Friday, December 14, 2018

Early Thoughts on Recent MLB Transactions

Seeing Red: The Cardinals land Paul Goldschmidt in a huge deal.
I really wish I had more time to do posts such as this one, posting about my thoughts on trades and making predictions for upcoming seasons. I have done great with predictions before, I stuck to my 2016 pick of the Chicago Cubs to the point in which I was rooting for them by season's end. I had a really good feeling when the Milwaukee Brewers added pieces in Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain, and Jhouyls Chacin, but never posted my thoughts.

This year, I plan to be more on top of it.

So please bare with me as I try to do my best analysis on the recent MLB activity. MLB Baseball are currently having their MLB Winter Meetings in Las Vegas (which is always exciting), but don't expect anything to happen with the Bryce Harper and Manny Machado signings.

The St. Louis Cardinals made a huge off-season splash by acquiring Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Cardinals, in exchange for starting pitcher Luke Weaver, catcher Carson Kelly, IF Andy Young & a competitive balance round B pick.

It's going to be hard to imagine not seeing Goldschmidt suiting up for the D-Backs each day, he is easily the most accomplished homegrown position player the franchise has ever had. I think both teams did really well with this trade, I don't think the Diamondbacks would have found a better trade for a player who will be a free agent after the 2019 MLB Season.

Maybe the Cardinals find a way to extend his contract early on in the season, but I think even if they don't, they still have a good shot at resigning him. A lot of players love playing for St. Louis, their fan base is easily one of the most faithful fan bases, while the franchise is deep in tradition and history. I don't think this trade cost them too much, I think it was worth the risk, considering that they need to compete with the Chicago Cubs and now the Milwaukee Brewers.

For the Diamondbacks, this won't be the last big guy being traded from their franchise. Expect to see Zack Greinke traded no later than the All-Star Break, but I would not be shocked to see him traded before the season even starts.

Greinke takes up about a third of Arizona's payroll. It does not make sense to keep him around when you are reshuffling the deck, plus Greinke can still bring in a huge haul of prospects. Maybe the team can trade Greinke, get another up-and-coming starting piece like Weaver -- Plug that new starter with Weaver, to go along with Taijuan Walker & Robbie Ray... That will give the team a competitive upside rotation, while they rebuild their starting lineup and look for other pieces.

Cleveland trading Kluber? Atlanta would be a very nice fit.
The Cleveland Indians recently have traded catcher Yan Gomes to the Washington Nationals, while they have made it known to other MLB teams that their ace Corey Kluber and pitchers such as Trevor Bauer, coming off what appears to (finally) be a break-out year.

At first thought, I was thinking why in the world would you trade Corey Kluber? Then I realized that they play in a weak division, and that a team's goal is to win the World Series, they can trade Kluber to get these pieces for the long run, the long con to win the World Series, while still putting themselves in position to win the weak division & have a yearly shot at postseason magic. They are locked up with Carlos Carrasco, while they would have Mike Clevinger & could still keep Bauer to give them a strong top three,

The Seattle Mariners have made the most noise this off-season, but not sure what to think of all the moves as a whole, if it's good music or just more noise? So I will try to break down their individual moves, piece by piece, to give you a better idea where I may stand with their moves. The Mariners have made many moves in the past, but that has not transformed to any success which is evident with their absence from the MLB postseason, which they have not been part of since 2001... Yes, it's been 17 years-and-counting people, can you believe it?

The Mariners traded catcher Mike Zunino, along with outfielder Guillermo Heredia and minor-league pitcher Michael Plassmeyer to the Tampa Bay Rays, in exchange for outfielder Mallex Smith and minor league prospect outfielder Jake Fraley.

Zunino's bat returned to earth in 2018, hovering around his career OPS of .682 (with .669 OPS in 2018). I was never a fan of Zunino, and feel that the Mariners are getting a much-better player dynamically in Mallex Smith. Smith batted .296 with 27 doubles & leading the league with 10 triples. Mallex also had a .367 on-base percentage, while stealing 40 bases, while posting a .773 OPS in his first real-full season (141 games).

The Mariners traded often-injured James Paxton, who is coming off career-high in innings pitched (160.1) & Games Started (28) -- which his previous high marks were 136 innings and 24 starts... which are all nothing to brag about. Paxton was traded to the New York Yankees in exchange for three prospects, Erik Swanson, Dom Thompson-Williams and the highlighted prospect of the package pitcher Justus Sheffield. I really like this move by the Mariners, they get rid of payroll, while trading a player that seems to be off-the-field more than he's on-the-field.

I like the addition of catcher Omar Narvaez, who has a career on-base percentage of .366, while he is coming off a season in which he batted .275 with 9 HR & 14 doubles (.794 OPS) in 97 games. The Mariners needed a catcher to fill the void of Zunino, and there was no plans to keep reliever Alex Colome (who Narvaez was dealt for). I do like this move by the White Sox as well, who needed plenty of help in the bullpen.

So with the top three trades, I would say Mariners won out on, but I'm not sure what they were thinking in trading away shortstop Jean Segura. Segura has got to be one of the most underrated players in all of Major League Baseball, while it is also amazing that he has now been traded three times inside a 3 calendar years.

Segura was traded with veteran southpaw reliever James Pazos & garbage stats reliever Juan Nicasio, in exchange for Carlos Santana (.229, 24 HR & 86 RBI) and J.P. Crawford, who was a top prospect with the Phillies, but has not been able to put it all together yet, as he has a career .214 batting average & .692 OPS in 72 games (over two seasons). Crawford should get a shot at playing everyday, which may help his stats.

I'm not sure if this move ever needed to be made, the only thing I can think of is that the M's must see something in Crawford that they really like, while maybe hoping that Carlos Santana has a better year (more punch in the lineup) -- giving them lightning-in-a-bottle. Also if Santana does not work out, he could be a trade chip that could be dealt off to a 2019 contender for some more prospects... but trading Segura? I don't like it.

So a quick recap... Out of the 4 Mariners deals, I like 3 of them, except for the last one.


The Philadelphia Phillies are making interesting, good moves. Of course, there was Jean Segura (mentioned above in trade with Seattle). They just signed OF Andrew McCutchen to a 3-year deal worth $50 million, while they acquired  reliever Jose Alvarez from the Angels in exchange for reliever Luis Garcia. Most critics are nit-picking the McCutchen contract, but I like it, yes it's a little high, but you bring in a much-needed leader in a clubhouse of a young, up-and-coming team... plus he can still produce. I like the small deal addition of Alvarez, he has been pretty good the last two years for the Angels, and it didn't cost them. Rhys Hoskins is returning back to his natural first base position (over left field), which will help him feel more comfortable, concentrating more on the plate, which we should see better numbers.

All of these combined things above, along with an aggressive Philadelphia front office, may all be setting up a landing spot for Bryce Harper... We'll have to see, I am hoping he lands there, I think its a perfect fit. Plus Harper's numbers in Citizens Bank Park, can you imagine that?!

The Minnesota Twins signed 2B Jonathan Schoop to a one-year deal worth $7.5 million. I love this deal for both the ballclub and for Schoop. The Twins get him without breaking the bank, while Schoop can reestablish himself and one of the best young second basemen in the game, having a big year, so he can go get a bigger deal come next winter. The Twins also signed Ronald Torreyes, a jack-of-all-trades player (playing multiple positions), which he will find quality playing time, and could duplicate his 2017 outing. The Yankees had no room for Torreyes with the emergence of Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres.

The defending World Series Champion Boston Red Sox resigned Nathan Eovaldi. I think it was important to bring him back, but not sure about the money that was shelled out. $17 million-a-year for a middle rotation starter is not unheard of (it's around the going-rate), but for a pitcher who has had injury concerns, this one could blow up in Boston's face. Eovaldi does have a better overall track record than the Yankees' new acquisition of Paxton, Eovaldi's career high in innings pitched for a season eclipses Paxton by almost 30 innings.... but he has only pitched a total of 235 innings over the last 3 years (missing all of 2017). Boston's upper management believes Eovaldi can repeat his 2018 2nd-half (plus postseason), while most skeptics would like to point out that Eovaldi had a 4.26 ERA with Tampa Bay (before the trade), which reflects his 4.16 career ERA. Another question that has come up, will he be used in the rotation, or be used as a starter-reliever hybrid much in the same way he was used at times late in the season. One thing is for sure, his arm will be watched closely.

