October 31, 2012

April 21, 1984 - Cubs Win With a Walk-Off Error!

Game #181 - Pittsburgh Pirates, 2 @ Chicago Cubs, 3 (10 Innings)

Since I've last posted the 2012 MLB season came to a close, with the Giants sweeping the Tigers (and keeping the Tigers winless in a World Series since...1984!).  It occurred to me that I started this Statis Pro endeavor before the 2012 season had begun.  I'm just about to finish the third week of the Statis Pro season.  Over the course of a real-time season, I almost completed three weeks of games. 

I think this will literally take the rest of my life to finish!

OK, on to the game.  The Pirates took the lead in the second when Tony Pena blasted a solo shot to make it 1-0.  They added a run in the second when Dick Ruthven walked Pena with the bases loaded. 

Ruthven pulled out of the tailspin and lasted seven innings for the Cubs.  Meanwhile, Keith Moreland knocked a single to score RF Gary Matthews, who had reached base on a Jim Morrison error.  John Candelaria kept pitching into the eighth when Matthews crushed his own homer to tie the game. 

Lee Smith worked the eighth, ninth, and tenth innings without permitting a run.  In the bottom of the tenth pinch hitter Leon Durham led off with a single.  One out later Bob Dernier roped a double to left field...but Lee Mazzilli booted the ball!  This allowed Durham, who was on third after the double, to score for the win!  Chicago is back to a .500 record on the season.

Winning Pitcher - Lee Smith
Losing Pitcher - Cecilio Gaunte
Player of the Game - Lee Smith, 3IP, 0R's, 5K's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Ryne Sandberg

October 29, 2012

April 21, 1984 - Knepper, Cruz Keep the Astros Rolling

Game #180 - Houston Astros, 10 @ Atlanta Braves, 4

Our first Diamond King!  I wish I actually owned this set, instead of lifting it off the internet.  One day!

The Astros took a half game lead over the Braves with their win in this game.  The Astros started tagging Braves' starter Rick Camp with runs through the first four innings.  It didn't help Atlanta's chances when Albert Hall committed two errors in the outfield and Bob Horner added another at third. 

The Braves started coming back in the seventh, making it a 5-3 Houston lead, but the Astros added five more runs in the eighth to make it a route.  Three of those runs came from a home run by Jerry Mumphrey.  Knepper lasted seven innings for his league-leading fourth win and Jose Cruz earned his third "player of the game" honors on the year.

Winning Pitcher - Bob Knepper
Losing Pitcher - Pete Falcone
Player of the Game - Jose Cruz, 2-4, 3R's, 2B, RBI, SB

October 24, 2012

April 21, 1984 - Blue Jays Improve to 12-3

Game #179 - California Angels, 0 @ Toronto Blue Jays, 6

Everything is going Toronto's way.

I threw out reliever Jim Acker for the rare spot start today (he only started three games in the real 1984).  He's a Statis Pro 2-5 rating, meaning he's not super reliable.  But if this card teaches us anything, it's that a steely glare and a little luck will get you far in the 1984 do-over.

Acker tossed a shutout, with the Angels stranding 9 runners throughout the game.  Jorge Bell (as it was spelled back in the day) went two for four with a homer, double, and 4 RBI's.  Moseby added his own two run blast.

Winning Pitcher - Jim Acker
Losing Pitcher - Ron Romanick
Player of the Game - Acker, CG SHO, 4K's, awesome 'stache
Hall of Famers in the Game - Rod Carew, Reggie Jackson

October 22, 2012

April 21, 1984 - Yankee Scrub?

Game #178 - Texas Rangers, 1 @ New York Yankees, 4

I came across this article while trying to find a jpeg of Steve Kemp.  The author created an "All Scrub" team of the 1980's Yankees, and Kemp made the starting lineup.  The Statis Pro Steve Kemp hasn't gotten the memo yet that he's supposed to stink.  In this game he earned his second "player of the game" honors on the year by going 3 for 4, including a two run homer in the first.  He's now hitting .475 in 40 at bats this season!

