August 24, 2014

May 5, 1984 - By Dawley, I Think He's Got It!

Game #334 - Houston Astros, 2 @ New York Mets, 1

The Houston Astros have won seven games in a row at this point.  It's a pretty strong team.  There's not a lot of power, but they have good speed and batting average-type hitters, quality starting pitching, and a lights-out bullpen.

The best arm in that pen is Bill Dawley, who had a heck of a year in the real 1984.  He's replicating it here, where he's just earned his third "Player of the Game" recognition.  Houston had a one run lead when he relieved Mike Scott with one out in the sixth.  He proceeded to strike out three of the six hitters he faced.  Only Danny Heep managed a hit, smoking a double of a "Z" fielding play.

New York, meanwhile shot themselves in the foot.  Repeatedly.  Wally Backman was thrown out twice trying to steal second.  There were two errors in the outfield, and Mike Fitzgerald was caught stealing to end the game on a busted hit and run attempt with Heep.  Woof.

Winning Pitcher - Mike Scott
Losing Pitcher - Ron Darling
Save - Julio Solano
Player of the Game - Bill Dawley

August 23, 2014

May 5, 1984 - 3+3+3=9

Game #333 - Atlanta Braves, 1 @ Montreal Expos, 9

I've been waiting for this day pretty much since the start of the blog.  The day has finally come.  Tim Wallach is the player of the game!!!

Why does this excite me?  Because it gives me a chance to direct you to one of my favorite sites on the web - the Tim Wallach blog - where @29collector is literally trying to collect every baseball card ever printed of his favorite player, Tim Wallach.  This concept is so outlandish, and the player so random, and the site so original...I don't have the right words for how perfect it all is. 

Speaking of perfect, that was about how good Wallach's day was in Statis Pro.  The Braves had a 1-0 lead against Bill Gullickson when Wallach went deep for a home run in the bottom of the fourth off Rick Camp.  In the top of the sixth with one out, Gerald Perry reached on a Terry Francona error and moved to second when Bob Horner walked.  I pulled Gullickson for the left-handed Gary Lucas to face fellow leftie Chris Chambliss.  The switcheroo worked as Chambliss hit into a double play.

In the bottom half of the sixth Wallach got plunked by Camp.  I wish there was a benches clearing brawl function in Statis Pro, because the Montreal fans would have been enraged.  Wallach got the last laugh, though, when Miguel Dilone plated him on a sacrifice fly for a 2-1 lead.  That, and when Wallach blasted a three run homer the next inning too, sending Camp to the showers and Montreal to victory.

Winning Pitcher - Gary Lucas
Losing Pitcher - Rick Camp
Player of the Game - Tim Wallach, 3-4, 2HR's, 4RBI's, HBP, 3R's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Gary Carter, Andre Dawson

August 17, 2014

May 5, 1984 - Cinco de Mayo

Game #331 - Kansas City Royals, 5 @ Toronto Blue Jays, 4

This was a fun one, so let's jump into it!  George Brett doubled with two outs in the first and Jorge Orta singled him home to give KC the early lead.  But a Lloyd Moseby triple and an unusual balk by Joe Beckwith tied the game up in the bottom half of the inning.

It stayed knotted at 1-1 until the fifth.  George Brett, Steve Balboni, and Pat Sheridan had RBI hits to give the Royals a 4-1 lead.  But, once again, the Blue Jays responded in their next turn at bat.  Damaso Garcia and Rance Mulliniks each knocked home teammates to get the blue birds within a run.  Garcia added yet another RBI in the sixth, and suddenly it was a tie game once again.

The score was still 4-4 heading into the top of the ninth.  The Blue Jays sent Ron Musselman to the mound, who is their best bullpen arm.  With one out Steve Balboni singled.  John Wathan came in as a pinch runner.  Pat Sheridan then doubled to put Wathan on third with one out and first base open.  Musselman intentionally walked Frank White to set up the double play, but Don Slaught hit a fly out to right field that was deep enough to score Wathan for the go-ahead run.

