Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Games 1-3 / Toronto at Detroit (Apr 9, 11-12)

The Blue Jays' Danny Ainge at third.
The Toronto Blue Jays come into Detroit to play the Tigers; The Blue Jays up to this point as a franchise is still a sad one, but with some breaking rays of hope in Dave Stieb, Lloyd Moseby & Willie Upshaw... but are not close to their breakout 1984 season (first winning season).

The Blue Jays finished 37-69 during the actual 1981 season, and played their worst during first half (16-42), while their 2nd half showed a 21-28 (somewhat) improvement.

These were the days of Danny Ainge, better known for shooting the ball beyond the arc in Celtic green, then fielding the hot corner for Toronto. These are the days of Jorge (not-yet George) Bell, long before his 47 home runs in 1987. These are the days where they have yet to bring up Jesse Barfield and Jimmy Key.

A Brief History of Things to Come

The Jays would eventually improve to 78-84 in 1982, 89-73 in 1983 & would somewhat challenge the Detroit Tigers in 1984 at one point with their 89-73 record, well... at least until Dave Bergman took Roy Lee Jackson yard, during a 13-pitch 'Marathon' at-bat.

The Blue Jays would soar to new heights eventually winning the A.L. East in 1985, with a 99-62 record (only their 2nd winning season); They would eventually blow a 3-1 A.L. Championship Series lead over the Kansas City Royals.

The Rivalry

As a youth, I remember the cities of Detroit & Toronto having quite a rivalry, the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL definitely had no love for each other -- and I remember the 1987 MLB Season being the same way, the 87' season looked good as over for the Tigers, when the Tigers had lost their third straight to the Jays on back-to-back walk-off games, and with Toronto stretching their division lead (on September 26th) to 3.5 games with only 8 games to play.

It would come down to the last series in Detroit, in which the Tigers' Doyle Alexander improved his Tiger record to 9-0, with a 4-3 series opening win to tie the division lead. The next night would go extras, with Alan Trammell hitting a walk-off single to drive in pinch-runner Jim Walewander, to give Tigers a one-game lead.

Game #162 would be epic that season, with Frank Tanana pitching a 1-0 shutout, with the only run being a solo HR by Larry Herndon off of Jimmy Key.

Game #1 / April 9th (at Tiger Stadium)

The Blue Jays played much better than I would have imagined by glancing at their cards, in Game #1 they sent Jim Clancy (Grade D) to the mound. I will use the real-life lineups & rotations for the opponents to the best of my abilities.

Toronto would jump to a 2-0 lead, after an RBI single by Barry Bonnell and a Danny Ainge Sac Fly, during the top of the 2nd Inning; The Tigers would answer back in the bottom half of the inning, led by a solo HR by Lance Parrish (batting 6th) and a three-run HR by Lou Whitaker -- after back-to-back singles by Al Cowens & Richie Hebner.

The Blue Jays would eventually tie the ballgame at 4-4 in the 6th, after Alan Trammell's error, that resulted in Willie Upshaw scoring; Trammell would make up for his fielding folly with a lead-off triple during the bottom of the 7th Inning, Steve Kemp would hit him in on a 6-3 ground out, while Al Cowens a few at-bats later would knock in Kirk Gibson with an RBI single.

Kevin Saucier would hold down the save, despite giving up a one-out triple to Lloyd Moseby in the 9th (Moseby was picked off by Lance Parrish, a few pitches later).

Jack Morris (Grade B) would get the no decision with a 5.1 IP, 4 HR, 3 ER, 1 K & 3 BB performance.

Game #001 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
TORONTO 0 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 4 7 0
DETROIT 0 4 0 0 0 0 2 0 X 6 11 2
WP: Dave Tobik (1-0) / LP: Roy Lee Jackson / SV: Saucier (1)

Real 1981 Game Result: Tigers won 6-2
My 1981 Tigers: 1-0
Real 1981 Tigers: 1-0
Replay Scoring Differential: +2
Real 1981 Game Record Differential: 0

Game #2 / April 11th (at Tiger Stadium)

The Blue Jays send out Dave Stieb (Grade B-Z) to counter Milt Wilcox (Grade B-Z), the lineups end up being much quieter in this one... A total of 5 hits between the two clubs.

John Mayberry would hit a two-run HR during the opening inning off of Wilcox, to give Toronto a early 2-0 lead; Toronto adds to the lead with a RBI double by Ernie Whitt during the top of the 2nd.

The Tigers could not come up with anything against Stieb, who would only allow doubles to Kirk Gibson & Steve Kemp... He did allow 5 walks though.

Mayberry & Stieb highlighted Game #2 vs Detroit.

Game #002 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
TORONTO 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 3 1
DETROIT 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1
WP: Dave Stieb (CG, SHO) / LP: Milt Wilcox (0-1)

Real 1981 Game Result: Tigers won 6-2
My 1981 Tigers: 1-1
Real 1981 Tigers: 2-0
Replay Scoring Differential: -1
Real 1981 Game Record Differential: -1

Game #3 / April 12th (at Tiger Stadium)

The game did not look good early on, as Dan Petry (Grade B-Y) would allow 3 runs during the first 3 innings, led by Damaso Garcia's two-run double in the 1st Inning.

The Tigers would not test Toronto's starter Luis Leal until the bottom of the 3rd, when Lance Parrish hit his 2nd HR of the season with a two-run blast to deep center. The Tigers would continue scoring the next two innings, led by a two-run homer by Kirk Gibson & from one of the most unexpected areas - Tom Brookens smacks a three-run HR to give Tigers an 8-4 edge.

Brookens was all smiles after the game.

Tigers would hold onto the win, as Kevin Saucier came in for his 2nd Save. Petry gets the ugly win, allowing 7 hits, 4 earned runs & 3 walks through 6 innings -- while Leal left crooked numbers, allowing 8 hits & 8 runs, with 4 walks in only 4 innings of work.

Game #003 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
TORONTO 2 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 5 8 2
DETROIT 0 0 2 3 3 0 0 0 X 8 10 1
WP: Dan Petry (1-0) / LP: Luis Leal / SV: Kevin Saucier (2)

Real 1981 Game Result: Tigers lost 6-2
My 1981 Tigers: 2-1
Real 1981 Tigers: 2-1
Replay Scoring Differential: +2
Real 1981 Game Record Differential: 0

Next: Off-Day, followed by 2 games (April 14 & 15) at Kansas City.

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