Saturday, December 29, 2007

Championship Series, Game 6

The action switched back to Cleveland for Game 6. As expected, Ed Reulbach got the call for the Cubs in this must-win situation. The Indians opted to hold Dennis Martinez for Game 7 and trust in Charles Nagy to try and bring the Cloverland League championship to the Forest City.

The game was a taut one through 5. Chicago scratched out a run in the 2nd on a single by Johnny Kling (who took 2nd on a misplay by Manny Ramirez), a sacrifice by Frank Schulte, and a bloop single by Johnny Evers. The Indians threatened in the bottom of the inning, putting men on 2nd and 3rd with one out before Ramirez grounded hard to Tinker and Sorrento ended the inning with a strikeout.

Nagy ran into more trouble in the 6th, walking Steinfeldt to open the inning, who came around to score on a single by Schulte after a fielder's choice. Nagy again escaped without further damage thanks to yet another baserunner kill by Manny, who nailed Schulte at the plate after a single by Slagle to end the inning.

Nagy gave way to Alan Embree in the 7th, and Embree made the Indians' job much harder by walking the two men he faced, loading the bases. Julian Tavarez made matters that much worse by hitting Chance to drive in a run, giving up a single to Steinfeldt, and walking Kling before giving way himself to Assenmacher. One fielder's choice and one double play later, Cleveland had escaped, but with a 6-0 deficit.

Overall entered in the 8th and kept Cleveland down as the Cubs added another run off of Ken Hill in the 9th. In the end, Chicago held the Indians to 4 hits, setting up a climactic Game 7!
Carl Lundgren is slated to start for Chicago, Dennis Martinez for Cleveland. There was some speculation that Reulbach was lifted to allow him to pitch in relief in Game 7, but he's not likely to be available unless the Cubs have run out of pitchers.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Championship Series, Game 5

Rain! And more rain! The weather forced the cancellation of Game 5 in Chicago, and didn't allow a resumption the next day, either. Since there are no double-headers in post-season baseball, everything got forced a day later, screwing up everyone's travel and hotel reservations. Luckily, this is just a simulation. :)

It does, however, allow games to be played with the rotations. This will probably be seen for Game 6, but the best strategy will clearly depend on the situation after Game 5...

And this is a post about Game 5, though there's no evidence for that yet...

Knotted at two games a piece, the Cubs sent Miner Brown to the mound. While he was among the NL leaders in ERA during the season, his post-season has been less stellar: an ERA of 3.76 entering Game 5, with a 1-1 record. Since the Cubs have only been scoring 2.3 runs per game, this is not so good... The Indians countered with Orel Hershiser, whose postseason ERA of 1.19 augured much better results, or so the Cleveland fans hoped.

Chicago manufactured a run in the 2nd as the light-hitting Evers singled, stole 2nd, and scored on a single by the even lighter-hitting Slagle. The Cubs threatened to add more as Slagle stole 2nd and went to 3rd as Alomar's throw went into center field, but Hershiser ended the threat on Tinker's popout. Orel settled down thereafter, only allowing one more hit before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the 7th.

To that point, Brown had been throwing a gem, shutting down the Cleveland offense. With Manny Ramirez on first after a walk, Eddie Murray doubled for Hershiser. Brown bore down, inducing a grounder from Kenny Lofton. Ramirez, going with contact, was gunned down at the plate by Tinker. Could the Cubbies escape?

Omar Vizquel said no. His single scored Wayne Kirby, running for Murray. Carlos Baerga followed with a double, putting the Indians up 3-1. Tempting fate, or perhaps addled, the Cubs challenged Albert Belle rather than walking him with first base open. Luckily for Chicago, Belle could not capitalize.

The Cubs tried to come back in the 8th, but aggressive baserunning did them in. Fred Schulte reached first on a dropped popup by Alomar, who then airmailed yet another throw into the outfield as Schulte stole 2nd. This time, however, Manny Ramirez' alert backup (those words have never been written before) caught Schulte trying to take the extra base.

So it came to the 9th and Jose Mesa, who promptly allowed a single to Frank Chance. After a Steinfeld popout, and Chance taking 2nd on fielder's indifference, Johnny Kling's single closed the score to 3-2. Cleveland took control thereafter, however, as Alomar finally caught a runner at 2nd and Mesa retired Evers. The Indians are one win away.

Game 6 will be back at Jacobs Field. The Cubs will pretty clearly have to start Reulbach in an attempt to keep their season alive. Cleveland, by contrast, will likely keep Dennis Martinez for a possible Game 7. It's likely Nagy will get the start in recognition of his yeoman work in the post-season so far.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Championship Series, Game 4

A fine autumn day in Chicago found another capacity crowd on hand for the Series. Down 2 games to 1, the Cubs put their trust in the right arm of Ed Reulbach, while the Indians countered with El Presidente, Dennis Martinez.

A triple by Frank Schulte and a sacrifice fly by Frank Chance put Chicago on the board in the bottom of the 1st inning. Martinez struck out Steinfeldt to escape further damage. In the 3rd, Wildfire struck again with another triple, driving in Sheckard. Chance drove him in again on a triple of his own, giving the Cubs a 3-0 lead.

Meanwhile, Reulbach was pitching in a way that would make even a 1-0 game insurmountable, and showing why he's one of the favorites to win the Cy Young award. Ed threw 4 innings of no-hit ball before Albert Belle doubled (and had the Indians' only extra-base hit), and was never particularly close to trouble. He was not dominant, striking out only 2, but Cleveland was unable to hit the ball with any authority.

Martinez gave way to Albie Lopez, making his first appearance since the epic ALCS finale, and finally Julian Tavarez. Both prevented further damage, though an errant pitch from Tavarez hit Chance in the 8th, knocking him out of the game. Chance is day to day.

In the end, Ruelbach made it look easy, getting the complete-game shutout and lowering his post-season ERA to 0.75 while improving his record to 4-0. With the win for Chicago, they even the series at 2 games a piece. The weather in Chicago looks iffy for Game 5, though of course the league offices will try and get the game in.... :)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Season 4 Expansion Teams:AL

The expansion teams for the American League are somewhat less distinguished than their NL equivalents. In constrast to the NL teams, all of which won at least the pennant save the 100-win Diamondbacks, only one of the AL teams even made the postseason, with one not even actually ever playing any major league games...

1982 Milwaukee Brewers:
Pretty much a toss-up between this team and the 1992 team, which consistently finished at or near the top of the qualification leagues by beating up on lesser Brewer teams. I finally played a 1600 game season between these two teams, which Harvey's Wallbangers won by a handful of games. On that basis, plus the relative merits of Yount, Molitor, Simmons, Fingers, Cooper, and Thomas vs. Yount, Molitor... um... Listach? Vaughn? It was an easy call. This team will probably get slaughtered when the season rolls around, but I don't think it'll be worse than the 1992 team would have done. Besides, the 1982 team won the pennant.

1969 Washington Senators: This team did not win the pennant. They finished 4th, a distant 23 games back. However, they did win 86 games, the only time this franchise was over .500 during their tenure in the District. Frank Howard was the big star, Ted Williams the manager. The Senators regressed the following year, and were in Texas shortly thereafter. I expect these guys to get slaughtered as well.

1958 Kansas City Athletics: Slaughter, that's where this team is going to be a Viking. Seventh place in real life, witha .474 winning percentage. But they're the best of the Kansas City A's franchise, and that franchise had a 13-year lifetime, plenty long enough to deserve representation. This is something of an experiment, just to see how such a team would do. They might be replaced in Season 5 with a KC A's all-star squad, but that's looking pretty far ahead. Bob Cerv was the big hitter for this team, which I suppose did finish closer to first place in terms of games behind than the Senators above did.

