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World Series Game 4 in review

Wow, Madison Bumgarner was impressive, eh? Total mastery.

Granted, he benefited from some luck - Ian Kinsler (to end the seventh) and then Jeff Francoeur and Bengie Molina (to start the eighth) hit three straight hard shots to leftfield that died in the air - but he seemed completely in control out there. Texas manager Ron Washington praised Bumgarner even more effusively than Bruce Bochy did, noting how the left-hander's ability to work quickly and throw strikes kept his defense engaged.

For my column, I wrote about Cliff Lee's next rescue mission, which is eerily similar to the circumstances of his final 2009 start for the Phillies.

Otherwise? There wasn't much to discuss from this game? The legendary and caustic Ray Ratto kicked off Bochy's post-game news conference by asking, "Assuming whether or not to let Bumgarner start the ninth was your toughest decision, did you have any others you needed to make?" Bochy then proceeded to explain why he lifted Bumgarner - and that was a pretty easy call, IMO. Bumgarner looked pretty much spent after throwing 106 pitches over eight innings, and Brian Wilson is a darn good closer.

Ratto followed up, "And your other decision, if you had one?" Bochy, now fully getting where Ratto was going here, smiled and said, "I didn't have one."

So now we find ourselves at that annual precipice of mixed emotions - possibly the last day of baseball for the season. Like last year, the presence of Lee increases the odds that this will not be the actual last day - although this time he's facing Tim Lincecum, and last year, Lee's opponent was A.J. Burnett on three days' rest.

I'd have to think Lee finds a way to keep this season going. After all, he does have the easier assignment tonight.

--For my World Series Insider, I wrote how unappealing the Yankees Plan B appears to look when it comes to acquiring starting pitching this offseason. After Cliff Lee, there just isn't much there, especially if Zach Greinke truly doesn't want to come to New York.

The Lee sweepstakes could come down to the degree of the Yankees' desperation. They were admittedly desperate when they committed seven years to CC Sabathia in December 2008, and that decision paid off with a 2009 title. Now, having fallen short this season, are they equally desperate? Or is there a little more perspective at the ownership level?

--Bob Klapisch reported on Twitter last night that John Gibbons has taken himself out of the running for the Mets' managerial opening. That's too bad for the Mets. I thought Gibbons did a nice job in his first managerial opportunity in Toronto; he lost his job largely because the Blue Jays had a terrible closer in B.J. Ryan. And Gibbons obviously has the Mets history that the Wilpons would love in a manager.

So now who? Wally Backman will get an interview, but that was predetermined before Sandy Alderson got the GM job. it's a concession to the Wilpons. I can't see Alderson and Backman clicking. My bet for the moment is on Mets third-base coach Chip Hale, although consider that an early bet based more on instinct than hard knowledge.

--Let's kick off November with a book giveaway contest, early this afternoon before I head for the ballpark.

 

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