January 13, 2018

June 5, 1984 - O Say Does That Star Spangled...

Game #674 - Milwaukee Brewers, 7 @ Baltimore Orioles, 11

The Orioles are my favorite team.  I've said this many times.  This marked their 54th game of the Statis Pro season.  That means they've played exactly one-third of their season.  Logically, I know I still have many YEARS to play with them.  Emotionally, I was a bit melancholy.  I only have two-thirds of their season left!  It certainly doesn't help that they'd lost five of their previous six games before this one...

In the top of the first Dion James led off the game with a triple.  He later scored on a Jim Sundberg ground out.  An Al Bumbry fielding error in the top of the second resulted in three more runs scored off Dennis Martinez and it looked like the route was on...except it wasn't!

In the bottom of the second Bumbry roped a two-RBI double to cut the lead in half.  And then in the bottom of the third Wayne Gross launched his 15th homer of the year, this one off Jamie Cocanower, to give Baltimore the 5-4 lead! 

Fast forward to the bottom of the sixth.  The Orioles still had the lead, but it was still only by a run.  Todd Cruz lined an RBI single and then, with Cruz and Eddie Murray on base, Rick Dempsey blasted the Orioles second three-run homer of the game!  Martinez overcame the rough start to log eight innings and the Brewers went back to the hotel as losers.

Winning Pitcher - Dennis Martinez
Losing Pitcher - Jamie Cocanower
Player of the Game - Rick Dempsey, 2-4, 2B, HR, 3RBI, BB
Hall of Famers in the Game - Robin Yount, Cal Ripken, Eddie Murray

January 11, 2018

June 4, 1984 - A Gentleman Sutter

Game #673 - Philadelphia Phillies, 5 @ St. Louis Cardinals, 6

Jerry Koosman and Jaquin Andujar cruised through the first three innings of the game with relative ease.  But in the bottom of the fourth the St. Louis bats dinked and dunked Koosman right out of the game.  They sent ten batters to the plate and scored five runs, including an RBI triple by David Green.  Koosman managed six strikeouts but gave up six hits in the fifth, all singles minus Green's three-bagger.

Andujar got into a jam in the top of the fifth.  He gave up RBI singles to Ivan DeJesus and Von Hayes and got lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom half of the inning.  The Cardinals bullpen would need to log four innings to preserve the win for Andujar.  Neil Allen was handed the ball first, but he got torched for three runs on just two outs.  Two of those runs came courtesy of a Gary Maddox  homer.  Dave Rucker got the final out in the sixth and three more in the seventh.  In the top of the eighth, with just a one run lead, Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter came to the mound.  He recorded six straight outs to guarantee victory for the Cardinals.

Winning Pitcher - Bruce Sutter
Losing Pitcher - Jerry Koosman
Save - Bruce Sutter
Player of the Game - Bruce Sutter, 2IP, 0H's, 0BB's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Mike Schmidt, Ozzie Smith, Bruce Sutter

January 8, 2018

June 4, 1984 - Injuries Galore

Game #671 - Houston Astros, 2 @ San Diego Padres, 8

Joe Niekro's knuckler just wasn't knuckling.  In the bottom of the first the Padres jumped all over the veteran pitcher, lighting him up for four runs.  That included a three-run homer from Graig Nettles.

San Diego had a scare in the top of the fifth.  Bill Doran stepped up with one out and blooped one right in between Tony Gwynn and Steve Garvey.  Those two collided and Doran ended up on second.  They'll both be out for the next game. 

Mark Thurmond pitched seven solid innings and Floyd Chiffer logged the last six outs to give San Diego the victory.

Winning Pitcher - Mark Thurmond
Losing Pitcher - Joe Niekro
Player of the Game - Thurmond, 7IP, 2R's, 9H's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Tony Gwynn

Game #672 - Atlanta Braves, 3 @ San Francisco Giants, 4

Loyal readers of this blog know that, for some reason, the Giants are a cursed team this Statis Pro season when a "Z" comes up on the Fast Action Cards.  They catch more injuries than just about the other 25 teams combined.  So I barely even blinked when Chili Davis and Gene Richards collided on a Randy Johnson liner in the top of the second inning.  Richards will be out for 12 games and it's a baker's dozen for Davis, his second big injury of the year.  Fortunately for the Giants, Al Oliver will be back on the roster for the next game.