1937 Santo Domingo Dragons: This is the first team in the Cloverland Leagues that is... nontraditional, shall we say? This is based on a real-life Negro League all-star team that played in the Dominican Republic in a league organized by Trujillo. I'm not sure quite how this'll all work out- the players were grabbed from other teams (in the game sense, I mean, though in real life too), and they might be normalized oddly. But this is a game, I guess, so we'll just give it a shot. I suppose they might do extremely well, but I'd bet they'll be first-division but out of the playoffs. I guess it'll depend on what division they're in. If I go with chronologically-based
divisions, they'd probably end up with the '39 Yankees, '40 Tigers and '30 Athletics? Or the '58 A's? Potentially a very tough division, regardless. But with Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, and Cool Papa Bell, the upside is very high...

The Dragons are the team that would likely be punted if things change, though it'll depend on the change. If the Brewers have an amazing season in 2008, the '82 team might drop out and a putative '08 team show up in the NL. I'm debating whether the would-be Fremont A's will count as separate from the Oakland version. It may depend heavily on what they call themselves. This expansion will leave only the Devil Rays as an unrepresented long-term team. A good season from them in '08 might put them in Season 4. Or it might lead me to wait, in anticipation of a better Rays team by the time of Season 5...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Championship Series, Game 3

The action shifts to West Side Park in Chicago for Game 3 of the Series. Ron Santo was on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch after a brief rain delay, and the Old Styles were flowing. Knotted at a game a piece, the question remains as to which of these star-crossed franchises would provide this year's championship team.

Jack Pfiester took the hill for the Cubs, while Cleveland sent Charles Nagy to the mound, a move precipitated by the loss of Claude Ogea to injury during the ALCS. Indians fans prepared for the worst, as Nagy's regular season record did not give much cause for optimism (11-13, 4.67).

Cleveland struck first in the top of the 2nd as Manny Ramirez (there he is again) singled, moved to second on a fielder's choice, and scored on a throwing error by Joe Tinker. Pfiester bore down after that, but Nagy was pitching the game of his life, throwing 6 2-hit, shutout innings against the National League champions before being lifted for a pinch hitter. In the 8th, Albert Belle hit his first home run of the postseason, giving Cleveland a bit more breathing room.

They would need that breathing room. Chicago threatened against Poole in the 8th, putting two on by a walk to Slagle and a double by Tinker with one out before Solly Hoffman pinch hit for Pfiester. Hoffman sent the ball in the air to right, deep but not quite deep enough as Belle gave the Indians another baserunner kill to end the Cubs threat (and put the West Side Grounds into a stupor). In the 9th, Jose Mesa came on and got two quick outs before a single and miscue by Belle put Frank Chance on 2nd. Steinfeldt's single put the score at 2-1 with Cubs slugger Kling at bat, but Mesa managed to strike him out for the win.

The win put Cleveland up 2 games to 1 in the best-of-seven series. Game 4 will feature a rematch of Game 1's starters-- Ruelbach vs. Martinez.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Season 4 Expansion Teams:NL

Looking ahead to next season (whenever that will be-- sometime in 2008?), each league will add 4 more teams. I'll probably go with four divisions per league of five teams each, with two rounds of playoffs, but I haven't ruled out five divisions of four teams each, with a wild card and an extra round of playoffs.

The franchises represented here were relatively obvious teams to add. The specific teams were decided in the "usual" way, having all the candidates play one another in a qualification league. Still, one very team snuck in here at the end...

2007 Rockies: Before this month, it was looking like the 2000 team would be Colorado's entry. Though they finished a pretty mediocre 4th, they had the best run differential of any Rockies team. Happily, the current team came along, and in a head-to-head set of ~40 games they handily dispatched the 2000 entry. You know all about these guys. I don't know that they've got much of a chance (depending on the division they're in, I guess), but they're certainly not an embarrassment by any means.

1997 Marlins: World Series winners. They and the 2003 team were really the only competition for the Florida slot, and this team pulled it out. I wasn't a fan of either team, but I guess less Josh Beckett in the Cloverland Leagues is fine with me.

1999 Diamondbacks: Again, a happy acccident that Curt Schilling isn't around, though he's on the 1993 Phillies already. The 1999 team, only the second year for Arizona, stormed to their best record in the desert with over 100 wins (and even more expected). They lost in the playoffs but Randy Johnson had a great year. This is one of only two teams in the league that I've seen in person, the other being the 1986 Mets...

1896 Orioles: One of the most famous 19th century teams, and perhaps the only team in this group with a chance to win it all. They were the rivals of the Beaneaters, and are likely to end up in a killer division with Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh and the New York Giants. Often considered the greatest team of all time (pre-1927 Yankees), this team was the last to bring a championship to Baltimore for 70 years.

Barring something crazy, these should be the teams added. There only a few other possibilities: the 1895 Cleveland Spiders, though the teams already present above trump them. If the Washington Nationals have an amazing season, they could displace somebody (Baltimore?). An amazing Milwaukee Brewers season could also do it, though that would cause issues for the American League... Finally, any moves on the part of the Marlins followed by an excellent season could cause their entrance, though all of these possibilities require me to be pretty pokey in getting things underway. Of course, that's a serious possibility...

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Championship Series, Game 2

Cleveland faced a must-win situation in Game 2-- after dropping the first game, they desperately did not want to travel to Chicago down 0-2. They turned to Orel Hershiser to try and hold the line, while the Cubs handed the ball to Miner Brown.

I suppose this is as good a place as any to note that if it's the Indians and Cubs in the 2007 World Series, I called it here (much as I'd rather see the Yankees, of course...). [note added later- I'm clearly wrong, though unhappily not because the Yankees made it...]

For the ceremonial first pitch, the Indians recognized their first world champions and honored Tris Speaker, manager of the 1920 team (which represented the franchise during Season 1 of the Cloverland Leagues).

Cleveland was able to score relatively quickly off of Brown, striking in the 2nd on singles by Eddie Murray and Paul Sorrento, followed up by an RBI double by the ubiquitous Manny Ramirez. The Cubs escaped the 2nd and 3rd, no outs situation without further damage, but the stage was set. The Indians scored again in the 5th on a double by Alvaro Espinoza and a triple by Kenny Lofton. A walk, a double, and a hit batsman led to another run for Cleveland and Brown's replacement by Carl Lundgren. After another walk and another hit batsman, Cleveland's lead had swollen to 4-0.

Meanwhile, Hershiser was rolling. Orel finished with 8 shutout innings and only allowed 2 hits. Jose Mesa finished with a 9th that was perhaps more dramatic than necessary, but in the end maintained the shutout. Jimmy Sheckard had 2 of Chicago's three hits. Cleveland knotted the series at 1 game a piece as action shifted to Chicago. Game 3 will feature Charles Nagy vs. Jack Pfiester.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Championship Series, Game 1

The Series!

A capacity crowd welcomed their pennant-winning Indians home, hoping they could do what they could not do in 1995: win it all. Larry Doby threw out the ceremonial first pitch for Cleveland, and with that, the game was underway.

Game 1 pitted Dennis Martinez for the Indians vs. Ed Ruelbach for the Chicago Cubs. Ruelbach was the MVP for Chicago in the NLCS, who had a long layoff waiting for the end of the Yankees-Indians series.

Despite the difference in preparation, the two pitchers matched each other through five scoreless innings. Martinez worked in and out of trouble, loading the bases in the 1st before being saved by a Johnny Kling double play grounder. Ruelbach only allowed on base hit in five innings, but had control problems that led him to walk a few and take advantage of two double plays behind him.

In the 6th, Chicago broke through against El Presidente. A single by Steinfeld was followed by an RBI double by Kling, who scored on an infield single by Evers, following a sacrifice by Schulte. Cleveland came right back in the bottom of the inning, as a two out double by Baerga plated Kenny Lofton (ending Ruelbach's shutout streak at 22 2/3 innings), and Albert Belle drove Baerga in immediately after. Eddie Murray had a chance to break the game open after Ruelbach hit Thome (who is expected to miss 2-3 games), but he flied out to center, preserving the tie.