Rangers pitcher Dickie Noles had a weird game.  He's normally a "2-5" rated pitcher, which in Statis Pro is below average.  I'm playing the rule stipulation that you flip a "Fast Action Card" at the start of the game to determine if the pitchers have great, good, average, bad, or terrible "stuff."  Sure enough, Noles was assigned terrible stuff, meaning his rating dropped to "2-3".  The other rule with this stipulation is that you can't change pitchers unless his pitcher rating drops even lower.  The crazy thing, though, was that Noles pitched a complete game loss, only giving up 4 runs over eight innings! 

The Rangers couldn't put anything together against Yankee starter Ray Fontenot.  He went into the eighth inning before finally giving up a RBI single to Billy Sample.  Larry Parrish hit two doubles to give him 11 on the season, but Texas couldn't do much besides that.  The Rangers have now lost five games in a row.

Winning Pitcher - Ray Fontenot
Losing Pitcher - Dickie Noles
Save - Dave Righetti
Player of the Game - Steve Kemp
Hall of Famers in the Game - Dave Winfield

October 21, 2012

April 21, 1984 - Shalom, Salome

Game #177 - Seattle Mariners, 6 @ Milwaukee Brewers, 1

I've decided to make a more concerted effort to ensure a player is only appearing on one team at a time.  As such, I made this Salome's last appearance for the Mariners until the All-Star Break (he's currently in the White Sox bullpen).

Boy did he make it count!

Barojas went eight innings, scattering five hits and a walk while striking out three.  In his three starts for Seattle this season he's 3-0.  That accounts for half of the Mariners' wins.  I have a feeling they're going to miss him...

(And a big shout out to the Kingdome, which is featured in this pic.  I lived in the Seattle area for three years as a kid and saw a bunch of games here - I loved it despite all the flack it usually gets...)

Winning Pitcher - Salome Barojas
Losing Pitcher - Mike Caldwell
Player of the Game - Barojas
Hall of Famers in the Game - Robin Yount

October 17, 2012

April 21, 1984 - Rain Delayed

Game #176 - Chicago White Sox, 5 @ Detroit Tigers, 8

Tonight in the real 2012 season the Yankees/Tigers game was rained out.  The Tigers are one win away from going to the World Series and having the chance to do something they haven't accomplished since 1984...

...win a World Series.

As much as I love Eddie Murray and my Baltimore Orioles, I kind of hope this Statis Pro season duplicates what the real Tigers achieved.  I think the 84 Tigers are one of the most iconic and memorable World Series winners ever.  Great hitters, great pitchers, clutch wins, huge personalities - this team had it all.

(It blows my mind there are no 1984 Tigers in the Hall of Fame.  They certainly come close with players like Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker, Darrell Evans, Jack Morris...  I'm not saying these guys should be in the Hall, just that it's surprising no one is...)

In this game the White Sox jumped to an early 3-0 lead, due somewhat to errors by Larry Herndon and SS Doug Baker.  Chicago was still leading 3-1 in the bottom of the fifth when pitcher Floyd Bannister gave up three consecutive hits to Lou Whitaker, Chet Lemon, and Lance Parrish.  That brought Kirk Gibson to the plate.  You would think Bannister had the leftie on leftie advantage, but alas, Gibson squashed that.  One grand slam later and the Tigers took the lead and never surrendered it.

Winning Pitcher - Juan Berenguer
Losing Pitcher - Bert Roberge
Save - Willie Hernandez
Player of the Game - Gibson, 1-3, Grand Slam, BB, SB
Hall of Famers in the Game - Carlton Fisk

October 14, 2012

April 21, 1984 - The HEAT is ON

Game #175 - Kansas City Royals, 0 @ Cleveland Indians, 2

Neal Heaton just blew my mind.

After his dominant pitching performance in today's game, I cracked open my 85 Topps set to find his card - but he didn't have one.  I've had sets in the past that have been missing a card or two, but a quick Google search yielded no proof of its existence.  Why did Topps pass on Heaton?  He led Cleveland in games started in 1984.  Was it another contract dispute between a baseball card company and a player?  A gross oversight?  Another slight to the city of Cleveland?  Why, Neal, Why???