In the bottom of the seventh the Giants had a slim 3-1 lead.  Bob Brenly stroked his fourth hit of the game, this one a solo homer, and San Fran needed the breathing room.  In the top of the eighth Greg Minton was working his second inning of relief when Johnson rocked a two-run bomb to close the lead to one.  But Bob Lacey saved Bill Laskey's strong effort by getting the last three outs in the ninth.

Winning Pitcher - Bill Laskey (first on the season, he's now 1-8)
Losing Pitcher - Len Barker
Save - Bob Lacey
Player of the Game - Bob Brenly, 4-4, HR, 2RBI, 2R's

January 5, 2018

Rest in Peace - Rob Picciolo

Sad news to start the new year - Rob Picciolo passed away on Wednesday from an apparent heart attack.  He played the 1984 season as the utility infielder for the California Angels.  Rest in peace, Mr. Picciolo.

January 1, 2018

June 4, 1984 - Rivalry Games

Game #669 - Boston Red Sox, 4 @ New York Yankees, 2

I'm an Orioles fan so I basically hate both of these teams, but man, there I can't deny there's an extra level of excitement when these two teams square off.

Phil Niekro was on the mound for New York and Mike Easler tagged him in the top of the first with a solo homer.  Niekro settled down after that until the top of the fifth.  Marty Barrett singled and then moved to secon on a Roy Smalley throwing error that also allowed Bill Buckner to make it to first.  Both advanced a base on a Jackie Gutierrez sacrifice bunt.  Two batters later Dwight Evans singled home Barrett and then Mike Easler doubled home the remaining two runners to make it 4-0 in favor of Boston.

In the bottom half of the inning Ken Griffey led of with a double and then scored on a Roy Smalley triple.  Smalley later trotted home on a Tim Foli single, but that's all the runs New York could muster.  This marks their seventh straight loss as they tumble down the AL East standings...

Winning Pitcher - Bruce Hurst
Losing Pitcher - Phil Niekro
Save - John Henry Johnson
Player of the Game - Mike Easler, 3-4, 2B, HR, 2RBI, R
Hall of Famers in the Game - Wade Boggs, Jim Rice, Phil Niekro

Game #670 - New York Mets, 3 @ Pittsburgh Pirates, 1

Sometimes you pitch a good game and still lose.

The very first batter of the game, Kelvin Chapman, took John Candelaria deep to give the Mets a quick 1-0 lead.  But the Candy Man only allowed one more hit over the next four innings.  In the top of the sixth, though, Sid Fernandez squeaked one over the infield.  That brought Chapman back up...and he homered again!  He only had three homers in the real 1984 and none so far in this Statis Pro season but he managed to collect two in the same game.  Candelaria struck out ten but the two homers were enough to give El Sid the win.

Winning Pitcher - Sid Fernandez
Losing Pitcher - John Candelaria
Save - Jesse Orosco
Player of the Game - Kelvin Chapman, 2-3, 2HRs, 3RBI

December 30, 2017

June 4, 1984 - Identical Scores

Game #667 - Cincinnati Reds, 6 @ Los Angeles Dodgers, 5

Gary Redus stood on second base with one out in the top of the first when Cesar Cedeno dug in against Rick Honeycutt.  He must have ate his Wheaties because he jacked it over the fence for a quick 2-0 lead for the Reds.

Cincy was up 3-0 by the bottom of the second, but back to back RBI hits by Steve Sax and Dave Anderson closed the lead to one.  The Reds responded in the top of the fourth.  This time it was Cedeno standing on second when Dave Parker went big-fly for the second two-run homer of the game.

The Dodgers kept chipping back, especially in the bottom of the seventh when Ken Landreaux launched his own two-run bomb but John Franco recorded the last four outs to save the game for the Reds.

Winning Pitcher - Joe Price
Losing Pitcher - Rick Honeycutt
Save - John Franco
Player of the Game - Cesar Cedeno, 2-4, HR, 2RBI, 2R's, SB

Game #668 - Texas Rangers, 6 @ Minnesota Twins, 5

It was a scoreless game until the top of the second, when the Rangers sent nine batters to the plate against Minnesota starter John Butcher.  Gary Ward walked to start that inning and then stole his first base of the year.  But Dave Engle air-mailed the throw allowing Ward to score on the error.  Marv Foley followed later with a two-RBI single.