Martinez got in to further trouble in the 8th, putting runners on 1st and 3rd via a Steinfeld walk and a Kling single. Paul Assenmacher was called in from the pen to try and hold the Cubs down, but immediately gave up an RBI single to Wildfire Schulte. Assenmacher shut down Chicago afterward, but the damage was done. Ruelbach shut down the Indians the rest of the way, finishing the game with a strikeout of ALCS MVP Ramirez.

Cleveland hopes to even up the series in Game 2, pitting Orel Hershiser against Mordecai Brown, again in Cleveland.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Series Preview

The championship comes down to one of the oldest teams in the Cloverland Leagues vs. one of the most recent. With 89 years between them, the Cubs and Indians played in very different eras-- Chicago playing in an era of segregated baseball, truly independent minor leagues, daytime games, and a dead ball. Cleveland's team only played a partial season due to a strike, and not only has players of many ethnicities, but also has citizens of several nations. Furthermore, no fewer than 5 Indians outhomered the Cubs team in real life, even in an abbreviated season. In the replay, Albert Belle hit more than three times as many home runs as the Cubs (finishing with an astonishing 62, one more than Babe Ruth's record set the season before).

So, who will win?

Beats me. I picked both of the playoff series incorrectly. If compelled to pick someone, I'll gave to go with Cleveland. Their pitching was good enough to mostly stifle the Yankees, and their hitting is pretty tremendous. Chicago's pitching is, of course, spectacular. But it wouldn't take much to get in a big hole against the Indians.

Having said that, a Cubs win wouldn't shock me. And of course, that's why I play the games...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Scooter beats the traffic

Maybe I'll have more to say later. But Phil Rizzuto's announcing is one of the vivid memories of my youth, and one of the real joys that made me a baseball fan, let alone a Yankees fan.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

ALCS Game 6: A Game for the Ages

I'll cut to the chase: the 1995 Cleveland Indians will be representing the AL in the Cloverland Series against the 1906 Chicago Cubs. Cleveland defeated and eliminated the 1939 New York Yankees in a see-saw Game 6 that went to the 17th inning before it was decided.

The Yankees staked Steve Sundra to a 1-0 lead on a leadoff triple by Red Rolfe and a single by King Kong Keller. Sundra and Charles Nagy, starting in place of injured Chad Ogea, traded zeros until the 4th, when Cleveland broke out for 5 runs, punctuated by a three-run home run by Yankee-killer Manny Ramirez. Facing elimination, Yankee manager McCarthy brought in Marius Russo to try and limit the damage.

New York came back in their next at-bats, scoring three to pull to within 1 of the Indians. Further trouble for Nagy in the 6th brought in Paul Assenmacher from the bullpen, but that did not prevent a Bill Dickey sacrifice fly from scoring Frank Crosetti with the tying run. A parade of further Cleveland relief pitchers worked in and out of trouble, but the Yankees just couldn't plate another run.

Meanwile, Russo worked 5.1 innings of two-hit relief. Oral Hildebrand came on with two on in the 10th and nobody out, and induced a double play from Kenny Lofton to keep the Yankees hope alive. Albie Lopez came in to put down a New York rally in the 13th. Cleveland nearly put the Yankees away in the 15th, but Manny Ramirez was thrown out trying to score on a ground ball to Crosetti.

Leading off the 16th, Keller hit a line shot home run into the right field stands. The still-packed stands fell silent hoping against hope the Indians could respond. Respond they did with one out in the 16th, as Carlos Baerga tied it up with a solo home run. And on to the 17th the game went.

Finally in the 17th, the game reached its climax. Eddie Murray opened the inning with a single, but Hildebrand, in his 8th inning of relief, struck out Ramirez and Paul Sorrento. As Tony Peña stood in, most spectators were probably thinking about the next inning. Peña refocused their attention by smacking a double down the left field line and scoring Murray on a close play at home. As suddenly as that, it was over and Cleveland was going to the Series.

Notes: The Yankees were victims of bad baserunning, both in cases where I had a choice to send or not send runners, and in cases where I had no choice. It's something of a problem with the game itself, though in theory it should even out. But it certainly felt like the Yankees got the short end during this series.

The ALCS MVP, much as it pains me, is Manny Ramirez. He finished with "only" a .286 average, but 2 HR, 7 RBI, and a .667 SLG. Dennis Martinez would be another plausible candidate (2-0, 0.56 ERA), but Manny's performance in Game 6 plus some outfield assists he made (even given the previous point) swung me to give him the vote.

This is the first time the Yankees won't be in the Series. They faced the '06 Cubs in Season 1, and defeated the 1934 Tigers in the playoffs en route to their shocking ouster by the 1897 Beaneaters in Season 2. They also were present in Season 0, the season I did with Strat-O-Matic cards back in the mid-80's, defeating the 1953 Dodgers to win that Series.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

ALCS Game 5: Advantage Cleveland

Yankee fans packed The Stadium to watch what they hope will not be New York's final home game until next season. Knotted at 2 games a piece, Game 5 was an important one for both teams before they headed back to Cleveland for the remainder of the ALCS.

The Indians started in quickly against Red Ruffing, the Yankees starter. A single by Kenny Lofton followed by a hit-and-run double by Omar Vizquel scored the first Cleveland run, Vizquel scoring on two groundouts before Ruffing was able to end the inning. Cleveland struck again in the second on a solo home run by Paul Sorrento. The Yankees started well in the bottom of the inning, with a single by Dickey and double by Gordon to start the inning. A flyout by Twinkeltoes Selkirk was not quite deep enough, as Kenny Lofton's arm passed the test Bill Dickey put it to, cutting him down at home. Orel Hershiser escaped trouble as a result.

Ruffing and Hershiser settled down after that point, giving up only two hits between them after that point. Ruffing gave way to Johnny Murphy in the 9th, but Hershiser was able to shut down the Yanks, finishing with a complete game, three-hit shutout. The teams return to Jacobs Field with Cleveland one win away from meeting the 1906 Cubs for the championship.

Charles Nagy will start for the Indians in Game 6, replacing the injured Chad Ogea (no record in the postseason, 11-13, 4.67 in the regular season). The Yankees counter with Steve Sundra (1-0, 1.00 in the ALCS, 9-3, 3.22 in the regular season).

Monday, August 06, 2007

NLCS Game 4: Cubs Win The Pennant

The 1906 Chicago Cubs, winners of 116 games in real life, finished a 4 game sweep of the 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates and will represent the National League in the Cloverland League Series (for lack of a better term). The win ends the Pirates' wild run, where they edged a crowded NL East field to make the playoffs with a mere 87 wins, a full 10 fewer than the Cubs.

Game 4 featured a strong pitching performance by Ed Reulbach (2-0), who shut down the Pirates with only two hits. Jack Chesbro (0-2) matched Reulbach inning for inning until the 7th, when a single by Harry Steinfeldt and a triple by Johnny Kling put Chicago on the board. Kling was thrown out at the plate trying for an inside the park home run, but the damage was done.

Pittsburgh threatened in the bottom of the 8th, with singles by Leach and Bransfield putting men on 1st and 3rd with nobody out. Jack Sheckard saved at least one run with a running catch of a Paddy O'Connor drive followed by a perfect throw nailing Leach at the plate and deflating the Exposition Park field. For all intents and purposes, the pennant was won right there. The Cubs added an insurance run in the 9th, and with Claude Ritchey's foulout to Kling, the pennant was theirs. The Cubs now wait to see whether they will be visiting Cleveland or New York for game 1 of the Championship Series.

