuot, he suffered a quadriceps injury that forced him to retire for a game against the White Sox at Tisha B’Av.
Upon his return, ignoring the possible warning from above, Bregman went on a rampage during the Jewish holidays. It hit .357 from Tisha Be’Av on Yom Kippur and hit .529. On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, while Fried sat fervently on the bench, he went 6-11 with eight RBIs. But then, immediately after Yom Kippur, Bregman crashed. His batting average dipped to a dismal 0.113 and stayed there.
Meanwhile, Max Fried emerged days after Kol Nidre and calmly pitched seven scoreless innings for the San Francisco Giants, the best team in baseball. Days later, he threw a three-hit shutout for the San Diego Padres, then after missing Shemini Atzeret, gave the Phillies an earned run in seven innings.
So what does all this mean? Personally, I would love to see Alex Bregman send a Max Fried fastball over the low wall of left field on Wednesday night and lead the Astros to victory. The Astros are a great team that have had a great season and deserve a championship without cheating. They will most likely come up with an easy 3-2 and come back to Houston for a potentially decisive game 6.
And then on November 2, Max Fried can read up on Yaakov and Esau before taking the mound, back up and blowing a fastball past Alex Bregman, right in the middle, with late-inning defensive substitute Garrett Stubbs behind the plate. for the Astros, before Joc Pederson, the Braves’ own Jewish slugger, adorned with the classic old Jewish lady’s pearl necklace that has become his trademark, strikes a historic moon shot out of Minute Maid Park, sending the series to a truly decisive game 7 – which is what all true baseball fans aspire to.