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Friday, May 24, 2013

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-24-2013

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, May 24, 1913:

Excessive use of the spitball has injured Ed Walsh’s digestion and has thus affected his condition, so that he has not yet reached his best form of this year, according to Dr. James H. Blair, club physician of the Chicago Americans, in a report made today on the pitcher’s condition.
According to the doctor saliva needed for Walsh’s digestion has been used on the ball, but with care the pitcher may be in his old time form in a month.

Obviously the problem is misdirected saliva and not the 65 complete games and 761 innings Walsh threw in 1911-12. Walsh hung on until 1917, but was never fully healthy and was used extremely sparingly.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 24, 2013 at 06:28 AM | 25 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dugout, ed walsh, history

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   1. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 24, 2013 at 06:31 AM (#4451163)
Today's Birthday Team isn't going to score many runs, but Joe Oeschger's ready to throw 26 innings of one-run ball if need be. Also, Fred Jacklitsch is playing slightly out of position (there are no "real" first basemen available), but the good news is that moving him to first base should prevent him from warming up pitchers while sitting in a chair.

C: Ellie Rodriguez
1B: Fred Jacklitsch
2B/Manager: Sam Barkley
3B: Kevin Frandsen
SS: Willy Miranda
LF: Greg Briley
CF: Gus Felix
RF: Danny Bautista

SP: Bartolo Colon
SP: Brad Penny
SP: Jack Pfiester
SP: Bob Wicker
SP: Joe Oeschger
RP/GM: Jerry Dipoto

Prospect Flameout: Brandon Larson
Designated Canadian: Rob Ducey
Gone too soon: Joe Kennedy
   2. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 24, 2013 at 08:22 AM (#4451175)
the brewers owner voiced strong displeasure with how the team was playing yesterday. he was very clear that it wasn't just the losing but that the team looked non-competitive far too often.

it was a very blunt series of statements and I give him credit for showing that he's both a fan and also for not spinning what cannot be spun.

I have been a supporter of both Melvin and the current brewer manager. but the current team is now reaping the impact of the complete inability to draft and develop pitchers. the brewers staff is a mess and there is no light at the end of any tunnel. they need to find a way to turn sh8t into sunshine and that is some kind of wizardry. I don't see Melvin as merlin
   3. Dag Nabbit at Posted: May 24, 2013 at 08:33 AM (#4451176)
   4. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: May 24, 2013 at 08:45 AM (#4451177)
Mini-Mart must be a zombie. His Phillies career apparently cannot end. For some reason, they are bringing his .239/.306/.284 line up from AAA to replace Utley. And that Lehigh Valley is no fluke, Mini-Mart has a 39 OPS+ in 356 PAs. They have some upcoming DH games, dontcha think Darin Ruf might have a better chance to contribute? Mini-Mart isn't a kid; he's in his age-30 season. The man cannot play baseball.

Mini-Mart = Michael Martinez, for those of you who haven't heard a Phillies fan rant in the last 3 years. The Phillies selected him as a Rule 5 from WSH in 2011 and kept on the ML roster all season. He's fast, but a lousy baserunner, can't hit but takes a HR swing, is a questionable fielder although to my eyes his skills play nicely at 3B.

   5. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 24, 2013 at 08:56 AM (#4451178)
Crashburn Alley ran an excellent "Chase Utley Replacement Flowchart" yesterday.
   6. Repoz Posted: May 24, 2013 at 09:08 AM (#4451181)
Tweetin' Jon Heyman...still not getting it.

"Are we headed for miggy-trout II, the sequel? Cabrera leads for now, but look out, trout on pace for 121 rbi out of 2 hole."
   7. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: May 24, 2013 at 09:44 AM (#4451200)
Brandon Inge in full Penguins regalia, looking like Don Knotts circa 1980. Holy mackerel, did this guy age. Or maybe it's just that the hockey helmet is not flattering to someone without strong facial features.

At least they're using him the right way (he's played 1B, 2B, SS, 3B and RF already). And John McDonald is finally off the active roster, albeit because of injury.
   8. CheersUnusualPlays Posted: May 24, 2013 at 11:53 AM (#4451310)
IMO, Rob Ducey should replace Greg Briley (maybe I am biased - I played with Rob) He has a better OPS, longer career, and was extremely fast and good defensively
   9. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 24, 2013 at 12:02 PM (#4451318)
Yan Gomes started the season as the Indians' "break glass in case of emergency" catcher in Columbus. They called him up after Lou Marson and Carlos Santana got broken, mostly because someone has to squat back there and stop the ball from drilling the umpire or going all the way to the backstop.

He's hit .311/.328/.672 with 5 home runs in 19 games while putting up a 62% caught stealing percentage.

