November 28, 2016

May 23, 1984 - Prepare Launch Sequence

Game #525 - Cleveland Indians, 4 @ Boston Red Sox, 1

Wade Boggs roped a double in the first, one of his two for the game, and then moved to third on a Jim Rice sacrifice fly.  Tony Armas was up next and scorched a triple to plate Boggs and give the Red Sox an early 1-0 lead.

Cleveland came chipping back.  In the fourth Brook Jacoby knocked home George Vukovich to tie things up.  Then in the fifth Vukovich scored again, this time thanks to an Andre Thornton double.  It stayed 2-1 until the eighth inning.  Dennis Eckersley was still handing in there as the starting pitcher but with two runners on Tony Bernazard cleared the bases with a clutch double.  That was it for Eck and pretty much the ball game too as Cleveland won their third in a row against the team from Beantown.

Winning Pitcher - Neal Heaton
Losing Pitcher - Dennis Eckersley
Save - Ernie Camacho
Player of the Game - George Vukovich, 3-5, homer short of the cycle, 2R's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Wade Boggs, Jim Rice, Dennis Eckersley

Happy Trails...Dennis Eckersley

It's not Happy Trails for the rest of the season, since Eck got traded to the Cubs for the last two-thirds of the real 1984, so we'll certainly see him again over in the National League.  But this was his swan song with Boston.  How did Statis Pro Eckersley compare to the real Boston Eck?  Let's take a look:

Real 1984:  4-4  5.01ERA  64.2IP  2CG  38R/36ER  33K's  1.29WHIP
Statis Pro:   4-2  3.86ERA  58.2IP  1CG  38R/25ER  38K's  1.56WHIP

First glances would have you believe Statis Pro Dennis outperformed the real deal, but a closer look will show his WHIP was higher in my Statis Pro season and he was the beneficiary of 13 runs that went as unearned.  In essence, they performed about the same.  For Boston he was only a "2-5" rated starter but now that he's moving to the Windy City I think that card will be "2-7."  The other big news with Eckersley's departure is who is taking his place in the Boston rotation.  That's right...a rookie flamethrower known as "The Rocket."  I've waited a long time for this moment, but soon we'll see the debut of a Mr. Roger Clemens.

Game #526 - Detroit Tigers, 6 @ California Angels, 0

This game is a tale of two Juan Berenguer's.  Through the first four and a half innings, he walked seven and gave up four hits.  Somehow, no runs scored.  But with two on in the fifth, he then went eleven batters straight without an Angel reaching base.  During that streak he struck out six California hitters in a row and eight total!  Willie Hernandez came on in relief to slam the door shut for a Detroit victory.

Winning Pitcher - Juan Berenguer
Losing Pitcher - Bruce Kison
Player of the Game - Lou Whitaker, 2-5, HR, 3RBI
Hall of Famers in the Game - Rod Carew, Reggie Jackson

November 26, 2016

May 22, 1984 - Make 7 Up Yours

Game #523 - Cincinnati Reds, 3 @ Pittsburgh Pirates, 7

It was a rough start for both Jeff Russell and Larry McWilliams.  The Reds plated two runs after three straight singles and a walk to start things off in the top of the first.  In the bottom half of the inning Russell loaded the bases with only one out.  Dave Concepcion made a key error that led to three unearned runs on Russell's tab.

It stayed 3-2 Pirates until the Reds tied it up in the top of the fifth thanks in part to a Marvelle Wynne error that permitted Concepcion to score.  Wynne made up for the gaff by throwing out Cesar Cedeno at home plate a couple of batters later.

It was still tied in the bottom of the eighth when Ted Power relieved Russell, who besides his rough first inning, pitched a marvelous six innings after that.  Power has been the mayor of bad luck city in this Statis Pro season and that mad mojo continued Johnny Ray scored on a Lee Lacy single after a Duane Walker error.  With two runners on after that Jim Morrison, in the game for a now injured (20 games!) Bill Madlock, deposited a ball over the left filed fence to pad the Pirates lead and secure the win.

Winning Pitcher - Kent Tekulve
Losing Pitcher - Ted Power
Player of the Game - Jim Morrison, 1-1, HR, 3RBI
Hall of Famers in the Game - Tony Perez

Game #524 - Houston Astros, 8 @ St. Louis Cardinals, 7

Houston was up 7-1 after two and a half innings, but the Cardinals kept clawing back for the rest of the game in this battle between the two first place teams in the National League.  And just like the last game, Houston emerged victorious as every non-pitching starter for the 'stros had a hit and five different batters collected RBI's.

