April 25, 2016

May 18, 1984 - Sweet Sixteen

Game #470 - Seattle Mariners, 16 @ Baltimore Orioles, 0

Dennis Martinez made his first start of the season...and it did not go well.  At all.  So far he had only appeared out of the bullpen and this was a terrible transition.  In the first inning alone he gave up six runs, including homers by the torrid Alvin Davis and Al Cowens.  I finally extended mercy on El Presidente by pulling him after three with the M's up 9-0.

Meanwhile, Mark Langston looked strong for Seattle.  He worked in and out of a couple of jams and was pretty much cruising the entire game.  By the time the dust settled he went the distance, recording a shutout and seven K's while scattering twelve base runners.

Winning Pitcher - Mark Langston
Losing Pitcher - Dennis Martinez
Player of the Game - Langston
Hall of Famers in the Game - Cal Ripken, Eddie Murray

April 23, 2016

May 17, 1984 - Claudell Breaks Loose

Atlanta Braves, 11 @ St. Louis Cardinals, 3

The Braves had already lost the first two games of their series against the Cardinals, and were playing for their pride and avoiding a sweep.  Fortunately for Atlanta, they came to play.  With a runner on first in the first inning, Claudell Washington took Danny Cox yard for a two run lead.  The Cardinals, though, answered back in a big way in the bottom half of the inning.  They sent eight hitters to the plate and scored three runs as they nickel and dimed Rick Mahler.

In the top of the third the Braves got back out in front, and again, it was due to a two-run bomb by Claudell!  The Braves tacked on a five run inning in the fifth off reliever Ricky Horton and all the Cardinals could do at that point was lick their wounds.

Winning Pitcher - Rick Mahler
Losing Pitcher - Danny Cox
Player of the Game - Claudell Washington, 2-4, 2HR's, 4RBI's, BB, 3R's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Ozzie Smith, Bruce Sutter

April 11, 2016

May 17, 1984 - It Gets Away From You

Game #467 - Chicago Cubs, 11 @ Cincinnati Reds, 12

This game was absolutely brutal...if you were a Chicago Cub.

The Cubbies jumped all over Reds starter Jay Tibbs in the first, plating six runs with eleven batters.  That included Jody Davis hitting a grand slam...already his THIRD on the season!

By the top of the fourth Chicago was up 9-4.  Ron Cey launched two solo homers in that span, but Scott Sanderson was having a hard time locking down the Cincy lineup.  Wayne Krenchicki capped off a three run fifth with a home run that also scored Dan Driessen.

Fast forward to the bottom of the seventh, and the Cubs were still in the lead, 11-8.  But reliever George Frazier was battered by the Reds, including a two-run double from the Cobra, Dave Parker, that gave the Reds the lead for good.

Winning Pitcher - Bob Owchinko
Losing Pitcher - George Frazier
Save - Bill Scherrer
Player of the Game - Scherrer, 2IP, 2K's, SV
Hall of Famers in the Game - Ryne Sandberg, Tony Perez

Game #468 - Montreal Expos, 4 @ San Diego Padres, 1

The Expos wanted to make starter Bryn Smith comfortable right out of the gate, so they went ahead and scored two runs in the first, including an RBI double by Andre Dawson.  In the bottom of the first San Diego answered back with their own HOF outfielder, as Tony Gwynn doubled home Alan Wiggins after Wiggins stole second.

The score stayed 2-1 until the sixth when Dawson poked a single that brought Miguel Dilone home.  Gary Carter added a solo shot in the eighth and the Padres free fall in the standings was secured again.

Winning Pitcher - Bryn Smith
Losing Pitcher - Ed Whitson
Save - Bob James
Player of the Game - Andre Dawson, 2-4, double, 2RBI's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Tony Gwynn

April 7, 2016

May 17, 1984 - Wedding Bells

I didn't know it at the time, but 19 years to the day after these real games were played, I was getting married.  Happy pre-anniversary to me!

Game #465 - Texas Rangers, 7 @ Milwaukee Brewers, 8 (11 innings)

Milwaukee had a slim 2-1 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh when they started to tattoo Charlie Hough's knuckle ball all over the ballpark.  Ted Simmons had a two-RBI double and Bill Schroeder rocked a three-RBI double to upstage Simmons.  When the dust had settled the Brew Crew was up 7-1.

