July 20, 2014

May 4, 1984 - AL West Battles

Game #317 - Oakland A's, 4 @ Minnesota Twins, 8

This game had some nice back and forth.  The Twins took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Kent Hrbek singled home Kirby Puckett.  Oakland tied it up in the top of the second when Dwayne Murphy went deep for a solo shot.  The A's pulled ahead 2-1 in the fourth when Murphy replicated his previous blast.  But Puckett and Mickey Hatcher plated a run apiece in the bottom of the inning to retake the lead.

The long ball hurt Minnesota starter Ken Schrom for a third time in the top of the sixth when he surrendered a two-run home run to Bruce Bochte.  The game stayed 4-3 in favor of the A's until the bottom of the eighth.  Keith Atherton was on the mound for Oakland but gave up three straight singles plus a walk to pinch hitter Ron Washington.  Bill Caudill relieved Atherton but committed a throwing error that gave the Twins a one run lead.  Mickey Hatcher then hit a bases-clearing double that was made possible when Gary Hancock and Dwayne Murphy collided in the outfield.  Hancock will be on the DL for 31 games while Murphy will have to sit for five. 

Winning Pitcher - Rick Lysander
Losing Pitcher - Keith Atherton
Player of the Game - Hatcher, 3-5, 2B, 4RBI's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Kirby Puckett

Game #318 - California Angels, 0 @ Seattle Mariners, 9

This game started as a pitcher's duel between Geoff Zahn and Jim Beattie.  It was scoreless until the bottom of the fifth, when Alvin Davis hit a solo homer to give Seattle the lead.  The flood gates opened in the next inning.  Spike Owen reached on a bunt attempt error by Rod Carew.  Zahn got two outs after that, but reeled of two singles and two walks before getting yanked.  That's when Al Cowens crushed a three run homer off reliever Curt Kaufman.  Kaufman gave up two more solo homers in the eighth to Dave Henderson and Steve Henderson (no relation).

Winning Pitcher - Jim Beattie
Losing Pitcher - Geoff Zahn
Player of the Game - Beattie, CG SHO, 9H's, 2BB's, 8K's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Rod Carew, Reggie Jackson

July 19, 2014

May 4, 1984 - AL East Smackdowns

Game #315 - Detroit Tigers, 14 @ Cleveland Indians, 5

Detroit absolutely erupted on offense.  For the first (and probably only) time on the season, three different teammates each hit two homers apiece.  Kirk Gibson, Lance Parrish, and Howard Johnson were the power triad this game, including a grand slam for HoJo.

Winning Pitcher - Dan Petry
Losing Pitcher - Rick Sutcliffe
Player of the Game - Howard Johnson, 3-4, HR, GS, 5RBI's

Game #316 - New York Yankees, 9 @ Milwaukee Brewers, 2

Don Mattingly has had a mostly benign season up to this point, so it was fun to see him explode at the plate in this game.  He went 4 for 4 and knocked home four runs to boot.  Dennis Rasmussen continued his hot start to the year by going eight innings and striking out six.  The Brewers continue to falter in all aspects of their play.  Jamie Cocanower couldn't last three innings while the bullpen got stretched to cover the shortfall.

Winning Pitcher - Rasmussen
Losing Pitcher - Cocanower
Player of the Game - Mattingly, 4-4, HR, 2 2B's, BB, 4RBI's, 2R's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Dave Winfield, Robin Yount

July 5, 2014

May 4, 1984 - Fisky Business

Game #314 - Chicago White Sox, 6 @ Boston Red Sox, 2

Battle of the Sox!  Bruce Hurst toed the rubber versus LaMarr Hoyt to determine the superior hose.  Hoyt was hurt first, surrendering a solo homer to Tony Armas for his tenth shot on the season.

Chicago responded in the top of the third, though.  Carlton Fisk singled home Scott Fletcher and Jerry Hairston for a 2-1 lead.  Both teams continued to produce goose eggs on the scoreboard until the seventh, when Hurst walked Harold Baines and Greg Lunzinski with two outs.  I pulled Hurst for Bob Stanley, but Fisk didn't care about the platoon splits because he deposited the ball over the left field wall for a 5-1 lead.  Boston never recovered, with round one of the series going to the White Sox.

