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...