In the bottom of the ninth Dan Quisenberry came out for his second inning of work.  With one out Willie Upshaw singled, and the George Bell did too.  But Jessie Barfield struck out and Rance Mulliniks lined out to end the game.  KC got a much needed win while Toronto slips into second place in the AL East.

Winning Pitcher - Dan Quisenberry
Losing Pitcher - Ron Musselman
Player of the Game - Quiz, 2IP, 2K's, W
Hall of Famers in the Game - George Brett

Game #332 - San Diego Padres, 6 @ Chicago Cubs, 3

This is game two in the real world match up of the 1984 playoff teams.  The Padres bid Cubs starter Dick Ruthven adios after five runs in just a third of an inning in the first, including a three run bomb by Steve Garvey.  Back to back doubles by Ron Cey and pinch hitter Richie Hebner chased Eddie Whitson out of the game in the eighth, but Craig Lefferts locked things down for the Padres, tying the series at 1-1.

Winning Pitcher - Eddie Whitson
Losing Pitcher - Dick Ruthven
Save - Craig Lefferts
Player of the Game - Whitson, 7 1/3IP, 4H's 3K's, 3R's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Tony Gwynn, Ryne Sandberg

August 16, 2014

May 5, 1984 - Lucky 13

Game #329 - California Angels, 13 @ Seattle Mariners, 8

The Angels put up five runs out of the gate in the first inning, including and RBI triple from Doug DeCinces.  Matt Young had been pitching pretty well this season, so he was definitely due for a stinker.  He lasted four innings and gave up six runs.

California had the 6-0 lead until the bottom of the fourth.  Mike Witt gave up four singles and a walk as the Mariners plated four runs to draw closer to the Halos.  But Juan Beniquez neutralized the threat in the top of the fifth with a three run homer and, despite another four runs from the M's, they never got close again.

Winning Pitcher - Mike Witt
Losing Pitcher - Matt Young
Player of the Game - Juan Beniquez, 3-6, HR, 3RBI's, 3R's

Game #330 - Baltimore Orioles, 13 @ Texas Rangers, 5

This game was scoreless until a Billy Sample error permitted Cal Ripken Jr. to score in the top of the third.  The Rangers tied it up when Curtis Wilkerson singled home Bobby Jones, who got the rare start at first for the injured Pete O'Brien.  Jones had been standing on second with the first of his three doubles on the day.

The Orioles were trailing 3-2 in the seventh when Mike Young, who continues to play out of his gourd, hit a solo shot and Gary Roenicke singled home Ripken.  It was still 4-3 in the eighth when Baltimore exploded for three runs thanks to a Floyd Rayford homage to Earl Weaver.  In the bottom of the inning, though, Texas crawled back to within two when Dennis Martinez got wild.  The threat ended in the top of the ninth, however, because the O's sent 12 batters to the plate and scored six runs.

Winning Pitcher - Tom Underwood
Losing Pitcher - Odell Jones
Save - Sammy Stewart
Player of the Game - Floyd Rayford, 2-2, HR, BB, 3RBI's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Cal Ripken, Eddie Murray

August 11, 2014

Inquiring Minds Want To Know

 A couple of you have been showing some love and asking some questions in the comments lately - thank you! - so I thought I would share a little bit about how I'm approaching the season.  I think I did a version of this at the start of the blog, but I'm too lazy to go back and look.

The first question was about what player cards I'm using.  When I first started toying with the idea of playing a whole season, I thought about doing 1985, which was the season that came with my game.  I soon discovered, though, that the teams weren't complete.  Most of the players missing were September call-up types, but that became a problem for the starting pitchers.  I'm following the Statis Pro rule that a pitcher can't start/appear in more games than they did in the season (I'm not being quite so strict with innings pitched).  I needed a complete roster to make this work.