The Washington Nationals signed Patrick Corbin to a 6-year deal worth $140 million (while most of the money is backloaded). My first impression right off the bat was Really?! I just didn't expect it to be such a lengthy contract, while the money is also a tad high... I was expecting a 3 to 4-year deal worth around $20 million-a-year. Corbin has stayed healthy for a good three years now, while averaging 195 innings & 32 starts over the last two seasons. Corbin easily had his best season of his career last season, going 11-7 with a 3.15 ERA, 247 strikeouts & 1.050 WHIP in 200 innings. With his 2017 season in the books, you can see why a Nationals fan is excited about Corbin joining Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. I do want to point out that his 1.050 WHIP is quite a leap from his pre-2017 career 1.348 WHIP, a repeat of that 2017 WHIP would be excellent for Nats fans, but I would expect it to be more around 1.200 at least.

I will say this, I don't think the Nationals' Corbin deal was a bad signing, it was definitely a good one, better see him land in Washington than say division rival Philadelphia or the World Series contending Yankees. The big-market L.A. Angels were also talking to Corbin prior to the signing.

Washington will have a tough top 3 in Scherzer, Strasburg & Corbin.
There is early reports (not 100% confirmed by the Tampa Bay Rays) that Charlie Morton agreed to a 2-year deal worth $30 million. I was really happy to see a small-market team like the Rays landing what I feel is a huge deal. The Rays payroll entering this off-season hovered around $32 million. The team also plans to land a middle-of-the-batting order bat, to help the team get to the next level. The team made an incredible leap by winning 90 games last season.

I was a little surprised that the Houston Astros wasn't able to sign him back to the team, considering the price.

Morton joins a rotation that's headed by 2017 A.L. Cy Young winner Blake Snell, who went 21-5, with a 1.89 ERA, 221 strikeouts & 219 ERA+ in 180.2 innings. The Rays' 3rd slot of the rotation appears to be Tyler Glasnow's to lose... Glasnow looked comfortable in a Rays' uniform as he sported a 1.096 WHIP as he cut down his walk rate (3.1 per 9 innings compared to Pirates' 5.5 rate). For now, the Rays plan to use their 'Opener Strategy' in the last two rotation slots. The team also have plenty of youth coming up in Brent Honeywell, Jose De Leon & Yonny Chirinos that could plug those spots down the road.

Those are my thoughts on the latest subjects for now, we'll see where the other pieces land which should be an exciting off-season.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

UAL Looking for League Owners

The Ultimate APBA League is looking for two manager replacements. The league is a mail-in league with 24 teams -- playing with 2017 Basic APBA Game. Keeper league, yearly drafts & salary system (using real salaries with salary caps).

We are currently in our 3rd month of the December, approaching All-Star Break. Two managers abruptly left the league, need seasoned players who are looking to get into a cards league.

Game limits on position players, Innings and Games Starts limits on pitching.

Please contact commissioner Larry Wilson at lwcougar77@yahoo.com

This is my first season, having a blast, Larry can answer and explain the league better than I can.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Latest on the Fighting Tigers

The UAL (Ultimate APBA League) is two months through its season, with 4 more left to go.


Of all the reported series (only missing one 5-game series), my Traverse City Fighting Tigers are 37-18 (.673 winning pct). We are waiting on one road series, while we have learned that we went 9-1 in the other two road series, which is remarkable. 

We were in a three-way tie at 19-11 entering November, and are 18-7 in the reported series for the month of November.

This is how my team's individual stars doing through 55 games.
  • Jose Altuve - .362 AVG, 8 HR, 41 RBI, 35 R, 14 2B & 17 SB (.909 OPS) with 78 hits.
  • Buster Posey - .335 AVG, 6 HR, 33 RBI, 24 R & 14 2B (.924 OPS).
  • Domingo Santana - .277, 10 HR, 33 RBI, 30 R & 19 BB (.818 OPS).
  • Justin Bour - .265 AVG, 8 HR, 29 RBI & 9 2B (.820 OPS).
  • Marwin Gonzalez - .278 AVG, 6 HR, 27 RBI & 30 R (.753 OPS)
  • Caleb Joseph - .286 AVG, 5 HR, 13 RBI & 12 R (.838 OPS) in 84 AB's.
  • Jeff Samardzija - 7-2, 2.80 ERA, 3 CG, 2 SHO, 76 K & 1.26 WHIP in 80.3 IP.
  • Yu Darvish - 7-3, 3.58 ERA, 2 CG, 2 SHO, 78 K & 1.14 WHIP in 70.3 IP.
  • Ken Giles - 1-0, 13 SV, 3.24 ERA, 19 K & 2 BB (0.54 WHIP) in 16.7 IP.
  • Andrew Miller - 0-1, 2.25 ERA, 18 K & 2 BB (1.00 WHIP) in 16 IP.
Players like Caleb Joseph, Jeff Samardzija (Grade C-XZ) & Yu Darvish (Grade C-X) are playing above-and-beyond, while Jimmy Nelson (Grade B-XZ) and reliever Bryan Shaw (Grade B-XZ) are pitching below standards. 
  • Jimmy Nelson - 6-3, 5.03 ERA, 67 K & 23 BB (1.23 WHIP) / 8 HR allowed in 62.7 IP.
  • Bryan Shaw - 3-2, 5.00 ERA, 21 K & 2 BB (1.06 WHIP) in 18 IP
  • Gerardo Parra - .252 AVG, 5 HR, 13 RBI & 15 R (.278 OBP / .676 OPS). 
We patiently wait to hear about the last remaining series, even if we get swept 5-0, we would still have a .617 winning percentage...  That's how good we have been playing.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Rolling into the Holidays



My wife Becky decided to give me one of my Christmas presents early, and it's a beaut!

She got me a beautiful custom-crafted dice tower to use for my APBA projects. I am one of the luckiest and most blessed men alive to have such a wonderful wife who has supported my APBA lifestyle.

She always found the sound of my dice rolling "soothing", but she will now have to listen to a new and wonderful sound, my dice coming down through the dice tower.



She thought the present shouldn't wait, and she knows how I have been dealing with plenty of aches & pains. My job requires me use constant scrubbing & that takes a toll on my right elbow, joints & ligaments.

This past October, I reached the age of 42, and my body is not getting any younger. So like a baseball batter needing to adjust their hitting stance, I had to adjust my rolling stance.


I also want to take this time and mention that I have plenty of more posts coming, been very busy like I am sure all of you are as well during this busy holiday season.

I want to also take this moment to wish you all a happy and safe holiday season for you, your family and friends.

God bless, take care & roll 66's!

Shawn

Friday, November 23, 2018

82' Brewers vs. 77' Yankees (TOC Update)



The 1977 New York Yankees (#7 seed) has home-field advantage against the #10 seeded 1982 Milwaukee Brewers, in a Ruth Bracket series that is pretty balanced between the two teams... It should be a good one!

Game 1 (at New York)

The Brewers send Don Sutton (Grade B-X) to the mound to face against "Louisiana Lightning" Ron Guidry (Grade A-XY).

Top of the 2nd - The Brew Crew strikes first with a two-run homer by Ben Oglivie, but that would remain to be Milwaukee's only hit until the 9th inning.

Bottom of the 5th - The Yankees load up the sacks on singles by Bucky Dent and Mickey Rivers, while Thurman Munson draws a walk... all setting it up for "Mr. October". It was like the APBA gods knew it Reggie stepped up to the plate, as he smacked a double that cleared the bases... The Bronx Zoo takes the lead, 3-2.

Ron Guidry was amazing, allowing only one hit, two earned runs & three walks in 8 innings of work. Sparky Lyle closes out the game, as Milwaukee threatened with the tying run on second in the 9th (after Robin Yount's double), getting Cecil Cooper to ground out for the final out.

