Monday, March 10, 2014

Scratching & Clawing (Game 5-7 vs MEX City)

Game 5

Ramirez collects 3 hits, 2 doubles & ribbie in Game 5.
The Tigers now trail 3-1 in the series, and now must face off against Dwight Gooden, who is sporting a 5-5 record & 3.88 ERA. Gooden will have to face the 8-5 John Candelaria, the "Candy Man", we will see if Candelaria has the sweet stuff, or if Dwight has Gooden Plenty on his way.

Top of the 1st
Barry Bonds draws a walk. Bonds is a few feet off the bag, the pitch home, Bonds is off & running, Dykstra connects, lining it toward third and will trickle down the line, as Bonds is rounding third, and he'll score off of the throw by Jesse Barfield, as Dykstra trucks into second. So just like that, 1-0 Chihuahuas! Harold Reynolds hits a fly to right, it's caught by Joe Carter, Dykstra tags up & goes for third, the throw by Carter, and he's out! Doubled up! Kevin Mitchell hits one into the right center gap, Raines is after it, and it's over his head, bounces off the carom, Mitchell is thinking about third, Raines throws it in, Mitchell puts on brakes and stays at second. Kelly Gruber grounds it to second, Ray is up with the throw to first, final out of the inning. Mexico City 1, Traverse City 0

Top of the 3rd
Barry Bonds leads off with a solo HR, adding to Mexico City's lead.

Bottom of the 3rd
A pair of singles by Jesse Barfield and Rafael Ramirez to kick off the inning. Tim Raines steps up and hits one towards third, Kelly Gruber decides to let it roll, hoping for it to go foul, but it refuses to! All is safe, bases are loaded & no outs for the Tigers as Johnny Ray comes to the plate. Ray flies out to deep left, Barfield tags up & scores, as the other runners hold. Pete O'Brien grounds out and moves the runners up one base, two outs. Joe Carter fails to add to the score, and grounds out for final out. Mexico City 2, Traverse City 1

Bottom of the 5th
Rafael Ramirez leads off with a double for his second hit of the game. Next at bat, Tim Raines hits one hard towards shortstop Tony Fernandez, a nice diving stop, but will have to hold on to this one -- while Ramirez trucks into third; Fernandez at least prevented a run for now, but there is no outs, with left-handed Johnny Ray to face Doc Gooden. Ray delivers a textbook hit-and-run, as Ramirez scores, with Raines making third, tie game! Gooden walks Pete O'Brien, loading up the bases for Joe Carter. Carter is batting .259 with 15 HR's & 58 RBI for the season, Gooden sets & delivers, as Carter pops it up behind the plate for the first out of the inning. Molitor steps up and delivers a two-run single, O'Brien holds at second. Ron Hassey moves the runners up with a groundout to the mound. Runners on 2nd & 3rd, with 2 outs for Bob Boone -- Boone does nothing more for the Tigers this inning as he hits this one to second, and is out at first with a groundout.
Traverse City 4, Mexico City 2

Top of the 6th
Leadoff double for Lenny Dykstra. Harold Reynolds would score in Dykstra on the very next at-bat with a single to right. Reynolds steals second. Kevin Mitchell is called out on strikes, Candelaria's 7th K of the night. Kelly Gruber gets a fastball, and this one is to left, it's going..going...gone! Two-run blast for Gruber, as Mexico City now has the lead -- the air in the stadium has emptied out on that one. The Tigers go to the pen, and see if Luis Aquino can get Tony Fernandez out -- which he does by striking him out. Tigers decide to let him face another hitter, this time Phil Bradley hits a sharp ball towards third, Molitor, and throws it to first, O'Brien bobbles it in the dirt, and he's safe! They record this one as a single. Tigers call for Brian Holton to face John Marzano, he does his job by getting Marzano to fly out to center. Mexico City 5, Traverse City 4

The Candy Man gets 7 K's for T.C.

Bottom of the 8th
Pinch-hitter Felix Fermin hits a single to right. Bob Boone draws a walk, as the Tigers will go to their bench for Jesse Barfield. Who's going to be? Dave Winfield steps to the plate, no outs -- The Chihuahuas' manager will make his move as well, going with Duane Ward, he's hoping for the double play. Winfield hits it to the mound, Ward tosses to second for the force, and the throw back to first, not in time! Runners on 1st & 3rd, one out -- the pitch, and it's a passed ball, getting past Marzano, the tying run in Fermin scores, as the go-ahead run Winfield trucks into second. The pitch to Ramirez, this one is hit towards Gruber, it skips by him, Winfield will score, as Ramirez reaches 2nd on a double. Ward intentionally walks Tim Raines. Mexico City's manager comes back out & is asking Ward for the ball, they are calling on Jose Alvarez. Alvarez strikes out Johnny Ray for the second out. Lefty Pete O'Brien against righty Alvarez, the pitch is straight down the pike, strike three! But not before the Tigers score 2 in the bottom of the 8th!
Traverse City 6, Mexico City 5

