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

September 8, 2017

May 30, 1984 - Rangers Ruin Brett's Return

Game #615 - Kansas City Royals, 1 @ Texas Rangers, 7

George Brett spent the last twenty games on the disabled list, so it was a lot of fun to have him back in the KC lineup.  He responded by being the typical George Brett; he went 2-4 with a double.  But the Rangers recorded six straight hits in the bottom of the first, mostly off Charlie Liebrandt's pitcher card or infield hits, and those dinks and dunks led to a five run deficit the Royals never recovered from.

Frank Tanana mowed down the depleted Royals offense.  Though Brett is back they still have several of their stars on the DL.  Tanana lasted eight innings and only gave up one run while striking out three.  He had to work extra hard, too, because the Texas infield committed three errors in the game.

Winning Pitcher - Frank Tanana
Losing Pitcher - Charlie Liebrandt
Player of the Game - Frank Tanana
Hall of Famers in the Game - George Brett

September 5, 2017

May 30, 1984 - Identical Scores

Game #613 - San Francisco Giants, 3 @ Philadelphia Phillies, 5 (11 innings)

The Phillies jumped out to an early three run lead thanks in part to a RBI single from Tim Corcoran and a bases loaded walk to Mike Schmidt.  But the Giants came pecking back against Jerry Koosman.  In the fourth Brad Wellman doubled home Jeff Leonard and then Leonard launched a solo homer in the sixth.

In the top of the ninth Larry Andersen came on but gave up three straight singles to load the bases.  Pinch-hitter Randy Gomez whiffed but Chili Davis poked a single to tie the game!  Chris Brown struck out and the Phillies couldn't produce in the bottom of the ninth so that meant FREE BASEBALL!

Fast forward to the bottom of the eleventh and Greg Minton took the mound, the fourth Giants reliever of the game.  Pinch hitter Bo Diaz promptly walked, but Minton got back to back K's on Von Hayes and Luis Aguayo.  But Sixto Lezcano came up next and BLASTED A WALK-OFF, TWO-RUN BOMB!!!

Winning Pitcher - Don Carman
Losing Pitcher - Greg Minton
Player of the Game - Lezcano
Hall of Famers in the Game - Mike Schmidt

Game #614 - Baltimore Orioles, 3 @ Seattle Mariners, 5

This was the battle of the Mikes as Boddicker and Moore squared off against each other.  The Orioles had a comfy 2-0 lead when Phil Bradley doubled and Alvin Davis homered to tie things up.  In the fifth Larry Milbourne tripled and Spike Owen squeezed him home to give Seattle their first lead.  They padded that advantage with back to back solo homers by Ken Phelps and Barry Bonnell.  Despite issuing six walks, Mike Moore lasted eight innings while striking out eight Orioles hitters.

Winning Pitcher - Mike Moore
Losing Pitcher - Mike Boddicker
Save - Mike Stanton
Player of the Game - Moore, 8IP, 2R's, 8K's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Cal Ripken, Eddie Murray

September 3, 2017

May 30, 1984 - Home Invasion

Game #611 - Los Angeles Dodgers, 1 @ Montreal Expos, 0

Orel Hershiser of the Dodgers and Bryn Smith of the Expos locked horns in a masterful pitcher's duel.  Each hurler managed six innings of shutout work until the top of the seventh.  With one out Mike Marshall singled and then advanced to third on a hit by Ken Landreaux.  With runners on the corners R.J. Reynolds singled home Marshall.  Smith got out of the jam by inducing  a double play ground out from Steve Sax.

The Expos never advanced a runner past second base because Hershiser was lethal.  In one of the best pitched games of the season he only allowed three hits and three walks, all while striking out nine in the effort.