I'm fully aware that Yan Gomes is not the result of a genetic experiment combining the DNA of Josh Gibson, Ivan Rodriguez, Johnny Bench, and Mike Piazza. There's no reason to think his upside is much more than "pretty good backup". I'm just saying that in 19 games, Gomes has accomplished as much as Lou Marson has in the past five years combined. (Really, he has. Gomes has 1.4 BBRef WAR in his Cleveland career, Marson has 1.5 WAR.)

I'd be more than a little bit disappointed if Gomes is back in Columbus when Marson is ready to return.
   10. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 24, 2013 at 12:03 PM (#4451319)
Re: Ducey vs. Briley, you're probably right.
   11. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 24, 2013 at 12:11 PM (#4451328)
Count how many things are wrong with this graphic. Its like a caption in "Higlights" magazine.
   12. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: May 24, 2013 at 12:19 PM (#4451339)
Goofus posts his Sprint Unlimited Answers poll without double checking for errors.
Gallant double checks his Sprint Unlimited Answers poll against Baseball Reference before posting.
   13. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: May 24, 2013 at 12:47 PM (#4451367)
It's not even checking against Baseball Reference. It's having the wrong team logo for 4 of the 4 players, and the wrong name for 2 of them.

Are the numbers wrong too? I wouldn't be surprised.
   14. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: May 24, 2013 at 12:59 PM (#4451380)
Geez, Crispix, Gallant would have looked up Matt Jones and realized there was an error. Process, man, it's all in the process.
   15. Steve Treder Posted: May 24, 2013 at 06:17 PM (#4451647)
#12 FTW
   16. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: May 24, 2013 at 06:28 PM (#4451655)
Game of the day (yesterday): Tigers 7, Twins 6. Rick Porcello allowed a one-out single to Minnesota's in-form Hall of Fame candidate (Joe Mauer) in the top of the first, but then got a double play out of Josh Willingham to avoid trouble. In the bottom of the inning, Scott Diamond also allowed a hit to an in-his-prime future Cooperstown resident, and no double play could save him, since Miguel Cabrera's hit was a two-run homer.

Diamond averted any additional scoring in the first, and the Twins got a run back in the second when Justin Morneau led off with a ground-rule double, Chris Parmelee singled him to third, and Brian Dozier grounded out to bring him home. After a scoreless second inning from Diamond, the Twins struck again in the third. Singles by Pedro Florimon, Jamey Carroll, and Mauer combined to bring in the tying run, and Willingham followed with a go-ahead 3-run homer.

Diamond capitalized on the lead, throwing perfect innings in the third and fourth. The Twins put runners on the corners in the fourth on singled by Aaron Hicks and Carroll, but Mauer hit into a double play to waste the threat. In the fifth, Minnesota tried again, as Willingham reached on a Jhonny Peralta error and Parmelee drew a two-out walk; Porcello then threw a wild pitch that moved Willingham to third (though somehow, not Parmelee to second) before striking out Dozier to end the inning.

After two quick outs in the bottom of the fifth, the Tigers mounted a rally. Avisail Garcia and Omar Infante singled, and Torii Hunter walked to load the bases and bring Cabrera to the plate as the go-ahead run. Cabrera didn't homer - but he did single, scoring one run. Prince Fielder then fouled out to end the inning. Porcello was lifted for Darin Downs in the sixth; he allowed only a two-out double to Carroll. Diamond gave up a hit to Peralta and a two-out, two-base hit to Brayan Pena before being pulled for Casey Fien, who struck out pinch hitter Andy Dirks to leave the tying runs in scoring position. Downs then allowed a Willingham homer in the top of the seventh to restore the Twin lead to 3.

Fien started the seventh by giving up a hit to Infante and a one-out walk to Cabrera. Brian Duensing replaced him and made it worse, yielding RBI singles to Fielder and Victor Martinez that closed the margin to a single run. Jared Burton came in next and allowed a game-tying double to Peralta that put the go-ahead run at third with one out, then plunked Matt Tuiasosopo to load the bases. However, Pena and Dirks both fouled out to leave all three Tigers on.

Joaquin Benoit worked a perfect eighth, and the Tiger offense proceeded to rescind the reprieve they'd granted the Twins in the previous inning. Infante led off with a single, and Hunter bunted him to second. Cabrera was intentionally walked, and Fielder singled to score the go-ahead run. Jose Valverde retired the Twins' 2-3-4 hitters in order in the ninth (!) to end the game.

How to tell you're the most ridiculously hot hitter on the planet: You're a right-handed batter, and a right-handed pitcher intentionally walks you to face Prince Fielder.