Yankees take Game 1


Game 2 (at New York)

The Brewers had Pete Vuckovich (Grade B-W) and the Yankees had Mike Torrez (Grade B) on the mound for their respective ball clubs... Neither would pitch good.

The game was a see-saw battle during the first five innings. Cecil Cooper got things started with a two-run homer in the 1st. The Yankees would tack on a run in each of the 1st & 2nd innings, to tie the game. Robin Yount's RBI double in the 3rd, gave Milwaukee a 3-2 lead, while Lou Piniella answered back with an RBI single in the bottom of the 3rd.

Jim Gantner would hit a RBI triple, to break the 3-3 tie in the top of the 4th, only for the Yankees to tie it once again in the bottom-half, with Bucky Dent's RBI double.

The Brewers would start to break away with a RBI doubly by Cooper in the 5th, RBI single by Yount in the 6th & Gantner's two-out solo home run in the 8th off of Sparky Lyle.

Gantner had a big day, batting 3-for-4, with a HR & triple, 2 RBI & 2 runs scored.

Vuckovich hangs on long enough to get credited with the win, despite a poor performance in five innings of work (8 hits, 4 ER & 3 walks).

Series tied as the series heads to Milwaukee.


Game 3 (at Milwaukee)

The Yankees will have Ed Figueroa (Grade B) pitching for them in Game 3, as he counters Mike Caldwell (Grade C-RZ) of the Brewers.

Bottom of the 1st - Nerves seem to get the best of Figueroa in the first, with two outs, he air-mails a fielded grounder over Lou Piniella's head, while he followed the two-base error by walking Gorman Thomas. Don Money makes him pay with a two-run triple, to give Milwaukee a early 2-0 lead.

Bottom of the 2nd - Milwaukee's Mark Brouhard (in his 1st start and at-bat of the series) hits a solo home run off of Figueroa to add to lead.

Top of the 6th - Milwaukee seemed to be in control of this one until the 6th inning came around. Bucky Dent leads things off with a double, Roy White would smack a two-run homer two batters later. The Brewers call on Moose Haas from the pen to face Thurman Munson, but allows a double, the Brewers leave him in to face Reggie Jackson, and even thought about intentionally walking him... they would regret not doing so, as Reggie sends the ball into the left center stands. Yankees lead through 6 innings, 4-3.

Top of the 7th - After a one-out triple by Willie Randolph off of Jim Stanton, Bucky Dent would get Randolph across with a sac fly for that extra insurance run.

Sparky Lyle gets his 2nd Save of the series, closing it out with the tying run at the plate in Robin Yount (Molitor on second).

The Yankees lead the series, 2-1 and appear to be in prime position to win this series, as they will have to face Ron Guidry in Game 4.


Game 4 (at Milwaukee)

Milwaukee must have not got the memo that Game 4 Yankee starter Ron Guidry was supposed to close out the series in four games, instead Cecil Cooper and the Milwaukee Brewers and company tee'd off on Guidry. 

Cooper would hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the 1st, while adding a three-run home run in the bottom-half of the 2nd Inning. Gorman Thomas picked up where Cooper left off, by hitting a solo HR in the 5th (to end Guidry's night) & a grand slam off of Dick Tidrow in the 6th.

Don Sutton wasn't great for Milwaukee, allowing 5 hits & 3 earned runs through 5.1 innings, his night ended on Reggie Jackson's solo home run in the 6th; Sutton credited with the win.

The series returns to New York.


Game 5 (at New York)

The Brewers knew entering the game that they would keep Pete Vuckovich (Grade B-W) on a short leash, while the Yankees hope that Mike Torrez can keep the Brewers off the bases, so that the Yankees can advance to the next round.

Torrez definitely did his part, as both lineups were having a difficult time scraping up enough hits... In fact, both teams would combine for 6 hits, while there was more walks combined (7).

Vuckovich was yanked in the 5th inning, after allowing back-to-back base runners in Willie Randolph (single) and Bucky Dent (Base on Balls); Dent was Vuckovich's 5th walk allowed, while allowing only 2 hits. Bob McClure would get the Brewers out of the inning unscathed.

Jim Stanton would pitch 3 scoreless innings of relief, allowing only a hit and walk.

The Yankees' Mike Torrez allowed only 3 hits and a walk to Milwaukee through nine, but it would be his base on balls to Paul Molitor and Cecil Cooper's go-ahead RBI double in the ninth that would be his undoing. Cooper had 2 of Milwaukee's 3 hits, both doubles.

Rollie Fingers would come in to close out the ninth, sending down Lou Piniella, Chris Chambliss, and Graig Nettles in order. Fingers earned his 2nd Save of the series.



Brewers edge Yankees, 3 games-to-2, while Cecil Cooper (3 HR & 9 RBI) was awarded MVP honors. Milwaukee will have to enjoy it for now, as their next opponent, the 1975 Cincinnati Reds (#2 seed) will be much, much tougher.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

1921 Debut League Results

Eddie Rommel of the Philadelphia Athletics.
1921

The 1921 Debut League season is in the books, as the Philadelphia Athletics bounced back in a major way, after a disappointing 72-82 1920 season, they found themselves improving by 28 games, while edging the defending World Champion Boston Red Sox by 4 games.

The National League saw a repeat with their pennant as the 99-55 New York Giants look to avenge their 1920 World Series choke, surrendering a 4-1 series lead to lose to the Red Sox, now they will have to face a tough Athletics team led by Shoeless Joe Jackson, Eddie Collins & Herb Pennock.

Pennock posted a 26-11 record with a 2.73 ERA, 136 K, 1.27 WHIP & 6.9 WAR in 362.2 innings, while the Athletics plugged Eddie Rommel into the stopper role, which he went 9-3 with a 2.08 ERA & 12 Saves.

The Boston Red Sox had a lot of pitching problems outside of starters Dutch H Leonard (25-12) & Carl Mays (25-13), especially their non-existent pen. Their lineup basically carried them with Babe Ruth (11.1) and Tris Speaker (12.3) each putting up seasons with 10+ WAR. Ruth's 48 home runs, gives him a combined 91 HR the past two seasons, while he now has 140 career home runs.

The St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates each won 96 games, while losing the pennant by only 3 games. Rogers Hornsby (.383, 33, 127) had a huge season for the Cardinals, while his teammate Austin McHenry gave him excellent support by hitting .374 with 19 HR & 122 RBI.

The Detroit Tigers slid in 1921 due to bad pitching (4.44 Starters ERA - Ranking 5th), while they were the worst fielding team in the American League. They ranked in the top half of the league on offense, as they were led by Harry Heilmann (.406, 20, 124) and Ty Cobb (.395, 10, 101).

The two worst teams in the Majors were the Brooklyn Dodgers (45-109) & St. Louis Browns (50-104). The Cincinnati Reds improved by 24 wins, but still finished with only 64 wins.

1921 World Series

The World Series was once again a best-of-nine, did we have as much drama this season, like we did last season? We'll have to see...

In a back-and-forth affair, the New York Giants avenge their 1920 collapse by defeating the Philadelphia Athletics, 5-4. 

Season Awards

A.L. MVP - Babe Ruth - OF (BOS-A)
N.L. MVP - Rogers Hornsby - 2B (CHI-N)
A.L. Cy Young - Herb Pennock (PHI-A)
N.L. Cy Young - Waite Hoyt (NY-N)
A.L. Rookie of the Year - Lu Blue (DET)
N.L. Rookie of the Year - Lew Fonseca - 2B (CIN)
A.L. Reliever of the Year - Eddie Rommel (PHI-A)
N.L. Reliever of the Year - George Mohart (BRO)

For Ruth and Mohart, it is their 2nd awards.



