October 8, 2017

June 1, 1984 - More NL Action

Game #631 - Montreal Expos, 3 @ Pittsburgh Pirates, 4

Talk about a fun game - both starters went eight strong innings and neither got the decision!

In the top of the second inning Gary Carter ripped a ball over the fence to give Montreal a 1-0 lead.  That was good all the way until the bottom of the sixth, when Expos starter David Palmer gave up a triple to Lee Lacy and then a double to Johnny Ray. 

It was still a tie game in the top of the eighth when, with two runners on, Pirates starter Larry McWilliams collided with third sacker Jim Morrison.  Morrison got the worst of it and is now on the 30 game DL.  McWilliams worked out of the jam to hand the ball to Don Robinson.  Robinson, one of the unluckiest pitchers in Statis Pro, once again imploded.  He gave up two runs in to the top of the ninth and it could have been worse but Lacy gunned down Tim Raines at the plate.

In the bottom of the ninth Jeff Reardon came in to save the game.  With two outs Denny Gonzalez, in the game for the injured Jim Morrison, zipped a double down the line and then scored when Miguel Dilone bobbled Tony Pena's single.  Pena was on first with two down and still trailing Montreal by one run.  Marvelle Wynne was up next and he legged out an infield single to put two Pirates on!  Lee Mazzilli came in to pinch hit for Dale Berra but hit weakly to shortstop Derrick Thomas.  But Thomas air-mailed the ball to first and both runners scored on the error!  A walk-off E6 for the Pirates!!!

Winning Pitcher - Don Robinson
Losing Pitcher - Jeff Reardon
Player of the Game - Larry McWilliams, 8IP, 1R, 6K's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Tim Raines, Andre Dawson, Gary Carter

Game #632 - San Diego Padres, 5 @ San Francisco Giants, 1

Giants starter Mark Davis was well on his way to the best start of his frustrating season, pitching five scoreless innings heading into the top of the sixth with a slim 1-0 lead.  But with one down Tony Gwynn doubled, though he was thrown out at home on a subsequent single by Carmelo Martinez.  But McReynolds came up next and blasted a homer to make it 2-1 in favor of the Padres.  McReynolds struck again in the eighth, this time with a 2-RBI triple.  McReynolds was only a double short of the cycle.  We still haven't seen a cycle on the season and it's driving me crazy.

Winning Pitcher - Eddie Whitson
Losing Pitcher - Mark Davis
Player of the Game - Kevin McReynolds, 3-4, 3B, HR, 4RBI
Hall of Famers in the Game - Tony Gwynn, Goose Gossage

October 4, 2017

June 1, 1984 - A Reckoning Is Coming

I can't help but think, many years from now, when we're in the home stretch of the regular season, the Cardinals will be fading, struggling to hold onto first place, while the surging Cubs will be beating down the door right at the wire.  I look forward to it...

Game #629 - St. Louis Cardinals, 9 @ New York Mets, 3

Walt Terrell had a decent enough season in the real 1984, but so far in Statis Pro he's been fairly awful.  That was the case again in this game.  Already trailing 1-0 in the top of the third, Terrell got destroyed by the Cardinals offense.  Tom Herr ripped his first home run of the season for 3 RBI and the Red Birds plated four more in the inning.

Danny Cox toed the rubber for St. Louis and had a solid six innings of work, only allowing one run to score.  Reliever Ricky Horton gave up a two-run homer to Keith Hernandez but still got a save since he went three innings after Cox.

Winning Pitcher - Danny Cox
Losing Pitcher - Walt Terrell
Save - Ricky Horton
Player of the Game - Tom Herr, 3-5, 2B, HR, 3RBI, R
Hall of Famers in the Game - Ozzie Smith

Game #630 - Chicago Cubs, 6 @ Philadelphia Phillies, 5

It sure looked like Chicago's five game win streak was coming to an end early in the contest.  Von Hayes led off the bottom of the first with a single, stolen base, and then a run on the RBI knock by Tim Corcoran.  Corcoran plated another run in the fourth to give the Phillies a 5-0 lead.

And that's when the Cubs turned into Bears.

In the top of the fifth Ryne Sandberg homered to cut the lead to four.  Steve Carlton was still cruising until the top of the seventh.  Four straight Cubs recorded hits, including an RBI single by Gary Mattews.  Carlton got lifted and in came the late Tug McGraw.  With two runners on, Steve Lake came in as a pinch hitter for reliever Dickie Noles.  What did Lake do?  HOME RUN!!!  The Cubs came out of nowhere and  then somehow had a one run lead, their first of the game.  Tim Stoddard ad Warren Brusstar pitched a scoreless final three innings to give Chicago the improbable win!

