Saturday, October 28, 2006

NL Games

The day began with the 1902 Pirates leading the NL East by 1.5 games, while the 1906 Cubs continued their steady journey to the NL West title. The 1897 Beaneaters, managed by Your Humble Blogger, trekked to Queens to open a three-game set with the Mets at Shea. The 1942 Cardinals, with the same manager, are playing host to the 1976 Reds and hoping to stem something of a free-fall which began a week or so earlier...

Beaneaters 2, Mets 0: The Beaneaters have the 2nd-worst ERA in the Cloverland Leagues, at 4.03 in a league whose average ERA is 3.38. However, Ted Lewis (16-19) managed to put together a 3-hit shutout, drive in Bobby Lowe and the only run he'd need, and simultaneously avoid his 20th loss of the year. Ron Darling (13-13) was the hard-luck loser, victimized by two Boston runs in the 5th on the aforementioned hits by Lowe and Lewis, another single by Fred Tenney, a sacrifice bunt and a judicious groundout. Tenney and Lowe each added additional hits as well. The Mets "attack" wasn't much, as Darryl Strawberry and Kevin Mitchell each doubled but not in the same inning. With the win and a Pirates loss, the Beaneaters closed to 0.5 game behind Pittsburgh.

New York Giants 4, Pirates 3 (10 innings): Meanwhile, over in Manhattan, Christy Mathewson (21-10) overcame two unearned runs to come up with a complete game, extra-inning victory. Pittsburgh struck first, taking advantage of an error by catcher Roger Bresnahan and scoring twice on a single by Fred Clarke. An injury to Pirates workhorse Jack Chesbro required a tired Ed Poole to come on in relief, however, and sloppy defense by Pittsburgh led to the Giants tying the game at 3-3 in the 6th. The Giants won in the 10, as Mike Donlin doubled off of Ed Doheny (11-11), and after two intentional walks and a sacrifice bunt, Bobby Gilbert singled Donlin home.

Phillies 9, Brooklyn Dodgers 3: Philadelphia led early and never looked back. Paced by Darren Daulton's 28th home run and 7 shutout innings by Brian Rivera (8-12), Brooklyn's postseason chances dimmed further. Cookie Lavagetto had three hits for the Dodgers, and Ducky Medwick homered for them as well.

Expos 19, Atlanta Braves 5: What can you say about a 19-5 game? Tom Glavine (17-8) gave up 4 runs in the 1st inning before additional runs in the 4th and 5th knocked him out of the box, and an eight-run 6th did not help Paul Byrd's ERA. The 'spos offense was keyed by home runs by Will Cordero (who had 5 RBI on the day before being pulled for a pinch hitter late in the game), Darrin Fletcher (3-5) and Mike Lansing (4 RBI before another mercy pinch hitter) also homered for Montreal. Things were so bad for Atlanta that the pinch hitters inserted to rest the Montreal regulars went 3-5 with 3 runs scored and 3 RBI...

Astros 2, Cubs 1 (12 innings): The worst team in the NL took on the best, and came out on top. Baseball, what a game! :) Three Finger Brown (16-9) went the distance for Chicago, striking out 8. A parade of Houston pitchers held the Cubs down after the 3rd inning. Jeff Bagwell scored the winning run as Brad Ausmus' squeeze play caught the Cubs infield flat-footed. Craig Biggio's double was the key blow in the inning for Houston. Mike Magnante got the win, raising his record to 2-1.

Milwaukee Braves 4, Padres 2: Del Crandall's 11th home run led Gene Conley and the Braves (12-5) to victory over Bob Tewksbury (9-18) and San Diego. Conley allowed two unearned runs thanks to a dropped fly ball by Hank Aaron, but scattered five hits otherwise. Don McMahon closed out the game for his 14th save.

Reds 3, Cardinals 2: Another frustrating loss for St. Louis, their 4th in a row and 9th in the last ten. Santo Alcala (5-13) pitched 7 effective innings before Rawly Eastwick and Will McEnany finished off the Cards. Joe Morgan scored twice for Cincinnati. Murry Dickson (7-7) pitched well, but as has often been the case of late, not quite well enough...

Los Angeles Dodgers 5, San Francisco Giants 4: Andy Messersmith (12-14) struck out 10 en route to a complete game victory for the Dodgers. Matt Jackson (5-4) took the loss for San Francisco, as a single by Davey Lopes off of a clean-handed Kenny Rogers drove in the winning run in the 7th. Barry Bonds drove in 2 runs, tying him for 5th in the league with 109. Ron Cey was 3-3 for LA with two doubles.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Today's AL action

At the start of the day, the Yankees were clinging to a 0.5-game lead as they arrived in Baltimore to play the second-place Orioles, and Seattle was 4.5 games back as they began a big three-game set hosting first-place Cleveland.

