May 30, 2020
On paper this looked unfair, as ace Dennis Eckersley was going up against subpar pitcher Marty Bystrom. But as I've typed on this blog...THAT'S WHY YOU PLAY THE GAME!
It was actually scoreless until the bottom of the fourth when backup catcher Steve Lake doubled home Keith Moreland. Keith Moreland went to high school with my aunt. That has nothing to do with this game, I just like to slip that into conversations from time to time. Chicago added a second run in the fifth when Bob Dernier and Ryne Sandberg hit back to back doubles.
Eckersley cruised through the first five innings but the wheels fell off in the top of the sixth. The bases were loaded with Mike Schmidt at the plate, and the FAC indicated a "clutch batting." Schmidt knocked a bases-clearing double to give the Phillies the 3-2 lead! Len Matuszek and Joe Lefebvre added RBI doubles to make the score 5-2 and send Eck to the showers.
It remained that way until the bottom of the eighth. Bill Campbell got into trouble and loaded the bases before giving way to Larry Andersen. Andersen gave up consecutive singles to Thad Bosley and Richie Hebner to bring Chicago within one! Andersen got lifted in the top of the ninth for a pinch hitter, so the less reliable Don Carman had to try and close it out. Dernier led of with a single, but Von Hayes bobbled it in center to allow Dernier to advance to second on the error. Jody Davis came in as a pinch-hitter on his off day...and plated Dernier to tie the game! Extra innings!!!
Warren Brusstar worked his second inning of relief and escaped a jam when he allowed two runners to reach base. In the bottom of the tenth Carman was still on the hill since he was due up first in the top of the eleventh. Steve Lake singled and the Larry Bowa walked. Brusstar was due up but nobody was left on the Chicago bench. George Frazier, the last available reliever in the pen, was a .286 hitter in the real 1984 so he got the call! And he singled to load the bases!!! That brought up Dernier, who punched a dribbler into an open spot within the drawn-in infield to plate Lake! Cubs win!!!
Winning Pitcher - Warren Brusstar
Losing Pitcher - Don Carman
Player of the Game - Bob Dernier, 3-6, 3R's, 2B, GWRBI
Hall of Famers in the Game - Mike Schmidt, Ryne Sandberg, Dennis Eckersley
Happy Trails...Don Carman
Carman was a rookie back in 1984, making eleven relief appearances. I've already used him up in the Statis Pro season. Let's compare the two Carmans!
The Real 1984: 0-1, 5.40 ERA, 16 K's, 3.67 FIP, 1.50 WHIP
Statis Pro 1984: 1-1, 4.97 ERA, 16 K's, 5.45 FIP, 1.97 WHIP
Don't be fooled by the ERA, Carman surrendered quite a few unearned runs. Based on FIP and WHIP the real Carman did a bit better. He threw smoke in both seasons, though, as he pitched 13 innings in the real 1984 and 12.2 in Statis Pro. With Carman done, Philadelphia called up...Jim Kern! Did you remember Kern spent part of 1984 with the Phillies? I sure didn't...
May 28, 2020
May 27, 2020
Pitching legends Rick Sutcliffe and Tommy John opposed each other in this one, and both were on rocky footing early. A Bob Boone error eventually allowed Brett Butler to score in the top of the first. The Angels took the lead in the bottom half of the inning, though, when Brian Downing jacked a two-run bomb to give the Halos the lead, 2-1.
It was 3-2 in favor of California in the bottom of the third when Downing led off the inning. He blasted his second homer of the game to make it 4-2. That was still the score in the bottom of the seventh when Sutcliffe, running on fumes, surrendered ANOTHER home run to Downing!!! Cleveland plated three runs in the top of the ninth to make things exciting, but reliever John Curtis finally retired Pat Tabler to preserve the win.
Winning Pitcher - Tommy John
Losing Pitcher - Rick Sutcliffe
Player of the Game - Brian Downing, 3-3, 3HR's, 5RBI, BB
Hall of Famers in the Game - Rod Carew, Reggie Jackson
May 24, 2020
This was the fourth game in a row between these two teams, and Atlanta was hoping to escape with a split series. After already being down a run in the bottom of the first, it was looking dicey, but the Braves' bats exploded. Claudell Washington, Dale Murphy, and Randy Johnson all had RBI singles to give Atlanta a 3-1 lead after one.
Gerald Perry padded the score with a solo homer in the bottom of the second, but the Reds refused to give in. Wayne Krenchicki hit a bases clearing double in the top of the third to bring Cincy back within a run.
It was still 4-3 in favor of Atlanta in the top of the sixth. With starter Craig McMurtry still on the hill, Tom Foley laced a triple to center field. Unfortunately, Perry misplayed it and Foley was able to scamper home to knot the game!
Fast forward to the top of the eighth. It was still 4-4 when Rick camp made his first relief appearance of the year. It did not go well. Dave Concepcion led off with a single and daringly stole second base. He moved to third on a Foley single. Two batters later rookie Eric Davis walked to load the bases. Eddie Milner sent two runners home on a single, and a few batters later Dave Parker singled home Davis but Milner got thrown out at the plate by Brad Komminsk. It still gave the Reds a two-run lead.