Also: You hit 6 home runs in 4 games. That's usually a hint.
   17. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: May 24, 2013 at 06:30 PM (#4451656)
Count how many things are wrong with this graphic.

They're using a quarter-season of Triple Crown stats to evaluate all the players!

Seriously, though - the pictures are all of the players wearing the caps of their actual teams. How hard is it to make sure the logos match?
   18. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: May 24, 2013 at 07:17 PM (#4451673)
Game of the day (1977): Braves 6, Padres 5 (11). The Padres started Tom Griffin, a career swingman (191 starts in 401 appearances) who never broke 100 in ERA+ in a year with more than 5 starts.

The Braves started Phil Niekro.

After retiring the first two Braves in the game, Griffin got himself into trouble, walking Junior Moore, giving up a hit to Jeff Burroughs, and walking Gary Matthews to load the bases. Biff Pocoroba flied out, however, ending the threat. Niekro allowed a triple to Bill Almon with one out in the first, but didn't allow a ball in fair territory the rest of the inning; two foulouts and a strikeout kept the Padres from scoring. Niekro then gave himself the lead in the second, singling in Tom Paciorek, who'd led off with a double.

Mike Ivie tied the game with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the second, but the Braves scored again in the third. Moore singled with one out, but was promptly picked off. Burroughs then walked and stole second, however, and Matthews followed with a go-ahead 2-run homer. After a perfect third from Niekro, Atlanta tagged Griffin for another run in the fourth as Barry Bonnell doubled, Niekro bunted him to third, and Jerry Royster's single sent Bonnell home and Griffin to the clubhouse. Dave Wehrmeister came in and retired the Braves without further incident.

It wasn't apparent at the time, but Wehrmeister's entrance was a turning point in the game. The Padres got two of the runs back in the bottom of the fourth when Jerry Turner and Dave Winfield singled and Ivie doubled them both in, and the Braves stopped scoring. Burroughs led off the fifth with a single, Bonnell singled and stole second in the sixth, and Burroughs walked in the seventh, but none of them scored. San Diego wasted its only baserunner of that span in the fifth when Gene Richards singled and was caught stealing second, but that changed in the seventh.

Doug Rader led off with a single, and was forced at second on Mike Champion's bunt attempt. Gene Tenace drew a pinch-hit walk, and Gary Sutherland hit for Wehrmeister and walked as well, loading the bases. Richards followed with a go-ahead two-run single to chase Niekro; the Padres had the chance to pile on further, but Dave Campbell got Almon to hit into an inning-ending double play.

Atlanta wasted no time in responding. Paciorek and Bonnell greeted Padre reliever Dan Spillner with singles, and Darrel Chaney bunted the runners to second and third. Royster was intentionally walked to load the bases, and Gilbreath hit into a force - but at second rather than at home, so the tying run still scored. Rick Camp threw a perfect eighth.

Burroughs led off the top of the ninth with a single to chase Spillner and bring in Rollie Fingers; Fingers allowed a Pocoroba single that moved Burroughs to third with one out, but two strikeouts and a groundout kept Atlanta from scoring the go-ahead run. In the bottom of the inning, Rader led off with a single; Champion tried to bunt him over again, and this time it worked much better, with Camp's error allowing both runners to reach safely. After Tenace laid the bunt down, Merv Rettenmund was intentionally walked to load the bases; Richards then struck out, and Bobby Valentine flied out as a pinch hitter, ending the inning and sending the game to extras.

The tenth inning was rather quiet, featuring only a leadoff pinch single from Cito Gaston against Dave Tomlin while Buzz Capra was perfect in the bottom. Burroughs led off the eleventh with a walk, then moved to second on a groundout; with two away, Paciorek was intentionally passed, and Bonnell countered with a go-ahead RBI single. Capra would issue two-out walks to Tenace and pinch hitter Luis Melendez before Richards struck out to end the game.

In a three-day span, the Padres have played 2 of the 6 best games of 1977 so far. This stretch has moved them from #20 in average game excitement (that is, 7th-to-last) up to #5.
   19. bobm Posted: May 24, 2013 at 07:28 PM (#4451677)
   20. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: May 27, 2013 at 11:24 AM (#4452946)
No new Dugout today? Guess I can just use this one for the Monday GotD dump then.

Game of the day (Friday... kind of): Braves 7, Mets 5 (10). The Braves took an early lead in the first, when Justin Upton drew a two-out walk from Jeremy Hefner and Freddie Freeman followed with a two-run homer. New York got one of the runs back against Kris Medlen when Daniel Murphy was hit by a pitch and David Wright and Lucas Duda singled to bring him around. Both starters were perfect in the second, and Hefner was again in the third; Medlen gave up singles to Murphy and Wright, but the inning ended with the runners left at second and third. The barely-preserved lead didn’t last much longer, however, as John Buck led off the bottom of the fourth with a game-tying homer.