Winning Pitcher - Dickie Noles
Losing Pitcher - Tug McGraw
Save - Warren Brusstar
Player of the Game - Steve Lake, GW 3-Run Homer
Hall of Famers in the Game - Ryne Sandberg, Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton

October 2, 2017

June 1, 1984 - Rocket Launch

Game #627 - Boston Red Sox, 9 @ Milwaukee Brewers, 6

Well, this was one of the most anticipated games of the Statis Pro season - the debut of rookie Roger Clemens!

Clemens is a "2-5" ranked pitcher in Statis Pro thanks to his +4 ERA, but his strikeout range is enormous, so it should make for some interesting stat lines the rest of the way.

The Rocket got into trouble in the bottom of the second.  With two outs and runners on second and third, Rick Manning ripped a double to but the Brew Crew up by two.  But the Red Sox tied the game by plating runs in the third and fourth inning.  The score stayed knotted until the top of the sixth.  With one run already in, Dwight Evans took spot starter Chuck Porter over the outfield fence for three more RBI!

Meanwhile, Clemens pitched out of a jam in the bottom half of the inning but finally got tagged again in the seventh when a Ben Oglivie single brought Cecil Cooper and Robin Yount home.  Ganter came up next and got a hit but Oglivie was thrown  out at third base for the second time of the game by Dewey.  Bob Stanley gave up two unearned runs off his own error in the eighth but Boston held on to give Clemens a win for his first career start.

Winning Pitcher - Roger Clemens
Losing Pitcher - Chuck Porter
Player of the Game - Dwight Evans, 2-4, HR, 3RBI, 2R's, BB, HBP, 2Asst.'s
Hall of Famers in the Game - Wade Boggs, Jim Rice, Robin Yount, Rollie Fingers

Game #628 - Kansas City Royals, 3 @ Minnesota Twins, 2

Dave Engle led off the bottom of the second with a double and scored three batters later when Kirby Puckett knocked him home.  That was the only run of the game until the bottom of the sixth when Tim Teufel took Royals starter Larry Gura deep for a solo homer.

Frank Viola, meanwhile, was mowing down the Royals...until the eighth inning.  With two outs Hal McRae singled and Willie Wilson scored to make it a 2-1 game still in favor of the Twins.  But a Houston Jimenez error kept the inning alive and Viola was replaced by Ron Davis.  Davis gave up an RBI single to pinch-hitter Dane Iorg and all of a sudden Viola had a no-decision and the game was tied.

In the top of the ninth pinch-hitter Jorge Orta doubled with one out.  Wilson popped out and it looked like George Brett grounded out to Gary Gaetti but Gaetti overthrew Kent Hrbek and Orta scored the go-ahead run on the error!  Quisenberry worked his second inning of relief in the bottom of the ninth and got the Twins retired without incident to cap a comeback victory for the Royals.

Winning Pitcher - Dan Quisenberry
Losing Pitcher - Ron Davis
Player of the Game - Quisenberry
Hall of Famers in the Game - George Brett, Kirby Puckett

September 30, 2017

June 1, 1984 - Saved the Day

Game #625 - Baltimore Orioles, 3 @ Detroit Tigers, 6

This game kicked off a crucial home series for the Tigers as they faced off against a fellow AL East team, the Baltimore Orioles, who are also chasing the Blue Jays for the division lead.

The game was scoreless through four innings until John Shelby doubled home John "Tonight, let it be..." Lowenstein in the top of the fifth.  The O's picked up two more runs in the sixth on a Wayne Gross home run.  Gross leads the team in that category.

The Tigers came roaring back in the bottom half of the inning.  Baltimore starter Mike Flanagan had been nearly unhittable until that point but gave game up a 2-RBI single to Barnabo Garbey and a two-run homer to Marty Castillo.  Kirk Gibson added an insurance dinger in the seventh and Willie Hernandez pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth to save the game.

Winning Pitcher - Milt Wilcox
Losing Pitcher - Mike Flanagan
Save - Willie Hernandez
Player of the Game - Kirk Gibson, 2-4, 2B, HR, 2R's, 2RBI
Hall of Famers in the Game - Cal Ripken, Eddie Murray

Game #626 - Houston Astros, 7 @ Los Angeles Dodgers, 4

Fernandomania was not in effect for the Dodgers in this game.  Valenzuela gave up three runs in the top of the first while facing eight different hitters.  The Dodgers picked up a run in the third when Steve Yeager parked a solo shot off Bob Knepper to make it 3-1.