Sunday, November 18, 2018

04' N.Y. Giants vs. 62' L.A. Dodgers (APBA Tourney) (Vault #5)

Both teams in a weird sense are non-playoff teams. The 1962 Los Angeles Dodgers lost a "tie-breaker" playoff series to the San Francisco Giants, 2 games-to-1 that determined the National League Pennant, while the 1904 New York Giants won the National League, but due to Manager John McGraw and their owner John T. Brush, they refused to play the American League Champion Boston Americans, expressing that the A.L. (the Junior Circuit) was the inferior league. Both franchises have a long rivalry while both were in New York, and now are in California. Plus both of these two teams are anchored by a two-headed monster in their starting rotations; the Giants have Christy Mathewson and Joe McGinnity, while the Dodgers have Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax -- both teams' #3 and #4 starting pitchers drop off considerably compared to their top 2 starters.

The difference between these clubs may be that one team (the Giants) are from the "Deadball Era" while the Dodgers are a team from the "Expansion Era". 

GAME 1
at New York / Polo Grounds

The "Big Six" Mathewson in full control in Game 1.
It's a Hall of Fame match-up between the Dodgers' Don Drysdale (25-9, 2.83 ERA & 232 K's) against the Giants' Christy Mathewson (33-12, 2.03 ERA & 212 K's)!

Bottom of the 3rd
Roger Bresnahan (CF) leads off the 3rd with a double, three batters later and with two outs, First Baseman Dan McGann drives in Bresnahan with an RBI double. Giants 1, Dodgers 0

Top of the 7th
The Dodgers came close to threatening as Frank Howard and Ron Fairly had back-to-back singles. Now with a pinch-runner for Howard (in Larry Burright) on second, and Fairly on first, with only one out -- the Dodgers have their chance against Mathewson. Dodgers' Catcher Johnny Roseboro would move the runners up by grounding out, but the rally would die with a strikeout to Jim Gilliam.

Bottom of the 8th
The Dodgers, now with reliever Eddie Roebuck on the mound (Drysdale allowed only one ER in 7 IP) -- found themselves in a bit of trouble with a lead-off single by Dan McGann; in which McGann then stole second. Two batters later (with one out), Bill Dahlen drives in McGann with a single, followed by Billy Gilbert hitting into a Fielder's Choice (getting the lead runner Dahlen). Giants' catcher John Warner would drive a single to left, and move the runner (Gilbert) to 3rd base; Warner steels second. Runners on 2nd & 3rd with two outs, Dodgers make a pitching change and bring in relief pitcher Larry Sherry; Sherry loads up the bases by walking Roger Bresnahan. Bases loaded for George Browne, who hits into a FC (as the Dodgers get Bresnahan at second). Giants 3, Dodgers 0

Top of the 9th
Christy Mathewson finishes off the Dodgers by striking out Ron Fairly, in a complete game, 4-hit, shutout!

FINAL SCORE:
04' GIANTS        3
62' DODGERS   0
WP - Mathewson (NYG) / LP - Drysdale (L.A.)


POST-GAME:
  • Christy Mathewson (NYG)Player of the Game; allowing only 4 hits & a walk, while striking out 6 Dodgers in a complete-game, shutout.
  • Don Drysdale (L.A.): 7 IP, 7 H, ER, 6 K's & 1 BB in a great effort.
  • Roger Bresnahan (NYG): 2-for-3, 2B, run & 2 BB's.
  • Dan McGann (NYG): 2-for-3, 2B, RBI, SB & HBP.
  • John Warner (NYG): 2-for-4, SB
  • Ron Fairly (L.A.): 2-for-3, 2B, BB.

GAME 2
at New York / Polo Grounds

The Dodgers will hope to tie the series against another superb pitcher in Joe McGinnity, who led the 1904 National League with 35 victories & a 1.61 ERA (in 408 innings of work)! It's another Hall of Fame match-up between pitchers as the Dodgers send Sandy Koufax (14-7, 2.54 ERA & 216 K's in 184 IP) up to the mound -- it's not Koufax's best season (APBA Grade of B-K) vs. McGinnity's APBA Grade of A&C-YZ!
McGinnity allows only 3 hits & 1 ER.

Bottom of the 2nd
With runners on first and third & one out, Giants' starting pitcher Joe McGinnity helps his own cause by flying out deep to drive in the runner (Bill Dahlen) from third. Giants 1, Dodgers 0

Bottom of the 3rd
With George Browne on 2nd Base, the Giants' Art Devlin (3B) smacks in a two-out RBI double to add to the Giants lead. Giants 2, Dodgers 0

Top of the 6th
Maury Wills who reached first on a bobbled routine grounder to Giants' shortstop Bill Dahlen, moves to second on a ground out by Willie Davis. With two outs, Frank Howard powers a 2-run HR off of McGinnity, to tie the game up. Giants 2, Dodgers 2


Bottom of the 7th
The Dodgers bring in reliever Ron Perranoski for Koufax to start the bottom-half, with a 2-2 tie. Walks the lead-off runner Roger Bresnahan, who then moves to second on a ground out by George Browne. With two outs, Sam Mertes drives in a go-ahead RBI single. Giants 3, Dodgers 2

Bottom of the 8th
Art Devlin starts off the inning with a single to right, followed by a single from Bill Dahlen. Runners on 1st & 2nd, no outs; Perranoski gets Billy Gilbert to hit into a double-play, moving the base runner (Devlin) to third base. The Giants' Manager/Player John McGraw decides to pinch-hit for catcher Frank Bowerman. The decision pays off as he drives in Devlin, then gets greedy trying to make second as Roseboro guns down McGraw at second for the inning's final out. An insurance run for New York! Giants 4, Dodgers 2

Top of the 9th
The Giants leave in McGinnity, who finishes off the Dodgers 1-2-3 for back-to-back complete games by New York Giants' pitchers. They have allowed only 1 ER (2 runs) in 18 innings!

FINAL SCORE:
04' GIANTS         4
62' DODGERS    2
WP - McGinnity (NYG) / LP - Perranoski (L.A.)


POST-GAME:
  • Joe McGinnity (NYG): 3 hits & 1 ER allowed in complete game; 4 K's & 4 BB. Making him the Player of the Game.
  • Roger Bresnahan (NYG): 1-for-2, 2B, 2 BB & R. Has reached base 7 times during the first two games with an .636 On-Base Percentage!
  • Art Devlin (NYG): 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, R
  • Maury Wills (L.A.): 1-for-4, SB & R.

GAME 3
at Los Angeles / Dodger Stadium

The 1904 Giants are in full control of the series, out-hitting the 62' Dodgers 19-7 in the first two games. Game 3 will be between the Giants' Dummy Taylor (21-15, 2.34 ERA & 138 K's; a APBA Grade B-Y) against the Dodgers' Johnny Podres (15-13, 3.81 ERA & 178 K's; C-YZ). The odds are very favorable for the Dodgers as the series shifts back to Los Angeles.

Top of the 1st
The Giants get things rolling by scoring three runs on two defensive errors by Maury Wills and Tommy Davis. Giants' Dan McGann will add to the trouble with an RBI double. Giants 3, Dodgers 0

Top of the 2nd
Roger Bresnahan (playing catcher) hits an RBI double off of Podres to score in CF-Mike Donlin.
Giants 4, Dodgers 0

Top of the 3rd
The Dodgers who have scored only 3 runs in the first two games, finds themselves down by 5 runs when Giants' RF-George Browne scores on a Sacrifice Fly by 2B-Billy Gilbert. Giants 5, Dodgers 0

Top of the 4th
Mike Donlin scores from third base on the botched drop by Dodgers' LF-Wally Moon.
Giants 6, Dodgers 0
Willie Davis: Dodgers' Game 3 spark plug.