By the bottom of the ninth the Rangers had a 6-1 lead.  Danny Darwin was masterful, and the only run he allowed was unearned thanks to a Buddy Bell throwing error.  With the five run cushion Tom Henke trotted to the mound to close things out.  His real 1984 was atrocious and his Statis Pro form is even worse.  He maintained that rep by allowing a double to Dave Engle and then a hit plus a fielding error on a Jim Eisenreich single.  Pinch-hitter Randy Bush walked and that brought up Kirby Puckett.  He was 0 for 4 up to that point but jumped all over a Henke fastball to zap a triple that plated two.  All of a sudden the Twins were only down two!  Henke got yanked for closer Dave Schmidt.  With Puckett on third Mickey Hatcher flew out deep enough in right field to score Puckett.  That made it a one-run lead with two outs and Kent Hrbek at the plate.  But Schmidt dug deep and K-ed Hrbek for the ballgame. 

There were eight total errors in the game, which I'm pretty sure was a record for the season.

Winning Pitcher - Danny Darwin
Losing Pitcher - John Butcher
Save - Dave Schmidt
Player of the Game - Darwin, 8IP, 1R, 7K's, 6H's, 0BB's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Kirby Puckett

Happy Trails...Jim Eisenreich

This was Eisenreich's last game of the Statis Pro season.  In the real 1984 he left baseball for three years to overcome his case of Tourettes.  He was quite the inspiration for others who suffer from the symptom when he came back to baseball in 1987 and found success with the Phillies and Marlins among other teams.

Let's see how he did in the real 1984 compared to this Statis Pro season:

Real 1984:  1R, 7H, 2B, 3RBI, 2S, 2BB, .219/.250/.250
Statis Pro:  3R, 9H, 0B, 1RBI, 2S, 5BB, .391/.500/.391

Yikes - that's a huge difference.  In a very small sample size (28 plate appearances on the Statis Pro season) Eisenreich got very lucky.  In the real 1984 his departure from the team cleared the way for future Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett.  I've been playing Puckett since day one, though.  I'm bringing in Pat Putnam to replace Eisenreich's spot on the roster.

December 26, 2017

June 4, 1984 - The Mark of the Devil

Happy holidays!  I hope you get this week off of work like I do.  I haven't got a lot of games in of late due to family in town and more still to come.  I also don't like playing game #666 the day after Christmas, but it is what it is...to the recaps!

Game #665 - Toronto Blue Jays, 14 @ Detroit Tigers, 5

I haven't been this pumped for a game in a long while, and this first game of the series between the top two teams in the AL East started off quite compelling but descended into madness soon after.

In the top of the first eight Blue Jays came to the plate against a laboring Dan Petry.  RBI hits by Willie Upshaw, Jesse Barfield, and Rance Mulliniks had Toronto up 3-0.  But in the bottom half of the inning Lou Whitaker and newly announced Hall of Famer Alan Trammell rapped a single apiece to put two on for Kirk Gibson...who went big-fly to tie the game up for Detroit!

And then the Blue Jays scored ELEVEN runs across the second and third innings.  So much for a back and forth nail-biter between the two best teams in the American League...

Winning Pitcher - Jim Clancy
Losing Pitcher - Dan Petry
Player of the Game - Rance Mulliniks, 4-6, 3B, 3RBI, 2R's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Alan Trammell!!!

Game #666 - Seattle Mariners, 16 @ Kansas City Royals, 8

The Mariners played the role of the devil against poor Kansas City.  Charlie Leibrandt faced ELEVEN batters in the top of the first, getting shelled for five runs.  Three of those scored thanks to back-to-back doubles from Alvin Davis and Al Cowens.

The Royals put up a two-spot in the bottom half of the first in an honest attempt to stay in the game.  But Leibrandt didn't make it out of the third and the KC bullpen was taxed throughout the rest of the game.  Joe Beckwith was solid through three-plus innings until Alvin Davis crushed a two-run bomb in the sixth.  Paul Splittorff, making his final appearance of the season (and career) came on in the seventh and got destroyed.  Jim Presley, Ken Phelps, and then Alvin Davis again all homered off him and Splittorff had to split without recording his third out of the game.

The Royals staged a minor rally in the bottom of the ninth, scoring five runs off struggling Mariners reliever Roy Thomas, but it wasn't nearly enough to overcome the deficit.

Winning Pitcher - Mike Moore
Losing Pitcher - Charlie Liebrandt
Player of the Game - Alvin Davis, 3-4, 2B, 2HR's, 2BB's, 4RBI, 3R's
Hall of Famers in the Game - George Brett

Happy Trails...Paul Splittorff

As I mentioned above, this marked the last appearance of Kansas City legend Paul Splittorff.  The late, great Splittorff struggled mightily in the real 1984, his last season in the big leagues.  He pitched all 15 of his seasons for the Royals, and it was a rough way for the talented lefty to leave the game.  Before giving up six runs in this contest he was actually doing better than his real 1984 stats, but that got ruined by the Mariners bats.  Let's compare the stats:

Real 1984:  1-3, 7.71ERA, 28IP, 4K's, 10BB's, 2.04WHIP
Statis Pro:  1-2, 8.23 ERA, 35IP, 19K's, 15BB's, 2.17WHIP

The innings pitched differential was thanks to a successful long relief appearance a few games back.  Otherwise, these stats are pretty similar minus the surplus of strikeouts in this Statis Pro season.