Winning Pitcher - Orel Hershiser
Losing Pitcher - Bryn Smith
Player of the Game - Hershiser, CG SHO
Hall of Famers in the Game - Tim Raines, Andre Dawson, Gary Carter

Game #612 - Detroit Tigers, 6 @ Oakland A's, 3

Mike Warren of the A's tried, God bless him, but it was ultimately a wasted effort.  Lou Whitaker, the very first batter of the game, launched a solo jack that gave the Tigers a quick lead they never relinquished.  Warren got through five innings of work but surrendered a staggering fourteen hits doing it.  The Tigers hit into four double plays on the day, which helped minimize the damage.

Mother Nature took pity on the A's in the top of the eighth.  With a runner on third the skies opened up and pelted the field with rain.  The "Z" card said no more baseball would be played, and Detroit exited with the win.

Winning Pitcher - Dan Petry
Losing Pitcher - Mike Warren
Player of the Game - Lou Whitaker, 3-4, HR, 2RBI
Hall of Famers in the Game - Rickey Henderson, Joe Morgan

August 23, 2017

May 30, 1984 - Schroeder Destroys Cleveland to Split the Doubleheader

Game #609 - Milwaukee Brewers, 2 @ Cleveland Indians, 10

Milwaukee and Cleveland were playing twice in one day, so the biggest fear a manager has running their bullpen is a short stint by the starting pitcher.

Enter Don Sutton.

Sutton couldn't get out of the first before hitting the showers, getting shelled for six runs in just two-thirds of an inning.  Andre Thornton went deep for a two-run  homer in the inning.

The only two runs for the Brew Crew came courtesy of Charlie Moore, who launched two solo shots off starter Steve Farr.

Winning Pitcher - Steve Farr
Losing Pitcher - Don Sutton
Player of the Game - Andre Thornton, 2-5, 2B, HR, 2RBI, 2R's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Robin Yount, Don Sutton

Game #610 - Milwaukee Brewers, 10 @ Cleveland Indians, 5

Like I said, during a doubleheader the manager doesn't want to see the starter get roasted early.

Enter Moose Haas.

Despite Milwaukee getting a three-run lead in the first thanks to a Bill Schroeder home run, Haas gave up a solo homer to George Vukovich in the second, an RBI double to Julio Franco in the third, and then a Chris Bando two-run dinger in the third as well.  But after Schroeder launched his SECOND three-run home run in the fourth inning Haas got yanked and Jamie Cocanower sacrificed his next start in the rotation by engaging in emergency mop-up duty.  He held Cleveland to just one more run over six innings of relief!

But our good friend Bill Schroeder wasn't done...HE BLASTED ANOTHER THREE-RUN HOMER IN THE EIGHTH!!!  That made it three homers and NINE RBI on the day!!!  I'm pretty sure that's the record high for the season.

Winning Pitcher - Jamie Cocanower
Losing Pitcher - Bert Blyleven
Player of the Game - Bill Schroeder, 4-5, 3HR's, 9RBI, 3R's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Robin Yount, Bert Blyleven

August 20, 2017

May 30, 1984 - Veteran OF's Win the Day

Game #607 - Pittsburgh Pirates, 8 @ Cincinnati Reds, 4

This one wasn't nearly as close as the final score looks.  The Pirates were up 8-0 after five innings. Both Tony Pena and Jim Morrison had three hits and a RBI, but it was Lee Lacy who had the biggest day.  He recorded two hits, three walks, a run scored, a stolen base, two runs and a RBI.

Winning Pitcher - John Candelaria
Losing Pitcher - Joe Price
Player of the Game - Lee Lacy
Hall of Famers in the Game - Tony Perez

Game #608 - St. Louis Cardinals, 1 @ Houston Astros, 0

Starters Joe Niekro and Jaquin Andujar were both dealing the nasty cheese in this pitcher's duel.  Andujar got lifted with one out in the eighth in favor of all-world reliever Bruce Sutter, but Niekro was still in the game in the top of the ninth.  Willie McGee had a lead-off single and reached third on a pick-off attempt by Joe Niekro, who nabbed Tommy Herr with a similar move in the second inning.  George Hendrick singled him home as the next batter and Sutter shut down the 'stros 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth to record the win.