As it so happened, my dad bought a CD full of about 50 seasons worth of Statis Pro on Ebay a few years back.  He and I play a "King of the Hill" version where we will randomly select a year and a team from the disc.  Whoever wins keeps their team and the loser draws a new one.  It's pretty fun.  Anyway, the CD teams were complete.  They're also a bit easier to use, especially with BD rating already listed.  I have to scale the fielding ratings because the non-Avalon cards scale from 4 to 2 instead of 2 to 0.  You can see a comparison above.  The purchased set wasn't completely accurate on how many games per position, I've had to use Baseball Reference to clean some of that up.  I also write total games played on the cards so I can get a sense for DHing and pinch hitting. 

Besides that, I'm using my original board, FAC's, etc. for the game.  The disc came with a scorecard that fit two per page, so I use that too.  I still have my original pad of scorecards and use it when my dad and I get to play.  I decided on 1984 for a couple of reasons.  First, my first complete set of Topps baseball cards was 1985, which featured the 1984 season on the back of the card.  I spent so many hours pouring over the stats and players.  It's still my favorite set from Topps.  I spent some years growing up in Michigan, too, so the chance to see the 84 Tigers team in action sounded fun.  My favorite team is the Baltimore Orioles, and my favorite player Eddie Murray, so I knew I was getting an MVP-caliber effort there too.  Plus you have Doc Gooden's rookie year, the Cubs in the playoffs - it's a fun year of ball to relive. 

The second question you asked were about rule variations. Instead of Pitching Reduction I use Points of Effectives and the Good vs. Bad stuff options.  I switched to that pretty early in the season but like the dynamic it creates.  I've yet to try infield positioning, guarding the lines, pitching around batters, and other variations.  I might experiment one of these days with that - stay tuned!

I hope you all found this helpful - thanks to everyone who reads the site and keeps visiting!  I find these games very relaxing and a fun hobby.  Keep the questions and comments coming!  

August 10, 2014

May 5, 1984 - Yanks Blank, A's Unphased

Game #327 - New York Yankees, 7 @ Milwaukee Brewers, 0

As if the Brewers haven't been terrible enough this Statis Pro season, they lost catcher Jim Sundberg for 14 games after he got injured on a Don Mattingly foul tip.  That was after Mattingly's two run homer in the first.  Dave Winfield hit a grand slam in the second and Phil Niekro had the knuckler dancing, blanking the Brew Crew through all nine innings.

Winning Pitcher - Phil Niekro
Losing Pitcher - Mike Caldwell
Player of the Game - Niekro, CG SHO, 5K's, 5H's, 2BB's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Dave Winfield, Phil Niekro, Robin Yount, Rollie Fingers

Game #328 - Oakland A's, 9 @ Minnesota Twins, 4

Question:  How many A's did Twins starter Al Williams retire before getting yanked?

Answer:  One (Mickey Tettleton strike out).

Question:  How many runs did he give up?

Answer:  Four.

Question:  How many innings did the Twins bullpen cover?

Answer:  8 2/3 (Pete Filson 3 2/3, Mike Walters 1, Ed Hodge 4).

Question:  Is this story recap a bit contrived?

Answer:  Yes.

Winning Pitcher - Ray Burris
Losing Pitcher - Al Williams
Player of the Game - Dave Kingman, 2-4, HR, BB, 3RBI's, 2R's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Joe Morgan, Kirby Puckett

August 2, 2014

May 5, 1984 - Eleven is Heaven

Game #325 - Chicago White Sox, 10 @ Boston Red Sox, 11 (eleven innings)

There were too many runs scored in this one to make for a coherent post!  Some highlights:
  • Greg Luzinski hits a two run homer in the top of the first.
  • DH Rick Miller doubles home two in the bottom of the third to give Boston a 3-2 lead.
  • Chicago roars back with a four run third, including a bases-clearing triple by Harold Baines, to give the White Sox a 6-5 lead.
  • Greg Walker knocks a pinch hit homer for three RBI's in the seventh, 9-6 Chicago.
  • Boston scores three runs in the bottom of the ninth, including a two run jack from Mike Easler, to tie the game and send it into extra innings.
  • With one out in the bottom of the eleventh, Salome Barojas walks Dwight Evans.  Mike Easler then hits a double to plate Evans for a walk-off victory!
Winning Pitcher - Charlie Mitchell
Losing Pitcher - Salome Barojas
Player of the Game - Mike Easler, 3-6, 2B, HR, 3RBI's, HBP
Hall of Famers in the Game - Carlton Fisk, Tom Seaver, Wade Boggs, Jim Rice

