Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The 'WHAT IF' 1975 World Series (Game 6)

We arrive back in Boston for Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. Not only do the Red Sox return to Boston, but Jim Rice returns from his 3-game injury stint (where he missed all the action in Cincinnati). The good news Boston didn't hurt too much without Rice, as they own a 3-2 series lead.

Game 6 will feature the same pitching match-up of Game 3, Boston's Rick Wise facing off against Cincinnati's Gary Nolan; In that game, Wise pitched a complete-game shutout, shutting down the "Big Red Machine" & holding them to 7 hits... while Boston had a big four-run 4th inning, as Boston won 4-0.

Can the Reds force a Game 7? We'll have to see....

Game 6 (at Boston)

Morgan has been racking up the steals in this series.
The Cincinnati Reds' Joe Morgan got running early & has been doing a lot of that this series actually. Morgan (batting 2nd) smacked a single to left off Wise & then stole second; The stolen base was his 7th steal of the series (he would later steal base #8 in the 5th) & has stolen a base in every game except for Game 4, while he stole as many as 3 bases in Game 5. For the life of me, in all my APBA Baseball projects, I have never had a player steal this often in any World Series replay or 7-game series format.

Now I have seen stolen bases this frequent though, during season formats in two players through my APBA projects, those two players being Tim Raines' 1981 card & Billy Hamilton's 1894 Phillies card (during my BATS 1 Season). Raines currently has 33 steals in 32 games, while Hamilton stole 56 bases in 51 games for the All-Time Phillies team.

Back to the action, Morgan's single & stolen base in the 1st inning, set up Johnny Bench's RBI on a ground out to deep short, as the speedy Morgan never tapped the breaks... It is this kind of heads up, great base running that helped make Morgan a Hall of Famer.

Top of the 2nd - Dave Conception drew a walk, but got caught stealing 2nd for the second out of the inning, but it became evident early on that Rick Wise's control from Game 3 was nowhere evident in Game 6, as he would walk Ken Griffey, while plucking Cesar Geronimo with a pitch in the next at-bat -- that is 2 walks & a HBP in three consecutive at-bats. With runners on 1st & 2nd, with 2 outs, Pete Rose makes Wise pay with an RBI single. Wise's control problems continue as he walks Joe Morgan, allowing a bases loaded situation to Johnny Bench -- something the Red Sox would love to avoid... fortunately for Boston, Bench would fly out for the third out. This inning could have been far worse, and Boston only trails 2-0 at this point.

Gary Nolan's control was not much better early on this one, he would allow 3 walks & also hit a batter with a pitch, inside the first three innings of the ball game. Nolan's biggest jam in those first three innings came when Fred Lynn singled to right, to advance the runner (Denny Doyle reached on Nolan's 3rd walk). With two outs, and two runners on, plus Carlton Fisk coming up to the plate, the Red Sox chose to intentionally walk Fisk & his season batting average of .331, by taking their chances with another Hall of Famer in Carl Yastrzemski & his less dangerous .269 batting average -- Not too often you would ever see this scenario, even in a World Series, would you see someone intentionally walk one HOF'er to face another. Cincinnati's big gamble pays off, as Nolan strikes out "Yaz" to get out of the early jam.

Joe Morgan's bases on balls & stolen base in the 5th Inning, would lead to another Reds run, as he would later score from third base on a Tony Perez sacrifice fly -- making it a 3-0 lead.

This game (Game 6) could be considered a complete role reversal for both pitchers, Gary Nolan would settle down after the first three innings & would settle in for a complete game, 4-0 shutout -- the same exact score & shutout that Rick Wise for Boston experienced in Game 3. Wise would allow 4 earned runs & 5 hits through 6.1 innings (Nolan allowed similar numbers in Game 3, with 4 ER & 5 hits in 5 innings); Nolan would go on to only allow 5 hits in the shutout.

Now the big kicker, the game would come at a price for the Cincinnati Reds, with two outs & Joe Morgan on first during the top of the 9th, Tony Perez would hit the ball to Denny Doyle at deep second, Doyle would relay the throw to Rick Burleson at second for the force, Morgan's slide was rough at second, in which he would lay there in pain. The trainers came out, helped him off the field, and according to post game reports, he will indeed miss the crucial Game 7, while the Reds play in enemy territory.

Can the Cincinnati Reds pull off a consecutive victory without Morgan, at Fenway?

Stay tuned...

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