Notes: Ed Reulbach was named MVP of the NLCS, going 2-0 with a 0.50 ERA. The only other competition came from Steinfeldt, who batted .385 with two singles, a double, and two triples in the five games. Other than Steinfeldt, no player batted above .300 in the series. Thanks to four walks, however, Fred Clarke led all players with a .467 OBP. The Cubs batted .217 in the series, but their pitchers held Pittsburgh to an astonishing .126 batting average, averaging less than 4 hits a game.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

ALCS Game 4

Game 4 found another full house in Yankee Stadium. This game featured a rematch between the Game 1 starters, Bump Hadley for New York and Dennis Martinez for Cleveland. Both teams saw this as an important game, the Yankees hoping to go up 3-1, the Indians hoping to tie up the series.

Hadley, burned for 6 runs in 2 2/3 innings in Game 1, pitched much better in this game. Through three innings he held Cleveland scoreless, with only a single hit. Martinez also denied the Yankees through three, though he worked through jams in the 2nd (Manny Ramirez threw out Selkirk trying to score) and 3rd (with bases loaded and 1 out, New York failed to score). In the 4th, Ramirez was a difference maker on the other side of the ball, driving in Murray and Thome with a 2-out double. Those would be the only runs Cleveland would get.

However, they would be the only runs they'd need. Martinez allowed a few baserunners the rest of the way but did not run into serious trouble (thanks in part to a spectacular catch by, yes, Manny Ramirez), and went the distance with a shutout. Dennis is now 2-0 in the series, with an ERA of 0.56. With the win, Cleveland ensured a return to Jacobs Field for at least a Game 6.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

NLCS Game 3

The NLCS moved to Exposition Park in Pittsburgh for Game 3. 16,000 fans were on hand to cheer on the Pirates, hoping to dig out of a 2 games to 0 deficit. After Roberto Clemente's ceremonial first pitch, the Pirates were off to a strong start, taking advantage of a walk, two singles (by Wagner and Clarke), and a sacrifice fly by Leach to move ahead 2-0 in the first.

Jesse Tannehill could not hold the lead, however, as Chicago came back in the third with a rally featuring back-to-back triples by player/manager Frank Chance and 3rd baseman Harry Steinfeldt, knotting the score at 2. The tie remained in place until the 7th, when Cubs pitcher Mordecai Brown scored on a single by Schulte on a close play at the plate, just beating Wagner's throw.

Brown was bearing down in the meantime, allowing only 2 hits after the first inning. Though Pittsburgh had the tying run in scoring position a few times (including in the 9th), one never got the sense that he was in any trouble. The Cubs went on to win 3-2, putting Pittsburgh in a serious hole down 3 games to 0 in this best-of-seven series. Game 4 features a rematch of the Game 1 starters Ed Ruelbach and Jack Chesbro. A Cubs win in Game 4 sends them to the World Series for the second time: in Season 1 they faced the 1927 Yankees (and lost), while in Season 2 they dropped the NLCS to the 1897 Boston Beaneaters.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

ALCS Game 3

The ALCS reconvened for Game 3 at Yankee Stadium. A crowd of 70,000+ welcomed the 1939 team back home, and though Fiorello LaGuardia's ceremonial first pitch was a 50-footer the home fans hoped for the best.The game pitted Steve Sundra (9-3, 3.22) for New York vs. Chad Ogea (9-5, 3.26) for Cleveland.

The Indians struck first on three soft hits: a bloop single by Albert Belle to lead off the 2nd inning, followed by a 2-out infield single by Manny Ramirez and a run-scoring bloop single by Sandy Alomar. The lead only held until the 4th, when doubles by Red Rolfe and Joe DiMaggio tied the game. DiMaggio was later thrown out at the plate by Ramirez when he tried to score on a not-quite-deep-enough fly ball... The Yanks took the lead the next inning as pitcher Sundra's double (no DH in Yankee Stadium) scored Tommy "Ol' Reliable" Henrich.

The teams traded zeros for the remainder of the game, Sundra finishing with 8 strikeouts. Ogea left the game with an injured fleen in the bottom of the 6th, with relievers Plunk and Poole pitching scoreless relief. The pitchers duel ended 2-1 in New York's favor, who now hold a 2 games to 1 series lead. Ogea is out for the remainder of the postseason while his fleen is chilled. Game 4, also at Yankee Stadium, sees a rematch of Game 1 pitchers Hadley and Martinez.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Annivers ary and NLCS game 2

First, I should note today is the 5 year anniversary of when I started this league. I suppose I would have finished quite a bit sooner if I hadn't lost at least a year switching to a Mac and then realizing I could get Virtual PC. And, of course, the crash. But no complaints-- the play's the thing.

Game 2 featured Carl Lundgren of the Cubbies (17-7, 2.05 during regular season) vs. Sam Leever (16-11, 2.86). Chicago hoped to extend their lead to 2 games to 0 before the series headed to Pittsburgh.

Each team threatened but came up empty through the first three, before Pittsburgh broke through in the top of the 4th on a triple by Kitty Bransfield and a sacrifice fly by Wid Conroy. Chicago returned the favor on a triple by Harry Steinfeldt, Johnny Evers knocking him in with a double. Leever escaped further damage when Honus Wagner threw Evers out at the plate trying to score on Jimmy Slagle's single.

Chicago would not be denied, however, scoring a second run in the 6th. Frank Chance reached on a fielders choice, stole 2nd, then scored on a Steinfeldt double. Again Leever escaped thanks to Cub baserunning aggressiveness, as Fred Clarke threw Steinfeldt out at the plate on Kling's single immediately followed by another baserunner kill for Wagner at third base on Evers' single.

Lundgren would make that second run hold up, however, stifling Pittsburgh's bats the rest of the way. Steinfeldt was the hitting star of the game, going 2-3 with a double and triple, driving in one run and scoring the other. Wagner's two hits for Pittsburgh went for naught.

Pittsburgh returns home in what is basically a must-win situation, while the Cubs are in excellent position to return to the World Series for the 2nd time in 3 seasons.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

ALCS Game 2

Game 2 found another full house at the Jake. Cleveland was hoping to take a commanding 2-0 lead, the Yanks were hoping to bring a split back to New York.

Red Ruffing and Orel Hershiser traded zeros for 4 innings, with the Indians missing a golden opportunity in the bottom of the 4th, unable to cash in with 1st and 3rd, nobody out.
Ruffing bore down to strike out Jim Thome and induce a popout from Eddie Murray before Bill Dickey caught Carlos Baerga napping and picked him off of third to end the inning before a crowd stunned into silence.

The Yankees broke through in the 5th on a triple by #9 hitter Frank Crosetti and a single by Red Rolfe. George "Twinkletoes" Selkirk extended the New Yorkers' lead to 3-0 with a home run the following inning. Cleveland closed to 3-2 in the 8th on a RBI single by Baerga and a sacrifice fly by Thome, Tommy Heinrich making a great play to turn a double into an out.

Ruffing held Cleveland down the rest of the way, but the Yankees added two more runs off of Indians closer Jose Mesa, who wasn't helped by Manny Ramirez turning a bloop single into an RBI double for Joe DiMaggio. The final score was 5-2 Yankees. After an off-day, the series resumes with Game 3 at Yankee Stadium.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

NLCS Game 1

A lovely afternoon at the West Side Grounds in Chicago, as 16,000+ jammed the park to watch the Cubs take on the Pirates. Ernie Banks' ceremonial first pitch was low and outside, but the Old Style was flowing and the crowd was in an excellent mood.

They did not like what they saw early on, however, as the Pirates jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first on a single by batting champ Ginger Beaumont, a sacrifice bunt, and a single by Fred Clarke. Chicago responded off of Pittsburgh starter Jack Chesbro in the bottom of the 2nd with a 2-out rally. Jimmy Slagle singled, stole second, and scored on a single by Joe Tinker.