Jerry Mumphrey knocked home Phil Garner in the fourth and seldom used backup shortstop Bert Pena cranked a two-run homer in the fifth to give Houston a 6-1 lead. 

Knepper gave up two more runs in the seventh and was lifted for Bill Dawley in the eighth.  The Astros picked up another run in the top of the ninth so Frank DiPino came in to mop up the victory.  He gave up a solo shot to German Rivera in the bottom of the ninth and then proceeded to load the bases before Dave Smith came in to record one out to save the game.

Winning Pitcher - Bob Knepper
Losing Pitcher - Fernando Valenzuela
Save - Dave Smith
Player of the Game - Dave Smith

September 27, 2017

June 1, 1984 - Reds, Braves Split Twin Bill

Game #623 - Atlanta Braves, 10 @ Cincinnati Reds, 5

Each team called up a starter not on their current roster for the doubleheader.  The Braves let Tony Brizzolara make his second start of the year while the Reds went with Andy McGaffigan.  Neither was particularly good...

Atlanta went up big in the top of the first.  Gerald Perry led of with a homer, Dale Murphy plated Randy Johnson with a double and then scored on a two-run bomb from Chris Chambliss and the Braves were up 4-0 with only one out in the game.

Fast forward to the top of the eighth and the Braves still had a 7-4 lead.  That's when Johnson launched a ball into the left field stands for three more runs and the final nail in the coffin.

Winning Pitcher - Tony Brizzolara
Losing Pitcher - Andy McGaffigan
Player of the Game - Randy Johnson, 4-5, 2B, HR, 4RBI, 2R's

Game #624 - Atlanta Braves, 0 @ Cincinnati Reds, 2

The Reds spent up a lot of their long relief in the first game of the doubleheader, so they needed Mario Soto to have a strong start.  He didn't disappoint!  Cincinnati got a run in the bottom of the first when Gary Redus doubled, went to third on a sacrifice bunt by Eddie Milner, and then scampered home on a Cesar Cedeno single.  That's all Soto would need.  He went all nine innings only giving up three hits and two walks while striking out an impressive ten Braves.

Winning Pitcher - Mario Soto
Losing Pitcher - Rick Camp
Player of the Game - Mario Soto

September 25, 2017

June 1, 1984 - Hello June!

Game #621 - Oakland A's, 0 @ Chicago White Sox, 1

Tom Seaver was well past his prime in 1984, but in this game he pulled out some old Seaver magic to pitch one of the best games of this Statis Pro season.  It was certainly a dominant performance.  Only three runners reached base!  Tony Phillips doubled in the third, Bruce Bochte singled in the fifth, and Rickey Henderson drew a walk in the sixth.  That was all Oakland could muster while Seaver struck out six.

Meanwhile, the A's wasted an unusually masterful performance by Larry Sorensen.  The only run he allowed was a Vance Law solo blast in the bottom of the fourth.  It was one of only four hits for Chicago, though they did reach on five bases on balls.

Carlton Fisk comes off the DL in their next game, which has been a long time coming.

Winning Pitcher - Tom Seaver
Losing Pitcher - Larry Sorensen
Player of the Game - Tom Seaver, CG SHO, 2H's, BB, 6K's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Rickey Henderson, Joe Morgan, Tom Seaver

Game #622 - California Angels, 1 @ Cleveland Indians, 3

This was a battle of the lefties as Neal Heaton and Geoff Zahn faced off in this series opener.  Both pitchers were cruising until the bottom of the fourth.  Andre Thornton was on third with two outs when Brook Jacoby singled him home.  The game got tied by California in the top of the fifth when Heaton plunked Juan Beniquez with the bases loaded!  He got Brian Downing to ground out to Chris Bando to end the threat.

RBI doubles by Bando and Carmelo Castillo in the bottom of the fifth gave Cleveland all the runs they needed.  Tom Waddell and Ernie Camacho pitched a scoreless two innings of relief to give Cleveland the victory.

Winning Pitcher - Neal Heaton
Losing Pitcher - Geoff Zahn
Save - Ernie Camacho
Player of the Game - Heaton, 7IP, ER, 6K's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Rod Carew, Reggie Jackson

September 23, 2017

Month in Review - May

Holy cow, May is in the books.  That's two months down.  I can't believe it.  It's taken over five years.  When I started this blog I had two kids and now I have three...with that third kid being five!  My blog is older than my last born!

I'd say the biggest story of the season so far is that none of the four playoff teams from the real 1984 are currently in first place.  The Tigers are closest, just a couple of games back of the Blue Jays.  Toronto has played extremely well but their bullpen will get exposed soon enough.  I predict Detroit will be in first by the end of June.