Winning Pitcher - LaMarr Hoyt
Losing Pitcher - Bruce Hurst
Player of the Game - Carlton Fisk, 3-4, 2B, HR, 5RBI's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Carlton Fisk, Wade Boggs, Jim Rice

June 21, 2014

May 3, 1984 - Braves Move Back Into 2nd Place

Game #313 - San Diego Padres, 2 @ Atlanta Braves, 6

I was hoping San Diego could deliver a win in honor of Tony Gwynn's passing, but alas, Atlanta has continued its surprising start to the season.  Gwynn did manage a hit in the game, scoring on a two run shot by Graig Nettles.

The Braves, meanwhile, had a balanced game as each starter recorded one hit, with the exception of Rafael Ramirez, who had two.  That even includes Rick Mahler, who doubled home Ramirez in the second. 

Winning Pitcher - Rick Mahler
Losing Pitcher - Andy Hawkins
Player of the Game - Gene Garber, six up, six down at a point where Atlanta only had a two run lead.
Hall of Famers in the Game - Tony Gwynn

June 16, 2014

RIP - Tony Gwynn, Bob Welch, and other 1984 Players

I haven't updated the "RIP" section of this blog in quite some time.  I started that label as a way to honor Gary Carter, who was the first 1984 player to die while I was playing this Statis Pro season (though certainly not the first player to die from 1984).  But two deaths in the past week have forced me to face reality.  These players I idolized as a boy growing up in the 80's are not immortal.  They're human - too human in some instances - and as I rapidly approach my 40's we will only lose more.  It's depressing and a sad reminder that the days of this Statis Pro season really are gone, even as I seek refuge in them through this project.

Growing up my two favorite players, in order, were Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken.  I was and am a die hard Orioles fan, and you can't beat that combo.  But my third favorite player was Tony Gwynn.  I liked skinny Tony and I liked fat Tony.  He always hit no matter his weight.  He was funny, nice, personable, and that squeaky voice seemed so harmless.  But he was ruthless with a bat in his hand.  The day of the batting average has died, replaced by OBP, but there's something more appealing about an outfield sprayed with Tony Gwynn singles compared to Ben Zorbist walking to first. 

I am so very frustrated that Tony's cause of death is oral cancer, due to his terrible habit/addiction to chewing tobacco.  It's even featured in this card.  I hope MLB will make his death more meaningful by finally banning it from the majors.  Kids and young ball players are watching, it's the right thing to do.

The news of Welch's passing stung too, especially because I had just used him in Statis Pro the day before he died.  Welch was transparent about his battles with alcohol over the years.  I haven't heard yet the cause of his passing, though I secretly fear it's probably related.  I always think of Welch in Dodger blue first and not his Oakland uniform, though he is best remembered for his 27 win season with the A's.  I don't believe you'll ever see a starter do that again, especially with so few pitchers starting more than 32 games a year anymore. 

Rest in peace, Tony and Bob, you're free from pain now.  And rest in peace to your peers below...

Rick Behnna, 1/31/12, Cleveland Indians
Frank Wills, 5/11/12, Kansas City Royals
Champ Summers, 10/11/12, San Diego Padres
Rick Camp, 4/25/13, Atlanta Braves
Brad Lesley, 4/27/13, Cincinnati Reds

June 15, 2014

May 3, 1984 - Happy Father's Day!

Instead of taking time for myself to play Statis Pro on this special day, I ended up hanging out with my daughters in the backyard as they had fun in the inflatable pool.  I think I made the right call!  But don't worry, I got a couple of games in yesterday during their naps...

Game #311 - Kansas City Royals, 0 @ Milwaukee Brewers, 7

The Moose was loose!  He crushed the Royals, limiting them to five hits and a walk while pitching a shutout with five strikeouts.  Jack Lozado and Charlie Moore contributed five of the seven RBI's for the game.

