May 21, 2012

April 18, 1984 - Hey Now What's That Fuss?

Game #152 - Philadelphia Phillies, 8 @ Pittsburgh Pirates, 2

This will probably be my last post until I move!  I'm going to be without internet for a week and a half or so, but this was the last game of April 18, so at least it's a nice ending point of sorts. 

I thought we were going to get a nice pitching battle between Jerry Koosman and John Tudor, two "2-7" Statis Pro rated pitchers, but that wasn't the case.  Tudor got destroyed in the first inning to the tune of five runs.  Mike Schmidt hit his second homer of the year, a three run, job, and John Wockenfuss added a solo shot after that.  Tudor only lasted three innings before getting yanked.

Koosman spread the eight hits he allowed over seven innings.  Dale Berra and Johnny Ray had RBI singles in the fifth but those were the only runs the Pirates plated.  Koosman struck out six batters on the day too. 

Ozzie Virgil and Gary Maddox added solo homers later in the game to put Philadelphia above the .500 mark.  I should probably also mention Kevin Gross got ejected after retiring two batters in the eighth.  He was arguing the ump's strike zone, which doesn't make a lot of sense because he struck out Jason Thompson before getting tossed.

Winning Pitcher - Jerry Koosman
Losing Pitcher - John Tudor
Player of the Game - John Wockenfuss, 2-4, 3B, HR, 2R's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Mike Schmidt

May 18, 2012

April 18, 1984 - Expos Win!?!

Game #151 - Montreal Expos, 5 @ New York Mets, 2

Whadya know, Montreal won another game!

This one was very much a pitcher's duel.  Charlie Lea was throwing for the Expos while Walt Terrell had the ball for New York.  The game was scoreless through the first five innings.  In the top of the sixth, though, Montreal broke the shutout.  With two outs Pete Rose hit a single and scored when the next batter, Bryan Little, hit a triple.  Little scored too because Angel Salazar blooped a single after that. 

Lea went eight innings only allowing one run, which was unearned due to a Pete Rose error.  Reliever Gary Lucas gave up a homer in the ninth to Darryl Strawberry, but that was all the New York bats managed to produce.

Winning Pitcher - Charlie Lea
Losing Pitcher - Walt Terrell
Player of the Game - Lea, 8IP, 1R, 4H's, 3K's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Gary Carter, Andre Dawson

May 11, 2012

April 18, 1984 - Buck Fifty

Game #150 - Los Angeles Dodgers, 4 @ Houston Astros, 3

Confession time.  I started this blog a few months back because I've had some extra time on my hands.  Namely, I've been on "funemployment."  I thought I worked in an industry that was immune to the financial plight of the outside world, but alas, I learned the hard way that wasn't true.  This time away from steady employment has had its moments of pleasure but it mostly consisted of worrying about how I would provide for my family.

I'm happy to report that today I was offered a new job - one that will be better in almost every way, shape, and form than my previous position.  I am ecstatic.  It starts June 1st.  I get to move my family half way across the country and start a new adventure.  And I get a steady paycheck again, which is a nice bonus.

I can't believe that I've managed to play a 150 games of Statis Pro baseball in that time.  It was either a colossal waste of time or a sanity-saving exercise.  Maybe a little from column A and B?  The blog will continue, but the next three to four weeks are going to be quite hectic.  Hopefully by the middle of June I can start posting semi-regularly again.  The pace may slow a bit but I love this renewed hobby of mine.  Thank you so much for reading this blog!

Enough with the personal life mumbo-jumbo, an excellent game occurred between the Dodgers and Astros.  Alejandro Pena and Nolan Ryan were the opposing pitchers so I knew it would be a fun one.  Each pitcher surrendered a run in the first inning but it stayed tied through seven innings.  Pena left after the sixth for a pinch hitter (Franklin Stubbs) who grounded out and stranded Dave Anderson on second base.

In the top of the eighth Nolan was back on the mound but gave up three straight walks before being lifted for Frank DiPino.  DiPino let two of his inherited runners to score and one of his own as well.  Two of those RBI's came from a pinch hit double by Bill Russell.  Russell has been mired in a season long slump, so it was fun to see the Dodger veteran come through in the clutch. 

