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