The Mets took their first lead in the fifth. Murphy led off with a double; two outs later, Duda walked to keep the inning alive, and Byrd followed with an RBI single. (This is one of the underrated benefits of walks, by the way.) Hefner held the lead through the sixth, then was lifted for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the inning; said pinch hitter was the third out in Medlen’s 1-2-3 frame.

LaTroy Hawkins replaced Hefner, and promptly gave up a game-tying home run to Dan Uggla. The Braves also hit for their starter later in the inning, so Luis Avilan came on to pitch; he got into trouble, but it was less than it might have been. Murphy started the inning by reaching on Andrelton Simmons’s throwing error, but was thrown out trying to take an extra base on the play. Rick Ankiel then walked (!), and David Wright was hit by a pitch; the Mets could have had the bases loaded with nobody out. Duda flied out, and Byrd struck out against Cory Gearrin to end the inning.

Scott Rice replaced Hawkins in the top of the eighth. Justin Upton drew a one-out walk, and Freeman singled him to third. Brian McCann struck out, and Greg Burke came in hoping to finish off the inning; instead, he walked Uggla, then allowed a pinch hit tiebreaking two-run singled to Evan Gattis.

Anthony Varvaro came on for the Braves, and walked Buck to start the bottom of the inning. Ruben Tejada followed with a one-out single, and after the second out, Murphy singled as well to score Buck. Tejada took third on that play thanks to a BJ Upton error; this allowed him to come home on Varvaro’s wild pitch and tie the game.

At this point, the game was suspended due to rain; it resumed on Saturday. Ramiro Pena started the ninth/first inning with a double against Bobby Parnell, and Simmons bunted him to third; Parnell then walked Heyward and proceeded to act like it was his plan to face Justin Upton all along, getting him to ground into a double play. Varvaro worked a perfect inning to force extras.

Facing Brandon Lyon in the tenth, the Atlanta offense went to work quickly. Freeman drew a leadoff walk, and McCann doubled him to third on an 0-2 pitch. Uggla then singled in the go-ahead run, and after Chris Johnson struck out, BJ Upton grounded back to the mound in a way that allowed pinch runner Jordan Schafer to score, with all the other runners reaching safely as well. The Mets put the tying runs on against Craig Kimbrel in the bottom of the tenth when he plunked Buck and gave up a single to Ike Davis, but Tejada fouled out on a bunt attempt and Justin Turner hit into a double play to end the game.

In practical terms, this game loses excitement for the fans in attendance because it was suspended and picked up again later. But the ranking system doesn’t know about that, and sees the three blown leads (including the back-to-back 2-spots in the eighth) and general presence of runners on base throughout (particularly for the Mets, who went 3/16 with runners in scoring position), and grades this as the eighth-best game of the season so far.
   21. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: May 27, 2013 at 11:50 AM (#4452962)
Game of the day (Saturday): Giants 6, Rockies 5 (10). Colorado took a quick lead against Barry Zito when Dexter Fowler led off the game with a double and Carlos Gonzalez followed with a two-run homer. The Giants also got a leadoff double from Angel Pagan in the bottom of the inning; Marco Scutaro grounded back to the mound, with Juan Nicasio throwing Pagan out at third. Pablo Sandoval then singled, Buster Posey hit into a force at third, and a wild pitch and a walk to Hunter Pence loaded the bases before Brandon Belt struck out looking, thus depriving the Giants of both a scoring opportunity and the chance to make all three outs at third base.

The starters spent the next two innings putting one runner on per frame; Nolan Arenado singled, Brandon Crawford doubled, Fowler was hit by a pitch, and Posey singled, respectively. That string ended in the fourth when Troy Tulowitzki and Michael Cuddyer hit consecutive doubles to score Colorado's third run of the game; Jordan Pachedo singled with one out to bring in the fourth. The interrupted one-baserunner trend resumed briefly, with Crawford doubling again in the bottom of the fourth and Gonzalez singling and stealing second in the fifth. Nicasio worked a spotless fifth, while Zito worked around an error in the top of the sixth.

The Giants finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth. Posey and Pence started the inning with back-to-back doubles, which brought Josh Outman in from the bullpen. Belt singled and Andres Torres walked to load the bases, and Crawford hit a sac fly to bring in the inning's second run. Adam Ottavino replaced Outman and walked pinch hitter Nick Noonan to reload the bases. Pagan popped up for the second out, but Scutaro then walked to force in a run. With the tying run at third, Sandoval struck out to end the inning.