Yankees 4, Orioles 3: Joe Gordon started off the Yankees right, hitting his 25th home run (leading the Yanks) in the 2nd inning, though Dave McNally escaped further damage by inducing an inning-ending grounder by Charlie "King Kong" Keller with the bases loaded. Gordon continued his hot hitting in the 3rd, driving in Bill Dickey before Babe Dahlgren drove Gordon and DiMaggio in with a triple. New York then hoped to wait out Baltimore. The Orioles scored in the 6th on a single by Davey Johnson, and added another on an 8th inning home run by Don Buford when with two out and men on first and third, manager Rivkin made the call to the bullpen for Johnny "Fireman" Murphy. Murphy's had an awful year, much worse than in real life, so this was not a clear call... (There's a digression into whether teams should be managed as they really were or whether hindsight should be used, but that's for another time). A single by Merv Rettenmund off of Murphy shaved the score to 4-3, but Murphy had a relatively easy 9th for his 9th save. Steve Sundra, starter for the Yankees, improved his record to 10-1, McNally fell to 15-15. Gordon finished the day with 3 hits. The Yankees got some much-needed breathing room.

Indians 8, Mariners 1: For my other AL team, though, it's looking like the pennant race may be over. Seattle was down 4-0 by the time they batted in the 5th, and in the end Freddy Garcia (13-9) gave up home runs to Paul Sorrento and Manny Ramirez and John Olerud made a critical error that led to two unearned runs. Meanwhile Dennis Martinez (15-9) cruised through seven scoreless innings. Reliever Paul Assenmacher gave up a home run to Edgar Martinez, but it was way too late for the M's. Ryan Franklin giving up hits to all three Indians he faced didn't help. In the end, Cleveland's lead in the division swelled to 5.5 games and their magic number dropped to 10, the lowest in the Cloverland Leagues. Seattle's put up a good run, but Cleveland is just too good this season. Barring a miracle finish, they'll be headed to the playoffs.

In other action:
Tigers 7, Red Sox 1: A four-run 7th, keyed by Dick Bartell's bases-clearing double, powered Detroit to victory. Bobo Newsom (14-16) held Boston to one run in a complete game victory, while Smokey Joe Wood (20-14) was victimized by three unearned runs. McCosky, Higgins, and Sullivan (as well as Bartell) all had two-hit days for the Tigers. Bartell and Boston's Tris Speaker had two doubles. Boston fell to 3.5 games behind New York.

White Sox 5, Browns 2: Swede Risberg and Buck Weaver had three-hit days for Chicago, which took an early 5-0 lead against Elam Vangilder (10-17) and held on to win. In return, Vangilder, along with Jack Tobin, had three-hit days against White Sox pitcher Lefty Williams, who evened his record at 18-18 and is second in the league in innings pitched. Much of Chicago's damage was done by Risberg, who had a double and triple among his hits. George Sisler went 2-5, dropping his average to .425. Happy Felsch was injured when hit by a pitch, and is expected to be out at least two days.

Nationals 10, Athletics 1: A perfect 4-4 day by Sam Rice helped Washington overwhelm Philadelphia. A five-run first inning gave Stan Coveleski (16-12) all he needed and more, but the Nats continued to pour it on. Muddy Ruel added three hits, Everett Scott drove in three runs. George Earnshaw (18-16) lasted six innings before giving way to George Quinn to finish. With the Browns loss, the Athletics' hold on 5th place remains 0.5 game.

Twins 13, Rangers 2: A six-run first knocked John Poloni (0-1) out of the box after only 1/3 of an inning, and three relievers gave up seven more runs over the rst of the game. Minnesota knocked four home runs, by Cesar Tovar, Harmon Killebrew, Brant Alyea, and George Mitterwald. Mitterwald added three more hits, driving in four and scoring three times. Jim Perry (15-18) cruised for seven innings, with relievers Pete Hamm and Stever Barber finishing out the game. Toby Harrah had a home run in a losing cause, with Mike Hargrove adding three hits for Texas.

Angels 9, Royals 2: I was complaining about the last set of games being pitching duels? The top third of California's lineup hit .500, scoring 4 runs and driving in 7, four by Fred Lynn. Bob Boone added two hits and two runs. Mike Witt (9-10) pitched effectively, giving up only one extra-bae hit. Bud Black (8-13)? Not so effective. But Larry Gura's relief was more problematic, giving up three runs in the 9th before himself being relieved by Mike LaCoss.