With Splittorff gone rookie Danny Jackson has been added to the bullpen... 

December 23, 2017

June 4, 1984 - Lefty Sluggers Deliver

Game #663 - California Angels, 7 @ Chicago White Sox, 5

The Angels got an unexpected power boost in the top of the second inning.  With Reggie Jackson on first with two outs, Rob Wilfong gripped it and ripped it for a two-run homer.  The White Sox answered back with a run in the bottom of the second.  Greg Walker tripled and later came home on a Vance Law single.

Each team got three runs in the third.  Brian Downing doubled home Dick Schofield and later scored on a two-run single from Jackson.  Carlton Fisk doubled home Julio Cruz and Scott Fletcher and scored on a Ron Kittle ground out.  After the dust of the first three innings settled the Angels were up 5-4.

California starter Ron Romanick settled down after that, but White Sox hurler LaMarr Hoyt didn't follow suit.  Fred Lynn tagged him for a two-run bomb in the top of the fifth.  The White Sox scored a run in the bottom of the ninth but still fell short, losing 7-5.

Winning Pitcher - Ron Romanick
Losing Pitcher - Lamarr hoyt
Save - Doug Corbett
Player of the Game - Fred Lynn, 2-5, 2B, HR, 2RBI
Hall of Famers in the Game - Rod Carew, Reggie Jackson, Carlton Fisk

Game #664 - Oakland A's, 11 @ Cleveland Indians, 9

This game was nuts.

In the top of the first Rickey Henderson walked and proceeded to steal second and third base.  Two batters later Dwayne Murphy negated Henderson's effort by depositing the ball over the right field fence, giving Oakland a 2-0 lead.  But in the bottom of the first Cleveland tied things up with an RBI double from Andre Thornton, who then scored on a Mike Hargrove single.

Steve Farr was still pitching in the top of the second but pulled a feat I'm pretty sure hasn't happened this season - he walked five straight A's!  That gave Oakland a 4-2 lead going into the bottom of the second...where Cleveland sent up ten hitters who tagged Mike Warren for six runs, four of which were unearned due to a Joe Morgan fielding error.

Oakland wouldn't quit, though.  In the top of the fourth Murphy connected for his second homer of the day, this also a 2-RBI job, and then they scored four runs off Jamie Easterly in the fifth.  It wasn't all Easterly's fault, though.  Brook Jacoby had TWO fielding errors during the inning.   Murphy capped off the insanity with a THIRD homer, this time solo, in the top of the eighth as the Athletics won a wild one...

Winning Pitcher - Chuck Rainey
Losing Pitcher - Jamie Easterly
Save - Tom Burgmeier
Player of the Game - Dwayne Murphy, 3-6, 3HR's, 5RBI
Hall of Famers in the Game - Rickey Henderson, Joe Morgan

December 19, 2017

June 4, 1984 - Oglivie Delivers

Game #662 - Milwaukee Brewers, 4 @ Baltimore Orioles, 2

Don Sutton and Mike Boddicker faced off and were doing pretty well until the bottom of the second.  A Jim Ganter error allowed Eddie Murray to reach base.  Wayne Gross walked after that.  Then Rick Dempsey singled to load the bases.  Rich Dauer flew out to center and then Ken Singleton popped out to Sutton.  But John Shelby roped a single that plated Murray and Gross.

Sutton must have been irked from that inning, because in the bottom of the fourth he got tossed for arguing with the umpire.  Pete Ladd and Ray Searage rose to the occasion, though, tossing five innings of scoreless relief.

In the top of the seventh Cecil Cooper singled off Boddicker, which was just the third hit of the game for the Brewers.  Then Robin  Yount singled as well.  That brought up Ben Oglivie.  He sent a shot soaring to Lake Michigan and all of a sudden Milwaukee was up 3-2.  They picked up an insurance run in the eighth and Rollie Fingers pitched a perfect ninth to secure the win.

