January 19, 2017

May 24, 1984 - Let's Play Two!

It occurs to me I've never explained why most of these of posts feature two games at the same time.  The answer is simple:  there are two scorecards per 8.5x11 piece of paper I use!

I still have my original notepad with scorecards that came with my Statis Pro box, but I knew I would blow through that in no time playing this season.  I also knew storing those pages would be harder because they're an odd size.  So I decided to use what you see above - it came with the digital files for all the seasons on the CD my dad bought off eBay a few years back.  For the most part, it works great.  Extra-inning games that go past the 11th can be a problem, as can National League games since there tends to be a lot more pinch-hitting.

The scoring page above is from the two games for this post.  As it so happened, the Cubs were playing two.  The late great Ernie Banks would have loved that.

Game 541 - Atlanta Braves, 1 @ Chicago Cubs, 3

This looked like it was going to be an uphill batter for the Cubs because, prior to the game, I flipped the FAC's to see if Rick Mahler and Scott Sanderson were hot, average, or cold with their stuff.  Mahler actually bumped to a 2-8 rating while Sanderson wasn't feeling it at a 2-5.  But as I've said before...THAT'S WHY YOU PLAY THE GAME!

Bob Dernier attempted  bunt single in the bottom of the first but reached second on a Chris Chambliss error instead.  Ryne Sandberg then singled off the pitcher's card and Dernier scampered home.  A Greg Matthews single moved Ryno to third and then Leon Durham plated him and just like that the Cubbies were up 2-0.  Sanderson, meanwhile, was nearly flawless despite throwing junk.  He lasted eight innings and only gave up two hits.  That was a much needed long performance on a doubleheader day.  Mahler went the distance for the Braves despite tallying the loss.  The win stopped Chicago's THIRTEEN GAME losing streak.  Thank goodness for that.

Winning Pitcher - Scott Sanderson
Losing Pitcher - Rick Mahler
Save - Warren Brusstar
Player of the Game - Sanderson
Hall of Famers in the Game - Ryne Sandberg

Game 542 - Atlanta Braves 4, Chicago Cubs 5

On to game two!

For doubleheaders this season I've allowed clubs to place a 26th player on their roster, which I think they do in current MLB twin bills (though I don't know if it was that way in 1984).  Atlanta let Tony Brizzolara make his season debut as starter while Chicago trotted out Chuck Rainey.  Neither was particularly good in 1984, so I suspected some offense in this one.  Again, THAT'S WHY YOU PLAY THE GAME!

The Cubs got on the board first.  Steve Lake doubled home Leon Durham and Larry Bowa then singled home Mel Hall and Lake.  They added two more in the fifth when Richie Hebner launched a towering homer over the ivy to jump the lead to 5-0.

Rainey pitched into the seventh before giving up his first run, a homer to (not that) Randy Johnson.  Brad Komminsk then reached on a Bowa error and scored after stealing second while Lake airmailed the attempted assist into center field.  After 6 2/3 Rainey hit the showers, but he recorded a season-high ten strikeouts.

Still leading 5-2 Lee Smith came on in the ninth to go for the save.  He promptly loaded the bases and surrendered two runs!  Just as the situation was looking most desire he got Paul Runge to fly out for the second win on the day.  Perhaps this will be the spark that gets the Cubs out of the cellar in the NL East?

Winning Pitcher - Chuck Rainey
Losing Pitcher - Tony Brizzolara
Save - Lee Smith
Player of the Game - Rainey
Hall of Famers in the Game - Ryne Sandberg

Happy Trails...Matt Sinatro

A pretty big problem popped up for me when Bruce Bennedict got injured a few games ago - the Braves essentially only used two catchers in 1984, Bennedict and Alex Trevino.  Matt Sinatro got into two games behind the plate, while Biff Pocoroba had a couple of at-bats but never saw the field.  All that's to say Sinatro got into his two games for the year to spell Trevino and is now done.  What's even sadder than that, though, is he was 0-4 in the real 1984, thus his hitting card had a 1 in 64 chance of an infield hit (FAC 11) or he was an automatic out.  So how did he do in my Statis Pro season?  The exact same: 0-4.  Pocoroba will ride the pine in Sinatro's place until Bennedict is off the DL.