Bottom of the 4th
Dodgers start the bottom half down 6-0. A lead-off single by CF-Willie Davis, followed by a single by Frank Howard & a walk to Ron Fairly loads the bases up for the suddenly alive Dodgers, who only had two hits the previous three innings. Dodgers' catcher Johnny Roseboro hits into a Fielder's Choice, driving in Willie Davis from third; Fairly out at second, as Howard moves to 3rd. Giants 6, Dodgers 1

Roseboro steals second; which is followed by a passed ball as the ball was bumbled by Giants' catcher Bresnahan who had a hard time locating the ball as big, Frank Howard scores and Roseboro moves to 3rd base. Giants 6, Dodgers 2

Still only one out, Dummy Taylor walks Jim Gilliam; runners on 1st and 3rd for the Dodgers -- which is followed by a sac fly from Wally Moon. Giants 6, Dodgers 3

The Dodgers' Lee Walls comes in to pinch-hit for pitcher Johnny Podres, and moves Gilliam up to second base with a single to left; followed by RBI single by Maury Wills. Taylor decides to intentionally walk Tommy Davis to face off against Willie Davis. Giants 6, Dodgers 4

Bases loaded, two outs -- as Dummy Taylor delivers a pitch he would like back as Willie Davis sends the ball to deep center field, GRAND SLAM! Davis, who was the very same player that started this rally, puts the Dodgers in the lead; Taylor is taken out of the game after 3.2 innings. Dodgers 8, Giants 6

Bottom of the 5th
After back-to-back singles by Jim Gilliam and Wally Moon, Dodgers' reliever Eddie Roebuck drives in both base runners with a single off of Giants' reliever Chaucer ElliottDodgers 10, Giants 6

The Giants fail to recover as Dodger relievers Eddie Roebuck and Ron Perranoski combine for 5 shut-out innings in relief, allowing only one hit.

FINAL SCORE:
62' DODGERS   10
04' GIANTS         6
WP - Roebuck (L.A.) / LP - D.Taylor (NYG)


POST-GAME:
  • 8-run bottom of the 4th for the Dodgers; so far is the biggest run production in a single-inning during the tournament.
  • 5 errors by 62' Dodgers, none for the 04' Giants.
  • Willie Davis (L.A.): 2-for-5, Grand Slam, single, 2 runs & 4 RBI; Player of the Game.
  • Frank Howard (L.A.): 2-for-4, 2B, BB & R.
  • Wally Moon (L.A.): 2-for-3, RBI & R.
  • Eddie Roebuck (L.A.): 3 IP, 1 H, no runs, 2 K & BB; 2-run insurance single as hitter.
  • Mike Donlin (NYG): 2-for-5, 3 runs.
  • Roger Bresnahan (NYG): 2-for-5, RBI double, R.

GAME 4
at Los Angeles / Dodger Stadium

The Dodgers are alive for one more day. At one moment in Game 3, they were down 6-0 going into the bottom of the fourth (appearing to be on the verge of elimination) as Willie Davis sparked a rally for an incredible 8-run outburst. Does the Dodgers still have magic up their sleeves? We will find out, as the Dodgers send Don Drysdale back to the mound on three days rest; the Giants elect to "not panic" by putting Hooks Wiltse out on the mound, instead of bringing Christy Mathewson a day early to seal the deal. Wiltse, had a 13-3 record, 3 SV, 2.84 ERA & 104 K's in 164.2 Innings in 1904 for the Giants.

Top of the 4th
The Giants' Sam Mertes hits a lead-off double off Drysdale, and then steals third base (off of backup catcher Doug Camilli, giving Johnny Roseboro a day off). Art Devlin with one out, scores Merte on a sacrifice fly. Giants 1, Dodgers 0

Bottom of the 4th
Ron Fairly reaches second on a throwing error by Giants' shortstop Bill Dahlen. Jim Gilliam follows that up with a game-tying RBI double off of Wiltse. Dodgers 1, Giants 1

Wiltse (NYG) puts in a worthy effort of 8 K's, 1 ER in 7 Innings.

Top of the 8th
With one out, Mike Donlin comes in to pinch-hit for Giants' starting pitcher Wiltse, and gets a single off of Drysdale. Donlin then steals second, as Roger Bresnahan gets an RBI single. For Bresnahan that is now 11 times he has reached base in the first 4 games. Giants 2, Dodgers 1

Bottom of the 8th
One out with bases loaded, the Dodgers' 3B-Lee Walls drives in Frank Howard from third on a sacrifice fly off of Red Ames to left, Giants will prevent any more scoring. Dodgers 2, Giants 2

Bottom of the 10th
Red Ames, coming in for his 3rd inning of relief faces Frank Howard, which Howard with the first pitch sends it into the stands of Dodger Stadium for a walk-off blast to right! Howard's 2nd HR of the series.

FINAL SCORE:
62' DODGERS   3
04' GIANTS        2   (10 Innings)
WP - Perranoski (L.A.) / LP - Ames (NYG)

Howard: Game 4 hero!


POST-GAME:
  • Frank Howard (L.A.): Walk-off HR, 2-for-4 RBI, Intentional walk.
  • Jim Gilliam (L.A.): 2-for-4, 2 2B's & RBI.
  • Roger Bresnahan (NYG): 2-for-5, SB, RBI.
  • Hooks Wiltse (NYG): 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER/1 R, 8 K & 3 BB's.
  • Don Drysdale (L.A.): 8 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 6 K & 2 BB's.







GAME 5
at New York / Polo Grounds

The good news is that the series will be back at the Polo Grounds for the Giants, who won the first two games very decisively. The bad news is that since the top of the 4th of Game 3, the Giants are being outscored by the Dodgers 13-2. Just like in the first two games, it will once again be a Hall of Fame match-up between starting pitchers; this time between Christy Mathewson (NYG) & Sandy Koufax (L.A.)!

Top of the 1st
Maury Wills reaches first on a walk & then steals second base as Frank Howard continues where he left off with a 2-run blast off of Mathewson; his 3rd of the series. Dodgers 2, Giants 0

Top of the 3rd
Sandy Koufax hits a lead-off solo HR to right off of Mathewsonhelping his own cause. The Dodgers have now scored 3 runs in the first 3 innings of Game 5, matching the combined total that they scored at the Polo Grounds for Games 1 & 2! Dodgers 3, Giants 0

Bottom of the 4th
LF- Sam Mertes of the Giants hits a 2-out solo HR to right field off of Koufax. Dodgers 3, Giants 1
Bresnahan goes cold in Game 5.

Bottom of the 5th
Lead-off HR by 3B- Art Devlin of the Giants. Koufax then walks Billy Gilbert, who then moves to second base on a ground-out by catcher John Warner. With 2 outs, Giants' pitcher Christy Mathewson shows Koufax that he can also handle a bat, by driving in Gilbert with a double. Giants 3, Dodgers 3

The game would go scoreless for 8 consecutive innings, Mathewson would go a strong 10 innings, allowing 5 hits & 3 runs; while striking out nine Dodgers, walking three.

Top of the 14th
Frank Howard gets a lead-off single, Ron Fairly follows with a walk; in which Johnny Roseboro drives the ball to center, Howard tries to score -- but is gunned down by an excellent throw by CF- Roger Bresnahan. Runners on first and third, one out; Jim Gilliam drives in both runners with a single over third.
Dodgers 5, Giants 3

Bottom of the 14th
After 4 innings of great relief by Ron Perranoski, the Dodgers go with Larry Sherry to close out the game. The Dodgers' bullpen have not allowed a run now in 14 consecutive innings! Sherry has only pitched 1/3 of an inning in the series. He walks 3B- Art Devlin, who then attempts to steal 2nd, which he is gunned down by Johnny Roseboro -- momentum breaker, as Sherry strikes out both Bill Dahlen and Billy Gilbert to make the Dodgers pull off this improbable comeback!

FINAL SCORE:
62' DODGERS   5
04' GIANTS        3   (14 Innings)
WP - Perranoski (L.A.) / LP -  Ames (NYG) / SV - Sherry (L.A.)

The Dodgers' bullpen: Roebuck, Perranoski & Sherry  - got the job done!