After that, a tight pitchers duel ensued between Ed Ruelbach and Chesbro. Or, it would have if not for the defensive miscues. The Cubs moved ahead on a walk by Johnny Kling, a hit and run single by Johnny Evers (who then stole 2nd), and a grounder by Slagle. Kling ran with contact, and beat the throw home. An error by Tommy Leach at 3rd led to another run, and before all was said and done in that inning Chicago held a 5-1 lead. Pittsburgh was unable to answer back, and that remained the final score.

In the end, Chicago only had 5 hits but made them count. Jimmy Sheckard collected two of them, driving in two of the Cubbies' runs. Game 2 pits Chicago's Carl Lundgren (17-7, 2.05) vs. Sam Leever (16-11, 2.86) of the Pirates.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

ALCS Game 1

There was a capacity crowd of 43,000+ in Jacobs Field, eager to see their local favorites take on the hated Yankees. After Nap Lajoie threw out the first pitch, the tension mounted. The '39 Yanks offered Bump Hadley (14-8), who had thrown a no-hitter on his first start of the regular season. the '95 Indians responded with Dennis Martinez (13-8), pride of Nicaragua.

For 2 innings, the pitchers traded zeros. New York had the pressure on in the 2nd, but Martinez worked out of the jam with help from Albert Belle's perfect throw cutting down Bill Dickey at the plate. In the bottom of the 3rd, Cleveland broke through, Eddie Murray driving in 2 with a bases loaded single. This was followed by a Jim Thome double driving in 2 more. Manny Ramirez' 2-run home run punctuated the inning, with Hadley hitting the showers before the third inning ended.

Orel Hildebrand's relief was not particularly effective, as he gave up 7 more runs over the next three innings, including home runs to Carlos Baerga and Eddy Murray. Meanwhile, Dennis Martinez cruised, only giving up a solo home run to Red Rolfe. Relief from Julian Tavarez and Paul Assenmacher finished off the Yankees. The final score was a dominating 13-2 decision for Cleveland.

Murray, Thome, and Baerga all finished with 3 hits, while Manny scored 3 runs. New York tries again tomorrow (or perhaps "tomorrow") with Red Ruffing (16-12, 3.19), while Cleveland sends Orel Hershiser (13-8, 3.43) to the hill.

Notes: I never liked Eddie Murray as a player. Don't know why. He was on my rotisserie league team back in '87, though. The Yanks have to win this with pitching-- they just don't have the bats to go toe to toe with this Cleveland team...

Here's the probably unreadable boxscore:

Monday, July 09, 2007

Playoff Preview

AL: 1939 Yankees vs. 1995 Indians:
A chance for long-suffering Cleveland fans to beat the establishment. The Indians had a 6-2 edge over the Yanks during the regular season, as mentioned below. New York led in most of those games, though "Fireman" Johnny Murphy saw to it that those leads didn't last-- he was 0-2 with a blown save and an ERA of 11.25 against Cleveland. Surprisingly, though the Yankees outhit the Indians .277-.226 and matched them with 6 HR, they were outscored by the Indians 34-30. Of the pitchers slated to start in the series, all did reasonably well against the other team, Red Ruffing throwing a shutout for New York. Game 1 features Bump Hadley (14-8, 2.69 in the regular season) vs. Dennis Martinez (17-11, 3.10). I'm managing both teams, so presumably there's no edge there. I'm picking the Yankees in 7, but wouldn't be surprised to see Cleveland pull it out, maybe even in 5...

NL: 1902 Pirates vs. 1906 Cubs:
I'm not particularly familiar with either team, since I haven't managed either one before. They played each other to a draw during the season, splitting their 8 games. Mostly, said games were sloppy-- averaging more than 4 errors between the teams per game, including as many as 5 by the Cubs alone in one game. The Pirates outhit the Cubs .255 to .238, though 17 of the Cubs' hits came in a single game, without which they hit .203.

And I think that's the Cubs' biggest problem. The starting pitchers did OK vs. the other teams, the ones who got rocked against the Pirates probably won't play a big role, and the large number of unearned runs make it a bit hard to evaluate. But the Pirates can actually hit (Ginger Beaumont won the league batting title at .339, and Fred Clarke was near .320), and the Cubs apparently can't. I've found that hitting will often trump pitching in this game, as the Beaneaters showed against this very Cubs team last season. Pirates in 6.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Season 3 Final Standings: NL

NL East W L Pct. GB
1902 Pirates 87 74 .540 -
1941 Dodgers 86 76 .531 1.5
1998 Braves 86 76 .531 1.5
1897 Beaneaters 82 79 .509 5
1905 Giants 78 83 .484 9
1993 Phillies 76 86 .469 11.5
1994 Expos 71 90 .441 16
1986 Mets 66 96 .407 21.5

NL West W L Pct. GB
1906 Cubs 97 65 .599 -
1957 Braves 96 66 .593 1
1974 Dodgers 87 74 .540 9.5
1976 Reds 84 78 .519 13
1942 Cardinals 82 79 .509 14.5
1993 Giants 81 80 .503 15.5
1998 Astros 68 94 .420 29
1996 Padres 65 96 .404 31.5

Notes: The Pirates can thank the Mets for the division title-- their 12-2 record against New York provided the edge. The Beaneaters fell apart at the end, and also ended 0-8 against San Francisco. The Cubs, meanwhile, beat up on a few select teams (San Francisco, Houston, and Philadelphia), while mostly splitting the rest of their games (including a 4-4 record against the Pirates). The Beaneaters scored 5.2 runs per game, half a run more than anyone else. Unfortunately, their ERA was 0.3 higher than anyone else, too. The Pirates were second in runs per game, and also second in team batting average. The Cubs ERA was nearly a run better than the average, but they hit very poorly. A lack of hitting doomed them in the Season 2 playoffs against Boston... Atlanta hit the most home runs, a few ahead of Milwaukee.

Season 3 Final Standings: AL

Classic Division W L Pct. GB

1939 Yankees 91 71 .562 -
1970 Orioles 90 72 .556 1
1912 Red Sox 87 75 .537 4
1940 Tigers 83 77 .519 7
1922 Browns 79 78 .503 9.5
1925 Nationals 79 81 .494 11
1930 Athletics 76 83 .478 13.5
1919 White Sox 74 81 .477 13.5

Modern Divison W L Pct. GB
1995 Indians 92 70 .568 -
2001 Mariners 90 72 .556 2
1977 Rangers 78 83 .484 13.5
1982 Angels 77 82 .484 13.5
1970 Twins 77 85 .475 15
1985 Royals 73 87 .456 18
1987 Blue Jays 71 89 .444 20
1990 A's 65 91 .404 26.5

Random notes: The Yankees cleaned up against the Twins and Mariners, but their performance against the Browns (4-10) almost cost them the division. The Indians are 6-2 against the Yankees this year. The Orioles had 11 wins against Philadelphia, the most any one team had against any other team. Boy, the White Sox had a lot of rainouts... The Twins dropped out of third after holding it most of the season. The Indians led the league with 5.1 runs per game, running away with the most HR (221), as well. Seattle won the ERA crown, allowing only 3.31 earned runs per game (vs. the league average of 3.71). Oakland had the second lowest ERA, but only scored 3.2 runs per game, 0.3 worse than anyone else...

Beaneaters as Speed Bump

The season, she is finished.

There is joy in Pittsburgh as the 1902 Pirates outlasted the 1897 Boston Beaneaters, coming from behind in the bottom of the 10th to win 14-13 in a sloppy game featuring 6 errors and multiple blown leads. Ed Poole will live on in the hearts of Pirates fans as he got the win after an inning of not-effective-but-not-disastrous relief, which was good enough. Jack Stivetts gutted out three innings of not-quite-good-enough relief after Ted Lewis' not-at-all-good starting for the Beaneaters, wasting a monster 5-6 day by Jimmy Collins. Fred Clarke was the star for Pittsburgh, going 2-3 with a 3b, 3 R and 3 RBI.