Winning Pitcher - Moose Haas
Losing Pitcher - Charlie Liebrandt
Player of the Game - Mooooooooose
Hall of Famers in the Game - George Brett, Robin  Yount

Game #312 - Minnesota Twins, 4 @ Seattle Mariners, 8

When Mike Moore pitches for the Mariners, two things are a given.  He's going to strike a bunch of guys out, and I have no idea if he'll last more than two innings.  This game he was miraculously good, holding the Twins to one run until they tagged three on him in the eighth.  Bob Stoddard finished things off to pull Seattle within two games of .500 again.

Winning Pitcher - Mike Moore
Losing Pitcher - Mike Smithson
Player of the Game - Jack Perconte, 3-4, 2 2B's, 2RBI's, 3R's, 1SB
Hall of Famers in the Game - Kirby Puckett

June 14, 2014

May 3, 1984 - Jack Morris Goes the Distance

Game #310 - Boston Red Sox, 1 @ Detroit Tigers, 7

Jack Morris gave up two hits (but no runs) in the top of the first and I thought I was in for another rocky start by the Tiger starter, but he really calmed down after that.  Though he did give up a solo home run to Wade Boggs in the third, and strand Marty Barrett on his lead off triple in the seventh, Morris mowed down Boston for most of the game.

Meanwhile, the Detroit bats were popping.  They got a big three run third inning thanks to RBI-extra base hits from Dave Bergman, Lou Whitaker, and Kirk Gibson.  They added two homers in the eighth as well.  Lance Parrish had another solo blast and Ruppert Jones connected for a two run job.

Also of note in the game was Red Sox starters Al Nipper, Rich Gedman, and Mike Easler being ejected in the fourth for arguing with the ump.  Gotta love the "Z" card plays!

Winning Pitcher - Jack Morris
Losing Pitcher - Al Nipper
Player of the Game - Morris, CG, 1ER, 7K's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Wade Boggs, Jim Rice

June 10, 2014

May 2, 1984 - LA Can't Dodge Errors

Game #309 - Los Angeles Dodgers, 5 @ San Francisco Giants, 6

The score was all zeroes until the top of the third when consecutive doubles by Pedro Guerrero and Mike Marshall plated two for LA.  It was almost three runs after a Greg Brock single, but Jack Clark threw out Marshall at the plate.  The Giants tied it at 2-2 in their half of the inning when Bob Brenly and Joel Youngblood had RBI singles.

But the Dodgers scored big again in the fourth.  German Rivera hit his third homer of the season (he only had 2 in the real 1984) to start things off and Steve Sax and Dave Anderson added their own RBI's.  That led to an early exit for starter Bill Laskey. 

The game stayed 5-3 until the bottom of the ninth.  Ken Howell was pitching his second inning of relief.  Gene Richards led off with a single, and advanced to second when CF Candy Maldonado misplayed the ball.  Dan Gladden was next up, but got plunked by Howell to put two on board with no outs.  Fran Mullins was up next, who came in as part of a double switch earlier.  He flew out to right for the first out.  Scot Thompson dug in next.  He worked a walk to load the bases!  That brought up San Fran's most dangerous hitter, Jack Clark.  He drove a ball deep to left field for the second out, but it brought home Richards to make it a one run game.  Brenly came up next.  He rifled a double to right field that plated Dan Gladden, but Thompson scored too when Mike Marshall mishandled the ball for the second outfield error in the inning (and fourth LA error of the game)!  Giants win!!!  The Dodgers five game win streak ends in ugly fashion.

Winning Pitcher - Gary LaVelle
Losing Pitcher - Ken Howell
Player of the Game - Brenly, 2-5, walk-off double

June 9, 2014

May 2, 1984 - Phillies, Cards, Pace the NL East

Game #307 - Montreal Expos, 4 @ Philadelphia Phillies, 6

The Phillies set the tone early thanks to a first inning, two-run shot from Mike Schmidt.  The Expos scored consecutive runs in the second, third, and fourth inning, but the Phillies matched them for each, including a second homer by Schmidt and a solo blast from Jim Lefebvre.  Pinch hitter John Wockenfuss added another home run in the seventh as well.