Chad Gaudin circumvented a Gonzalez single in the top of the seventh, and the Giants went back to work. Posey led off the bottom of the inning with a single; Pence flied out, and Rex Brothers took over for Ottavino. Belt walked, advancing Posey, and Torres doubled, bringing him all the way home. Crawford then grounded to second, with Belt trying to score and getting thrown out on the play; as a result, the inning ended in a tie, which is the first time that can be said about this game.

Jean Machi was spotless in the top of the eighth. Matt Belisle was not in the bottom of the inning, but after Marco Scutaro singled with one out, he was thrown out trying for third on Sandoval's hit, which allowed the Rockies to keep the score tied. In the ninth, Yorvit Torrealba led off with a single, which led to four substitutions: Eric Young Jr. pinch ran for Torrealba, and Charlie Blackmon hit for Belisle; the Giants countered with Jeremy Affeldt, which prompted the Rockies to swap in Willin Rosario at the plate. (The Giants were not then allowed to make another pitching change, because their manager and/or the umpiring crew actually know the rules of baseball.) Rosario singled, and Fowler bunted the runners to second and third, but DJ LeMahieu struck out and Gonzalez flied to right to end the threat. Wilton Lopez then threw a perfect bottom of the ninth to send the game to extras.

The tenth inning started with a literal bang, as Tulowitzki homered against Sergio Romo. The next three Rockies went down in order, leaving Rafael Betancourt with a one-run lead. Crawford drew a walk to start the bottom of the inning, and Guillermo Quiroz bunted him to second. Pagan then hit a deep fly to right; it kicked off the base of the wall and away from Cuddyer. Crawford cruised in to score the tying run, and Pagan followed him, easily beating the throw to finish a come-from-behind, walkoff, inside the park home run.

This game barely edged past the Yankees-Rays game (4-3 in 11). Even had the system leaned the other direction, though, I'd still have been inclined to pick this one, due to the pleasing combination of it featuring an extra-inning, come-from-behind, walkoff ITPHR and it not being a win for a particularly vexing version of the Yankees. So... thank you for that on multiple levels, Angel Pagan.
   22. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: May 27, 2013 at 12:39 PM (#4453002)
Game of the day (yesterday): Blue Jays 6, Orioles 5.

I did not expect this at all. There were two extra-inning games yesterday; one of them went 13 innings, and had both teams score a run in the 11th. This game, on the other hand, was over in regulation, and included only one lead change.

Fortunately, we can go deeper than just looking at the linescore. Let's do that.

Chad Jenkins (making his second start of the year, and just the fifth of his career) had a pretty eventful first inning. Nate McLouth led off with a walk, but Manny Machado then lined into a double play. Nick Markakis followed with a single, and Adam Jones doubled - but Markakis was thrown out trying to score, ending the inning. Baltimore's Miguel Gonzalez worked around a walk in the first, and his teammates converted on their opportunities much better in the second. Chris Davis led off with an automatic double, and JJ Hardy singled him to third. A Matt Wieters double scored Davis with the game's first run, and a Danny Valencia groundout scored Hardy with the second. Two more groundouts ended the inning with Wieters at third, but Gonzalez worked an untroubled second to keep the lead at 2 runs.

Machado led off the third with a double, but didn't advance from there. The Jays also put a runner in scoring position when Muneori Kawasaki reached on a bunt and Jose Bautisa's two-out single moved him to third, but Edwin Encarnacion fanned to strand him. Jenkins worked an in-order fourth, and Toronto tried again in the bottom of the inning; Adam Lind led off with a single, JP Arencibia doubled him to third, and Brett Lawrie brought him home on a sac fly to cut the deficit in half.

Baltimore attempted to counter in the top of the fifth. Machado and Markakis reached on back-to-back one-out singles, and moved to second and third on an errant pickoff attempt by Jenkins. Jones struck out, Davis was intentionally walked, and Hardy lined out to end the inning with the bases loaded. Gonzalez worked around a base on balls in the bottom of the inning, and Jenkins was lifted for Thad Weber (making his Blue Jays debut) in the top of the sixth. He did not immediately endear himself to the fans, allowing a leadoff double to Wieters, then walking Alexi Casilla and giving up a single to McLouth to load the bases with one out. Machado followed by hitting into a double play to end the inning with Toronto still only down a run.

Gonzalez and Matusz combined on a fairly quiet sixth inning, allowing only one baserunner. In the seventh, Aaron Loup limited the O's to a sole runner in turn, but instead of staying at first, Adam Jones got to trot around the bases in untroubled fashion after homering. Matusz struck out the first two hitters he faced in the seventh, then walked Melky Cabrera and was replaced by Tommy Hunter. Hunter gave up back-to-back singles by Bautista and Encarnacion to load the bases before getting Adam Lind to end the inning by flying out.