The Beaneaters then went on to host Chicago in a makeup game the day after the season ended. Needing a win to avoid a playoff game in Milwaukee, Chicago's Jack Pfiester pitched in and out of trouble to seal the 4-1 victory. Pat Moran did most of the Cubs' damage, going 3-4. Fred Klobedanz lost, and ends the season 20-22.

As reigning champions, perhaps it was fitting this seasons' winners both had to defeat Boston to move on. The Cubs will have home field advantage in the NLCS.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


The American League wave function has collapsed: The ALCS will feature the 1939 New York Yankees and the 1995 Cleveland Indians. The Yankees won their division by 1 game over the 1970 Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland won theirs by 2 over the 2001 Seattle Mariners. With the better overall record, the Indians will have home field advantage in the ALCS.

The National League is still TBD. Most of the way through the final day's games, there's a logjam at the top of the NL East-- the 1998 Atlanta Braves, 1941 Brooklyn Dodgers, and 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates all are tied with 86 wins. The Pirates have yet to play today, though, and have a potential makeup game if necessary. They of course only have to win one of those two games to clinch.

The NL West is also undecided. Chicago clings to a half-game lead, and have a makeup game scheduled against the ubiquitous Beaneaters, with the potential for a playoff game after that. The AL playoffs will wait a bit for the NL, but I suppose I'll need to work the timing out...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Last Series Ahead

Four games played since the last update, and a little bit of clarity (but not much!)

AL Classic: The Yankees only took 1 of 4, losing a series to Detroit, their only win coming on a vultured win by Johnny Murphy. After scoring 9 in the first game, the Yanks bats went cold, amounting to only 7 runs in the next 3 games, including a 4-hit shutout by Texas' Bert Blyleven. Mike Hargrove did his future employers a big favor, with his homer accounting for all the scoring in a 1-0 beauty. But could Baltimore take advantage? Not really. The Os split their 4 games, and head into their final series in Detroit 1 game back, while New York hosts Washington. Baltimore has been slightly better than .500 against the Tigers, the Yankees slightly under .500 against the Nationals... New York would host a 1-game playoff if it comes to it. Boston won 2 of 3 against the Browns but were eliminated anyway.

AL Modern: Texas preceded their win against the Yankees by taking a series from Cleveland. Doc Ellis shut down the Indian's bats with a surprising shutout one day, while the Rangers bats pounded Cleveland the next day. Could Seattle take advantage? No. The Mariners played three extra inning games against usually-hapless Oakland, leading each in the 8th only to suffer three blown saves. They lost the first two, games that will haunt fans in the Emerald City if the Ms fall just short. Seattle pulled out the third game, though it took 19 innings to do so. Cleveland hosts Toronto and Seattle visits Texas to finish their season. The Indians have had trouble with the Blue Jays, while the Mariners have hand led the Rangers well this year. Seattle would host a hypothetical playoff. Other than Cleveland and Seattle, no AL Modern team will finish above .500.

NL East: Brooklyn helped their cause immensely by taking 2 of 3 from first-place Pittsburgh. MVP candidate Dolph Camilli was basically AWOL, going 1-12 in the games, but Pete Reiser made up for it by going 6-12 with 3 extra base hits. Ginger Beaumont poured it on for the Pirates, going 11-18, including 5-5 in a heartbreaking extra-inning loss to the Dodgers. The Pirates split their four games, salvaging a make-up against the Mets (featuring a comeback that sent Roger McDowell to a somewhat astonishing 16th loss) after the series loss to Brooklyn. Atlanta took 2 of 3 from Philadelphia, doing it with hitting (a 17-10 slugfest) and pitching (the next day's 2-1 win). Andres Gallaraga did his best to keep Atlanta in it, going 6-9 in the three games. Meanwhile, the Beaneaters are all but eliminated after leaving choosing to score 14 runs in their one win and only 4 in the other three games (all losses). Boston visits Pittsburgh, needing to sweep and then win a to-be-scheduled makeup against the mighty Cubs. Brooklyn is 1.5 back, and is off to Montreal (against whom they've played terribly) to finish the season, while the Mets look to knock Atlanta out. At this point, I believe all results up to and including a four-way tie are still possible. Venues for any playoff games will be (randomly) decided after things clear up a bit.

NL West: Chicago and Milwaukee end this update where they started it-- with the Cubs holding a slim 0.5 game lead. Both teams split their games, Chicago taking 2 of 3 from St. Louis, Milwaukee losing 2 of 3 to Houston before coming back and beating the Cubs in a makeup game. Milwaukee fans might note with some concern the fact they've only scored 4 runs in 4 games, but they can take some solace that their pitching has let them gain the split, stars including Bob Buhl's 11 inning shutout and Spahn's shutout of Chicago to win his 20th (and 7th in a row). The Cubs pitching has been excellent, allowing 6 runs in 4 games, but they too have been scoring little, save an 11 run outburst in game 1. Of more concern is an injury to manager and 1st baseman Frank Chance that likely puts him out for the remaining games, at the Reds. The Braves host Los Angeles. Milwaukee would host any playoff game. The pennant race overshadowed two great pitching performances in games by lesser teams: Doug Rau and Mike Marshall teamed up to pitch a 1-hitter against Cincinnati, and the Padres' Josh Hamilton struck out 11 in a complete game shutout against San Francisco.

Next update after the next three game series, before any last-day makeups.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Time to panic on the North Side?

It's taken another month, but the end of the season is a bit closer. The most secure leads of recent times are much smaller, and the reverse is also true. There are 7-8 games left for most teams.

AL Classic: Baltimore treaded water, taking 2 of 3 from St. Louis while the Yankees took 2 of 3 from the Philadelphia Athletics. The Orioles lost a good opportunity to make up ground when Dick Hall blew a save in the 9th and the Browns took the game in the 11th. The Yanks, meanwhile, used some late heroics and took advantage of hot hitting from Joe DiMaggio (4-8, 2 HR, 7 RBI in the two wins) to lower their magic number to 6. Washington swept the Red Sox, effectively knocking them out of the race (and putting the Nats in plausible striking distance of Detroit for 4th place). The Yankees lead by 2, tied for the largest division lead, and will host Detroit. Baltimore heads to Philadelphia.

AL Modern: The Indians and Mariners slouched toward the finish. Seattle caught Cleveland after they beat Kansas City (coupled with an Oakland win), but the Royals swept a big double header, Jeff Nelson blowing the save in the 8th of the nightcap. In the end, the Indians' lead remains 1 game with 6 to play. The battle for third place between Texas, Minnesota, and California continues in the leaders' rear-view mirror. The Mariners head down I-5 to Oakland, the Rangers come next to the Jake.

NL East: Brooklyn edged closer to the top, moving into second place after sweeping the fading Beaneaters. Boston's vaunted offense was shut out twice in the three game set, including a heartbreaking 1-0 finale. The Dodgers have won 5 straight. Pittsburgh took two of three from the Mets and have lowered their magic number to 6. Atlanta dropped two of three to the New York Giants. Heading into the final two series, the Pirates lead Brooklyn by 2 games, with Boston at 2.5 back and Atlanta 3 back. This sets up a critical series as Pittsburgh visits Ebbets field. The Beaneaters and Braves will try to take advantage against the Giants and Phillies, respectively.