Blue Jays 3, A's 0: Oakland's hitting woes continue. Hitting just .220 as a team, and scoring just 3.2 runs per game (a full run lower thant the league average), Oakland could only manage four hits against Toronto starter Jim Clancy (9-12). Toronto also managed only four hits against Bob Welch (6-16), but made them count, with home runs by Lloyd Moseby and Willie Upshaw, the latter a two-run shot. Both pitchers went the distance. Oakland has the worst record in the Cloverland Leagues.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Actual action from actual fake games

Yankees 5, Nationals 3: Lefty Gomez went the distance as the Yanks opened up a little breathing room over idle Baltimore. Joe DiMaggio got three hits to raise his average to .332, but errors by Peckinpaugh and Bluege did Washington in (and more than offset Bluege's 2nd home run of the year. Dutch Ruether took the hard luck loss, falling to 10-12 on the year. Gomez is 13-9.

Browns 3, Royals 1: Dixie Davis shut down Kansas City on 5 hits, including a home run by Darryl Motley. Danny Jackson pitched well, but not well enough. George Sisler was 1-2 for St. Louis, raising his average to .425.

Rangers 3, Twins 2: In another low-scoring affair, Gaylord Perry went the distance to run his record to 14-12. Willie Horton homered for Texas. Luis Tiant lost for Minnesota, and is now 3-8. Tony Oliva drove in both Minnesota runs.

Blue Jays 3, Angels 1: Yes, another pitchers duel. Jimmy Key continued to make his case for AL Cy Young, going 7 2/3 innings and combining with Tom Henke on a two-hitter, losing the shutout on a 7th inning home run by Doug DeCinces Key's ERA was lowered to 2.31 and record improved to 16-10. Henke's 33rd save tied him for first in the AL with Jose Mesa. Fred McGriff homered and scored twice for Toronto, Lloyd Moseby added two hits of his own.

Braves 3 Cardinals 0: St. Louis continues its recent slump, losing its third in a row and 9th out of 10. Kevin Millwood (10-11) went the distance for Atlanta, striking out 8. Andres Gallaraga provided all the offense Millwood needed with a first-inning three-run home run, his 33rd, tying him for third in the NL. Lanier (7-10) walked 5 in 6 innings, not helping his cause.

Mets 8, Brooklyn Dodgers 4: At last, not a pitchers duel! Powered by two-run home runs by Darryl Strawberry and Howard Johnson, the Mets handily defeated their cross-town rivals. Dwight Gooden (11-8) pitched well enough to get the win, with Doug Sisk picking up his second save. Home runs by Brooklyn's Lew Riggs and Pete Reiser were not enough to help Freddie Fitzsimmons (2-8), who was injured at the start of the 5th and looks to be out for the rest of the season. Ineffective relief by Mace Brown and Hugh Casey doomed the Dodgers.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

And, at the last, the NL West

The last division is the NL West. The Cubs are running away with it this year, not entirely surprisingly. It's also tended to be pretty pitching dominated. The Astros and Padres are getting crushed, perhaps not surprisingly given how many games a year they're playing against these other teams...

1906 Cubs: They hold the record for most wins in a 154-game season (116), now shared with the 2001 Mariners, who required 162. First in a three-year stretch of pennant winners for Chicago, they featured players fabled in story and song, or maybe doggerel is more apt. Naturally, being the Cubs, they lost the Series while heavily favored (though they won it the next two years).

1957 Braves: Richie Cunningham's favorite team, and why not? Milwaukee featured three Hall of Famers: Eddie Mathews, Warren Spahn, and Hammerin' Hank Aaron. They defeated the Yankees in 7 games, the high point of their time in Milwaukee, though they did also play in the Series in 1958.

1942 Cardinals: Winners in an exciting pennant race over Brooklyn, and then winners of the World Series over the Yankees, this team is also often considered among the best in history. Just ask Stan Musial. Don't ask him about how that 2004 team worked out, though. I'm managing these guys, who are hanging around .500, and not hitting well at all...

1974 Dodgers: Not the Sandy Koufax/Don Drysdale teams, not the Fernandomania team, not even the stupidly overhyped Kirk Gibson team. But this team does share the record for most wins by an LA Dodger team, and won the pennant (though losing to Oakland in the World Series) and was the first of the dreaded Garvey/Lopes/Russell/Cey pennant winners that dominated the NL in my youth.

1998 Astros: 1998 was a great year for great teams. This Astros team set the Houston record for wins in a season, helped along by the late-season addition of Randy Johnson, plus great seasons by Bagwell, Biggio, and Moises Alou. Just don't shake Moises' hand to congratulate him. Unfortunately for them, they lost in the NLCS to San Diego. They also seem to be getting killed in the Cloverland Leagues this year...