Wieters singled and stole second against Loup in the eighth, but was left there. In the bottom of the inning, Hunter allowed a leadoff hit to Arencibia, then plunked Lawrie. Anthony Gose struck out, but pinch hitter Colby Rasmus walked to load the bases. Kawasaki followed with an RBI single that made it 3-2 with the bases still loaded. Cabrera grounded to first, which turned into a force at home, and Bautista grounded back to the mound, leaving the tying run at third.

After Toronto loaded the bases in consecutive innings, the Orioles were desperate for breathing room. They got a chance at it when Steve Delabar hit Markakis with one out, then gave up a single to Jones and threw a wild pitch that moved the runners to second and third. Chris Davis was then issued his third intentional walk of the game (and who thought we'd ever hear that sentence before the season started?) Hardy popped up for the second out, but Wieters followed that with his third double of the game, adding two runs to the lead.

Jim Johnson took over for Baltimore in the ninth. He quickly made Oriole fans glad they'd added a pair of runs in the top of the inning, as an Encarnacion double and singles by Lind and Arencibia scored one before an out was recorded. Lawrie flied out, but Gose walked to load the bases. Mark DeRosa hit into a force at second to score another run, bringing Kawasaki to the plate with two outs and two on. He doubled to left-center, scoring both runners and winning the game.

So, how does a nine-inning game with only one lead change grade out as the #10 game of the first almost-two months of the season? It includes 25 runners left on base and 32 at bats with runners in scoring position, including the bases being loaded 6 distinct times from the 5th inning on. Oh, and its only lead change comes on the last play of the game.

The best nine-inning game of the year makes a nice highlight of the season's second-best day of baseball so far; the aforementioned 13-inning game finishes just behind it in 11th, and there were 6 other games that were 68th percentile or better. Which is a pretty nice Sunday afternoon.
   23. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: May 27, 2013 at 01:32 PM (#4453029)
Game of the day (5/24/77): Expos 5, Cubs 4 (13). Pitching matchup of Rick Reuschel, a Hall of Merit starter having easily his best year, against Don Stanhouse, who was making the sixth-to-last start of his career. (This isn't quite as ominous as it sounds for Stanhouse, who moved to the bullpen this season and had a couple of nice years in relief for the Orioles. But the reason he was moved to the pen was his 5.07 ERA in the rotation - a number that became 1.39 in relief in 1977.)

So of course, it was the Expos who scored first, thanks to a Dave Cash single, a Warren Cromartie double, and a Wayne Garrett groundout. They picked up another single and double in the second, this time from Chris Speier and Barry Foote, but this time Stanhouse was up next and struck out, leaving Cash's groundout to end the inning. The Cubs had a chance in the bottom of the second, thanks to a Bobby Murcer leadoff double, but a popup and a pair of groundouts didn't allow him to move past third. Reuschel settled down to work a perfect inning in the third, however, and the Cubs got on the board in the bottom of the inning. Reuschel himself led off with a single and was bunted to second. Gene Clines doubled him in to tie the game, then moved to third on Larry Biittner's single and scored the go-ahead run on Murcer's sac fly.

Reuschel worked around a Speier single in the fourth, and the Chicago lineup kept up the pressure on Stanhouse. Steve Ontiveros and Steve Swisher singled to put runners at the corners with one out. With Reuschel at the plate... something happened. It's not entirely clear what happened, but Ontiveros was caught stealing home and Swisher ended up at second, with the advancement credited to an error by Expo first baseman Tony Perez. (Why an error was needed for a runner to move from first to second on a steal attempt of home, I'm not sure.)

Anyway, once the dust settled, Reuschel stepped back into the box and hit a two-run homer for a 4-1 lead. You want something done right...

The Expos picked up a run in the fifth that was eerily similar to their first-inning tally - a single by Cash, a double by Cromartie, and an out. This time, the out was a Perez sac fly after a Garrett walk had loaded the bases. Having lifted Stanhouse for a pinch hitter, Montreal turned to Jackie Brown, whose last appearance had been six perfect innings in probably one of the best baseball games ever played. He made it seven spotless frames in a row here, and Reuschel matched him in the top of the sixth. With two outs in the bottom of the inning, Ontiveros singled, ending Brown's hopes of a discontinuous perfect game. Swisher followed with a double, but Ontiveros was thrown out trying to score on the play.