NL West: Chicago has led for the lion's share of the season and has had a large lead for months (of game time, to say nothing of real time). The Cubs wake this morning with their lead a slender 0.5 games, 1 game in the all-important loss column. This is most immediately a result of a disastrous sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers (who outscored the Cubbies 22-4 in the three games) while the rolling Milwaukee Braves easily handled San Francisco. Milwaukee has the easier schedule going forward, facing the anemic Astros next before facing the 3rd place Dodgers (who would be in 1st place in the NL East, but that's another story). Chicago takes on the resurgent St. Louis Cardinals. There is also a make-up game between Chicago and Milwaukee after this next series, which is looming ever-larger.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Catch and Release

A long, long month. So, we've only creeped forward a few more games. But they were important ones...

AL Classic: The Yankees ran into a heap of trouble via their nemeses, the 1922 St. Louis Browns. The Browns had had their number all year, and New York was faltering a bit heading into this 5 game set. The Brownies took the first three games in commanding fashion, pounding out 24 runs and 34 hits, by which time Baltimore's two wins against the Red Sox put them in a tie for first. The Yanks got revenge in the final two games against St. Louis (including a 16-1 thrashing), and the Red Sox salvaged the series finale. Adding in Minnesota's victory over the Orioles in a makeup, the Yankees are up by 2, with 10 to play. The Yanks travel to Philadelphia, Baltimore tries their luck in St. Louis, and Boston hosts Washington for the next round of games.

AL Modern: The leaders had a rough series: Seattle dropped 2 of 3 in extra innings to Minnesota, Cleveland lost two 1-run games to the Royals, and then dropped another one to Washington for good measure. The end result finds the Indians with a one-game lead over the Mariners with 9 to play.

NL East: Boston split, but the Pirates took 3 of 4 to take a slender half-game lead. Atlanta is 2 back, Brooklyn three back. With between 9 and 12 games to play for the leaders, it's still quite up in the air. The Braves would seem to have the easiest schedule with the Giants, Phillies, and Mets, but they've played badly against the two latter teams. Boston hosts Brooklyn next in a series that will likely determine the fate of at least one of those teams. Pittsburgh hosts the Mets before traveling to Ebbets Field

NL West: The Cubs grind their way forward, magic number now at 8. They maintain a healthy 3.5 game lead with ~10 to play. Meanwhile, Milwaukee has the second-best record in all the Cloverland Leagues and is going to sit home for the postseason barring a miracle finish. The Curse of Bud Selig? One can only hope. My Cardinals managed to win one of three, which is pretty good for them lately.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Creeping along...

A set of big series! Not that it should have taken a month, of course.

AL Classic: Baltimore took 2 of 3 from the Yankees (including a 1-0 thriller decided on a Don Buford HR) to keep it a race-- they're now 2.5 back with ~14 games to play. Boston failed to make up any ground, dropping a series to Detroit. They're 3.5 back and need to make a move soon. There's something of a battle for 5th place/.5oo between Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Washington. I'd put a single quatloo on the Athletics, but no more. The Yanks head to Sportsman's Park where the Browns hope to play spoilers, with a pretty good chance of doing just that-- they've won 7 of 9 against the mighty Yankees this year. Baltimore and Boston, meanwhile, face each other at Fenway to see who gets to try and take advantage.

AL Modern: Seattle kept the pressure on the Indians by taking 2 of 3 and closing the gap to 1.5 games with ~12 to play. Interestingly, the Mariners have played much better in-division than cross-division (.628 vs. .500), while the Indians have nearly the reverse split-- .523 against the AL Modern division but .667 against the likes of the Yankees, Orioles, Red Sox... With only in-division games the rest of the way, could that swing things toward the Mariners? Cleveland heads to Kansas City, the Mariners are off to Bloomington, MN.

NL East: The Beaneaters are making the best of the reset and have crept out to a 1.5 game lead by sweeping the Mets, even getting a shutout from Ted Lewis. The Pirates are hanging tough, but dropped a game at the Polo Grounds. Atlanta dropped a game further behind Boston as well, and Brooklyn dropped their series to Philadelphia, likely dooming their hopes. The Phillies travel to Exposition Park in Pittsburgh next, while Boston hosts Atlanta and Brooklyn looks from some help from the now last-place Mets.

NL West: The Cubs first-place lead is still larger than any other teams, but in the past 10 games it's been whittled down by Milwaukee from 7 games to 3. Chicago had been hoping to use the last couple of weeks to get their pitching rotation ready for the postseason, but a race seems to have broken out instead. Meanwhile, the Cards swept the Reds! A happy day for manager Rivkin. St. Louis becomes involved in the pennant race for the first time in months as they host the surging Braves, while Chicago hosts the not surging San Diego Padres.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Back underway: NL games

Given the AL scoreboard both was unreadable _and_ made other things unreadable, I'll pass on an NL scoreboard image and just put it here:

  • NL East
    1. Boston Beaneaters 76 67 -
    2. Pittsburgh Pirates 76 68 .5
    3. Brooklyn Dodgers 76 71 2
    4. Atlanta Braves 76 71 2
    5. New York Giants 68 77 9
    6. Philadelphia Phillies 67 79 10.5
    7. Montreal Expos 66 80 11.5
    8. New York Mets 63 83 14.5
They're rumbling to the finish. 15 games to go, and 4 teams very much in the hunt. To recap:

Pirates-Braves: Atlanta took two of three from Pittsburgh, improving their own chances as well as those of all around them, despite making an astonishing 12 errors in the three-game series, 7 in the 13-inning game 2 alone. Sam Leever went the distance for the Pirates in that game, getting the win. Atlanta pitchers pitched well, and if the offense had scored anything in regulation in game 2, they would have swept. The Braves followed up the Pirates series by shutting out the suddenly hapless Cardinals. Pittsburgh travels to the Polo Grounds next, Atlanta remains at home to host Montreal.

Beaneaters-Expos: Boston leapfrogged Pittsburgh into a slim 1st place lead, taking two of three from Montreal. Jack Stivetts was a standout, going 9-10 at the bat and winning his start on the mound. Hugh Duffy was 6-13 with 6 RBI, Jimmy Collins 8-13. All the offense was necessary, as in typical Beaneaters fashion, the pitching was knocked around. Even Kid Nichols got bombed in his start, with only the lack of possible relief pitchers keeping him in the game. The Beaneaters hope to lengthen their lead against the Mets in their next series.

Bklyn Dodgers-NY Giants: The classic rivalry convened for the final time this season, Brooklyn with their eyes on the division lead they held for much of the season, New York hoping to play spoiler. The Dodgers came closest to their goal, taking 3 of 4 from the Giants, including both ends of a doubleheader. Pete Reiser was hot and cold for the Bums, 4-5 in the first game but with only one hit the rest of the way. Dolph Camilli was more steady, burnishing his case for NL MVP, easily leading the league in batting and tying for the league lead in RBI. Christy Mathewson won his 21st to prevent a sweep. Brooklyn followed up this series with a win in a make-up game at Shea. Next up for the Dodgers is hosting Philadelphia.

Mets-Phillies: After a bad start for Philadelphia, they came back to take the last two at Shea. New York erupted for 12 runs, HoJo hitting two homers and El Sid striking out 9 in 7 innings to hand Schilling the loss in a 12-3 game. The Metropolitans would have been well-advised to spread those runs out, however, as they only scored 2 runs the rest of the way, including a 15-inning scoreless stretch against Philadelphia and Brooklyn. The immortal Bob Rivera pitched a 2-hit shutout, striking out 9 Mets and improving his record to, um, 8-12.

  • NL West
    1. Chicago Cubs 89 56 -
    2. Milwaukee Braves 86 59 3
    3. Los Angeles Dodgers 78 68 11.5
    4. Cincinnati Reds 77 70 13
    5. San Francisco Giants 76 71 14
    6. St. Louis Cardinals 73 73 16.5
    7. San Diego Padres 61 86 29
    8. Houston Astros 59 88 31
Milwaukee's reeled Chicago in a little bit, and are legitimately still in it. There's still a battle for 3rd place, but it's probably little consolation for San Francisco, who would be 2 games out of first place in the other division. Of course, the NL East doesn't get to beat up on the Padres and Astros.