1996 Padres: I was a bit surprised to see this team as the best San Diego could offer, but who am I to argue? Ken Caminti won a steroid-fueled MVP award, Tony Gwynn was Tony Gwynn, and Trevor Hoffman saved 42 games. Oh, and I guess Fernando is represented after all. And Ricky Henderson's there too. Yay.

1976 Reds: The Big Red Machine. Swept the NLCS, swept the Yankees in the World Series.

1993 Giants: Another great team that fell just short. They led the NL West most of 1993 before a late charge by the Braves left them just short in the last pennant race before the Wild Card made such things quaint memories. Still, they share the record for most wins by a San Francisco team, and Barry Bonds won the MVP with a season that puts him in MVP contention even when playing against the all-time greats...

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The NL East

Wow. The Yankees. Wow. The tiniest possible consolation is that Bonderman was on my fantasy team, so I like him.

I suppose that means the '39 team can now officially take up more of my attention than the just-as-historical 2006 version.

On to the NL East. The leagues were split into divisions starting last season, and both last and this season the NL East has been the closest and craziest.

1897 Beaneaters: Perhaps the greatest team of the 19th century, with four Hall of Famers, not including manager Frank Selee. Tremendous hitters, and got the best of archrivals Batimore more often than not.

1902 Pirates: Dominated the National League, setting a record for winning percentage still unmatched (if I remember right). Led by Honus Wagner, the team went on to win the pennant the following year and play in the first World Series.

1986 Mets: One of only two teams in the eight-team division to be World Series winners, and my brother's favorite team. My uncle referred to their bullpen as "Roger McDoubtful", "Jesse Fiasco" and "Doug Risk". But it's hard to argue with 108 wins and two classic postseason series.

1941 Dodgers: Originally the 1953 team was in the league, but by a mechanism to be later explained, the 1941 team came to the fore. another famous post-season error turned the tide in Game 4 leading to a Yankees victory in their first meeting in October. The Dodgers won 100 games in 1941, and won even more the following year in a second-place effort...

1905 Giants: Winners of the 1904 NL pennant, New York refused to play Boston in the World Series, which led Boston to claim their second consecutive title by default. The Giants won 105 games, following up their 1904 pennant with another in 1905, paced by Christy Mathewson and Iron Man McGinnity. Amazingly, the Giants did not allow an earned run during the five games, only giving up three unearned runs. Obviously, they won.

1993 Phillies: While all of the interest in the National League was focused on the Giants/Braves duel in the West, the Phils were the surprise winners in the East. They defeated the Braves in the NLCS, but lost to Toronto in the World Series on a famous home run.

1998 Braves: A team-record 106 wins led them to an easy NL East title. After crushing the Cubs in the NLDS, the Padres defeated them for the pennant and the right to be crushed, in turn, by the Yankees. Though Greg Maddux was probably their best pitcher, Tom Glavine won the Cy Young Award for them that year.

1994 Expos: They were the best team in baseball when the strike hit in 1994. They're the reason Atlanta really can't claim to have won 14 (or however many) consecutive divisional titles. They had a young Pedro Martinez, Larry Walker, Moises Alou, Marquise Grissom, John Wettleand and Cliff Floyd. And many people who've done simulations think they would have won the World Series.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

AL Modern Division

We're back with the never-ending description of the teams!

The AL Classic division basically has all the DH teams. It's easier to group them together this way for gameplay purposes. Unfortunately, there are only 7 teams that used the DH, so after a coin flip the 1970 Minnesota Twins was selected to join them. Good thing, too, because the other choice, the 1970 Orioles would probably be running away with the division otherwise...

1995 Cleveland Indians: Great underrated team, who won 100 games in a strike-shortened year. Unfortunately for them, they provided the Atlanta Braves with their only World Series win of their 14-year run of success.

2001 Seattle Mariners: Hold the record for most wins in a season by an American League team with 116. Stopped by the Yankees in the ALCS that year, despite the presence of Edgar Martinez and Rookie of the Year (and MVP) Ichiro!

1970 Minnesota Twins: One of the all-time great bullpens, and a representative of the Minnesota teams that dominated the first years of the AL West (plus a young Rod Carew and Luis Tiant). Unfortunately, they ran into Baltimore in the playoffs and did not make the World Series.

1987 Toronto Blue Jays: Victims of one of the major collapses of recent times, losing their last 7 games to finish 2 behind Detroit. Still, the computer players should be able to shake that off.

1985 Kansas City Royals: The team that finally broke through and won the World Series with George Bretty, Willie Wilson, and the gang. I managed them last season, which was excruciating.