In the seventh, Cash and Cromartie did it again; this time, it was Cash reaching on an error by Ivan de Jesus and Cromartie's single moving him to second. More importantly, this sequence also chased Reuschel in favor of Bruce Sutter. Sutter induced a Garrett flyout that moved Cash to third, but Perez then reached on an infield hit (listed as a single to the pitcher), scoring Cash to make it 4-3. Bill Atkinson worked a scoreless seventh, and Sutter seemed to be on his way to doing the same in the eight, as he retired the first two hitters. Barry Foote then homered to tie the game, the first home run Sutter had allowed in 33 innings this year.

Will McEnaney and Sutter combined to send the game to extras from there; the only baserunners in the remainder of regulation were both replaced by unhelpful pinch runners (Gary Carter singled in the eighth and had Pepe Frias run for him, thus getting Carter out of the game; Steve Ontiveros walked in the ninth, and Jose Cardenal was caught stealing in his place.)

Paul Reuschel was spotless in the tenth and eleventh; McEnaney worked around another walk in the tenth before being pulled for a pinch hitter. Joe Kerrigan gave up a single to Manny Trillo and plunked Swisher in the eleventh before retiring pinch hitter Greg Gross to escape the jam. Willie Hernandez entered for the twelfth and allowed a single to Cromartie that eventually resulted in having runners on the corners (sac bunt, intentional walk, force at second) with pinch hitter Andre Dawson at the plate; Dawson grounded out to end the inning.

De Jesus led off the bottom of the twelfth on a single, but was removed when Clines popped up a bunt and got his runner doubled off in the process. In the top of the thirteenth, Chris Speier led off with a double. Foote hit into a "Batted Ball: Unknown out on play," which is the kind of thing that makes 1977 games tougher to write about than yesterday's. But pinch hitter Jose Morales singles to score Speier with the go-ahead run, and Santo Alcala came on to retire the Cubs in order and secure the save.

Cromartie had about as good a game as you can have without either scoring or driving in a run; three of his four hits moved Cash into scoring position (from which he later scored in each case), and the fourth ended up with Cromartie himself moving into scoring position in extras. The other story here was the Expo bullpen throwing 9 scoreless innings (allowing 5 hits and 2 walks). Clearly the Cub offense couldn't survive without Reuschel's bat in the lineup.
   24. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: May 27, 2013 at 03:41 PM (#4453097)
Game of the day (5/25/77): Padres 6, Braves 5 (12). Pitching matchup of Max Leon, 9 of whose 13 career starts came in 1977 (he was an OK reliever for a few years outside of that) and Bob Owchinko. Yes, this does mean that Owchinko's last two starts have been in games lasting a combined 33 innings. They were also his first two starts of 1977; one might forgive the Padre bullpen for hoping he'd be demoted from the rotation.

Owchinko started well, retiring the Braves in order in the first. Leon, on the other hand, immediately ran into trouble. He walked Gene Richards, who was then bunted to second. Leon proceeded to balk Richards to third, from where he scored on a George Hendrick single. The Padres would proceed to put runners on first and second, but didn't score again in the inning. Owchinko allowed a lone single in the second, and the Padres picked up another run in the bottom of the inning when Gene Tenace walked and Mike Champion tripled him home.

Atlanta scored its first run in the third. Barry Bonnell led off with a double, and rather than bunt, Leon singled, moving the lead runner to third. Jerry Royster hit into a force at second to bring Bonnell home. Rod Gilbreath followed with a single, and Junior Moore added a single of his own, but Royster was thrown out trying to score the tying run. A passed ball moved the runners to second and third before Jeff Burroughs grounded out to leave them there.

San Diego responded in the bottom of the inning; Hendrick led off with a double, Dave Winfield reached on an error, and Mike Ivie followed with a sac fly. Doug Rader then singled, with Winfield moving to third and Rader being thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a double. Tenace's single then scored Winfield to make it 4-1. After two quick outs in the fourth, Tom Paciorek and Bonnell both singled, allowing the Braves to pull Leon for a pinch hitter; Pat Rockett doubled to score Paciorek and cut the lead to 2 runs.

Bob Johnson came on to pitch for the Braves and worked a 1-2-3 fourth. Owchinko worked around a leadoff walk in the fifth, and Johnson did the same with a two-out single. Owchinko was pulled after walking Vic Correll to start the sixth; Dan Spillner promptly moved the runner to second with a wild pitch, then issued a walk of his own to Bonnell before recovering on a foulout and a popup. Buzz Capra came in for the bottom of the sixth and allowed a pair of walks, including one to Spillner, but a double play helped him escape. Spillner was spotless in the seventh, and Capra was not; a one-out walk to Hendrick was followed by an errant pickoff attempt that moved the runner to second, but an intentional walk to Winfield was followed by an Ivie double play that ended the inning.