Top of the 9th
This time of the game is when the Tigers call on Doug Jones, and once again he will be asked to close it out. Jones enter with a stingy 1.63 ERA & has succeeded in 13 straight Save opportunities. Doug Jones beans Phil Bradley with a fastball to the helmet, Bradley wanders vaguely down to first, with one out (Fernandez grounded out in prior AB). The Chihuahuas decide to pinch-run for Bradley with Henry Cotto, and decide to not have Marzano hit against Jones, they call Jim Dwyer (batted .118) instead. Dwyer is called on strikes, he's not happy with the call, as he stares down the ump on his way back to the dugout.It's all up to lefty Dave Bergman, the pitch it's a strike & Cotto is off running, the throw from Boone, and he's safe! The tying run is now on second. Jones lose Bergman, for ball four, and now has to face the dangerous Barry Bonds. Tigers will have Juan Agosto come out to face lefty on lefty -- they hate to take their regular closer out, but Bonds has been tearing up the righties any chance he gets. Agosto comes in, sets, delivers, this one is smacked out to right, and nearly goes right through Joe Carter's glove, as he has it for the final out!

Tigers win, and hope to tie up the series next game.

FINAL SCORE: Traverse City 6, Mexico City 5

Game 6

Sid Fernandez is on the mound for the small dogs at 8-7 with a 3.03 ERA, as he will face off against Dave LaPoint (5-5, 3.69 ERA).

Top of the 1st
One-out single pulled to right by Lenny Dykstra. Dykstra is off with the pitch, Harold Reynolds laces a single to center, and the Chihuahuas have runners on the corners. LaPoint with the pitch, and this one is a no doubter the moment it connected with Kevin Mitchell's bat -- long gone to deep left center! 3-0 Mexico City! Kelly Gruber reaches first on a lousy throw from Johnny Ray, pulling O'Brien off the bag. Tony Fernandez comes up & hits it to short where they get the force at second, two down. Phil Bradley sends this pitch into the right field corner, Carter giving chase, Fernandez rounds third and will score easily, Carter is up with it, Bradley's rounding second & going for third, the throw, the relay, Bradley slides, and the ump signals safe! Just under Molitor's tag, RBI triple. The Chihuahuas don't add to their early assault: Mexico City 4, Traverse City 0

Bottom of the 2nd
Dave Winfield lines one towards second, it's out of reach of Harold Reynolds, Winfield is on with a lead-off single. Paul Molitor steps up, did he go around? He laid off the pitch, a free pass to Molitor, two on, no outs. Deep fly to center by Joe Carter, caught by Phil Bradley, Winfield decides not to test Bradley's strong arm. Bob Boone hits a strong one towards short, he's up with it, this could be two, flips to second for one, over to first, double play -- side retired.
Sid Vicious on the mound vs T.C.

Bottom of the 3rd
After a Nick Esasky strikeout, the Tigers follow with back-to-back single by Rafael Ramirez & Mookie Wilson. Johnny Ray hits one to the mound, only play is at first as runners advance one base, two outs. Pete O'Brien finds his pitch, puts a charge in this one, heading towards left, Bonds is on the run, to the track, he leaps and steals it at the wall!

Top of the 7th
Both pitchers go back & forth, Dave LaPoint has pitched 5 consecutive scoreless innings, and stays in for a 1-2-3 7th Inning as he continues to eat innings. Score remains: Mexico City 4, Traverse City 0

Top of the 9th
Two-out RBI double for Phil Bradley, Kevin Mitchell led inning off with double (2nd hit of the game) as Henry Cotto pinch-ran for Mitchell & scored. Mexico City 5, Traverse City 0

Bottom of the 9th
Back-to-back free passes Pete O'Brien & Dave Winfield to start the bottom of the inning, Sid Fernandez was cruising up to this point. Late-Inning replacement for Molitor, Tom O'Malley flies to center for the first out, no advancement by the runners. Joe Carter strikes out for the second out, with Bob Boone coming up to the plate. Easy grounder to Reynolds, the force at second & that's the game folks!

Kevin Mitchell once again does damage to the Tigers, with a two-hit, 3 RBI performance with a homer -- while Sid Fernandez shuts out T.C., allowing only 5 hits, while striking out 5 & walking three.

FINAL SCORE: Mexico City 5, Traverse City 0

Game 7

A pitching matchup between two great up-and-comers in David Cone & Greg Maddux. We should be in for a doozy!