Game #326 - Detroit Tigers, 6 @ Cleveland Indians, 3 (eleven innings too!)

Ruppert Jones hit a three run homer of Steve Comer in the top of the second to give Detroit a 3-0 lead.  Cleveland chipped away at the lead over the next three innings and had tied it up by the fifth.  Willie Hernandez pitched the eighth, ninth, and tenth innings as the game went into extras.  Ernie Camacho tried to match his effort, but ended up yielding a three run bomb to Lou Whitaker in the top of the eleventh!  Tigers win...

Winning Pitcher - Willie Hernandez
Losing Pitcher - Ernie Camacho
Save - Aurelio Lopez
Player of the Game - Whitaker, 2-6, 2B, HR, 3RBI's

July 29, 2014

May 4th, 1984 - Anonymous FTW

Game #323 - Cincinnati Reds, 3 @ Philadelphia Phillies, 4

A few days back an "anonymous" reader checked in on a comments section and requested a specific lineup for the Phillies.  Who am I to deny my fans?  Here's what he/she wanted:

1.  Samuel, 4
2.  Hayes, 8
3.  Schmidt, 5
4.  Virgil, 2  (Actually wanted Lezcano here, but he's on the DL)
5.  Matuszek, 3
6.  Maddox, 7
7.  Wilson, 9
8.  DeJesus, 6
9.  pitcher, 1 - just happened to be Hall of Famer Steve Carlton

It's not a bad looking lineup!  I typically hit Samuel down in the six hole, because despite his 70 stolen bases in 1984, his on-base skills leave a lot to be desired.  So how did "anonymous" do?  Let's see!

He/she looked like a genius out of the gate.  Samuel doubled and, three batters later, Virgil put one over the fence for a quick 2-0 lead.  The Phillies added a third run in the third when Carlton reached on a Nick Esasky error.  Samuel popped out but Hayes smoked a triple to plate Carlton.

Carlton, meanwhile, was more than handling the Reds.  Despite drawing a "horrible stuff" fast action card to start the game, he was holding his own.  In fact, the Reds were scoreless going into the top of the ninth.  I wanted Carlton to get the shutout, so he was still pitching.  Cesar Cedeno led off with a double, and moved to third on a weak Dave Concepcion single.  Dave Parker hit into a fielder's choice but plated Cedeno in doing so.  At that point I lifted Carlton for Larry Andersen.  Pinch hitter Wayne Krenchicki flew out to left, but Dan Driessen doubled to move Parker to third.  Tim Foley then roped a double to plate those two and tie the game!

Ted Power took the mound for the Reds in the bottom of the ninth.  Pinch hitter Jim Lefebvre singled with no outs.  Greg Gross subbed for DeJesus and successfully made contact on a risky hit and run play, moving Lefebvre to third.  Kiko Garcia struck out, but Juan Samuel poked a single through the drawn in infield to win the game on a walk-off!

Winning Pitcher - Larry Andersen
Losing Pitcher - Ted Power
Player of the Game - Steve Carlton, ND, 8 1/3IP, 2R's, 6K's, 4H's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton

Game #324 - San Francisco Giants, 3 @ St. Louis Cardinals, 10

Dan Gladden and Steve Nicoscia each hit solo homers in the top of the first, but it was all St. Louis after that.  Starter Mark Davis couldn't escape a five-run fifth and the Lou just kept piling it on afterwards.