The Royals have been decimated by injuries, including 20 games to George Brett, but they get most of their starters back within the next week or so.  They've quietly risen up the standings to third place, though they're still five games below .500.  The Padres are showing a little more signs of life but still lag behind four teams in the NL West.  The Astros are still playing stellar ball and haven't come back down to earth yet.  I'm nervous about the Padres chances to duplicate their improbable World Series appearance.

The team that causes me the most stress is the Cubs.  They're dead last and ten games under .500.  The Cardinals might be the best team in either league, which isn't helping.  But, they're on a five game win streak right now and very soon will get both Rick Sutcliffe and Dennis Eckersley in their rotation.  They absolutely need them.

Other Guys Besides Joe Morgan Who Are Playing Way Over Their Heads:

Dion James, Brewers, OF
Gary Pettis, Angels, OF
Oil Can Boyd, Red Sox, P
Brad Gulden, Reds, C
Claudell Washington, Braves, OF
Pasquel Perez, Braves, P

Favorite Game In May?

There were a lot of fun games in May, but I'd have to go with the insane second game of a doubleheader on May 27 between Cleveland and the Blue Jays.  Cleveland scored five runs in the top of the eleventh...but Toronto tied it up and walked it off in the 12th!

Your MVP Race So Far:

American League
1.  Joe Morgan, A's, 2B
2.  Mike Young, Orioles, OF
3.  Dave Winfield, Yankees, OF

National League
1.  Darryl Strawberry, Mets, OF
2.  Claudell Washington, Braves, OF
3.  Tim Raines, Expos, OF

Your CY YOUNG Race So Far:

American League
1.  Doyle Alexander, Blue Jays
2.  Bud Black, Royals
3.  Dan Quisenberry, Royals

National League
1.  Alejandro Pena, Dodgers
2.  Rick Rhoden, Pirates
3.  Dwight Gooden, Mets


P - Alejandro Pena, Dodgers
C - Lance Parrish, Tigers
1B - Alvin Davis, Mariners
2B - Joe Morgan, A's
3B - Wade Boggs, Red Sox
SS - Cal Ripken, Orioles
OF - Darryl Strawberry, Mets
OF - Mike Young, Orioles
OF - Claudell Washington, Braves

I'm An Awesome Manager Of...

The St. Louis Cardinals.  They have the best record in Statis Pro right now and they are running away in the NL East.  They have a lot of versatility on the bench and the bullpen and all cylinders are firing right now.

I'm A Terrible Manager Of...

The Chicago Cubs.  Despite ending the month on a five game win streak, during May they lost THIRTEEN in a row.  I buried their playoff hopes deep in the woods where nobody will find them.  I'm sorry Punky Brewster.

Looking Forward

At the end of April I predicted it would take three to four years to finish May...and I was just about dead right!  It took nearly three and a half on the nose.  That seems to be the going pace, so I'll predict February of 2021 to be done with June...which is so far away yet will get here so quickly...

September 20, 2017

May 31, 1984 - Goodbye, May

Game #619 - Chicago Cubs, 9 @ Philadelphia Phillies, 2

The Phillies raced out to a quick 2-0 lead when Joe Lefebvre launched a two-run dong in the bottom of the first off starter Dick Ruthven.  Keith Moreland responded in the top of the second with a solo tater to cut the lead in half.

It would remain 2-1 until the top of the seventh.  Charles Hudson was on cruise control but seemingly hit a pot hole because the wheels came off.  Pinch hitter Henry Cotto hit a two-run single and then scored on a Ryne Sandberg triple.  The Cubs would score five total runs in the inning and would add three more over the next two innings to give Chicago their fifth win in a row.

Winning Pitcher - Dick Ruthven
Losing Pitcher - Charles Hudson
Player of the Game - Henry Cotto, 1-1, Sac Fly, 3RBI, R
Hall of Famers in the Game - Ryne Sandberg, Mike Schmidt

Game #620 - Montreal Expos, 3 @ Pittsburgh Pirates, 9

This game was tic for tack through the first four innings, with the Expos holding a slim 3-2 lead.  But the Pirates pushed the Expos overboard in the fifth.  That's when they plated six runs, including a bases-clearing double by Marvelle Wynn.  Jose DeLeon scattered four hits and five walks over eight innings pitched and logged the victory.