January 15, 2017

May 24, 1984 - Plenty Left

New York Yankees, 3 @ Seattle Mariners, 6

This was a bit of a strange game as Mark Langston was in a lot of trouble through the first four innings.  Willie Randolph got thrown out at home in the first, Don Mattingly was stranded at second in the second, and then Dave Winfield and Rick Cerone both went yard in the third.  Add in a Cerone RBI single in the fourth and the Mariners looked like they could be toast.  However, Langston did strike out six batters through four innings...and ended the game with 13!  That was the big story of the game, as Langston carved up the Bronx Bombers in the back half of the match.

Winning Pitcher - Mark Langston
Losing Pitcher - Ray Fontenot
Player of the Game - Langston, CG, 13K's, 3R's, 0BB's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Dave Winfield

Milwaukee Brewers, 7 @ Texas Rangers, 6

This was the 43rd game of the year for Texas, and they still weren't at ten wins on the season.  They were fired up in the first inning, though, scoring three runs off Don Sutton to start the contest.  Milwaukee came roaring back, though.  Ben Oglivie hit a solo homer in the second and then Robin Yount deposited a ball into the bleachers with the bases loaded - GRAND SLAM!  But the Rangers kept trying to chip their way back into it.  Going into the bottom of the ninth they were only down by two.  Jim Kern was on the mound for the Brew Crew, and he didn't give up a run in the real 1984.  But with one out Marv Foley launched a home run that Kern couldn't do anything about.  He recorded the final two outs, though, to save the, uh, save.

Winning Pitcher - Don Sutton
Losing Pitcher - Danny Darwin
Save - Jim Kern
Player of the Game - Ray Searage, 2IP, 0H's, 0BB's, 2K's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Robin Yount, Don Sutton

January 12, 2017

May 24, 1984 - Five Below

Happy belated New Year's!  Usually the Christmas holiday allows for me to crank out a ton of Statis Pro games, but this time we had various family members from out of town visiting for three straight weeks!  I actually haven't played a game since mid-December.  I've got the shakes!

Detroit Tigers, 11 @ California Angels, 5

This game didn't start off well for Jack Morris.  He gave up a two-run homer to Fred Lynn in the first and another one in the third!  With a 4-0 lead Ron Romanick was cruising.  In fact, he hadn't allowed a hit through the first three innings!  But the Tigers came roaring back (#pun)  in the fourth.  They knocked three straight doubles (Gibson, Lemon, and Rupert Jones) to cut the lead in half.

It was in the fifth, though, that they did their major damage.  They plated SIX runs, including a grand slam by Jones.  Jack Morris wound up going the distance...even though Bobby Grich tagged him for a third home run surrendered in the game in the seventh.

Winning Pitcher - Jack Morris
Losing Pitcher - Ron Romanick
Player of the Game - Rupert Jones, 2-5, 2B, Grand Slam, 5RBI
Hall of Famers in the Game - Rod Carew, Reggie Jackson

Baltimore Orioles, 5 @ Oakland A's, 8

Denny Martinez made his second start on the season and the Orioles gifted him a 2-0 lead after the top of the first but Oakland was having none of it.  Dave Kingman went big-fly with a three-run homer as the A's tagged El Presidente with four in the first.  Martinez settled down a bit until the fifth when Oakland ruined a newly tied game for the Orioles by scoring three more off the Baltimore starter.  Tim Conroy and Keith Atherton relieved Steve McCatty for 2 and 2/3 innings to preserve the win.