Winning Pitcher - Dave LaPoint
Losing Pitcher - Mark Davis
Player of the Game - Tom Nieto, 3-5, 2 2B's, HR, 4RBI's, ejected in the ninth for arguing with the umpire, despite a seven run lead.  Can't teach heart.

July 27, 2014

May 4th, 1984 - May The Fourth Be With You

Game #321 - San Diego Padres, 1 @ Chicago Cubs, 2

Eric Show gave up a two-out, two-RBI single to Jody Davis in the first inning.  Show went six more innings after that, shutting down Chicago, but it didn't matter.  The Padres only managed one run despite recording nine hits off Cubs starter Rich Bordi.  Lee Smith and Warren Brusstar retired all six San Diego Padres  hitters they faced to secure the victory.

Winning Pitcher - Rich Bordi
Losing Pitcher - Eric Show
Save - Warren Brusstar
Player of the Game - Jody Davis, 1-4, 2RBI's, threw out Alan Wiggins attempting to steal
Hall of Famers in the Game - Tony Gwynn, Goose Gossage, Ryne Sandberg

Game #322 - Houston Astros, 3 @ New York Mets, 2 (five innings, called for rain)

I almost ignored the "Z" card that ended this game early.  It was maybe the best pitching match up of the season as Bob Knepper was facing Doc Gooden.  They've been the two most dominant pitchers in the NL this season.  Houston managed to scrape together three runs off Gooden across five innings.  Knepper gave up two runs that weren't earned due to errors by Terry Puhl and Phil Garner, but he pitched strong enough for the abbreviated win - his sixth of the season.  The Mets lost George Foster for four games when he ran into the left field wall trying to catch an Alan Ashby double.

Winning Pitcher - Bob Knepper
Losing Pitcher - Doc Gooden
Player of the Game - Terry Puhl, 2-2, SAC, 2RBI's

July 26, 2014

May 4, 1984 - For Whom the Bell Tolls

Game #319 - Baltimore Orioles, 4 @ Texas Rangers, 9

It always feels like when one team has a left-hander pitching, the opposing team does too.  Mike Flanagan took the hill for the O's, as Frank Tanana opposed him on behalf of the Rangers.  Neither pitcher was particularly effective, despite the fact neither team had a hit until the bottom of the fourth.

With two outs in the fourth, Buddy Bell doubled.  Larry Parrish did too, bringing home Bell.  Hostetler, only playing because Pete O'Brien is on the DL, then homered to give Texas a 3-0 lead.  Baltimore put up two runs each in the fifth and sixth, but the Rangers scored four more in the bottom of the sixth to seal the victory.  Jim Palmer mopped up for his last appearance of the season.

Winning Pitcher - Frank Tanana
Losing Pitcher - Mike Flanagan
Player of the Game - Buddy Bell, 3-4, 2B, 3R's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Cal Ripken, Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer

Happy Trails - Jim Palmer
Die-hard Orioles fans know 1984 was the stumbling end of Jim Palmer's career.  After three disastrous starts and five games total, he was done in Baltimore.  He was similarly ineffective in Statis Pro, though not quite as bad.  Let's take a look:

Real 1984:  18IP  9.17ERA  0-3  4K's  2.21WHIP
Statis Pro:   16IP  5.63ERA  0-2  11K's  2.06WHIP

You regular readers of the blog know the Orioles are my favorite team.  It would have been fun to play with a 70's era team when Palmer was a dominant pitcher.  These five games were not a fun experience...

Game #320 - Kansas City Royals, 3 @ Toronto Blue Jays, 8

The Toronto offense continues to beat up whoever they face.  They had four innings in a row where they scored runs.  Jim Clancy wasn't really outstanding, but he ate up innings while the balanced lineup put up hits and runs.  On the flip side, Kansas City continues to flounder.  I'm not quite sure how they ended up being the AL West champions in 1984.

Winning Pitcher - Jim Clancy
Losing Pitcher - Mike Gubicza
Player of the Game - Clancy, 8IP, 4K's, 3R's
Hall of Famers in the Game - George Brett

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