Winning Pitcher - Ray Searage
Losing Pitcher - Mike Boddicker
Save - Rollie Fingers
Player of the Game - Ben Oglivie, 1-4, HR, 3RBI
Hall of Famers in the Game - Robin Yount, Don Sutton, Rollie Fingers, Cal Ripken, Eddie Murray

December 16, 2017

June 3, 1984 - Six Sigma

Game #661 - New  York Yankees, 3 @ Toronto Blue Jays, 6

Ray Fontenot has been unlucky when you compare his performance in Statis Pro to his true talent in the real 1984.  That luck didn't change in this game.

In the bottom of the first the Blue Jays took the early lead with a lead off homer by Dave Collins.  Five more Blue Jays recorded hits before Willie Upshaw finally grounded out.  They plated two more runs to jump out 3-0.

In the top of the third the Yankees charged back.  Doyle Alexander walked Bobby Meacham and then, two batters later, gave up a two-run home run to Don Mattingly.  Donnie Baseball had four hits on the day and suddenly the Bronx Bombers were within one.

Fontenot was still pitching on fumes to save the New York bullpen in the fourth when, with two runners on, Lloyd Moseby cranked a three-run bomb to extend the Toronto lead to four.  The Yankees threatened in the top of the ninth.  Mike Pagliarulo homered off Jim Gott, and then Gott gave up a hit to Ken Griffey and a walk to Willie Randolph.  Gott got yanked for Jimmy Key with fellow lefty Don Mattingly coming up.  Mattingly singled off Key to load the bases but Don Baylor lined out to George Bell, who was playing third base, to end the game.

Winning Pitcher - Doyle Alexander
Losing Pitcher - Ray Fontenot
Save - Jimmy Key
Player of the Game - Lloyd Moseby, 2-4, 2B, HR, 3RBI

December 14, 2017

June 3, 1984 - Sans Victory

Game #659 - San Diego Padres, 2 @ San Francisco Giants, 3

The Padres and Giants faced off in a twin bill, and San Fran jumped out early in the bottom of the first.  Jeff Leonard jacked a two-run homer and rounded the bases with one flap down to give the Giants an early 2-0 lead.

The Padres tied things up in the top of the third, however.  Gary Templeton singled and then pitcher Tim Lollar drew a walk from Jeff Robinson.  Two batters later Tony Gwynn caught the gap with a line drive triple to knot it at two runs apiece.

In the bottom of the fifth Brad Wellman led off the inning with a double.  Two batters later Robinson helped his own cause by singling him home.  Unfortunately for Robinson, he got caught rounding first too wide and Tony Gwynn threw him out as he tried to get back to the bag.  But that would prove to be enough as Robinson went seven innings for his second win on the year while Gary LaVelle closed out the final two innings.

Winning Pitcher - Jeff Robinson
Losing Pitcher - Tim Lollar
Save - Gary LaVelle
Player of the Game - Robinson, 7IP, 2R's, 4K's, 1-2, RBI
Hall of Famers in the Game - Tony Gwynn, Goose Gossage

Game #660 - San Diego Padres, 4 @ San Francisco Giants, 5

Game two started as a pitcher's duel.  Emergency starters Dave Dravecky and Mark Calvert cruised through the first three innings, with both only allowing one runner in that time.  Calvert actually had a no-hitter going with one out in the fourth when Tony Gwynn hit his first triple of the game but second on the day.  Kevin McReynolds plated him with a double immediately after and the Padres were up, 1-0.

The Giants tied it up in the bottom of the third when Joel Youngblood singled home Jeff Leonard.  And in the bottom of the fourth the Giants tagged Dravecky for three more runs, including a two-run homer from Chili Davis.

The Giants were up 4-2 in the top of the seventh when reliever Randy Lerch allowed three straight hits, including an RBI double by Bruce Bochy.  Frank Williams subbed in but immediately recorded a fielding error that tied things up.

Williams settled down after that, keeping the game tied through the top of the ninth.  In the bottom half of the inning Craig Lefferts was working his third inning of relief when  he walked weak-hitting Duane Kuiper.  Kuiper moved to second on a single by weak-hitting Johnnie LeMaster and Lefferts was in trouble.  Pinch-hitter John Rabb grounded into a double play but that moved Kuiper to third.  Up stepped Chili Davis...who ripped a double to win the game!  Walk-off win for the Giants!!!  They won both games of the doubleheader!

Winning Pitcher - Frank Williams
Losing Pitcher - Craig Lefferts
Player of the Game - Chili Davis, 2-5, 2B, HR, 3RBI, R
Hall of Famers in the Game - Tony Gwynn