But in the top of the ninth the impossible happened - Texas scored six runs!  George Wright started the damage with a two run homer as the Rangers sent eleven batters to the plate.

The score stayed tied until the bottom of the eleventh.  Odell Jones walked Willie Lozado, Ted Simmons singled, and then Dion James knocked Lozado home on an RBI single for the walk-off win!

Winning Pitcher - Tom Tellmann
Losing Pitcher - Odell James
Player of the Game - Dion James, walk-off single, second POTG in a row
Hall of Famers in the Game - Robin Yount, Rollie Fingers

Game #466 - Chicago White Sox, 0 @ Toronto Blue Jays, 6

Not much to say about this one.  Damaso Garcia was a home run shy of the cycle and as Toronto, for the umpteenth time this season, won the game.

Winning Pitcher - Dave Stieb
Losing Pitcher - Richie Dotson
Player of the Game - Stieb, CG SHO, 2K's

April 5, 2016

May 17, 1984 - Easy Does It

Game #464 - Boston Red Sox, 6 @ Cleveland Indians, 5

It's the start of a new day of games on the blog, and a new season in real life!  Every fan has a glimmer of hope on opening day, but only one team will win the World Series.  And we all know this year it will be...THE ORIOLES!  LET'S GO O'S!!!

Anyhoo, back in our pretend 1984, a real fake game was played:

The Red Sox nearly completed a team cycle in the first inning, only needing a single.  Dwight Evans tripled and then Mike Easler hit a two run homer.  A batter later Rich Gedman had doubled before Steve Farr escaped without further damage.

The score stayed 2-0 until the fourth, when the Red Sox scored twice more.  Wade Boggs singled home Bill Buckner and then Evans doubled home Boggs.  But Cleveland came roaring back in the bottom of the inning and actually took a one run lead, thanks in no small part to an unexpected Julio Franco grand slam.

The Indians lead lasted until the top of the seventh, when Easler went deep for the second time in the game to tie things up.  From their the tie was knotted into extra innings.  In the top of the tenth Tony Armas led off with a double, and scored when Buckner singled him home.  Bob Stanley pitched a second inning of relief to secure the win for Bean Town.

Winning Pitcher - Bob Stanley
Losing Pitcher - Ernie Camacho
Player of the Game - Mike Easler, 4-5, 2HR's, 3RBI's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Wade Boggs, Jim Rice

April 2, 2016

May 16, 1984 - Grandpa Guides the Cardinals to a Win

Despite wearing Tigers gear, he really
was coaching the St. Louis Cardinals...
Game #463 - Atlanta Braves, 6 @ St. Louis Cardinals, 11

My dad was in town over Easter vacation, and having grown up in St. Louis it only seemed right to let him coach his hometown team.  He had Dave LaPoint toeing the rubber for the red birds while I countered with Atlanta starter Craig McMurtry.

The game was scoreless until the top of the third inning.  Albert Hall led off with a walk but moved to third on two passed balls by catcher Darrell Porter.  Then...a "Z" card was flipped!  The unusual occurrence?  Randy Johnson legged out a single and Dave LaPoint, Andy Van Slyke, and Porter were ejected for arguing the call!!!  Grandpa was flustered as he had to go into overdrive on the bench.

I was clinging to a one run lead going into the bottom of the fourth when the St. Louis offense erupted.  The Cards put five runs on the board, including a homer by David Green...who was only in the game because Van Slyke got ejected!  Atlanta tied the game up in the top of the fifth, though, by scoring four unearned runs due in part to a Ken Oberkfell error.  The Braves chased usual bullpen ace Dave Rucker out of the game in the process.

The tie game was short lived, though.  Grandpa made the gutsy call to squeeze Oberkfell home with Tom Herr, and Herr was successful.  David Green later scored another run on an RBI single.

The Cardinals added four more runs between the sixth and seventh inning while reliever Jeff Lahti gutted out four innings of relief to record an unorthodox save.  Grandpa was happy and Christ is risen - not a bad Sunday of Statis Pro!

Winning Pitcher - Dave Von Ohlen
Losing Pitcher - Jeff Dedmon
Save - Jeff Lahti
Player of the Game - 4IP, save, 2K's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Ozzie Smith

March 19, 2016

May 16, 1984 - Not Even Close

Game #461 - Montreal Expos, 10 @ San Diego Padres, 0

The Expos were up 5-0 after four innings, and then piled on five more runs in the back half of the game for starter Charlie Lea.  Lea, meanwhile, cruised through nine innings with nary a worry.