POST-GAME:
  • Ron Perranoski (L.A.): 4 Innings of relief, recorded 2nd win of series, 3 K's & BB.
  • Eddie Roebuck (L.A.): 3 Innings of relief, no hits, 4 BB's.
  • Sandy Koufax (L.A.): 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R & BB allowed; no K's -- but hit a solo HR off of Mathewson in the third inning!
  • Maury Wills (L.A.): 3 SB's for single-game tournament record.
  • Frank Howard (L.A.): 2-for-5, HR, 2 RBI, Int BB.
  • Roger Bresnahan (NYG): 0-for-6, never reaching base (After 11 times on base in previous four games)!
  • Art Devlin (NYG): 2-for-5, HR, RBI, BB; 1 SB & twice caught stealing (including 14th inning).
  • Sam Mertes (NYG): 2-for-5, HR, BB.
  • Christy Mathewson (NYG): 10 IP, 5 H, 3 ER/R, 9 K & 3 BB's; RBI 2B off Koufax.
SERIES RECAP: 62' DODGERS COMEBACK, 3-2!
  • Dodgers' bullpen: No runs & only 4 hits allowed in the last 15 innings!
  • Ron Perranoski (L.A.): 2-1 record, 1.80 ERA, 7 K & 4 BB's, 7 hits in 10 IP (Series Co-MVP with Frank Howard).
  • Eddie Roebuck (L.A.): 1-0 record, 2.70 ERA, 3 K & 6 BB's, 4 hits in 6.2 IP.
  • Frank Howard (L.A.): .421 AVG, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 5 Runs, 8 hits & 1.469 OPS.
  • Christy Mathewson (NYG): 1-0, 1.42 ERA, 15 K & 4 BB's, 9 hits (.684 WHIP) in 19 IP.
  • Don Drysdale (L.A.): 0-1, 1.80 ERA & 12 K's (1.000 WHIP) in 15 IP.
  • Roger Bresnahan (NYG): .333, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 7 hits, .440 OBP, SB (.916 OPS).
  • Red Ames (NYG): 0-2, BS, 5.14 ERA, 7 K & 4 BB (1.429 WHIP) in 7 innings of relief.
NEXT OPPONENT: The Winner of the 86' New York (N) (5) 67' St. Louis (N) (12) series.


APBA Tournament of Champions (Bracket Updates)



The "APBA Tournament of Champions" consists of the 60 teams from the APBA's "Greatest Teams of the Past" Volumes 1-3, plus three teams I've ordered separately from APBA (1937 New York Giants1944 St. Louis Browns & the 1971 San Francisco Giants), and the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays* from my 2008 Season set.
  • Click here for more information on the set-up for the tournament.
  • Click on any of the articles below in each bracket to get articles and highlights of the tournament.

RUTH BRACKET


* The Tampa Bay Rays were originally supposed to be in the tournament, as the years have gone by, I broken up the team for another project, forgetting about their involvement in this tournament. The Rays were slated to face the #1 seed 1969 Baltimore Orioles... News to come on their replacement.


Saturday, November 17, 2018

Bonds, Stottlemyre Answer Back for Expos (1996 NLCS / OOTP)

Game 3


Todd Stottlemyre kept the Braves quiet, allowing only 2 hits & 1 earned run, while pitching 5 strikeouts in 8.2 innings of work for the Montreal Expos.

Barry Bonds who came over in a huge free agent deal, hit a clutch three-run homer in the 3rd inning, while drawing a NLCS record 4 base on balls (one intentional). The Braves' Tom Glavine who came into the series on a hot streak, didn't have his command, as he allowed 3 walks, 4 earned runs & 3 hits in only 3 innings of work. Atlanta would call on their pen -- Alan Benes, Mike Timlin, Russ Springer, Scott Radinsky and Mark Mimbs to eat up the remaining innings.

The Braves finally got on the boards with a RBI single by Chipper Jones in the bottom of the 9th, but it was a little too late.

Montreal gives themselves a better fighting chance, as they now trail in the series, 2-1, while the 1996 National League Championship Series continues in Atlanta.

The Braves will send out Doug Drabek in Game 4, likely against the Expos' Ken Hill.


Thursday, November 15, 2018

Mosher's 1961 Yankees Wins Grand Rapids Tourney

Mosher with his grandson at GMABT II in 2016.


Robert Mosher and his 1961 New York Yankees defeated Mark Hanisch's 1931 Philadelphia Athletics in an 11-Inning classic to win the Inaugural Furniture City APBA Tournament held in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The 8 playoff teams at the event included the following:

I have known Robert about five years now, he is one of the good guys of APBA. Robert goes to these APBA tournaments with his grandson Camron, a great grandfather-grandson bonding experience. At the Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament II, they both pitched no-hitters in separate games at the same event... which had probably never happened anywhere else, or at least by family members. Mosher would later that day reach the GMABT Championship with the 1988 New York Mets, eventually losing to my 1993 Atlanta Braves. He later laughed, and pointed out that my brother Chris also dashed his tournament dreams the prior year.

Robert (pictured right) is also a member of the Boys of Summer APBA Baseball League, in which he has led his Fairgrove Tigers to two World Championships. His Tigers were the first team in our league's history to win multiple titles. We are close to wrapping up our 6th season, while Robert is one of maybe two managers to have reached the postseason five times during our league's history.

I am very happy for him. He has had plenty of APBA playoff appearances , while he finally has broke through, winning the very first tourney in Grand Rapids.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Fighting Tigers' October Progress Report (UAL)

As my readers know, I joined a mail-in league involving 24 owners, 24 teams. We play are home games while we send our opponents instructions for our teams when they play on the road. The regular season ranges from October to March, while we are using the 2017 APBA Baseball Cards, we have a salary cap while the salaries are based on their real-life annual salaries.

October is in the books for the Ultimate APBA League (UAL) while my Traverse City Fighting Tigers find themselves in a three-way tie on top of the National League West with a 19-11 record. We went 11-4 at home, while 8-7 on the road.

Jose Altuve is currently leading the entire UAL with a .360 batting average, while also leading the league in steals (12), while 2nd in hits (40). Altuve's bat was red-hot at home, while batting .466 (27-for-58) with 3 HR, 13 RBI, 15 runs & 1.190 OPS... I am not sure if I have ever rolled that hot with a player in such a large fragment of 15 games.

My bullpen overall had underachieved during the month of October, I only expect things to improve, they can't really get that much worse. We have way too much talent in the pen, to suffer another bad bullpen month... so that said there is room for improvement.

My record should go down slightly since November will be a little more challenging. I played two bad teams in Michigan and Grand Junction during October, I went 8-2 against each of those teams. On paper they were really bad, but they had occasional (and sometimes annoying) pop. That is some of the reason for the inflated bullpen ERA's, the home run ball killed them (especially against the month's biggest challenge in Ephrata).

One of the biggest challenges is making sure you sit players enough, because we have games and innings limits with players. I am trying to sit my guys against weaker challengers, so that in the second-half of the season, it can be balls to walls while having my best guys on the field.

With the talent that my team has, I expect to be in the postseason, no less, and not more to be honest, but to miss the playoffs (after looking over the National League rosters) would be a complete disappointment. We already know that next season will be a reshuffle in what appears to be a down-year for us, when looking at the 2018 MLB numbers... so this is our season to have some fun before the upcoming hangover.

So far, so good... but now onto November!


Saturday, November 10, 2018

1921 Debut League - New Arrivals



Listed below are the new notable arrivals to the 1921 Debut League Season, players that are making their debuts in 1921. If you did not read my last two posts, the premise of the Debut League is players staying on the teams throughout their careers, with the teams that they made their Major League debuts.

As you see with the list below, there was just a few big names in there like Kiki Cuyler, Riggs Stephenson, Goose Goslin & Luke Sewell.
  • Boston Braves - Garland Braxton (RP), Johnny Cooney (RP)
  • Boston Red Sox - Curt Fullerton (RP)
  • Chicago Cubs - Tony Kaufmann (SP)
  • Chicago White Sox - Ed Sheely (1B), Doug McWeeny (SP), Sarge Connally (RP)
  • Cincinnati Reds - Lew Fonseca (2B), Pete Donahue (SP)
  • Cleveland Indians - Riggs Stephenson (2B/OF), Luke Sewell (C), Jesse Petty (RP)
  • Detroit Tigers - Lu Blue (1B), Jackie Tavener (SS), Lefty Stewart (RP), Bert Cole (SP)
  • New York Giants - Butch Henline (C), Bill A Cunningham (OF), Claude Jonnard (RP)
  • New York Yankees - Chicken Hawks (OF), Johnny Mitchell (SS)
  • Philadelphia Athletics - Bill Barrett (SS)
  • Philadelphia Phillies - Lance Richbourg (2B), Frank Parkinson (2B), Frank Bruggy (C), 
  • Pittsburgh Pirates - Kiki Cuyler (OF), Johnny Mokan (OF), Johnny Gooch (C), Moses Yellow Horse (RP)
  • St. Louis Browns- Ray Kolp (SP), Dutch Henry (RP)
  • St. Louis Cardinals - Spec Toporcer (SS)
  • Washington Senators - Goose Goslin (OF), Bing Miller (OF)

Friday, November 9, 2018

The Panthers Fall Short of Glory



My Traverse City Panthers reached the National League Championship Series, to once again fall victim to the Portland Microbrewers. This was our 2nd NLCS appearance in 6 years, while both times they were against Portland.