Bottom of the 3rd
Both pitchers have been shutting down the batters up to this point as expected. David Cone walks off the lead-off man of the 3rd inning in Ron Hassey. He moves up on a ground out. Mookie Wilson hits one to the mound, Cone fires an off-balanced throw to third, past Gruber, and to the wall, Hassey will touch third & go home (he scores), as Wilson advances to 2nd, mark this down as a E-1, FC. Fastball upstairs to Tim Raines, but Raines just stands there, ball four -- runners on 1st & 2nd with one out. Cone bounces back by fanning Johnny Ray & getting Dave Winfield to pop out beyond third. Traverse City 1, Mexico City 0

Bottom of the 4th
David Cone walks the struggling Joe Carter to lead off the inning. Pete O'Brien up at the plate, Carter is off & running, and O'Brien hits this one into the corner in right, Carter is around third & scores standing, while O'Brien trucks into second with an RBI double. With one out, Ron Hassey hits one down the right field line, Dykstra is up with it, throws it to Fielder, as O'Brien rounds third, but puts on the breaks (runners on the corners). Rafael Ramirez lines one to Cecil Fielder, two away. Mookie Wilson ends up popping up behind the plate to end the threat, but Tigers add one. Traverse City 2, Mexico City 0

Bottom of the 5th
Johnny Ray gets on with a one-out single to center. Dave Winfield comes up and laces one down the line in left, Bonds is after it in the corner, Ray is around third, Bonds fires it in to Marzano at the plate, and he's OUT! Tigers try to be aggressive and it doesn't pay off, as Winfield trucks into second with a double. Joe Carter draws his second walk of the day, Cone's 4th given up already... off his mark, compared to Game 1 of the series. O'Brien hits one through short, Bonds runs in to get it, Winfield is around third, this time the 3rd Base coach puts on the stop sign -- Bases loaded for Paul Molitor, with 2 outs. Molitor hits it to short, and gets the force at second, Cone keeps escaping disaster, Tigers better hope he doesn't start settling down.

Bottom of the 6th
Ron Hassey pokes a single to right, his second hit of the game. Tigers go to their bench, and call on Felix Fermin to pinch-run for him -- hoping to get that insurance run. Rafael Ramirez lays down a sacrifice bunt towards third, Gruber momentarily bobbles it, and gets Ramirez at first, moving Fermin to second. Phil Bradley steals a hit from Mookie Wilson in center, Fermin fakes going to third, as the throw comes in. David Cone rings up Tim Raines with a K to once again get out of a possible jam, side retired.

Top of the 7th
Greg Maddux still cruising, Bob Boone now behind the plate for T.C.; Barry Bonds leads off by just reaching second under the tag for a double, despite a great throw from Raines. Second hit in the game for Bonds, only Mexico City's third of the night. Maddux strikes out Kevin Mitchell for the first out. Gruber pops out to third, and now it's up to big, Cecil Fielder. Maddux strikes him out, make that another hat trick for Cecil -- Score remains: Traverse City 2, Mexico City 0

Bottom of the 7th
Johnny Ray delivers a lead-off double into the left-center gap, his 2nd hit of the game, his 30th double of the season. Cone nearly hits Dave Winfield with a pitch, ducking & drawing a walk instead -- 5th walk for Cone, first & second, no outs. Joe Carter steps up to the plate, he has already drawn two walks of his own, as Carter thinks he's found his pitch, but it's a loud out to left. Pete O'Brien hits one to short, Fernandez to second for one, over to first, double play.

Top of the 8th
The Chihuahuas make a curious move in taking out Lenny Dykstra, batting .242, (who bats left) against righty Maddux, in favor of Jim Dwyer, who has been no factor off the bench to this point in the season. Dwyer lays off the pitch, and draws a walk, Phil Bradley pops up behind third. Junior Ortiz who came in as a defensive replacement for Marzano, hits one to the warning track in right, but it's a loud out, two down. Harold Reynolds hits a single to right, the slow Dwyer holds at second. The Tigers decide to let Maddux face switch-hitting Tony Fernandez instead of opting for a reliever -- and he flies to left for the final out of the inning.

Bottom of the 8th
Rafael Ramirez's two-out triple knocks out David Cone. Jose Alvarez comes in with an outstanding 1.04 ERA, he's looking for one out. Cone showed he was vulnerable, allowing 8 hits & 5 walks, but escaped for most part by allowing only 2 runs, 1 earned -- the damage could have been worse. Righty Alvarez against switch-hitting Mookie (hitting from the left side), Alvarez fires, and he strikes him out!
Traverse City 2, Mexico City 0

Top of the 9th
Greg Maddux stays in, and faces his biggest challenge in lefty Barry Bonds -- Bonds grounds out to second. Mitchell flies to left for out number two. Kelly Gruber is the Chihuahuas' last hope, and he goes down swinging, as Maddux collects the shutout & his 5th complete game of the season.

FINAL SCORE: Traverse City 2, Mexico City 0

OVERALL: Mexico City wins the series, 4-3, gains a game on T.C. -- while news came in that the Cedar Park Bears swept the low-swimming Montana Cutthroats, 5-0. The space between has narrowed down to four games!

A.L. West
TRAVERSE CITY             62-36     ---
CEDAR PARK                  58-40      4

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