Winning Pitcher - Charles Hudson
Losing Pitcher - Steve Rogers
Save - Bill Campbell
Player of the Game - Schmidt, two dingers
Hall of Famers in the Game - Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Mike Schmidt

Game #308 - St. Louis Cardinals, 5 @ Pittsburgh Pirates, 1

The Cardinals plated five runs in this game despite not recording an extra base hit.  George Hendrick and David Green each had two RBI's, and Tom Nieto added one too.  Meanwhile, Kurt Kepshire held the Pirates to three hits over eight innings, the only run scoring when Tony Pena stole second and scored on a throwing error by Nieto.

Winning Pitcher - Kurt Kepshire
Losing Pitcher - Larry McWilliams
Player of the Game - Kepshire
Hall of Famers in the Game - Ozzie Smith, Bruce Sutter

June 7, 2014

May 2, 1984 - Summer Vacation

I had a bit of time away from Statis Pro over the past week due to a family vacation.  It was a lot of fun, including getting to see my beloved Baltimore Orioles win two games back to back.  On to the games!

Game #305 - Houston Astros, 6 @ Cincinnati Reds, 4

The Astros continued their scorching start to the season.  The Reds chased starter Mike LaCoss out of the game with a three run sixth to give themselves a 4-3 lead.  But the 'stros put two on the board in the eighth off of reliever John Franco to pull ahead for the victory.

Winning Pitcher - Dave Smith
Losing Pitcher - John Franco
Save - Bill Dawley
Player of the Game - Dawley, 2IP, K, retired all six batters faced for the save

Game #306 - Chicago Cubs, 1 @ New York Mets, 6

The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when utility infielder Dave Owen, spelling Larry Bowa, poked a single to plate Ron Cey.  But it was all Mets after that.  Most of the damage came in the fourth inning, when they scored four runs on a bases loaded double by Kevin Chapman and an RBI single from Jose Oquendo.  Darryl Strawberry added a solo shot in the eighth to cap the damage at six runs.  Meanwhile, "El Sid" scattered eight hits and four walks while nearly pitching a complete game.  He also fanned the Cubs ten times in that span.

Winning Pitcher - Sid Fernandez
Losing Pitcher - Chuck Rainey
Player of the Game - Fernandez
Hall of Famers in the Game - Ryne Sandberg

May 26, 2014

May 2, 1984 - Professional Pitchers

Game #303 - Minnesota Twins, 10 @ Seattle Mariners, 1

The first five Twins hitters reached base in the first inning of this game, and the route was on.  Mark Langston struggled until the fourth, when I finally pulled him after surrendering nine runs.  Meanwhile his counterpart, John Butcher, was slaughtering the M's hitters (couldn't resist).  He went the distance by scattering six hits and five walks.  Tom Brunansky registered five RBI's on the day too.

Winning Pitcher - John Butcher
Losing Pitcher - Mark Langston
Player of the Game - Butcher, CG, 4K's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Kirby Puckett

Game #304 - Texas Rangers, 1 @ Toronto Blue Jays, 3

Charlie Hough has been an extremely bad luck pitcher in this Statis Pro season.  After five starts his ERA was north of 9.00.  He's a "2-6" rated starter, meaning he should be pretty average, but that hadn't been the case so far this year.  So you can imagine my dismay when he gave up three runs in the first, including a two run homer by Willie Upshaw.  I thought for sure Hough was headed to the showers early again, but oh my, he righted the ship!  He pitched the next seven innings, scattering six hits and keeping the Blue Jays off balance with his knuckler.

Unfortunately for the Rangers, Doyle Alexander was his dominant self.  This season he has been the best pitcher in the American League, and he proved it again with this game.  He lasted eight innings and only surrendered four hits over that span.  The Blue Jays have won seven straight and are now a game and a half in front of the Tigers for first place.

Winning Pitcher - Doyle Alexander
Losing Pitcher - Charlie Hough
Save - Ron Musselman
Player of the Game - Alexander