1982 California Angels: Winners of the American League West, they lost in the playoffs to the Brewers (a unique achievement!) after taking a 2-0 lead in a 5-game series. They'd signed a large number of all-stars to get there, including Doug DeCinces, Fred Lynn, Rod Carew, and this guy.

1990 Oakland A's: The Athletics cruised to the pennant, winning 103 games and crushing the Red Sox in the playoffs. The World Series was another story, though. Called the Bash Brothers in real life, they can't seem to hit in the Cloverland Leagues and have performed surprisingly poorly the last two seasons.

1977 Texas Rangers: Second place behind one of those Royals teams that didn't make it to the World Series, winners of 94 games. Bert Blyleven and Gaylord Perry are probably the most famous players on the team, though they did include at least two managers (Mike Hargrove and Jim Fregosi) a pefect game pitcher (Len Barker) and a guy named Bump.

Who's playing (AL)?

I'm glad you asked.

No, really, I am.

The AL Classic division consists of:

1939 New York Yankees: perhaps the greatest team of the greatest Yankees dynasty, 1939 saw Lou Gehrig's last game, but also saw Joe DiMaggio win the MVP award and lead the team to their 4th straight World Series victory.

1970 Baltimore Orioles: Another World Series winner, these Orioles avenged the previous years' loss to the Mets, winning 108 games, sweeping the Twins in the playoffs, and crushing Cincinnati in the series. All this while using one of the least intimidating sets of logos/mascots in sports.

1912 Boston Red Sox: My vote for best Red Sox team in history, winners of the World Series over New York thanks in part to the most famous error in World Series history before karmic payback gave a different New York team a victory over the Sox via the current most famous error... Led by Tris Speaker and Joe Wood.

1940 Detroit Tigers: When the Yankees weren't winning pennants in the 30s and 40s, the Tigers took up the slack. From 1934-1945, New York or Detroit led the league every year but one. This team lost the World Series in 7 to the Reds , despite the heroics of MVP Hank Greenberg.

1922 St. Louis Browns: The who? The team that became the Orioles spent 50+ years in mostly-obscurity in St. Louis. They were the one team that broke the Yankees/Tigers pennant stranglehold I mentioned, ironically enough it was their only pennant in St. Louis. I've always had a soft spot for this team. The 1922 version nearly knocked off Babe Ruth and the Yankees, but fell just short .

1930 Philadephia Athletics: Another World Series winner, the last one the Athletics had in Philly. Part of the dynasty that felled the Murderer's Row Yankees, the A's have some supporters for being the best team in history .

1925 Washington Nationals: The year after they won the only World Series in DC history, the Nats won even more games. Unfortunately, they lost the series in hair-tearing fashion. And yes, they were officially the Nationals, even though they were in the American League and everyone called them the Senators. That's as opposed to the team officially called the Senators, and the current Nationals.

1919 Chicago White Sox: You may have heard of this team.

And once again, this is really pretty long. I'll continue in my next post...

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Setting the scene

I've been playing APBA's Baseball for Windows for several years, using various combinations of the best teams of all time in the "Cloverland Leagues". I use one team per franchise, where the St. Louis Browns and Baltimore Orioles count as different franchises, for instance. I'm near completion of my third season, and figured I'd put up a blog rather than send email to various potentially interested parties. I hope to keep this blog going through the end of the regular season and through the CL playoffs and World Series, and hopefully through some other game projects and beyond to CL season 4...

There are basically two and a half weeks left in the 162-game regular season. There are two leagues (American and National), divided into two divisions each. The NL has Eastern and Western divisions. The AL has "Classic" and "Modern" divisions, with the Modern division using DH in their home games. The 1970 Twins are caught on the wrong side of the divide, but all the other AL teams use the DH or not as they historically did (or didn't). The majority of teams are managed by computer managers, but I've taken on four teams as my own: the 1939 Yankees, 2001 Mariners, 1897 Beaneaters, and 1942 Cardinals.

The Yankees were running away with the AL Classic division, but hit a serious snag of late and have just been caught by the 1970 Orioles (with the 1912 Red Sox close behind). The 1995 Indians have maintained a healthy lead in the AL Modern division, with the Mariners hanging around behind. In the NL, the 1941 Brooklyn Dodgers led much of the year, before a tailspin put them behind the Beaneaters and the currently-leading 1902 Pirates in a wild Eastern Division. In the NL West, it's been all 1906 Cubs, all year.

In an attempt to get this up and going, I'll stop here and include the current standings. Sorry about the small size on the standings, but clicking on them gives you a bigger version. Further core dumps will follow...