Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Twice Bitten..

The Traverse City Tigers headed off to back-to-back road series against two division rivals, to kick off the second-half of the 1988 Mid-West Winter League season. They finished the first half in first, 8 games ahead of the Cedar Park Bears.

The team was 20-16 when new manager Shawn Baier took them over, they would go on a 30-5 tear, until the California Quakes shook them up in Baier's first series loss of 3-2.

Their first test would be at the Detroit Stars 39-37 (13 games back / 4th place).

Melido Perez & the Stars silenced Tigers.
Game 1

Mark Gubicza wins his 10th game for the Stars, as he defeats Greg Maddux.
FINAL SCORE: Detroit 4, Traverse City 1

Game 2

Tigers score 7 runs in the 3rd Inning, as Jose Rijo improves his record to 7-3.
FINAL SCORE: Traverse City 9, Detroit 3

Game 3

Tigers once again score 7 runs in a single inning (this time in the 6th Inning), Rafael Ramirez had four hits in the 9th hole, while Dave Winfield & Pete O'Brien added solo HR's; Bob Knepper improves to a 8-2 record with a 2.48 ERA.
FINAL SCORE: Traverse City 11, Detroit 7

Game 4

It was all Melido Perez for the Stars, as he pitches a two-hit, 2-0 shutout of the Tigers; improving his record to 7-4, with a 2.36 ERA!
FINAL SCORE: Detroit 2, Traverse City 0

Game 5

Tigers get shutout again, this time by Danny Jackson (who only allowed 4 hits, making it 6 hits in a combined 2 games for the Tigers). Stars take the series lead 3-2.
FINAL SCORE: Detroit 3, Traverse City 0

Game 6

The Traverse City Tigers would not score until the 7th Inning, making it 27 consecutive innings without a run scored, the Tigers lineup has suddenly gone cold!
FINAL SCORE: Detroit 7, Traverse City 1

Game 7

The Tigers lineup continues to struggle as they produce only 4 hits, but it's good enough, as Jose Rijo kept the Stars quiet, winning his 8th game (8-3, 3.14 ERA). Save #21 for Doug Jones, but Stars win series, 4-3.
FINAL SCORE: Traverse City 2, Detroit 0


So now it's onto play the Cedar Park Bears, The Tigers enter with a 55-28 record against second-place Cedar Park at 49-37 (7.5 games back).

Game 1

Greg Swindell improves to 11-4, 2.97 ERA, as Alejandro Pena logs his 10th Save of the season, Eric King gets rocked, while Brian Holton goes 4.1 scoreless innings in relief to try to get Tigers back into this one. Pete O'Brien hits 2 HR's in a losing effort.
FINAL SCORE: Cedar Park 6, Traverse City 4

Game 2

Bears go to their bench, as Mackey Sasser leads the Bears back by doubling, walking, driving in a run & scoring twice. Tigers led 2-0 entering the 8th, RP-Chuck Crim wins the game for CPB (1-3, 1.51 ERA), as Dave Leiper blows the Save (2-2, 1.91).
FINAL SCORE: Cedar Park 3, Traverse City 2 (10 Inn)

Game 3

A solid outing by Mike Moore, as he cruises for the complete game, 4-1 victory, allowing only three hits! Kirby Puckett (12) and Will Clark (8) each homered for the Bears. Cedar Park has now cut the Tigers lead down to 4.5 games!
FINAL SCORE: Cedar Park 4, Traverse City 1

Game 4

Joe Carter hit a HR (15) & 3 RBI's, while Rafael Ramirez hit his 8th HR (He actually only had 6 HR's in 1988, and still has another half a season to play!) -- Ramirez added 4 ribbies. Pete O'Brien went 4-for-5, as T.C. collects 16 hits. Greg Maddux pitches 6 innings to gain his 8th win (8-6, 3.41 ERA), John Dopson had a rough inning, and is knocked out of 2nd Inning -- record falls to 8-5, 3.29 ERA.
FINAL SCORE: Traverse City 11, Cedar Park 3

Game 5

Bobby Witt gets one back for the Bears, going 6 innings, and improving to 7-4, 3.39 ERA, while Alejandro Pena gets Save #11. Bob Knepper (8-3, 2.58 ERA) takes tough loss.
FINAL SCORE: Cedar Park 4, Traverse City 1

Game 6

John Candelaria (8-5, 3.09 ERA) out-pitches Greg Swindell (11-5, 3.10) with bullpen help from Dave Leiper & Doug Jones (earning 22nd Save); Joe Carter doubled, with 3 RBI's for the night.
FINAL SCORE: Traverse City 4, Cedar Park 2

Game 7

Bears hoping to gain more ground on the first-place Tigers, start out well in the 1st with 3 runs, but the Bears' Mike Boddicker falls apart in the 4th inning & reliever Rick Honeycutt also falters, as the Tigers take a 5-4 edge after 6 innings. Johnny Ray drives in two runs. In the 8th, the Bears go to their bench again & Randy Milligan singles home pinch-runner Rex Hudler for the tying run, but despite getting the possible winning run on base, the Bears could not capitalize. In the 10th, the Tigers go to the bench, as pinch-hitter Felix Fermin (hitting for Barfield) reaches first, Mookie Wilson comes in to pinch-run. Tim Raines gave the Tigers the lead as his single scores in Wilson. Tigers' reliever Juan Agosto finishes the game for the win (6-4, 2.66 ERA), John Cerutti picks up the loss (3-4, 2.60 ERA).
FINAL SCORE: Traverse City 6, Cedar Park 5 (10 Inn)

The Bears were only able gnaw one game away from the division lead, after a great 3-0 series jump on the Tigers. The Tigers would pick up another win (3-2) in a make-up game (due to a rain-out earlier in the season) at Mexico City -- padding a 7 game lead over Cedar Park.

NEXT SERIES: Mexico City comes to Traverse City (59-32) for a 7-game series, the Chihuahuas (46-45) got passed by Detroit, and are now in 4th place 13 out. The Tigers have been a bit shaky though since their white-hot 30-5 stretch, and have gone 9-11 in their last 20 games! Players are getting tired as well, are the Traverse City Tigers running out of gas?!

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