Cubs-Milwaukee Braves: Chicago still has the best record in the Cloverland Leagues, but they no longer have the largest lead. Milwaukee made the best of their chances by sweeping both games of a rain-shortened series. Johnny Logan was 4-4 in the first game, but Hank Aaron's 41st home run was the big blow as the Braves cruised 8-1. Aaron struck again in game 2, driving in Andy Pafko in the 8th, the deciding run in a 2-1 squeaker. The Cubs couldn't get their bats going, scoring only 2 runs en route to their 7th loss in 10 games. The Braves have won 5 straight and have closed the gap with Chicago from 8 games to 3.

Los Angeles Dodgers-Cardinals: St. Louis' woes continued, as they dropped two of three to the Dodgers and a make-up game to Atlanta. Davey Lopes bedeviled the Cards, going 4-8 in the first two games before sitting out the finale. Mort Cooper pitched a shutout to give St. Louis their only win in the last 10 games. San Francisco comes to LA next, while the Reds visit Sportsman's Park.

Reds-Padres: San Diego scored 4 runs in every game, Cincinnati averaged over 9 runs a game but settled for 2 wins. Pete Rose was 7-14 with 6 runs, Joe Morgan had a monster game in the opener. But Fernando Valenzuela, Bryce Florie, and Trevor Hoffman kept the Big Red Machine in check and John Flaherty drove in 4 to salvage a win for the boys in brown.

San Francisco Giants-Astros: Barry Bonds' heroics, including his league-leading 46th and 47th home runs, couldn't win this series over Houston, the NL's doormats. Jose Lima pitched a beautiful complete game, and a good start by Randy Johnson, spoiled by Billy Wagner's blown save, was redeemed by a walk-off Moises Alou home run in the 15th inning of the third game. In between, critical errors by Brad Ausmus and Richard Hidalgo doomed Scott Elarton's bid to defeat Billy Swift. The Astros head home to welcome the Cubs, who own Houston this year.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Back underway: AL games

We're through our first series back and a day with some rainout make-up games. Teams have generally played 145 +/- 1 games, save a few teams who've been particularly unlucky with weather (yes, St. Louis Browns, I'm looking at you). The not-quite readable current standings are above.

Yankees-Red Sox: The Yanks took 2 of 3 from Boston, losing the last game played pre-crash but winning the next two. They managed to bury Joe Wood early in game 2, knocking him out after 4 innings. Joe Gordon had a good series, 5-13 with 2 HR and 4 RBI. Tris Speaker was even better, 6-12 in a losing cause. The Yankees followed this up with a shutout loss to Washington, but have a comfortable cushion as they head to Baltimore for a big series with the Birds. Boston visits Detroit.

Orioles-White Sox: Chicago dealt Baltimore's hopes a major blow, sweeping them at Memorial Stadium. The Sox' pitchers stifled the O's offense, which hasn't been helped by the loss of Frank Robinson and Merv Rettenmund to injury. The Orioles managed only 3 runs in the three games, not good even ignoring the White Sox' dead-ball offense scratching out 18... Joe Jackson was 5-12 for Chicago. Baltimore hosts the Yankees in a series they really must win (or better, sweep) to stay in the hunt. Chicago hosts the Browns.

Phil. Athletics-Tigers: Philadelphia effectively eliminated Detroit with a sweep. The Tigers did themselves no favors with 5 errors in game 1, though the 8 earned runs the A's scored were more than enough to compensate for the 1 run George Earnshaw allowed. Game 3 was shortened by rain in the 9th. Mickey Cochrane had a monster series, 9-13 with 6 RBI. Philadelphia travels to the District to take on the Nationals next.

Browns-Nationals: A see-saw series, as the Browns erupted for 19 runs in game 2, but Washington took the rest of the games. George Sisler was 7-10 with 6 RBI in the first two games before resting in game 3. His league-leading average is now .428, roughly 50 points ahead of his closest pursuer (Philadelphia's Al Simmons at .369). Washington also took their schedules make-up vs. the Yankees, Dutch Reuther cooling the New Yorker's bats with a shutout and evening his record at 11-11. Walter Johnson's win in game 3 was his 17th, leading the Nats.

Indians-Twins: Cleveland, dealt a setback by the computer crash, took two of three from Minnesota, and was only a blown Eric Plunk save from sweeping the Twinkies. Kenny Lofton was en fuego, 7-9 with 2 doubles, a triple, and a HR in two games. The aftormentioned blown save, on a bases-loaded Cardenas triple, salvaged a game for Minnesota where Jim Kaat struggled with his his control for 1 1/3 innings, walking 3 and eventually being ejected after hitting his second batsman. The Twins managed .500 for this period by beating Texas 2-1 in a makeup game, Tiant pitching brilliantly but Perranoski getting the win in relief. Cleveland travels to Seattle for a big series, Minnesota travels to Texas for more Ranger fun.

Mariners-Angels: Seattle is trying to make the best of their new lease on life, sweeping California 8-2, 7-1, 5-2. Carlos Guillen, of all people, paced Seattle with a 5-6 in the first two games before sitting out the third. Kaz Sasaki notched his 29th save in the finale, his 21st in a row. The Angels did not have much to celebrate. They go on to Kansas City.

Rangers-Oakland A's: Oakland's hitting woes continued, as they were restricted to 7 runs in the three games, 4 of them in one "eruption". Still, they managed to net a win out of it, 2-1 in the first game. There were no real performances of note. Oakland goes on to Toronto.

Blue Jays-Royals: Speaking of Toronto... The Blue Jays and Royals played a taut, exciting series with basically no importance to any of the races in any way. Still, good baseball is good baseball. All three games were 1-run affairs, with the first two going extra innings. Charlie Liebrandt pitched a 10-inning shutout in game 1, winning on an RBI single by George Brett. Toronto got revenge the next day, with Jim Clancy striking out 11 in 10 innings before giving way to Mark Eichhorn, who got the win in relief on a Jesse Barfield sacrifice fly in the 12th.
Kansas City took the third game, but succumbed to St. Louis in a makeup game the next day.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Clichéd Return...

(Frank Selee wakes up. He is startled to find himself laying on the sidewalk in Boston. Two bystanders look on with concern.)

FS: Oh, I must have taken a tumble.
Bystander 1: Indeed-- tripped on the uneven pavement. We thought you might be hurt, and with the big games coming up...
FS: Oh, I shouldn't discourage you, but our odds are slim, as far behind Pittsburgh as we are, with less than two weeks to play.
(The bystanders look at each other, confused.)

Bystander 2: Sir?
B1: Perhaps we should find a medic?
FS: I assure you, I'm fine.
B2: But the Beaneaters are in fine shape, just a half-game back, with roughly three weeks to go.
(FS is dismayed)
FS: We're not three and a half back? And the Yankees-- they're still atop the AL Classic Division? Cleveland has not yet buried everyone else in their division?

(B1 and B2 are back to looking concerned...)
B1: No sir, yes sir, and, um, no sir.
B2: Respectively.

(FS brushes himself off and stands up.)
FS: Then there's work to be done and a championship to be defended! See you at the game!

Monday, January 08, 2007


Got the ol' computer back, lost the increment of the season I'd done on it. I think it amounts to ~20 games. :P

I think I'm going to start again from where I last backed it up and pretend this never happened. I believe the big winners turn out to be, embarrassingly, three of the teams I manage-- the Yankees get a big lead restored (which they frittered away last time), the Mariners get another crack at the Indians, and the Beaneaters come back to neck-and-neck with the Pirates. If something turns out differently from the way it was headed, I've got some thinking to do. But that's a problem for a later time...