Camp surrendered two more runs in the ninth, though they were unearned after a Paul Runge bobble ruined a surefire double play. Runge was in the game because Glenn Hubbard got injured in the first and will be on the DL for twenty games. Ted Power pitched the last two innings for Cincinnati to earn his eighth save on the year.
Winning Pitcher - Tom Hume
Losing Pitcher - Rick Camp
Save - Ted Power
Player of the Game - Tom Foley, 3-4, BB, 3B, 3R's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Tony Perez
May 22, 2020
The prominent story right now is multiple batters chasing a .400 average. In the National League, Tony Gwynn (of course) is actually above it, swinging a sweet .405. Willie McGee (.388) and Tim Raines (.386) are within shouting distance as well.
In the American League, Dave Winfield just got off the disabled list and is tantalizingly close with a .395 clip. Dave Collins of Toronto is having a monster season and within a stone's throw too, registering a .392 average. Damaso Garcia is on the shelf right now, but that just means his .389 can't get any lower at the moment. We'll see what these totals look like at the end of June. Gwynn will get his chances as I have him hitting second in the Padres' lineup.
The Phenomenal Five
#1. St. Louis Cardinals, 44-22, .667. The Cardinals keep cruising in the NL East. Bruce Sutter continues to be the best reliever in the senior circuit and is automatic at the end of games. Ken Oberkfell's astronomic numbers are done now that he maxed his game total (you'll see him in Atlanta shortly) but Terry Pendleton has plugged in and picked up where Obi-Wan left off.
#2. Houston Astros, 41-23, .641. The Houston offense has cooled a bit over the past few weeks but their superior pitching talent has kept them well in front in the NL West. Enos Cabell comes off the injured reserve soon, which will be a welcome return.
#3. Toronto Blue Jays, 40-23, .635. Despite their continued success this season, they've slowly lost their lead in the AL East and are in danger of slipping into second place. Injuries to their middle infielders (Damaso Garcia, Tony Fernandez) hasn't helped. Their bullpen is also shaky.
#4. Detroit Tigers, 39-23, .629. Don't look now, but the Roar of '84 is back! The Tigers sit just a half game back in the AL East, and that's been accomplished with Kirk Gibson missing some time. Their offense is so deep they haven't missed a beat.
#5. New York Yankees, 37-25, .597. Despite being a bit banged up, the Bronx Bombers keep slugging their way into leads. Couple their offense with a crazy 1-2 punch of Jay Howell and Dave Righetti at the end of the game and it's hard for the opposition to record a victory.
- Randy Johnson (not that Randy Johnson) of the Braves has the most at-bats (142) without double-digit strikeout totals (7). He got a lot of games in when Bob Horner was injured for the season, but soon he'll split time with Ken Oberkfell.
- Who has played the most games in the NL without an error? That would be Steve Garvey of the Padres (60).
- Wally Backman and Hubie Brooks of the Mets have the worst ISO (.042) of any qualified hitters in the NL.
- Mike Boddicker (Orioles) and Frank Viola (Twins) are tied for the league-lead in innings pitched with 106.2.
- Willie Hernandez (Tigers) and Dan Quisenberry (Royals) have the most wins in the AL (5) without a game started.
- LaMarr Hoyt of the White Sox has served up the most gopher balls on the season in the AL, with 18. Ouch.
- In honor of the late Jerry Stiller...Ken Phelps has a 1.279(!!!) OPS for the Mariners right now.
- Fellow Mariner Jack Perconte leads the AL in singles (73).
- Julio Cruz of the White Sox has been picked off first base a miserable four times on the season.
- Larry McWilliams of the Pirates leads the NL in walks with 44. Somehow, he still has a 2.70 ERA.
- Larry Andersen leads the NL with 27 appearances without a home run surrendered. Jeff Reardon is second with 26 games.
- Mike Scott of the Astros has the worst HR/9 ratio in the NL for qualified pitchers with a 1.55. This must have been pre-spit ball...
May 19, 2020
I was sad to hear Bob Watson passed away. He was a star hitter for the Astros throughout the 1970's and retired with a .295 average and over 1,800 hits. That's a heck of a career. He also found success as a GM and later worked in the MLB offices. He finished his career in 1984 with Atlanta, mostly as a pinch-hitter. Prayers and condolences for his friends, fans, and family.
May 16, 2020
This match-up was over once it started. The Red Sox hit for the cylce in the first inning with back to back singles from Dwight Evans and Mike Easler, a double from Jim Rice, a triple from Tony Armas, and then a homer by Rich Gedman. That made it 5-0 off Jim Gott with only one out in the game. Gott got got!
Rice added an RBI double in the fourth and Wade Boggs an RBI single in the fifth to make it 7-0. Toronto managed to add five runs between the sixth and seventh innings but the normally shaky Bob Stanley held things down for 2.1 innings of relief work to earn the save.
Winning Pitcher - Roger Clemens
Losing Pitcher - Jim Gott
Save - Bob Stanley
Player of the Game - Jim Rice, 4-5, 2 2b's, 2R's, 2RBI
Hall of Famers in the Game - Wade Boggs, Jim Rice