Monday, February 12, 2018

How Sweet It Is! (Tournament III - Sweet Sixteen Preview)

The Sweet Sixteen is here, and here is a preview of the contending match-ups....

Game #49

1901 Pittsburgh Pirates at 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates

The 79' Pirates are the defending tournament champs, that is why they have the #1 seed; The top four seeds went to last tournament's final four contenders. Normally, the 1901 Pirates would be the higher seed in most circumstances, and they have a great shot at knocking off the champs, especially since the 79' Buccos will be without Bill Madlock (Injured for 2 games).

Madlock will be returning to the 79' Pirates, if they reach the Final Four for a second consecutive season. 

Pirates' closer Kent Tekulve owns 5 career tournament saves.

Game #50

1940 Detroit Tigers at 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates

The Tigers continue to surprise, as their bats torn into the Giants' Joe McGinnity's Grade A&C-YZ as if he was a Grade C or lower; McGinnity allowed 8 earned runs, 9 hits & 3 walks in 6.2 innings of working (Grade Reduction to a B-YZ).

Rudy York hit his 2nd HR of the tournament, while Pinky Higgins and Dick Bartell added dingers of their own. They will have to go into Pittsburgh to play a tough 1909 Pirates team that held a tough 1987 Detroit Tigers team to only 3 hits.

Game #51

1934 St. Louis Cardinals at 1948 Boston Braves

Johnny Sain gets to take on the 'Gas House Gang' after throwing nothing but gas against the 1940 Cincinnati Reds -- A 1st Round No-Hitter! Gio Gonzalez (2012 Washington), by the way, threw a no-hitter on the same day of the 1st Round against the 1998 Atlanta Braves.

The 48' Braves will have their hands full against the Cardinals' ace Dizzy Dean.

Game #52

1909 Detroit Tigers at 1917 Chicago White Sox

The 1917 Chicago White Sox have the capabilities of being among the very best when they play at top form. I took the 17' 'Black Sox' to the 1st Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament*, in which the team for the most part fell on its face.... or otherwise speaking, the fix was on!

* It's worth noting that I would get redemption at the 2nd GMABT, by winning the tournament with the 1993 Atlanta Braves.

They will be hosting another deadball team led by possibly the greatest player that played the game in Ty Cobb, and his 1909 Tigers. The Tigers have one of the best scoring differentials in the tournament with a +10 scoring.

Game #53

1998 New York Yankees at 1946 Boston Red Sox

The rivalry is on! Last year's Runner-Up -- 46' Red Sox will host one of the best teams of all-time in the 1998 Yankees. The Yankees have already dismantled the 'Big Red Machine' in Round 2... that's what is cool about the final four teams shaking up the seeds so much, that a heavyweight match-up like the 75' Reds & 98' Yankees have already went down.

The Yankees scored 9 runs (12 at-bats) in the 7th inning to defeat the Reds; Reds led 5-0 entering the bottom of the 6th, in which the Yankees started their comeback by scoring 3 runs that inning -- and then followed up that inning with a masterpiece.

The 1946 Red Sox have their ace on the mound in Dave 'Boo' Ferriss; Ferris has been a machine in these tournaments, dating back to the beginning of Tournament II, Ferris's record is 4-1 with 5 complete games.

Game #54

1957 Milwaukee Braves at 1995 Cleveland Indians

It's a case of tribal warfare with the 57' Braves visiting Cleveland. The Indians got jump-started with Jim Thome's walk-off HR against the 2002 Oakland Athletics, they took that moment and squeaked pass the 81' Expos. This is the best tournament to date for Cleveland, who could not get past the 1st Round in the previous two.

For Milwaukee, this is their first tournament, winning their first game in extras on the road against the 68' Tigers -- Unfortunately, they will have to face the Indians without Eddie Mathews, who will miss the game due to a late-game injury.

Game #55

1993 Chicago White Sox at 2013 St. Louis Cardinals

These two teams may not be titans, but this may be one of the most anticipated match-ups in the Sweet Sixteen. The 2013 'Cardiac' Cardinals knocked off one of the greatest teams of all-time in the 1937 New York Yankees (Lou Gehrig & Joe DiMaggio) with basically today's post-season strategy of going to the pen as soon as possible.... and it paid off beautifully!

The Cardinals' Matt Holliday has 2 HR this tournament, while Adam Wainwright will match up against Jack McDowell, who helped the White Sox make an upset of their own on the 1953 Yankees.

A quick note: the 1927, 1937 & 1953 Yankees all didn't make it past the 2nd Round!

Game #56

2004 Anaheim Angels at 1977 Philadelphia Phillies

How much longer can the Angels' luck continue? They have pulled off a major upset of the 2001 Seattle Mariners in Round 1, while winning both of their tourney games in extras -- plus they are doing this with an all-Grade C rotation, while winning their last game with Bartolo Colon (C-Y) with 4 innings of relief.

We also witnessed Bengie Molina hitting 2 HRs in the same game.

Now Anaheim must get by a Phillies team that has knocked off two excellent New York teams (1986 Mets & 1927 Yankees) -- with Steve Carlton on the mound, who is an A-YZ. 

Luck can only stick around for so long.

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