Winning Pitcher - Bruce Sutter
Losing Pitcher - Joe Niekro
Player of the Game - George Hendrick, GW RBI
Hall of Famers in the Game - Ozzie Smith, Bruce Sutter

August 7, 2017

May 30, 1984 - Trust Your Veterans

Game #605 - New York Yankees, 6 @ California Angels, 7

I love awesome, back and forth games!  Let's jump into the recap...

The Angels went up 2-0 in the bottom of the third when light-hitting Bob Boone smacked a double with the bases loaded off Ron Guidry.  The Yankees answered in the top half of the fourth, though, when Don Baylor and Butch Wynegar each ripped an RBI single to tie things back up.

In the bottom of the fifth Doug DeCinces legged out a triple with no outs, and trotted home after an RBI hit from Fred Lynn.  But the Yankees came roaring back, once again, the very next inning.  Don Mattingly chased Tommy John out of the game with an RBI double that scored Ken Griffey.  Luis Sanchez took John's place, but a booted grounder by DeCinces led to two more RBI on a pinch hit double from Steve Kemp, giving New York a two run lead.

They maintained that lead in the bottom of the eighth.  Reliever Clay Christianse induced a ground out from Dick Schofield...but Roy Smalley made an error!  Schofield advanced to second on a sacrifice fly by Rod Carew that very nearly left the ballpark.  Gary Pettis came up next, and smoked a triple to score Schofield.  But he wasn't done!  Ken Griffey bobbled the ball in center and allowed Pettis to score - tie game!  That brought up Reggie Jackson, pinch hitting in the DH slot of the order.  What did Mr. October do?  H O M E  R U N!!!!  Don Aase worked a scoreless ninth and the Angels escaped with the come from behind victory!

Winning Pitcher - Bruce Kison
Losing Pitcher - Clay Christianse
Save - Don Aase
Player of the Game - Reggie Jackson, 1-1, HR, huge ego
Hall of Famers in the Game - Dave Winfield, Rod Carew, Reggie Jackson

Game #606 - Toronto Blue Jays, 2 @ Chicago White Sox, 3

At the start of the game LaMarr Hoyt was pegged as having "bad stuff," meaning his normal 2-6 pitcher rating dropped to 2-4...against the best offense in Statis Pro!  But what did the steely veteran do?  He pitched seven innings of one-run ball, only giving up a solo homer to George Bell!  The White Sox scored three in the third off Jim Clancy and held on the rest of the way to put one in the win column!

Winning Pitcher - LaMarr Hoyt
Losing Pitcher - Jim Clancy
Save - Ron Reed
Player of the Game - Hoyt, 7IP, 7H's, 4K's, R

August 5, 2017

May 30, 1984 - Remember When They Were in World Series Droughts?

Game #603 - Chicago Cubs, 10 @ Atlanta Braves, 8

The Cubbies went up 4-0 in the first and never looked back, even though the final score made it look closer than it really was.  Leon Durham hit a 2-RBI double with the bases loaded, helping chase away Len Barker after three innings and seven runs of offense.  Durham added another RBI, again with a double, in the sixth.  But it was Rich Hebner, making an ultra-rare start in the outfield, who had the biggest day.  He went four for five with a RBI and three runs an outfield assist!

Winning Pitcher - Chuck Rainey
Losing Pitcher - Len Barker
Save - Warren Brusstar
Player of the Game - Rich Hebner
Hall of Famers in the Game - Ryne Sandberg

Game #604 - Minnesota Twins, 0 @ Boston Red Sox, 7

The poor Twins lost this one almost as soon as it started.  In the bottom of the first Wade Boggs singled, Dwight Evans walked, and then Mike Easler homered to give them a 3-0 lead before they even recorded an out!  Bob Ojeda scattered nine hits and two walks in a complete game shutout, the first shutout of the year for any Boston pitcher.

Winning Pitcher - Bob Ojeda
Losing Pitcher - John Butcher
Player of the Game - Mike Easler, 3-4, 2B, HR, 5RBI
Hall of Famers in the Game - Kirby Puckett, Wade Boggs, Jim Rice