The Astros struck back in the bottom half of the inning by scoring two runs on reliever Carlos Diaz, but Ken Howell put out that fire and eventually recorded his first save of the season.

Winning Pitcher - Jerry Reuss
Losing Pitcher - Frank DiPino
Save - Ken Howell
Player of the Game - Bill Russell, 1-1, 2B, 2RBI's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Nolan Ryan

May 10, 2012

April 18, 1984 - Walk This Way

Game #149 - Atlanta Braves, 11 @ Cincinnati Reds, 6

Q: What's a guaranteed way to lose a Statis Pro baseball game?

A: Walk 13(!) batters in one game.

Jeff Russell, Brad Lesley, Bill Scherrer and Tom Hume combined for thirteen walks against the Braves in this game.  As you can imagine, the Reds did not win.  Russell and Lesley had five each!  Every Atlanta starter, with the exception of the pitcher, had at least one walk.

Craig McMurty was the pitcher for Atlanta...and walked six Reds himself in four innings of work.  He was yanked after giving up six runs.  Terry Forster, Jeff Dedmon, and Pete Falcone chipped in for six innings of scoreless relief.

Dale Murphy hit his league-leading eighth home run of the year.  Chris Chambliss, Alex Trevino, and Rafael Ramirez had multi-hit games as well.  Atlanta moves to 8-3 on the season while the Reds are back to .500 at 6-6.

Winning Pitcher - Terry Forster
Losing Pitcher - Brad Lesley
Player of the Game - Ramirez, 4-5, 2 2B's, 4RBI's, 1R, 1BB
Hall of Famers in the Game - Tony Perez

May 8, 2012

April 18, 1984 - Cards and Cubs Doubleheader!

It occurred to me a few weeks back that the baseball schedule I've been following (The Baseball Cube) is the schedule for when the games were completed, not necessarily when they were supposed to be played.  As such, I've actually ignored a couple of "Z" plays that call for a game to be rained out before five innings are in the book, because I knew I didn't have the same freedom of rescheduling that MLB had in the real 1984.

Today was the first time a "scheduled" doubleheader was played from the real 1984, and I'm assuming it must have been a rain makeup due to the time off the Cubs and Cardinals have had since their last game and the fact these games were being played on a Wednesday.  But just like Ernie Banks used to say, "let's play two!"

Game #147 - St. Louis Cardinals, 3 @ Chicago Cubs, 15
I have a new respect for managers who have to supervise bullpens during doubleheaders.  St. Louis presented a nightmare scenario for any skipper in game one.  Dave LaPoint gave up three runs in the first, the only inning he pitched.  Neil Allen came in after that and surrendered five more runs over three innings.  Ralph Citarella slung it for another 2 1/3 innings while getting shelled for seven runs.  Jeff Lahti was the only reliever to escape with his dignity intact.  He held the Cubs scoreless for an inning and two-thirds. 

Chuck Rainey, meanwhile, settled down after a harrowing first inning to go eight total for three runs.  He struck out six while scattering seven hits and four walks.  The first eight Cubs in the batting order all had at least two hits and only Jody Davis never made it across home plate for a run.

Winning Pitcher - Chuck Rainey
Losing Pitcher - Neil Allen
Player of the Game - Gary Matthews, 2-3, HR, 3R's, 2RBI's, 2BB's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Ozzie Smith, Ryne Sandberg

Game #148 - St. Louis Cardinals, 5 @ Chicago Cubs, 3
The Chicago bats must have been fatigued after their 19 hit barrage in game one.  The Cards put up four runs on Steve Trout in the second inning.  Chris Speier hit an RBI single and Willie McGee crushed a triple with the bases loaded. 

The Cubs threatened in the sixth, though.  Catcher Steve Lake doubled home Keith Moreland and backup shortstop Dave Owen singled home Richie Hebner.  They would tally three runs total in the inning but that was as close as it would get.  Dave Rucker and Bruce Sutter shut Chicago down in relief of Kurt Kepshire.

Winning Pitcher - Kurt Kepshire
Losing Pitcher - Steve Trout
Save - Bruce Sutter
Player of the Game - Willie McGee, 2-5, 3B, 4RBI's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Bruce Sutter, Ryne Sandberg

April 18, 1984 - Middle Infielders FTW!