Winning Pitcher - Steve McCatty
Losing Pitcher - Denny Martinez
Save - Keith Atherton
Player of the Game - Dave Kingman, 2-5, HR, 4RBI, R
Hall of Famers in the Game - Cal Ripken, Eddie Murray, Rickey Henderson, Joe Morgan

December 19, 2016

May 23rd, 1984 - NL East Leaders Emerge

Game #535 - Cincinnati Reds, 0 @ Pittsburgh Pirates, 2

After an error by Dave Concepcion in the bottom of the first allowed Lee Lacy to end up on third, Jason Thompson singled him home to give Pitt the quick 1-0 lead.  In the bottom of the second Doug Frobel launched a solo shot to make it 2-0, but that was the lump sum of scoring for the game.  Jay Tibbs went seven strong for the Reds, but Rich Rhoden was absolutely filthy, going the distance for the shutout as Frobel threw out Dan Driessen at the plate to preserve the goose egg.  The win got the Pirates back over .500 on the season, good for second place in the NL East.

Winning Pitcher - Rick Rhoden
Losing Pitcher - Jay Tibbs
Player of the Game - Rhoden, CG SHO, 4K's, 1-3

Game #536 - Houston Astros, 5 @ St. Louis Cardinals, 8

The Red Birds raced out to a 7-1 lead after four innings, thanks in part to a two-run homer from David Green.  Bob Forsch appeared in his first game of the season, and even though his performance was shakey at best (9 hits, 4 walks in 5 2/3IP), it was enough for the winning against their fellow divisional leader.  It also ensured the Astros wouldn't sweep the series.
Winning Pitcher - Bob Forsch
Losing Pitcher - Nolan Ryan
Save - Dave VonOhlen
Player of the Game - David Green, 2-4, HR, 2RBI, 2R's, SB
Hall of Famers in the Game - Nolan Ryan, Ozzie Smith

December 13, 2016

May 23, 1984 - Expos, Dodgers Win

San Diego Padres, 1 @ Montreal Expos, 6

Montreal led early and often in this game.  They jumped out 2-0 off Eddie Whitson in the first, with Andre Dawson recording an RBI single and Tim Wallach an RBI ground out.  The Expos loaded the bases in the fourth and Argenis Salazar and Bryn Smith both laid down perfect squeeze bunts.  San Diego ruined Smith's shutout in the ninth, but it was too little too late.

Winning Pitcher - Bryn Smith
Losing Pitcher - Eddie Whitson
Player of the Game - Smith, CG, 5H's, 4K's, 1R
Hall of Famers in the Game - Tony Gwynn, Gary Carter, Andre Dawson.

Los Angeles Dodgers, 4 @ Philadelphia Phillies, 3

I've told this story a few times now, but my dad is a Dodgers fan and grumbles to this day about Tom Niedenfuer and his classic meltdowns on the mound.  He's had some in Statis Pro too, and this game was nearly the same thing all over again.  With a two run lead in the bottom of the ninth, pinch-hitter Greg Gross singled with one out.  Luis Aguayo then doubled, with Gross moving to third.  Juan Samuel hit a soft fly ball to right, so Gross couldn't advance.  That brought up Sixto Lezcano and Niedenfuer walked him to load the bases!  John Wockenfuss was next in the batter's box, and he walked too, plating Gross and leaving the bases loaded and only a one run deficit.  Worse yet, Mike Schmidt was at the plate!  But Niedenfuer finally got out of the jam.  Schmidt grounded out to Bill Russell and L.A. held on to the win.

Winning Pitcher - Rick Honeycutt
Losing Pitcher - John Denny
Save - Tom Niedenfuer
Player of the Game - Honeycutt, 8IP, 2R's, 6H's, 7K's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Mike Schmidt

December 11, 2016

May 23, 1984 - Kind of Blue

Every now and then my baseball card scan has a cool look/parity to it.  Love this shot of Moseby and Royster, back to back, in their powder blues...

Game #531 - Minnesota Twins, 5 @ Toronto Blue Jays, 7

I thought the Twinkies had the upper-hand in this one.  Mickey Hatcher hit a three-run blast off Blue Jays ace Doyle Alexander in the first inning, but Lloyd Moseby answered with his own two-RBI moonshot in the bottom half of the inning.