My Panthers had the best record in the entire BoS (Boys of Summer APBA Baseball League) with a 108-54 record, but we just couldn't overcome the loss of Corey Kluber (due to injury) in Game 1. The Microbrewers defeated our team, 4 games-to-1 in a surprisingly short series, but that's sometimes how the cookie crumbles.

I am very happy for Brad Stark and his Portland Microbrewers. They always have dependable rotations, with great depth, they know how to win. Stark reached the World Series the first three seasons, and finally won it all the 3rd time around.

The Portland Microbrewers will face the Corktown Tamales in the World Series. Corktown defeated the Fairgrove Tigers (Robert Mosher) in the American League Championship Series, in seven hard-fought games.

The Panthers will have some work to do, dealing with injury problems with players such as Corey Seager and Taijuan Walker this upcoming season. The Panthers will reshuffle the deck, while remaining competitive for 2019.

I am very proud of my Panthers & am looking forward to 2019.



Wednesday, November 7, 2018

2002 Angels vs. 85' Cards (APBA TOC)

This is a series on paper that you just had a feeling that would go the entire distance (all 5 games), with both teams having a flair for the dramatic.

Let's see if in the APBA world, if it plays out as such.

Game 1 (at St. Louis)

The Anaheim Angels decide to start Jarrod Washburn (Grade B-Y) in Game 1 of the series, while the St. Louis Cardinals debated over their Game 1 choice. I finally decided to go with their actual ace Joaquin Andujar (Grade B), who started 38 games for the Cards in 1985. If you are playing 'APBA-Ball' or playing in a face-to-fact APBA Tournament, you would likely go with John Tudor (Grade A-YZ). The decision to start Andujar over Tudor will play a big factor for the remainder of the series.

The first two games are in St. Louis, while Game 3 & Game 4 (if necessary) would be played in Anaheim... and if the series moves beyond that, back to St. Louis.

Top of the 2nd - The Angels would draw first blood of the series, with RBI doubles by Scott Spiezio and Adam Kennedy, to give the Angels a 2-0 lead.

Bottom of the 3rd - Cardinals' starting pitcher Joaquin Andujar would help his own cause by leading off the bottom of the inning with a single. Vince Coleman would sacrifice himself with a bunt to move Andujar over to second, while Willie McGee grounds out to deep short to move the runner over to third base with two outs. Tom Herr hits an RBI double, to cut the lead in half. Angels' starter Jarrod Washburn would accidentally plunk Jack Clark with a pitch, runners on 1st & 2nd. With two outs, Washburn would make a mistake pitch, allowing a three-run homer to Andy Van Slyke over the right field fence. Terry Pendleton followed with a single, while Darrell Porter could do nothing with that, ending the inning, flying to left.  Cardinals lead, 4-2.

Bottom of the 4th - Ozzie Smith draws a lead-off walk. Joaquin Andujar reaches base again, this time reaching second, due to a fielding mishap by Scott Spiezio at first. Runners on 2nd & 3rd, Vince Coleman is walked. Bases loaded, no outs, Willie McGee draws an RBI walk, keeping the bases juiced while there was still no outs. Tom Herr would hit into a fielder's choice, as the Angels would get the runner (McGee at second), but still manages to drive in a run.

Runners on 1st & 3rd & with no outs, the Angels' Mike Scioscia had seen enough... calling on Al Levine in an attempt to get out of the inning. Levine was not successful, allowing an RBI single to Jack Clark, followed by a two-run double by Andy Van Slyke -- giving Van Slyke 5 RBI for the day. Scioscia goes back to the pen, calls on Scot Shields who gets the Angels out of the inning, but this game is as good as done, with 9-2 lead after four innings in the books.

Garret Anderson would go on to hit a solo home run in the 6th, while the Cardinals tacked a run on back in the 5th (RBI single by Willie McGee), but the Angels lose the opener in a 10-3 thumping.

Joaquin Andujar (1-0) was not great by all means, allowing 6 hits, 3 runs & 2 walks through 6 innings of work, while striking out 4 Angels. Andujar reached base all three plate appearances (Single, 2nd on error & a walk). Jarrod Washburn was lousy, going only 3.1 innings, while allowing 5 hits, 8 runs (7 earned) & 4 walks, plus 2 K's.


Game 2 (at St. Louis)

The Anaheim Angels send out Ramon Ortiz (Grade B-Y) in an attempt to right the ship, while he will have his work cut out for him in the Cardinals' John Tudor (Grade A-YZ).

Top of the 1st - The Angels would score first again, with a two-out, two-run homer by Troy Glaus off of Tudor. Garret Anderson followed with a double, but the Angels would strand him.

Bottom of the 4th - 3.1 innings through, Ramon Ortiz has only allowed one hit up to this point, a lead-off double to Vince Coleman in the 1st. Tom Herr with one out, reaches first on a error by Angels' shortstop David Eckstein. Ortiz would lose the count to Jack Clark, as he reaches first by drawing a walk. Andy Van Slyke would ground to deep second, moving the runners up to 2nd & 3rd. With two outs, Terry Pendleton hits a two-run single, tying the game at 2-2 -- stealing second on the very next play. Darrell Porter would strand Pendleton at second though.

Bottom of the 5th - With one out, John Tudor helps his cause with a triple to left-center. Vince Coleman on the very next at-bat, knocks in Tudor with a triple of his own, trickling down the left field line and into the corner. Cardinals lead 3-2.

Tudor really hunkered down after that three-hit, two-run 1st inning, and would only allow 2 more hits for the next 7 innings (finishing the game with no walks).

Top of the 9th - With one out, Troy Glaus steps up to the plate to face the Cardinals' closer Jeff Lahti, Glaus was 2-for-3, with a double, HR & 2 RBI for the night... but would strike out for out number two. Still with the tying run at the plate, Lahti gets Garret Anderson to ground out to second for the final out of the game.

The Cardinals now lead the series, 2-0 (needing just one more win), while the Angels will see if they can channel their inner 'Rally Monkey' as they travel back to Anaheim for Game 3 and hopefully Game 4.


Game 3 (at Anaheim)

The St. Louis Cardinals send out their 3rd starter Danny Cox (Grade B-Y) to face off against the Anaheim Angels' rookie starter John Lackey (Grade B-Y).

The Angels made some adjustments to their lineup prior to Game 3, moving up Garret Anderson from the 5th slot of the lineup to the 2nd slot of the lineup, while Darin Erstad (1-for-8) was moved down to the 7th slot. The Angels get to use the designated hitter, plugging Brad Fullmer in the 5th slot, while Scott Spiezio remains in the 6th slot. Adam Kennedy and Bengie Molina also switched bottom slots, with Kennedy batting 8th & Molina 9th; Molina batted 7th, while Kennedy batted 8th, as the pitchers batted 9th in the first two games.

For the Cardinals, Jack Clark moves from first base to designated hitter, while Cesar Cedeno plays at first.

Both starters were excellent as they would both start the game by pitching 7 scoreless innings, with both pitchers getting APBA Grade Advancements from B's to A's.