Winning Pitcher - Charlie Lea
Losing Pitcher - Eric Show
Player of the Game - Lea, CG SHO, 5K's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Tony Gwynn, Goose Gossage

Game #462 - New York Mets, 9 @ San Francisco Giants, 2

There were two men on and one out when Darryl Strawberry stepped to the plate in the top of the first inning.  A couple of pitches later, the game was 3-0 in favor of New York, and they never looked back!

Winning Pitcher - Dwight Gooden
Losing Pitcher - Jeff Robinson
Player of the Game - Darryl Strawberry, 3-4, HR, 2B, 4RBI's, 3R's, BB

March 4, 2016

May 16, 1984 - Extra Effort

Game #459 - Philadelphia Phillies, 0 @ Los Angeles Dodgers, 5

Fernando Valenzuela was in total control for the Dodgers...until the ninth inning.  Ivan DeJesus, Bo Diaz, and Kiko Garcia loaded the bases with no outs.  Juan Samuel popped out to right field for the first out, and Garry Maddox reached on a fielder's choice but DeJesus was thrown out at home.  With two outs and the bases still juiced, John Wockenfuss grounded out to Dave Anderson to end the game.  Meanwhile, Candy Maldonado came up huge for L.A., including a three run homer in the sixth.

Winning Pitcher - Fernando Valenzuela
Losing Pitcher - Shane Rawley
Player of the Game - Candy Maldonado, 3-4, HR, 2 2B's, 2R's, 3RBI's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Mike Schmidt

Game #460 - Houston Astros, 3 @ Pittsburgh Pirates, 4 (13 innings)

The score was 3-3 after three innings, but starters Rick Rhoden and Mike Scott both settled down after that.  Both bullpens came up strong over the next few innings as both teams blew past the ninth without a run to win.  In the bottom of the thirteenth, though, Houston had reached the last guy on the bench, Vern Ruhle.  With one out he gave up a single to pinch hitter Brian Harper and walked Lee Mazzillli.  Dale Berra was the next hitter and was 0-5 for the game.  What came next?  WALK-OFF DOUBLE!  PIRATES WIN!!!

Winning Pitcher - Rod Scurry
Losing Pitcher - Vern Ruhle
Player of the Game - Dale Berra, walk-off RBI double

February 29, 2016

May 16, 1984 - The Bases Run Red With The Non-Believers

Game #458 - Chicago Cubs, 6 @ Cincinnati Reds, 7

It's funny when a team loses because of a bad decision I made... on to the recap!

The Reds got on the board first in the bottom of the first when a Dave Parker sacrifice fly plated Gary Redus for the first run.  It's Parker's seventh sacrifice on the year, which leads the National League.  The Cubs tied the game in the top of the fourth when Jody Davis hit a solo homer off Jeff Russell.

In the bottom of the fifth Steve Trout, the Chicago starter, imploded.  Redus walked and stole second base, Ron Oester reached on a Larry Bowa error, Cesar Cedeno singled, Parker singled, Nick Esasky singled, Dave Concepcion popped out, but then Eddie Milner doubled and Trout hit the showers.  I'm pretty sure that was the longest sentence in the history of this blog.  Cincy scored four runs that inning to take a 5-1 lead.

Russell had been cruising going into the top of the sixth, but the wheels fell off right after his offense gave him that nice lead.  Davis doubled, Ron Cey was hit by Russell, Keith Moreland walked, Henry Cotto walked, and Russell joined Trout in the showers.  Wait, that didn't come out right...  Anyhoo, Ted Power took over and gave up a single to Larry Bowa and back to back sacrifices by Tim Stoddard and Bob Dernier and all of a sudden the game was tied up again!