John Butcher settled down after that...until the fifth that is.  With Rance Mulliniks on, DH Willie Aikens went yard to give Toronto the 4-3 lead.  But in the top of the sixth, with two runners on, Gary Gaetti hit a bases clearing double to once again give Minnesota the one run lead.  But Butcher choked the lead again when Tony Fernandez singled home Moseby to tie it back up.

In the bottom of the seventh Damaso Garcia smoked a triple with two outs.  Moseby then rapped his second double of the game to plate Garcia, but Moseby scored too when Darrell Brown booted the ball in center.  Roy Lee Jackson and Dennis Lamp closed the door for the Blue Jays win.

Winning Pitcher - Doyle Alexander
Losing Pitcher - Rick Lysander
Save - Dennis Lamp
Player of the Game - Lloyd Moseby, 3-4, HR, 2 2b's, 3RBI, 3R's

Game #532 - Atlanta Braves, 11 @ Chicago Cubs, 10

This game was such a hot mess, I'm not sure how to recap it.  How about some bulleted highlights?

  • After the top of the sixth, Atlanta was up 10-0.  Steve Trout laid an egg for Chicago.
  • Ryne Sandberg walked FIVE times in one game.  Ron Cey had three of his own.
  • Four Braves knocked homers:  Brad Komminsk, Dale Murphy, Albert Hall, and Jerry Royster.
  • Chicago staged a furious comeback in the bottom of the ninth, scoring six runs and they had Bull Durham on second when Jody Davis grounded out to end the game.
  • This is the THIRTEENTH loss in a row for the Cubs.
Winning Pitcher - Craig McMurtry
Losing Pitcher - Steve Trout
Save - Gene Garber
Player of the Game - Jerry Royster, 5-5, HR, 2 2b's, 3R's, 4RBI
Hall of Famers in the Game - Ryne Sandberg

December 6, 2016

May 23, 1984 - Almost a Perfect 10

Game #529 - New York Yankees, 10 @ Seattle Mariners, 9 (11 innings)

Let's do something different.  Let's look at who won each inning:

First - The Yankees, 1-0.  Dave Winfield doubled, Mattingly singled him home.

Second - Mariners, 6-2.  Phil Niekro got crushed.  Bill Nahorodny smacked a two-run single during the Seattle onslaught.

Third - Mariners, 1-0.  Nahorodny again, this time a solo homer.

Fourth - Yankees, 3-2.  Dave Winfield with a two run bomb!

Fifth through Eighth - tie, 0-0.

Ninth - Yankees, 3-0!  The Mariners had a three run lead, but reliever Mike Stanton gave up a solo homer to Don Mattingly and three batters later Roy Smalley cranked a game-tying, two run blast!

Tenth - tie, 0-0.

Eleventh - Yankees, 1-0.  With runners on second and third and no outs, Smalley grounded out to first but it plated pinch-runner Toby Harrah for what ended up being the winning run!

Winning Pitcher - Mike Armstrong
Losing Pitcher - Ed VandeBerg
Player of the Game - Roy Smalley, 1-4, HR, 3RBI, 2BB's, 2R's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Dave Winfield, Phil Niekro

Game #530 - Milwaukee Brewers, 6 @ Texas Rangers, 4

It's the battle of the Cellar Dwellers, take two!

The Rangers actually had an early 2-0 lead on Milwaukee, but in the fifth Bill Schroeder hit the first of his two solo homers on the day and Randy Ready lined an RBI triple that scored Rick Manning.  They were up to six runs after seven, which was enough of a lead for Ned Yost's first home run on the season to not spoil the day.  Rollie Fingers went 1 and 2/3 innings to save the game for the Brew Crew and prevent the Rangers from winning their tenth game of the year.

Winning Pitcher - Bob McClure
Losing Pitcher - Dave Stewart
Save - Rollie Fingers
Player of the Game - Fingers, 1 2/3IP, Save
Hall of Famers in the Game - Robin Yount, Rollie Fingers

December 1, 2016

May 23, 1984 - Left-Handed Lift

Chicago White Sox, 1 @ Kansas City Royals, 5

The Royals right now are being held together by cheap gauze and Band-Aids, but wouldn't you know it, they're playing great baseball despite half of their starters being on the disabled list.  They scored a single run in five different innings, with five different batters (Hal McRae, Lynn Jones, Darryl Motley, Greg Pryor, and Onix Concepcion) recording the corresponding RBI.