Game #145 - Oakland A's, 7 @ Seattle Mariners, 2

I'm running out of adjectives to describe how well Joe Morgan is playing right now.  If you look at the Statis Pro stats, he's simply the best player in either league, and he continued his scorching start of the season in this game too.

Things started off well for the Mariners.  Starter Jim Beattie struck out four of the first six A's hitters, including Morgan.  Meanwhile, a Carney Lansford throwing error allowed Phil Bradley to score from first.  But in the top of the second Morgan lined a double that scored two to give the A's the lead, and they never looked back after that.

Winning Pitcher - Lary Sorensen
Losing Pitcher - Jim Beattie
Player of the Game - Morgan, 3-5, 2B, HR, 3RBI, 2R's.  This is Morgan's third POG honor.
Hall of Famers in the Game - Rickey Henderson, Joe Morgan

Game #146 - Baltimore Orioles, 4 @ Toronto Blue Jays, 9

Jim Palmer was on the mound for Baltimore, and he got into trouble right away.  Willie Upshaw rocked a triple to plate Damaso Garcia, and three batters later Rance Mulliniks singled home Upshaw to give the Blue Jays a 2-0 lead.  Palmer, though, struck out the side in the first to escape further damage.

Baltimore tied things up in the second with back to back solo homers from Wayne Gross and Ken Singleton.  Gross added an RBI single off Jim Clancy in the third to give the O's a 3-2 lead.  Palmer gave up quite a few hits and walks from the second inning through the sixth, but none of the Toronto base runners managed to score.

John Pacella relieved Palmer in the seventh to disastrous results.  George Bell led off with a solo homer, and three batters later Tony Fernandez added a two run shot of his own.  The flood gates opened after that and Toronto won their second straight against Baltimore.

Winning Pitcher - Jim Clancy
Losing Pitcher - John Pacella
Save - Ron Musselman
Player of the Game - Tony Fernandez, 3-4, HR, 3RBI's, 1BB
Hall of Famers in the Game - Cal Ripken, Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer

May 7, 2012

April 18, 1984 - Half a Twin

Game #144 - California Angels, 3 @ Minnesota Twins, 1

The Twins scored one run, aka, half a twin.  To be fair, they were going up against Geoff Zahn, who was better than decent back in 1984.  But Minnesota is now 2-11 on the season.  This is a grueling stretch of losing, especially with Twins starter John Butcher pitching a pretty good game. 

The game was scoreless going into the bottom of the third.  With two men on, Tom Brunansky lined a single to score Ron Washington.  Kirby Puckett tried to score too but Brian Downing gunned him down at the plate.  It stayed 1-0 until the sixth inning.  With the bases loaded Reggie Jackson crushed a double, scoring two runs.  Butcher got lifted after that but an Ed Hodge relief pitch got past Tim Laudner to score Downing from third.  That was enough for a California win.

Winning Pitcher - Geoff Zahn (2-1)
Losing Pitcher - John Butcher (0-3)
Save - Doug Corbett (2)
Player of the Game - Zahn, 8IP, 7H's, 3K's, 1R
Hall of Famers in the Game - Reggie Jackson, Kirby Puckett

Happy Trails - John Castino
Castino played his eighth and final game of the 1984 Statis Pro season.  If nothing else, it gets Gary Gaetti out of left field and back to the hot corner.  Let's compare the real 1984 with Statis Pro:

Real 84: 27AB, 5R, 12H, 1 Double, 3RBI, .481SLG, 5BB, .444AVG
Statis 84: 28AB, 3R, 12H, 1 Double, 2RBI, .464SLG, 4BB, 429AVG

Those are eerily close stats for such a small sample size.  Castino's career ended after 1984 because of a fused disc (according to Wikipedia, anyway).  That's too bad as he was just 29 years old when he played his final game.  Looks like he's doing ok, though.

May 4, 2012

April 18, 1984 - AL Championship Preview?

Game #143 - Kansas City Royals, 4 @ Detroit Tigers, 2

The real 1984 AL playoffs featured the Tigers against the Royals, so it was fun to have an early season teaser of one possible outcome to these Statis Pro shenanigans. 

1984 was Paul Splittorff's last season, and he didn't make it very far before being released by the team due to ineffectiveness.  That wasn't the case in this game!  He navigated the dangerous Detroit lineup for six innings, spreading five hits and two walk but only giving up one run.