Heaton went the distance in this game, scattering nine hits and two walks without surrendering a run.  The Royals helped him out by hitting into five double plays.  That's two straight 2-0 victories by the Indians over the Royals.  Ouch KC, time to wake up your bats!

Winning Pitcher - Neal Heaton
Losing  Pitcher - Larry Gura
Player of the Game - Heaton, CG SHO, 2K's

I need to get serious about buying the 1985 Donruss and Fleer sets for this blog.  In the meantime, enjoy some cheesey, vintage 80's music in honor of Neal.

October 11, 2012

April 21, 1984 - Carbonite Armas

Game #174 - Oakland A's, 2 @ Boston Red Sox, 10

Our four month old daughter is still crib-sleeping in our bedroom, where my computer and scanner are, and I was too afraid scanning my Tony Armas card might wake the baby.  So I lazily looked for a Google image I could use instead.

I'm so glad I did!

I have no idea who produced this but it is SWEET!  If you're a fan of the real 1984 season you would love to get your hands on the metallic version of the AL home run champion doing his best Han Solo circa Empire Strikes Back impersonation.

Speaking of home runs...Tony hit two today.  That brings him to eight on the year.  Sox pitcher Al Nipper escaped a two run first inning to pitch eight on the day.  I also realized the Red Sox have won nine straight games.  You don't easily get a sense for those kind of things when you play every game with every team.

Winning Pitcher - Al Nipper
Losing Pitcher - Steve McCatty
Player of the Game - Armas, 2-5, 2HR's, 4RBI's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Rickey Henderson, Wade Boggs, Jim Rice

October 6, 2012

April 21, 1984 - Twins on a Roll?

Game # 173 - Minnesota Twins, 11 @ Baltimore Orioles, 5

Skinny Kirby Puckett!  As a kid it was kind of funny to track Kirby's weight gain each year with my new Topps set (I used to do the same with Tony Gwynn).  Baseball is funny in that it might be the hardest sport to play but still one of the most accepting in terms of varying body types.

Now that I'm in the back half of my 30's and my metabolism is nowhere near what it used to be, I have more empathy for what Kirby and Tony went through.

The Twins started the year with nine straight losses but they've split their last six games.  Perhaps they're righting the ship?  Frank Viola had a couple of rough innings but managed to go seven deep while giving up four runs. 

The score was actually tied heading into the sixth when Tom Brunansky brutalized a pitch for a grand slam.  Tim Teufel added a homer as well, but Kirby had the best day for Minnesota.  He collected four hits and also recorded two outfield assists, both times when John Shelby was trying to take an extra base.

Winning Pitcher - Frank Viola
Losing Pitcher - Dennis Martinez
Player of the Game - Puckett; 4-6, 2B, R, 2RBI's, 2 OF Asst's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Kirby Puckett, Cal Ripken, Eddie Murray

October 2, 2012

April 20, 1984 - Giant Comeback

Game #172 - Cincinnati Reds, 6 @ San Francisco Giants, 8

It's been a few games since I've thought I made an error as manager, but this one certainly broke that streak.

The Reds jumped out to a huge lead, they were up 6-1 after six innings.  In the top of the seventh I allowed starting pitcher Frank Pastore, who was truly awful in the real 1984 but dealing well this day, to bat for himself and pitch into the seventh.  Chili Davis led off the seventh with a homer and Al Oliver and Jeoffrey Leonard followed that with two hits of their own before Pastore was finally yanked too late.  Error #1 for me. 

My second mistake came in the next inning.  The Reds were only leading now 6-5.  Their pitcher was due to hit in the ninth, so I wanted to save their best reliever, Ted Power, for the bottom of the ninth.  This meant I used scrubs Brad Lesley and Bill Scherrer to try and preserve the lead, which they didn't manage to do.  Before I knew it the Giants were up 8-6 and Power never got into the game.  Sorry Reds fans, that one is on me.

Winning Pitcher - Greg Minton
Losing Pitcher - Brad Lesley
Save - Frank Williams
Player of the Game - Chili Davis, 4-5, HR, 2RBI's, 2R's