Winning Pitcher - Vern Ruhle
Losing Pitcher - Danny Cox
Save - Bill Dawley
Player of the Game - Terry Puhl, 2-4, 3B, 3RBI, 2R's, BB
Hall of Famers in the Game - Ozzie Smith, Bruce Sutter

November 24, 2016

May 22, 1984 - Thankful for Power Hitting Rightfielders

Gobble gobble, Statis Pro fans!  I hope you're getting to spend this holiday with friends and loved ones.  And I hope your turkey comas are light enough that you get a game or two in to boot!

Game #521 - San Francisco Giants, 2 @ New York Mets, 7

Bob Brenly of the Giants and Darryl Strawberry of the Mets each had an RBI double in the first inning as both teams came out slugging.  George Foster added a solo homer in the second to give New York the lead.

Disaster struck in the third for the Giants once again.  In yet another brutal twist of fate, Dusty Baker became the latest in a looooooong line of San Fran injuries.  He ran into the wall chasing a Keith Hernandez double and will be out for 30 games!  I think the Giants have logged more DL time than the other 25 teams combined...

Mookie Wilson ripped a three-run homer in the fourth and Strawberry launched a two-run blast in the fifth to ruin Jeff Robinson's day and give the Big Apple something to cheer for.

Winning Pitcher - Sid Fernandez
Losing Pitcher - Jeff Robinson
Save - Brent Gaff
Player of the Game - Strawberry, 2-3, 2b, HR, 3RBI, intentional walk

Game #522 - Los Angeles Dodgers, 10 @ Philadelphia Phillies

Sometimes the tide can really change in a game.  This was a lefty battle as Steve Carlton faced off against Fernando Valenzuela.  Fernando was in trouble early and often, especially after a two-run error by Candy Maldonado.  But in the top of the fifth, L.A. came roaring back.  They plated five against a shell-shocked Carlton, including a home run by Mike Marshall.  Carlton was still in the game when Valenzuela launched his second homer of the season in the sixth.  He has the same total as Pedro Guerrero now, which is crazy.

Winning Pitcher - Fernando Valenzuela
Losing Pitcher - Steve Carlton
Player of the Game - Marshall, 3-4, 2 HR's, 4RBI, Sac Fly
Hall of Famers in the Game - Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton

November 22, 2016

May 22, 1984 - Eighth Inning Meltdowns

Game #519 - Minnesota Twins, 1 @ Toronto Blue Jays, 7

Dave Stieb and Pete Filson were battling each other on the mound in this one, and both were doing quite well...for a time.  The Blue Jays struck first when Jorge Bell doubled in the fourth and then, two batters later, Lloyd Moseby doubled him home.  In the top of the sixth the Twinkies tied it up when Kirby Puckett reached on a Willie Upshaw error and scored on a Kent Hrbek single.

The Blue Jays tacked on three more runs before the eighth, when Minnesota reliever Ron Davis imploded and gave up three more, including hitting Dave Collins with a pitch that got both benches stirring (in my imagination).

Winning Pitcher - Dave Stieb
Losing Pitcher - Pete Filson
Player of the Game - Stieb, CG, 0ER, 5K's, 5H's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Kirby Puckett

Game #520 - San Diego Padres, 13 @ Montreal Expos, 5

I swear this was a close game!

The Padres rocked the scoreboard first when Kevin McReynolds launched a two run bomb in the first.  The Expos tied it up in the second, though, including a solo homer by Andre Dawson.  Dawson almost hit for the cycle in this game, missing only a double to be the first one in this Statis Pro season.  It was Andre's triple in the fifth that plated two more runs to give Montreal a 4-2 lead.

In the eighth San Diego was still trailing, 4-3, when lefty specialist Gary Lucas took the hill for Montreal.  He gave up three straight hits, a walk, a pop up, and then another single before mercifully being yanked and ruining Charlie Lea's seven innings of solid work.  Jeff Reardon was up next, but an Angel Salazar error led to three more runs and the route was on.  The Expos also had a devastating injury in the first when Terry Francona and Jim Wohlford collided on a Steve Garvey blooper.  Wohlford is on the shelf for 22 games but Francona will be out for 53 - the biggest injury of the year!!!