It was Bud Black who was the real star, though.  He didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning, and not even a run until the eighth.  He struck out six and walked four while only giving up three hits.

Winning Pitcher - Bud Black
Losing Pitcher  - Britt Burns
Player of the Game - Bud Black

Baltimore Orioles, 5 @ Oakland A's, 3

This game kept tilting back and forth on the scoreboard.  The A's damaged Scott McGregor for two runs in the first, including an RBI single by Carney Lansford.  But in the top of the second the Orioles tied it up on a Rich Dauer double and a fielding error by Dwayne Murphy.  Murphy made up for it in the third with a solo homer, but John Lowenstein crushed one for two RBI to give the Orioles the lead once again, this time at 4-3.  John Shelby would add a solo shot in the seventh as the Birds got the win.

Winning Pitcher - Scott McGregor
Losing Pitcher - Ray Burris
Save - Sammy Stewart
Player of the Game - Tonight, let it be Lowenstein
Hall of Famers in the Game - Cal Ripken, Eddie Murray, Rickey Henderson, Joe Morgan

November 28, 2016

May 23, 1984 - Prepare Launch Sequence

Game #525 - Cleveland Indians, 4 @ Boston Red Sox, 1

Wade Boggs roped a double in the first, one of his two for the game, and then moved to third on a Jim Rice sacrifice fly.  Tony Armas was up next and scorched a triple to plate Boggs and give the Red Sox an early 1-0 lead.

Cleveland came chipping back.  In the fourth Brook Jacoby knocked home George Vukovich to tie things up.  Then in the fifth Vukovich scored again, this time thanks to an Andre Thornton double.  It stayed 2-1 until the eighth inning.  Dennis Eckersley was still handing in there as the starting pitcher but with two runners on Tony Bernazard cleared the bases with a clutch double.  That was it for Eck and pretty much the ball game too as Cleveland won their third in a row against the team from Beantown.

Winning Pitcher - Neal Heaton
Losing Pitcher - Dennis Eckersley
Save - Ernie Camacho
Player of the Game - George Vukovich, 3-5, homer short of the cycle, 2R's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Wade Boggs, Jim Rice, Dennis Eckersley

Happy Trails...Dennis Eckersley

It's not Happy Trails for the rest of the season, since Eck got traded to the Cubs for the last two-thirds of the real 1984, so we'll certainly see him again over in the National League.  But this was his swan song with Boston.  How did Statis Pro Eckersley compare to the real Boston Eck?  Let's take a look:

Real 1984:  4-4  5.01ERA  64.2IP  2CG  38R/36ER  33K's  1.29WHIP
Statis Pro:   4-2  3.86ERA  58.2IP  1CG  38R/25ER  38K's  1.56WHIP

First glances would have you believe Statis Pro Dennis outperformed the real deal, but a closer look will show his WHIP was higher in my Statis Pro season and he was the beneficiary of 13 runs that went as unearned.  In essence, they performed about the same.  For Boston he was only a "2-5" rated starter but now that he's moving to the Windy City I think that card will be "2-7."  The other big news with Eckersley's departure is who is taking his place in the Boston rotation.  That's right...a rookie flamethrower known as "The Rocket."  I've waited a long time for this moment, but soon we'll see the debut of a Mr. Roger Clemens.

Game #526 - Detroit Tigers, 6 @ California Angels, 0

This game is a tale of two Juan Berenguer's.  Through the first four and a half innings, he walked seven and gave up four hits.  Somehow, no runs scored.  But with two on in the fifth, he then went eleven batters straight without an Angel reaching base.  During that streak he struck out six California hitters in a row and eight total!  Willie Hernandez came on in relief to slam the door shut for a Detroit victory.