On offense the KC roughed up Jack Morris for his first loss on the season.  George Brett hit a solo homer in the first.  Willie Wilson and Jorge Orta added RBI singles in the third, and Pat Sheridan even got into the action in the fifth, plating Wilson for one last run.

Winning Pitcher - Paul Splittorff
Losing Pitcher - Jack Morris
Save - Dan Quisenberry
Player of the Game - Splittorff
Hall of Famers in the Game - George Brett

***On a completely unrelated note, prayers and thoughts go out to the family of Adam Yauch, or as he's better known, MCA of the Beastie Boys.  He's one of the finest MC's to ever hold a mic.  Rest in Peace.

May 2, 2012

April 18, 1984 - Brass Knuckles

Game #142 - New York Yankees, 7 @ Cleveland Indians, 0

Like Rob Neyer and other baseball nerds, I'm a big fan of knuckle ball pitchers.  I was bummed to see Tim Wakefield retire this year, even though he played on the dreaded Red Sox.  So these Statis Pro games are a little more fun for me when there's a knuckler on the mound like Phil Niekro.

Steve Farr of the Indians was the opposing pitcher, and through five innings he was tossing a great game.  In 1984 Statis Pro Farr has a "2-5" pitcher's rating, which is the worst you can have.  That he'd only allowed one run (an RBI single to Steve Kemp) was pretty outstanding.  His fortunes changed in the sixth, though.  Back to back walks of Willie Randolph and Ken Griffey and back to back singles from Dave Winfield and Don Mattingly ended his day abruptly.  Reliever Tom Waddell couldn't prevent his inherited runners from scoring and before you knew it, the Yankees were out front 6-0.

Phil Niekro, meanwhile, had his knuckler dancing.  George Vukovich was the only Indian who wasn't fazed by it, going 2 for 2 with a couple of walks.  Niekro went the distance for a shutout.  Kemp was 4-5 with three RBI's.

Winning Pitcher - Phil Niekro
Losing Pitcher - Steve Far
Player of the Game - Niekro, CG SHO, 7K's, 7H's, 3BB's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Dave Winfield, Phil Niekro

May 1, 2012

April 18, 1984 - Dewey

Game 141 - Texas Rangers, 7 @ Boston Red Sox, 9

My dad served in the Air Force when I was a kid, so we moved around the country quite a bit.  As it so happened, there was another family in the Air Force we were quite close with who by sheer coincidence were often stationed at the same base we were.  It's not normal to have that kind of constant presence when growing up in the military.  Both of our fathers left the Air Force around the same time and joined the airlines.  They got out first and we actually joined them in the same small town in Michigan as both of the dads flew out of Detroit Metro Airport.

I recall one day we were hanging out at their house discussing baseball when the mother mentioned she thought one of her old high school classmates played ball professionally.  We asked who and she casually said Dwight Evans.  My jaw dropped.  She knew nothing about baseball let alone that Dewey was still playing at the time and was one of the best players in the league.  Can you imagine being in the same graduating class as Dwight Evans?  Or any professional player for that matter?  I thought that was so cool, and it was completely lost on her.  Oh well.

A Gary Ward solo homer off Bruce Hurst and a subsequent two-RBI double from George Wright gave the Rangers a 4-1 lead after three innings.  The Red Sox tied things up in the fourth, though, with two of the RBI's coming from a Dwight Evans double.  Billy Sample knocked home Larry Parrish in the fifth to give Texas back the lead, 5-4.

Things stayed that way until the bottom of the seventh.  Danny Darwin had finally settled down and was inducing outs from the Boston lineup.  But Wade Boggs led off with a single and Evans hit a triple to tie the game.  Jim Rice singled home Evans and Darwin's day was done.  Boston eventually stretched the lead to 9-5.  Texas scored two in the ninth but the Ranger rally fell short.

Winning Pitcher - Bruce Hurst
Losing Pitcher - Mike Mason
Save - John Henry Johnson
Player of the Game - Evans, 2-5, 2B, 3B, 3RBI's, 1R
Hall of Famers in the Game - Wade Boggs, Jim Rice

That's Dwight Evans' third POG honor.  He's tied with Bob Knepper for the Statis Pro lead.