Winning Pitcher - Goose Gossage
Losing Pitcher - Gary Lucas
Player of the Game - Tony Gwynn, 4-6, 2R's, 3RBI's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Tony Gwynn, Goose Gossage, Gary Carter, Andre Dawson

November 19, 2016

May 22, 1984 - cALLdWELL That Ends Well

Game #517 - New York Yankees, 8 @ Seattle Mariners, 10

The Mariners were already up 2-0 heading into the top of the third when Matt Young's arm apparently fell off as he gave up five runs to the Bronx, including a two-run jack from Rick Cerone.  Seattle posted three runs in the bottom of the fourth (two from an Alvin Davis double) and an RBI single from Gorman Thomas in the fifth to retake the lead at 8-5.

New York wasn't finished, though.  In the top of the sixth Steve Kemp walked and Ken Griffey singled.  With Toby Harrah due up, I pinch hit with Roy Smalley.  All he did was launch a THREE RUN BOMB to tie it up!!!

The score was still knotted in the bottom of the eighth when Dave Righetti took over for the Yankees.  Spike Owen dropped a bunt single down the third base line but Dave Henderson flew out after that.  Alvin Davis was up, and it wasn't looking good since it was a lefty on lefty battle.  But Davis flipped a "clutch batting" FAC and the next card dictated a WALK-OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Winning Pitcher - Edwin Nunez
Losing Pitcher - Dave Righetti
Player of the Game - Alvin Davis, 2-5, 2B, walk-off HR, 4RBI, 2R's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Dave Winfield

Game #518 - Milwaukee Brewers, 13 @ Texas Rangers, 3

I did something a little out of the ordinary in this game.  I let Charlie Hough keep pitching even after getting roughed up at various points.  He game up two runs right out of the gate in the first.  Then he game up a grand slam to Bill Schroeder in the fifth.  Ben Oglivie tagged him for a homer in the eighth, but I still had him up in the ninth until he gave up back to back singles.  Tom Henke couldn't get the final two outs before allowing those two inherited runners to score as well as four of his own.

Winning Pitcher - Mike Caldwell
Losing Pitcher - Charlie Hough
Player of the Game - Caldwell, 8 2/3 IP, 3R's, 4H's, 5K's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Robin Yount

November 10, 2016

May 22, 1984 - The Two Inning Save

Game # 515 - Chicago White Sox, 5 @ Kansas City Royals, 6

Coming off a game where Kansas City lost two of its starting players, Pat Sheridan and Steve Balboni, and knowing there are another seven games before George Brett is off the DL, they could ill-afford more injuries.  But that's just what they got!  In two separate incidents, Frank White (16 games) and Jorge Orta (8 games) both went down!

That wasn't enough to prevent a win for the Royals, though.  Down 5-2 in the bottom of the seventh, K.C. staged an epic comeback.  The Royals recorded five straight singles to score four runs, including the tying and go-ahead RBI from U.L. Washington...who was only in the game for the injured White!  Dan Quisenberry worked two innings for the save.

Winning Pitcher - Joe Beckwith
Losing Pitcher - Richard Dotson
Save - Dan Quisenberry
Player of the Game - U.L. Washington, 1-3, 2RBI

Game #516 - Baltimore Orioles, 4 @ Oakland A's, 3

I have a daughter with Type 1 diabetes, and whenever we changer her evening insulin dosage, we have to check her a couple of times in the middle of the night to make sure her blood sugar doesn't get too low.  I took the first shift a couple of nights ago, and decided to play Statis Pro to stay awake until midnight, the first check time.  What a disaster!  I was literally falling asleep throughout the game, finding names half-written, my score sheet was a mess...I'm never doing that again!  The Orioles managed to avoid my slumber errors to eek out a victory, including a two inning save by Tippy Martinez.

Winning Pitcher - Storm Davis
Losing Pitcher - Chris Codiroli
Save - Tippy Martinez
Player of the Game - Eddie Murray, 2-3, 2 2b's, R, BB, RBI
Hall of Famers in the Game - Cal Ripken, Eddie Murray, Rickey Henderson, Joe Morgan

November 8, 2016

May 22, 1984 - Election Tuesday

Well, May 22, 1984, was a Tuesday, and today is a Tuesday.  And not just any's election day.  So go out there and vote.  And do me a favor...pick the correct candidate!  