The score was still knotted at 5-5 when Dernier squeezed home Larry Bowa off reliever John Franco.  The run was unearned because Bowa reached third on a Gary Redus fielding miscue.  In the bottom of the eighth Lee Smith was handed the ball and got out of the inning unscathed.  Three outs later, I had a choice to make. Do I keep Lee Smith in for a second inning of work, knowing he has a 2-6 Statis Pro rating, or do I bring in Warren Brusstar, who has a more favorable 2-7 rating?  I personally really like Lee Smith, so I wanted to see him get the win.  He got Parker to ground out for the first out, but gave up three straight singles to load the bases with one out in the bottom of the ninth.  I finally yanked Smith, and pinch hitter Wayne Krenchicki stepped into the batter's box.  Brusstar walked him, to tie the game.  Then catcher Brad Gulden dug in and hit a walk-off single to win the game!  And it was all my fault!!!  *slaps forehead*

Winning Pitcher - John Franco
Losing Pitcher - Lee Smith
Player of the Game - Gulden, walk-off RBI single
Hall of Famers in the Game - Ryne Sandberg

February 26, 2016

May 16, 1984 - Saying Goodbye to Another 1984 Hero

No, Phil Niekro isn't dead.  Read the latest RIP, though, after the game recap...

Game #457 - Oakland A's, 1 @ New  York Yankees, 6

Bruce Bochte singled home Dave Kingman in the top of the second inning to give Oakland an early 1-0 lead.  But the Yankees would rally back in the bottom half of the inning courtesy of a two run homer by Omar Moreno.  It was his first long ball of the season, which isn't surprising considering he only hit four of them in the real 1984.

Steve Kemp hit a solo bomb too, in the fourth, to extend the lead to 4-1, New York.  Ray Burris has been rocked as a starter this season, despite having a 2-7 rating in Statis Pro.  Phil Niekro has been roughed up a bit too, but he was masterful this time around.  He went eight innings and walked none while striking out two.  The win gives New York a three game sweep of the Athletics, who continue to tumble down the AL West standings after a hot start.

Winning Pitcher - Phil Niekro
Losing Pitcher - Ray Burris
Player of the Game - Niekro
Hall of Famers in the Game - Rickey Henderson, Joe Morgan, Dave Winfield, Phil Niekro

Rest in Peace

In an unfortunate coincidence, this was the first Statis Pro game I played since learning 1984 veteran Tony Phillips passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack.  He was Ben Zorbist before Ben Zorbist, able to play anywhere on the field and get on base at a healthy clip.  Though he spent the majority of his career in Oakland, I remember him most from his Detroit Tigers days, which overlapped with the years I used to live in Michigan.  He was a feisty spark plug whom his teammates loved.  My thoughts and prayers go out to his friends, fans, and family...

February 14, 2016

May 16, 1984 - All Four Not

Game #455 - Texas Rangers, 4 @ Milwaukee Brewers, 7

There were five total hits in both halves of the first inning, and all of them went for extra bases.  In the top of the first Buddy Bell and Gary Ward hit back to back doubles to give Texas a quick 1-0 lead.  But in the bottom of the inning Dion James doubled, Robin Yount tripled, and Doug Loman doubled to put Milwaukee back out front.

By the bottom of the seventh it was tied 3-3, and that's when Rangers starter Dave Stewart collapsed. James, Yount, and Loman struck again, as all three eventually scored in addition to Bill Schroeder.  The Rangers had the bases loaded in the top of the ninth but Jim Kern struck out George Wright to win the day.

Winning Pitcher - Jack Lazorko
Losing Pitcher - Dave Stewart
Save - Jim Kern
Player of the Game - Dion James, 5-5, 2 2B's, 2R's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Robin Yount 

Game #456 - Toronto Blue Jays, 4 @ Minnesota Twins, 9

Who would have thought the best team in the American League would face a second game of shortcomings against the second worst?  Twins starter Frank Viola was perfect through the first three innings and struck out eight over eight innings.  Tim Teufel was the real star, though.  Throughout this Statis Pro season I've patiently waited for the first "cycle" to be hit, and Tim was almost the man.  In the third inning he hit a two run shot of Luis Leal (who was ejected for arguing strikes with the very next batter).  In the fifth he cranked a double.  Then in the sixth, an inning that would plate four Twins, Teufel lined a triple and all of a sudden I was giddy!  Would this finally be it?!?  In his last at-bat, in the seventh, he flyed out to center field. The wait continues...

Winning Pitcher - Frank Viola
Losing Pitcher - Jimmy Key
Player of the Game - Tim Teufel, 3-5, 2B, 3B, HR, 4RBI's, 3R's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Kirby Puckett