Gary Matthews led off the top of the eighth with a home run, and Correll followed with a solo shot of his own, and suddenly, the game was tied. Spillner also allowed a single to Paciorek before being pulled for Dave Wehrmeister, who retired the next three Braves without further scoring. Jamie Easterly allowed two-out singles to Champion and pinch hitter Merv Rettenmund in the eight before Gary Sutherland grounded out to strand both runners.

Dave Tomlin worked a scoreless but mildly eventful ninth (Gilbreath singled, moved to second on a bunt, then was thrown out a third on a play on which Jeff Burroughs reached on an error). Easterly cancelled a Hendrick walk with a Winfield double play to bring on extras, and Tomlin and Easterly both worked routine tenth and eleventh innings. With Tomlin having been lifted for a pinch hitter in the eleventh, Tom Griffin took the mound in the twelfth, and Moore greeted him with a go-ahead homer. Griffin avoided further damage, however, and Winfield struck back with a one-out solo homer in the bottom of the inning. Easterly then allowed a single to Ivie before being pulled for Rick Camp; Camp allowed a single to Rader, walked Tenace, and finally gave up a pinch hit single to Jerry Turner to end the game.

Three top-20 games in five days for the Padres. Which is great for the fans, but not so much for the relievers.
   25. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: May 27, 2013 at 04:17 PM (#4453129)
Game of the day (5/26/77): Giants 6, Reds 5. See, this one has the linescore you expect from a 9-inning game that ranks above two extra-inning games on the same day (which it does). Gary Nolan and John Montefusco; Montefusco was just starting his descent from the promising opening act of his career, while Nolan was reaching the end of his.

Montefusco worked a spotless first; Nolan gave up only two singles, but Derrel Thomas had taken second on a groundout before Terry Whitfield's hit, so he was able to score the game's first run. Cincinnati retaliated in the second, as George Foster singled and Cesar Geronimo homered to give his team the lead, but the Giants came right back in the bottom of the inning as Tim Foli doubled, Mike Sadek reached on an error with Foli taking third, and Montefusco bunted, scoring Foli.

I don't know exactly what happened on Montefusco's bunt, but it caused him to be pulled from the game to start the third. Terry Cornutt took over and allowed a two-out, go-ahead homer to Joe Morgan. San Francisco tied the game yet again when Bill Madlock doubled and Willie McCovey singled him home. The Reds took their third lead in four innings when Dan Driessen singled and Foster doubled, and the Giants came from behind for the third time in four innings when Foli doubled and Thomas singled him home.

Dave Heaverlo started the fifth for the Giants by retiring Pete Rose, but Ken Griffey and Morgan followed with singles. Johnny Bench grounded out, advancing both runners, Driessen drew a walk to load the bases, and Foster struck out, making this the first scoreless half-inning since the top of the first. Nolan allowed singles to Darrell Evans and Whitfield (with the runners ending up at second and third on the latter hit) before being replaced by Mike Caldwell in the bottom of the inning; Caldwell intentionally walked McCovey to load the bases with nobody out, then struck out Gary Thomasson. Dale Murray then came in and got Foli to hit into an inning-ending double play.

This is about as crazy as you can get in the first five innings of a game - there have been four blown leads already, and both teams just had the bases loaded without scoring. Heaverlo's 1-2-3 effort in the sixth must have been almost disorienting for the fans; fortunately, it didn't last, as Rob Andrews and Madlock drew walks from Murray and Evans singled, only to see Andrews end the inning by getting thrown out at the plate. Morgan singled and stole second in the top of the seventh, but after Gary Lavelle intentionally walked Bench, Driessen grounded out to leave him on.

Whitfield led off the bottom of the seventh with a single, and McCovey followed with a double that put two runners in scoring position. Murray then intentionally walked Thomasson, gave up a go-ahead sac fly to Foli, and coaxed Mike Sadek to hit into a double play. Having taken their first lead since the bottom of the first, the Giants did their best Reds impression and coughed it back up immediately; Lavelle walked Geronimo with one out in the eighth, then gave up a single to Concepcion. Pinch hitter Bob Bailey then hit what might have been a double play ball; the Giants got the force at second, but Thomas threw erratically to first, allowing Bailey to reach and Geronimo to score the tying run.

Pedro Borbon took the mound in the bottom of the eighth, and pinch hitter Vic Harris greeted him with a single. Thomas bunted the runner to second, and Madlock was intentionally walked; Evans hit into a force at second that moved Harris to third, and Whitfield grounded a go-ahead single to center.

Randy Moffitt came in for the top of the ninth, and quickly retired Morgan and Bench. Driessen then tripled with two outs, but Foster grounded out to end the game, making this the first and only time that a lead survived for an entire half-inning.

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