Game #513 - Cleveland Indians, 8 @ Boston Red Sox, 5

For the second game in a row, Cleveland has Boston's number!  Though the Sox had a 1-0 lead in the top of the third, the Tribe plated three, including a bases-loaded walk by Bob Ojeda.  In the top of the seventh Cleveland was still out in front, 5-3, when they again scored three runs, including an RBI single from the ageless wonder, Julio Franco.  Jim Rice parked a two-run bomb off reliever Jamie Easterly in the bottom half of the inning, but Cleveland held on to win by the end.

Winning Pitcher - Steve Farr
Losing Pitcher - Bob Ojeda
Save - Tom Waddell
Player of the Game - Julio Franco, 4-5, RBI, R, SB
Hall of Famers in the Game - Wade Boggs, Jim Rice

Game #514 - Detroit Tigers, 3 @ California Angels, 5

So of the four teams to make the playoffs in the real 1984, none of them are currently in first place in my league.  Of those four, Detroit is the only team with a winning record.  They've played great, but the Yankees and Blue Jays have been other-worldly so far.  I'm starting to get anxious about it - what am I doing wrong!?

Milt Wilcox has been one of the unluckiest starters in Statis Pro, and his bad fortune continued in this one.  The Angels sent all nine hitters to the plate in the bottom of the first and scored three runs.  They picked up two more in the second.  Wilcox settled down after that, going five more runs without allowing another score.  Despite a two-run rally in the seventh, the Tigers were doomed for the day.  Part of the reason?  FIVE double plays.  Egad!

Winning Pitcher - Mike Witt
Losing Pitcher - Milt Wilcox
Save - Doug Corbett
Player of the Game - Corbet, 2IP, SV, K, 0H's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Rod Carew, Reggie Jackson

November 5, 2016

May 21, 1984 - First Place Fisticuffs

Game #511 - Minnesota Twins, 7 @ Toronto Blue Jays, 4

With such a short schedule of games on May 21, the Blue Jays had a chance to add some distance to their lead in the AL East.  Unfortunately for Toronto, the Minnesota sluggers were having none of that.  They plated five runs off Luis Leal in the top of the first, including back to back doubles from Tom Brunansky and Mickey Hatcher and a bases clearing triple from Gary Gaetti.  The Blue Jays had pulled back within a run of the Minnesota lead in the seventh, but Brunansky added some insurance by stroking his third double of the game in the top of the ninth as Ron Davis recorded the save.

Winning Pitcher - Frank Viola
Losing Pitcher - Luis Leal
Save - Ron Davis
Player of the Game - Tom Brunansky, 3-5, 3 2b's, 2RBI, 2R's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Kirby Puckett

Game #512 - Houston Astros, 14 @ St. Louis Cardinals

I haven't been this excited for a match-up in a long time, as the Astros and Cardinals are both in first place in the National League.  But Houston gashed St. Louis for fourteen runs and all that anticipation went straight out the window.  At one point Ricky Horton, David Green, and Darrell Porter all got ejected for arguing a "safe" call at first and the Cards had to burn through four bullpen arms in relief of Dave LaPoint.

Winning Pitcher - Mike Scott
Losing Pitcher - Dave LaPoint
Player of the Game - Bill Doran, 4-6, 2 3b's, 3R's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Ozzie Smith, Bruce Sutter

Happy Trails - Alan Bannister

With the lefty LaPoint starting for St. Louis, I rested Craig Reynolds and started backup Alan Bannister.  Alas, it would mark Bannister's last game...but not for the season!  That's right, Bannister made his way to the Rangers in the real 1984, so we'll see him again and still in the state of Texas at that.

How did Alan fair in this season of Statis Pro?

Let's take a look:

Real 1984:  9G  20AB  2R  4H  2 2b  0RBI  2BB  2K  .200/.273/.300/.573
Statis 1984: 9G  21AB  1R  4H  1 2b  1RBI  2BB  2K  .190/.261/.238/.499

Those are eerily similar stat lines, so it looks like Bannister did what Bannister was supposed to do.  Bert Pena will take his place now on the Houston bench.