Winning Pitcher - Jose DeLeon
Losing Pitcher - Steve Rogers
Player of the Game - Lee Lacy, 3-5, RBI, 2R's, SB
Hall of Famers in the Game - Tim Raines, Andre Dawson, Gary Carter

September 14, 2017

May 31, 1984 - You Only Have To Win By One

Game #617 - Kansas City Royals, 4 @ Minnesota Twins, 3

This was a real back and forth game.  In the top of the first Onix Concepcion reached on a single.  He stole second base and reached third on a George Brett fly out.  He proceeded to score on a passed ball by Tim Laudner.  Kansas City returned the favor in the bottom of the second when Tim Teufel scored on a wild pitch by Mark Gubicza.

Minnesota pulled ahead three to one when Tom Brunansky went deep for a two run bomb in the third.  But KC tied it up again in the fifth.  In a huge two-out rally, Willie Wilson tripled, scored on a Concepcion double, and then two batters later Hal McRae singled home Concepcion.  That would turn out to be the deciding run as Dan Quisenberry held the Twins scoreless over the final two innings.

Winning Pitcher - Mark Gubicza
Losing Pitcher - Rick Lysander
Save - Dan Quisenberry
Player of the Game - Hal McRae, 3-4, 2B, 2RBI
Hall of Famers in the Game - George Brett, Kirby Puckett

Game #618 - St. Louis Cardinals, 1 @ New York Mets, 2

This looks like a pitcher's duel on the screen, but in reality these two teams combined for 24 hits...yet only produced three runs!  The winning run came in the bottom of the sixth when Keith Hernandez knocked Jerry Martin home.  Jesse Orosco pitched a perfect ninth inning to notch the save.

Winning Pitcher - Ron Darling
Losing Pitcher - Dave LaPoint
Save - Jesse Orosco
Player of the Game - Keith Hernandez, 3-5, RBI
Hall of Famers in the Game - Ozzie Smith

September 12, 2017

Rest in Peace - Don Baylor

I've been putting this one off for a couple of weeks, but it's time to recognize and appreciate the greatness of Don Baylor.

He passed away about a month ago from multiple myeloma.

Baylor had a heck of a career in Major League Baseball.  He got his start with my favorite team, the Baltimore Orioles, before going to the Angels where he really excelled.  He won the American League MVP in 1979 for California.

In 1983 he came to the New York Yankees as part of George Steinbrenner's obsession with overloading the team with veteran guys who should be designated hitters.  I've had him batting fifth for most of this Statis Pro season in the DH spot.

The end of Baylor's playing days were quite interesting too.  He played on three straight World Series teams:  The Red Sox (1986), the Twins (1987), and the Athletics (1988).  He would go on to coach in the bigs, including as the first manager for the Colorado Rockies.

I was a kid in the 1980's, and one of my very distinct memories of watching baseball back then was Baylor's enormous biceps and how he would lean into inside fastballs to take the hit by pitch.  When I played little league I was terrified of being plunked and there was Baylor, taking one on the arm all of the time, and making it look like it hurt the ball more than himself.

We went to a lot of games as a kid, and my dad would often bring his nice camera.  Here are a few pics he got of Baylor in his last season at Rangers game in old Arlington.  Rest in Peace Don Baylor - thank you for being such an awesome figure in the history of baseball.

September 10, 2017

May 31st, 1984 - The Guld and the Beautiful

Game #616 - Atlanta Braves, 2 @ Cincinnati Reds, 5

Before the game started I thought this would be a blowout in the Braves favor.  Pascual Perez was going against Frank Pastore, who might be the worst starter in the NL.  But as I've said before...THAT'S WHY YOU PLAY THE GAME!

Atlanta was the first to score, though.  In the top of the third Claudell Washington doubled home Gerald Perry, and then in the fourth Rafael Ramirez doubled home Glen Hubbard.  Pastore settled down after that and pitched through the sixth only giving up those two runs.

The Reds got their first run of the game in the bottom of the fifth on an unlikely homer from Ron Oester.  It was Oester's first dong of the year.  Then in the bottom of the sixth Perez got into trouble.  He loaded the bases and up stepped catcher Brad Gulden, who is hitting about sixty points above his real 1984 average.  What did he do?  CLUTCH DOUBLE.  2 RBI, and all of a sudden the Reds were up 3-2!

The Reds got two more insurance runs off Pete Falcone and Ted Power, John Franco, and Bill Scherrer pitched three innings of scoreless relief to give Frank Pastore his first victory of the season.  Brad Gulden earned his FIFTH player of the game honors, which is kind of crazy.

Winning Pitcher - Frank Pastore
Losing Pitcher - Pascual Perez
Save - Bill Scherrer
Player of the Game - Brad Gulden, 1-4, 2B, 2RBI, R, threw out Gerald Perry on the steal attempt
Hall of Famers in the Game - Tony Perez