Bottom of the 8th - With one out, the Cardinals' Danny Cox would make the first mistake by allowing a double to Bengie Molina. The Angels would send out Alex Ochoa out to pinch-run for Molina -- in which Ochoa would steal third on the next pitch. David Eckstein would hit a deep fly to left, as Ochoa would tag up to give the Halos a 1-0 lead. Garret Anderson would hit a two-out double, but the Angels would not be able to tack on another run.

The Angels call on their closer Troy Percival, who despite giving up a one-out single to Andy Van Slyke, would hold on for the save, while giving the Angels a much-needed win.



Game 4 (at Anaheim)

Joaquin Andujar (STL) vs Jarrod Washburn (ANA) -- In a rematch of Game 1 starters, both teams hope for both of these starters to have much-better outings this time around.

Top of the 3rd - Tom Herr collects his 2nd hit of the game with a two-out RBI single, scoring in Willie McGee from second (who singled & stole second). Cards lead, 1-0.

Bottom of the 3rd - The Angels strike back with a two-out, game-tying solo home run by Garret Anderson.

Both starting pitchers had excellent days. Joaquin Andujar would go on to pitch 7.2 innings, allowing only 3 hits, 1 earned run, while walking two & striking out two. Jarrod Washburn rebounded nicely from his Game 1 disaster, pitching 7 strong innings, allowing 6 hits, 1 earned run, while striking out 8 Cardinals & walking one.

Bottom of the 8th - With two outs & Garret Anderson stepping up to the plate. Whitey Herzog decides to call on reliever Ricky Horton (Grade B-YZ - Grade A-YZ vs first batter) to face Garret Anderson (since Garret hit the HR off of Andujar earlier). Horton would give up the go-ahead run, as Anderson hits his 2nd home run of the day, a home run to right.

Up 2-1, the Angels call on their closer Troy Percival to close things out in the 9th, he relieves Ben Weber, who pitched a scoreless 8th, while allowing a walk. Cesar Cedeno pops up for out number one, with Darrell Porter stepping to the plate. Whitey, not liking the match-up, not to mention Porter is 0-for-9 in the series, calls on pinch-hitter Tito Landrum for his first at-bat of the series, and awards Whitey on his choice by hitting a solo home run to tie the game, 2-2.

Bottom of the 9th - The Cardinals keep reliever Ricky Horton in as he gives up a lead-off single to Troy Glaus. The designated hitter Brad Fullmer steps up to the plate, and makes Horton pay with a walk-off blast to left.... GAME OVER! SERIES TIED!

We are heading back to St. Louis for the finale.


Game 5 (at St. Louis)

The St. Louis Cardinals have squandered a 2-0 series lead to the Anaheim Angels after a brilliant pitching performance by John Lackey in Game 3, a two home run day by Garret Anderson in Game 4, which led to the walk-off two-run homer by Brad Fullmer off of the Cardinals' Ricky Horton.

The Cardinals are not worried though, as they send out John Tudor (Grade A-YZ). Tudor has a knack of showing up in big games, we'll see if he can try to duplicate his excellent Game 2 performance. The Angels will counter with Ramon Ortiz (Grade B-Y). With home field advantage, and Tudor on the mound, the Angels are definitely at a disadvantage, but they'll take it, since they have stretched the series to five games.

Let's get to the action, shall we?

Top of the 2nd - John Tudor walks the lead-off hitter Troy Glaus. Scott Spiezio puts a charge into the ball, as he reaches second on a double, Glaus not fast, is forced to stay put on third. No outs, Darin Erstad (2-for-12) singles to left, driving in Glaus, while Spiezio holds at third. Erstad steals second, putting runners on 2nd & 3rd with no outs, while the Angels lead 1-0. Bengie Molina delivers a two-run single, making it a 3-0 game, while Tudor just does not look like himself out there. Cardinals' Manager Whitey Herzog sends out pitching coach Mike Roarke to see what is going on with Tudor.

The game resumes with Adam Kennedy stepping up to the plate with Bengie Molina on first base, Tudor delivers, and this one is skied to left, no doubt about it... GONE! Whitey is going to keep Tudor out there to at least finish the inning. Tudor would give up two more hits, but no more runs, but the damage is done, the Angels lead 5-0 after the 2nd Inning.

Bottom of the 3rd - Andy Van Slyke leads off with a single, two batters later he would score off of a Terry Pendleton double; Angels lead 5-1.

Bottom of the 4th - With one out, Willie McGee collects his 2nd double of the day, while Tom Herr would knock him in with an RBI double, with Cards inching closer, trailing 5-2.

Bottom of the 5th - Andy Van Slyke leads off with a double to right center. Terry Pendleton with one out, knocks in Van Slyke with a double of his own, cutting the lead down to only two runs, with the tying run at the plate in Ozzie Smith.

Terry Pendleton is having a strong series as he is now batting 7-for-17 (.412) which comes as a bit of a surprise since Pendleton only batted .240 in 1985, and was best known at this point of his career for his glove at third & his speed on the base paths. Pendleton's OPS was only .591 during the 1985 MLB Season, which in hitting standards is pretty lousy.


Back to the action, trailing 5-3 with a runner on 2nd, Ozzie Smith flies out, with no advancement from Pendleton. The Cardinals go with the no-brainer by having Tito Landrum pinch-hit for starting pitcher John Tudor. Landrum & Vince Coleman draw back-to-back walks, as Ramon Ortiz is struggling with his control. The Angels' pitching coach Bud Black visits the mound, while the Angels have had Ben Weber warming up in the bullpen since Pendleton's double. They could bring in Weber now, so they can finally get out of the inning, but appears to keep Ortiz in longer... the move was a big mistake. Already 2-for-2 with two doubles, Willie McGee ties the game up with a two-run single, the Cardinals are showing they have a lot of fight. The Angels should have stuck with their first instinct and went with Weber.

They now call on Weber, as they get out of the inning, despite Weber plunking his first hitter (Tom Herr) with a pitch.

Bottom of the 5th - Andy Van Slyke, proving to be a spark plug in this game (and the series for that matter) draws a walk, that is now the third time he led off the inning this game by reaching base. Van Slyke steals second, while Darrell Porter would ground out, advancing the runner to third. Terry Pendleton [rolls a 33-7] knocking in Van Slyke on a sac fly, to give the Cardinals the 6-5 lead ... For Pendleton, that is his 3rd RBI of the game.

Bottom of the 7th - Andy Van Slyke strikes again, with two-run home run off of reliever Brendan Donnelly, as the Cardinals give themselves a nice 8-5 cushion.

Top of the 8th - With two outs, Darin Erstad singles to right. Bengie Molina hits RBI double off of Cardinals' reliever Ricky Horton. Alex Ochoa pinch-runs for Molina, and reaches third on a wild pitch by Horton. Adam Kennedy, 2-for-3, with a HR and 2 RBI, falls short by flying out to right for final out of inning. Cardinals still lead, 8-6.

Top of the 9th - Cardinals call on their closer Jeff Lahti. Lahti's first challenge is pinch-hitter Brad Fullmer (Game 4's walk-off hero), who is hitting for the reliever Scot Shields. Fullmer singles to right. Lahti follows that up by hitting David Eckstein with a pitch, runners now on 1st & 2nd and no outs. Garret Anderson steps up to the plate, batting 9-for-18 (.500) with 3 HR, 3 doubles & 3 RBI this series, and causes some damage.... by grounding into a 4-6-3 double play, runner advances to third. Two outs, runner on third, and with the tying run at the plate in Tim Salmon, Lahti delivers, Salmon swings and strikes out.

The Cardinals come back from a five-run deficit in the 2nd inning, to claw back into the game, while finally taking back the game and series. The Cardinals and Angels did exactly what we thought they would do, give us a great, dramatic five-game series.


Andy Van Slyke earned MVP honors by going 8-for-19 (.421) with 2 HR, 7 RBI, 5 runs & a steal.

The Cardinals' bullpen went 7 solid innings in Game 5, allowing 6 hits, one earned run, while striking out 6 Angels and walking none. Ken Dayley was credited with the win in this one, while Ben Weber got the loss.

No word yet on the Cardinals' next opponent, while the Angels go home.
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