Winning Pitcher - Juan Berenguer
Losing Pitcher - Bruce Kison
Player of the Game - Lou Whitaker, 2-5, HR, 3RBI
Hall of Famers in the Game - Rod Carew, Reggie Jackson

November 26, 2016

May 22, 1984 - Make 7 Up Yours

Game #523 - Cincinnati Reds, 3 @ Pittsburgh Pirates, 7

It was a rough start for both Jeff Russell and Larry McWilliams.  The Reds plated two runs after three straight singles and a walk to start things off in the top of the first.  In the bottom half of the inning Russell loaded the bases with only one out.  Dave Concepcion made a key error that led to three unearned runs on Russell's tab.

It stayed 3-2 Pirates until the Reds tied it up in the top of the fifth thanks in part to a Marvelle Wynne error that permitted Concepcion to score.  Wynne made up for the gaff by throwing out Cesar Cedeno at home plate a couple of batters later.

It was still tied in the bottom of the eighth when Ted Power relieved Russell, who besides his rough first inning, pitched a marvelous six innings after that.  Power has been the mayor of bad luck city in this Statis Pro season and that mad mojo continued Johnny Ray scored on a Lee Lacy single after a Duane Walker error.  With two runners on after that Jim Morrison, in the game for a now injured (20 games!) Bill Madlock, deposited a ball over the left filed fence to pad the Pirates lead and secure the win.

Winning Pitcher - Kent Tekulve
Losing Pitcher - Ted Power
Player of the Game - Jim Morrison, 1-1, HR, 3RBI
Hall of Famers in the Game - Tony Perez

Game #524 - Houston Astros, 8 @ St. Louis Cardinals, 7

Houston was up 7-1 after two and a half innings, but the Cardinals kept clawing back for the rest of the game in this battle between the two first place teams in the National League.  And just like the last game, Houston emerged victorious as every non-pitching starter for the 'stros had a hit and five different batters collected RBI's.

Winning Pitcher - Vern Ruhle
Losing Pitcher - Danny Cox
Save - Bill Dawley
Player of the Game - Terry Puhl, 2-4, 3B, 3RBI, 2R's, BB
Hall of Famers in the Game - Ozzie Smith, Bruce Sutter

November 24, 2016

May 22, 1984 - Thankful for Power Hitting Rightfielders

Gobble gobble, Statis Pro fans!  I hope you're getting to spend this holiday with friends and loved ones.  And I hope your turkey comas are light enough that you get a game or two in to boot!

Game #521 - San Francisco Giants, 2 @ New York Mets, 7

Bob Brenly of the Giants and Darryl Strawberry of the Mets each had an RBI double in the first inning as both teams came out slugging.  George Foster added a solo homer in the second to give New York the lead.

Disaster struck in the third for the Giants once again.  In yet another brutal twist of fate, Dusty Baker became the latest in a looooooong line of San Fran injuries.  He ran into the wall chasing a Keith Hernandez double and will be out for 30 games!  I think the Giants have logged more DL time than the other 25 teams combined...

Mookie Wilson ripped a three-run homer in the fourth and Strawberry launched a two-run blast in the fifth to ruin Jeff Robinson's day and give the Big Apple something to cheer for.

Winning Pitcher - Sid Fernandez
Losing Pitcher - Jeff Robinson
Save - Brent Gaff
Player of the Game - Strawberry, 2-3, 2b, HR, 3RBI, intentional walk

Game #522 - Los Angeles Dodgers, 10 @ Philadelphia Phillies

Sometimes the tide can really change in a game.  This was a lefty battle as Steve Carlton faced off against Fernando Valenzuela.  Fernando was in trouble early and often, especially after a two-run error by Candy Maldonado.  But in the top of the fifth, L.A. came roaring back.  They plated five against a shell-shocked Carlton, including a home run by Mike Marshall.  Carlton was still in the game when Valenzuela launched his second homer of the season in the sixth.  He has the same total as Pedro Guerrero now, which is crazy.

Winning Pitcher - Fernando Valenzuela
Losing Pitcher - Steve Carlton
Player of the Game - Marshall, 3-4, 2 HR's, 4RBI, Sac Fly
Hall of Famers in the Game - Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton