1987 Rewind: Game Ninety-nine

MINNESOTA 13, TORONTO 9 IN TORONTO

Date:  Saturday, July 25.

Batting stars:  Gary Gaetti was 2-for-4 with a home run (his nineteenth), a walk, and a stolen base (his sixth), scoring twice and driving in four.  Gene Larkin was 2-for-4 with a home run (his third) and a walk, scoring twice and driving in three.  Greg Gagne was 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, and a stolen base (his sixth), scoring once and driving in two.

Pitching stars:  Joe Niekro pitched 1.1 scoreless innings of relief, giving up one hit while striking out one.  Jeff Reardon pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Tony Fernandez was 3-for-4 with a double and two walks, scoring once and driving in one.  Garth Iorg was 2-for-5 with a two-run homer (his fifth) and double, scoring twice.  Jesse Barfield was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk, scoring once and driving in one.

The game:  Toronto scored four in the third, three of them coming on a home run by Fred McGriff, but the Twins tied it with four of their own in the fourth, three of them coming on a home run by Gaetti.  Toronto got the lead back in the bottom of the fourth, getting RBI doubles by Fernandez and Rance Mulliniks.  The Twins answered with seven in the sixth.  Larkin led off with a home run, but for the rest of the inning the single was their weapon of choice, as they got five of them.  A couple of walks and an error didn't hurt, either.  The lead was cut to 11-9 in the seventh, as Iorg hit a two-run homer and Kelly Gruber hit a solo shot.  The Twins got single runs in the eighth and ninth to take control of the game again.

Of note:  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-5 with a triple and two runs and was batting .325...Steve Lombardozzi was 2-for-5 with a double and a stolen base (his third), scoring twice and driving in one...Mark Davidson started in center field and batted second, with Puckett at DH...Larkin started at first, with Kent Hrbek out of the lineup...The Twins stole bases.  In addition to the ones mentioned above, Davidson stole his seventh and Randy Bush, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter for Davidson  in the sixth, stole his sixth...Les Straker pitched only three innings, allowing six runs on six hits and four walks with one strikeout...Toronto starter John Cerutti didn't last much longer, going 3.1 innings and allowing four runs on two hits and four walks with two strikeouts.

Record:  The Twins were 54-45, in first place, two games ahead of Oakland.

Player profile:  Garth Iorg had a longer career than you may remember.  An eighth-round draft choice of the Yankees in 1973, he had played in AA in 1976 and was left unprotected in the expansion draft.  He batted .294 in AAA in 1977 and on the strength of that was on the Blue Jays' opening day roster in 1978.  He didn't stay long, as he batted .163 in 49 at-bats and was back in AAA by May.  He never did get on track in 1978, but he produced good AAA batting averages, although with no power, in 1979, and the start of 1980, getting to the big leagues to stay in late May of the latter year.  He was a part-time player for the Blue Jays from then through 1987, playing mostly second and third.  He was never quite an everyday player, but he would play in 120-140 games a season and get 250-400 at-bats.  His only really good season was 1985, when he batted .313/.358/.469 in 288 at-bats.  He had a couple of other years when he had a good batting average, but he drew so few walks and had so little power that he still wasn't much of an offensive contributor.  He stayed in baseball as a minor league coach and manager and as a major league coach through 2014.  For his career he batted .258/.292/.347.  Still, he played in 931 big league games and had 2450 at-bats, and that's a pretty decent career.

Happy Birthday–January 10

Harry Wright (1835)
Chick Stahl (1873)
Del Pratt (1888)
Ziggy Sears (1892)
Max Patkin (1920)
George Strickland (1926)
Jim O'Toole (1937)
Willie McCovey (1938)
Chuck Dobson (1944)
Wilfredo Sanchez (1948)
Richard Dotson (1959)
Kelvin Torve (1960)
Wally Bell (1965)
Kevin Baez (1967)
Gary Rath (1973)
Adam Kennedy (1976)

 Outfielder Ziggy Sears played in the minors for sixteen years, mostly in the Texas League.  He once drove in eleven runs in a game.  He was a National League umpire from 1934-1945.

Max Patkin was a well-known baseball clown from 1944-1995.

Wilfredo Sanchez was a star in Cuba from 1968-1986, winning five batting titles.

Wally Bell was a major league umpire from 1992-2013, when he passed away from a heart attack.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–January 10

Winter Wonderland: Games of January 7-8

GAMES OF JANUARY 7

VENEZUELAN LEAGUE

ANZOATEGUI 13, LA GUAIRA 2 IN LA GUAIRA

Leading 3-2, Anzoategui scored six in the fifth to put the game out of reach.  Oswaldo Arcia was 2-for-3 with two doubles and a walk for Anzoategui, scoring twice and driving in four.

Anzoategui leads the best-of-seven series 3-2.

MARGARITA 2, LARA 1 IN MARGARITA (16 INNINGS)

Lara scored in the third, Margarita scored in the fifth, and that was it until the sixteenth, when Jesus Aguilar's two-out single brought home Junior Sosa with the winning run.  Omar Bencomo pitched seven innings for Margarita, giving up one run on three hits and two walks with two strikeouts.  Jose Osuna was 5-for-6 with two walks for Margarita.  Aguilar was 4-for-8.  Sosa was 3-for-5 with three walks and an RBI.  Lara used thirteen pitchers and Margarita used nine.

Margarita leads the best-of-seven series 3-2.

DOMINICAN LEAGUE

GIGANTES 7, ESCOGIDO 6 AT GIGANTES

Pedro Lopez doubled home a run in the top of the eighth to put Escogido up 6-5, but RBI singles by Nelson Cruz and Maikel Franco gave the victory to the Gigantes.  Jorge Polanco was 1-for-4 with a walk and a run for Escogido.  Franco was 3-for-4 with a walk for the Gigantes, scoring twice and driving in two.

STANDINGS

Aguilas, 8-1
Gigantes, 3-5
Licey, 3-5
Escogido, 3-6

PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE

SANTURCE 11, CAROLINA 0 IN SANTURCE

Leading 2-0, Santurce had an eight-run inning to take control of the game.  Darin Downs pitched four shutout innings for Santurce, giving up two hits and no walks with three strikeouts.

Santurce leads the best-of-seven series 2-1.

CAGUAS 5, MAYAGUEZ 4 IN MAYAGUEZ

Randy Ruiz hit a three-run homer in the fifth to take a 5-1 lead and held on from there.  Mayaguez had the tying run in scoring position in the seventh and ninth but could not bring him home.  Eddie Rosario was 2-for-4 with a double for Mayaguez, scoring twice and driving in one.  Benji Gonzalez was 1-for-3 for Mayaguez.  Kennys Vargas was 1-for-4 for Mayaguez.  Dereck Rodriguez pitched a scoreless inning for Mayaguez, giving up two walks with one strikeout.  John Brownell pitched 5.2 innings for Caguas, giving up two runs on four hits and two walks with three strikeouts.

Mayaguez leads the best-of-seven series 2-1.

MEXICAN LEAGUE

LOS MOCHIS 4, MAZATLAN 3 IN MAZATLAN

With the score tied 3-3 in the seventh, Sebastian Valle doubled, went to third on a bunt, and scored on a sacrifice fly to give Los Mochis a lead they held the rest of the way.  Leandro Castro was 0-for-4 for Los Mochis.  Mazatlan out-hit Los Mochis 15-5 but stranded thirteen men.

Los Mochis wins the best-of-seven series 4-1.

CULIACAN 6, HERMOSILLO 2 IN HERMOSILLO

Culiacan scored one in the first and then got a single run in each of innings five through nine to win the game.  Daniel Rodriguez struck out seven in six innings for Culiacan, giving up two runs on three hits and a walk.

Culiacan leads the best-of-seven series 3-2.

NAVOJOA 8, MEXICALI 6 IN MEXICALI

Quincy Latimore hit a three-run homer to cap a six-run fourth that put Navojoa in the lead to stay.  Mexicali closed to 8-6 in the seventh and had the tying run on base in the seventh and the eighth.  Jesus Castillo was 3-for-4 with a double and a walk for Navojoa, scoring once and driving in three.  Niko Vasquez also homered for Navojoa.

Mexicali leads the best-of-seven series 3-2.

GAMES OF JANUARY 8

VENEZUELAN LEAGUE

No games scheduled.

DOMINICAN LEAGUE

AGUILAS 6, ESCOGIDO 2 IN ESCOGIDO

The Aguilas scored one in each of the first three innings and got three in the ninth to put the game out of reach.  Danny Santana was 2-for-4 with a triple and an RBI for the Aguilas.  Jorge Polanco was 2-for-4 for Escogido.  Jose Urena pitched five innings for the Aguilas, giving up two runs on seven hits and a walk with one strikeout.  Samuel Deduno used his magical zoomball to pitch two perfect innings for the Aguilas, striking out two.

LICEY 2, GIGANTES 1 AT GIGANTES (12 INNINGS)

It was 1-1 after four and stayed there until the twelfth, when Yamaico Navarro drew a two-out walk, stole second, and scored on a Hanley Ramirez single.  The Gigantes used ten pitchers and Licey used nine.  Jason Rogers was 3-for-5 with a double for Licey.

STANDINGS

Aguilas, 9-1
Licey, 4-5
Gigantes, 3-6
Escogido, 3-7

PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE

CAGUAS 2, MAYAGUEZ 1 IN CAGUAS (12 INNINGS)

A bases-loaded walk to Rey Navarro with two out in the twelfth produced the literal "walk"off win.  Eddie Rosario was 1-for-5 for Mayaguez.  Kennys Vargas was 0-for-5 for Mayaguez.  Benji Gonzalez was 0-for-4 for Mayaguez.  Orlando Roman pitched six hitless innings for Caguas, allowing just one walk and two strikeouts.  Randy Ruiz was 3-for-5 with an RBI for Caguas.

The best-of-seven series is tied 2-2.

SANTURCE 2, CAROLINA 0 IN CAROLINA

Santurce scored single runs in the second and sixth.  J. J. Fernandez was 0-for-3 for Carolina.  Adalberto Flores pitched five shutout innings for Santurce, giving up four hits and a walk with three strikeouts.  Abiatal Avelino was 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI for Santurce.

Santurce leads the best-of-seven series 3-1.

MEXICAN LEAGUE

MEXICALI 6, NAVOJOA 4 IN NAVAOJOA (10 INNINGS)

Navojoa led 3-0 after three, but it was tied 4-4 after five and Mexicali got two in the tenth to take the game.  Jon Del Campo was 4-for-5 with two runs and an RBI for Mexicali.  C. J. Retherford hit a home run for Mexicali.

Mexicali wins the best-of-seven series 4-2.

HERMOSILLO 5, CULIACAN 4 IN CULIACAN

Culiacan took a 4-0 lead in the fourth, but Hermosillo got three in the fifth and scored two unearned runs in the seventh to win.  Barry Enright pitched seven innings for Hermosillo, allowing four unearned runs on four hits and a walk with two strikeouts.

The best-of-seven series is tied 3-3.

AUSTRALIAN LEAGUE

CANBERRA 6, ADELAIDE 1 IN ADELAIDE

Already leading 2-1, Canberra got two-run doubles from Robbie Perkins and River Stevens in the sixth inning to put the game out of reach.  Scott Cone pitched 4.1 innings for Canberra, giving up one run on four hits and a walk with one strikeout.

MELBOURNE 5, BRISBANE 1 IN MELBOURNE

James Beresford's two-run single in the fifth broke a scoreless tie and Melbourne led the rest of the way.  Sam Gibbons pitched two shutout innings of relief for Melbourne, giving up three hits and no walks with no strikeouts.  Aaron Whitefield was 2-for-4 with a double for Brisbane and is batting .342.  Logan Wade was 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI for Brisbane and is batting .314.

PERTH 7, SYDNEY 6 IN PERTH (11 INNINGS)

Perth had leads of 2-0, 4-2, and 6-4, but Sydney came back to tie it each time.  They apparently have a rule in the Australian League that, after ten innings, each team starts its inning with men on first and second.  Sydney failed to score even with that advantage, but two errors produced the winning run for Perth.  Tim Kennelly was 3-for-5 with a double for Perth, scoring once and driving in one.

1987 Rewind: Game Ninety-eight

TORONTO 8, MINNESOTA 6 IN TORONTO

Date:  Friday, July 24.

Batting stars:  Greg Gagne was 2-for-3 with a double, scoring once and driving in two.  Tom Brunansky was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk, scoring twice.  Sal Butera was 1-for-3 with a double and two RBIs.

Pitching stars:  Mike Smithson pitched four innings, giving up one run on six hits and a walk with one strikeout.  George Frazier pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit and two walks with one strikeout.

Opposition stars:  Tony Fernandez was 3-for-5 with a double and two runs.  Juan Beniquez was 1-for-1 with a pinch-hit three-run homer, his fourth.  Rick Leach was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his second.

The game:  The Twins scored five in the fourth to take a 6-1 lead.  Doubles were the key to the inning:  Gary Gaetti had an RBI double, Gagne had a two-run double, and Butera had a two-run double.  The score stayed 6-1 until the seventh, when the roof fell in.  Not literally--Skydome remained intact--but it must have felt like that to Tom Kelly.  Keith Atherton was starting his third inning of relief, having blanked the Blue Jays for two.  He got the first batter out, but a single, a walk, and a single loaded the bases and a sacrifice fly brought home a run and brought Dan Schatzeder into the game.  Still, the Twins led 6-2, the tying run was not yet up to bat, things were still looking okay.  Schatzeder immediately gave up a three-run homer to Beniquez to make it 6-5.  He then walked Charlie Moore.  Jeff Reardon then came in to try for a seven-out save.  It didn't happen.  Willie Upshaw singled and Leach hit the second three-run homer of the inning to put Toronto ahead 8-6.  The Twins did not get a man on base in the last two innings.

Of note:  Al Newman replaced Steve Lombardozzi at second base and batted second...Kirby Puckett was 0-for-3 with a walk and was batting .324...Toronto starter Jose Nunez pitched 3.2 innings, allowing six runs on five hits and two walks with three strikeouts...Mark Eichhorn came in to throw 3.1 scoreless innings, giving up three hits and no walks with one strikeout.

Record:  The Twins were 53-45, in first place by two games over Oakland.

Player profile:  Submarine/sidearmer Mark Eichhorn was kind of up-and-down in his career, but when he was good, he was really, really good.  He was drafted by Toronto in the second round of the January draft in 1979.  He actually made his major league debut as a starter, getting called up in late August of 1982 despite not having done very well in AAA that season.  He didn't do much for the Blue Jays, either, going 0-3, 5.45 in seven starts.  He did not come back to the majors until 1986, when he was a relief pitcher.  He had an awesome year, going 14-6, 1.72, 0.96 WHIP and finished sixth in Cy Young voting despite the fact that he was pitching as a set-up man (closer Tom Henke did not receive any Cy Young votes).  He appeared in 69 games and pitched 157 relief innings.  He was not quite as good in 1987 but was still darn good, going 10-6, 3.17, 1.27 WHIP in a league-leading 89 games (127.2 innings).  The workload may have taken a toll, because he had a poor year in 1988, was sold to Atlanta and had a poor year there in 1989, signed with California as a free agent.  He did better in 1990 and then had another awesome year in 1991, going 3-3, 1.98, 0.93 WHIP in 70 games (81.2 innings).  He was pitching well again in 1992 when he was traded back to Toronto for Rob Ducey and Greg Myers.  He struggled at the end of that season, but was fairly good in 1993 for them and really good with Baltimore in 1994.  He was hurt in early August, though, missed all of 1995, and was not the same pitcher when he came back.  He had a poor year with California and that was his last shot in the majors.  He tried to come back, pitching in AAA for Tampa Bay in 1998 and for Toronto in 2000, but never got there.  Overall, he was 48-43, 3.00, 1.24 WHIP, which are fine numbers.  If you just look at his three best years, though, he was 23-14, 2.03, 0.99 WHIP.  At last report, Mark Eichhorn was coaching high school baseball in Aptos, California.  His son, Kevin, pitched in the Arizona and Detroit organizations, reaching high-A.

Happy Birthday–January 9

Bill Thomas (1905)
Johnny Washington (1916)
John Kibler (1928)
Julio Navarro (1936)
Ralph Terry (1936)
Masaaki Mori (1937)
Al Clark (1948)
Joe Wallis (1952)
Ivan DeJesus (1953)
Otis Nixon (1959)
Stan Javier (1964)
Jay Powell (1972)

Bill Thomas pitched in the minors from 1924-1952. He set records for games pitched (1,016), wins (383), losses (347), innings (5,995), hits allowed (6,721), and runs allowed (3,098).

Outfielder/first baseman Johnny Washington played in the Negro Leagues for nearly twenty years.

John Kibler was a National League umpire from 1963-1989.

Masaaki Mori was involved with twenty-seven pennant winners in Japan, sixteen as a player, three as a coach, and eight as a manager.

Al Clark was a long-time American League umpire.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–January 9

1987 Rewind: Game Ninety-seven

TORONTO 4, MINNESOTA 3 IN TORONTO

Date:  Thursday, July 23.

Batting stars:  Gary Gaetti was 1-for-4 with a home run, his eighteenth.  Tom Brunansky was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk.  Kirby Puckett was 1-for-4 with an RBI.

Pitching star:  Joe Niekro pitched 7.2 innings, giving up three runs on five hits and three walks with six strikeouts.

Opposition stars:  Dave Stieb pitched a complete game, giving up three runs on five hits and three walks with eight strikeouts.  Lloyd Moseby was 2-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base (his twenty-first), scoring once and driving in one.  Tony Fernandez was 2-for-4 with a walk and two stolen bases (his twenty-eighth and twenty-ninth), scoring once.

The game:  The Twins scored two in the first to take a 2-0 lead.  Fred McGriff homered in the second to make it 2-1.  In the third, Rance Mulliniks delivered a two-out two-run single to put the Blue Jays ahead 3-2.  It stayed there until the sixth, when Gaetti homered to tie it at three.  It was still 3-3 until the bottom of the ninth.  George Frazier, who had come in to get the Twins out of a jam in the eighth, retired the first two batters, but then gave up a single to Garth Iorg.  We again see that not using your closer in a tie game was already a thing thirty years ago, because Tom Kelly brought in Keith Atherton.  He allowed back-to-back singles to Fernandez and Moseby to give Toronto the win.

Of note:  Gagne once again batted second...Puckett was now batting .326...Randy Bush was the DH in this game.

Record:  The Twins were 53-44, in first place by two games over Oakland.

Player profile:  I know people remember Dave Stieb, but I wonder if they remember just how awesome he really was.  He was drafted in the fifth round in 1978, came up to the majors in late June of 1979, immediately went into the starting rotation, and from 1980-85 he was as good as anybody.  He never had great won-lost records (his best was 17-12 in 1983), which probably hurt his reputation a little.  But he made the all-star team in five of those six years and probably should have made it all six.  He was in the top seven of Cy Young voting three times.  He had an ERA under four in all six seasons, an ERA under 3.30 in five of them, and an ERA under three in two.  He led the league in ERA in 1985, in complete games (with 19) in 1982, in shutouts with five that same year, in innings pitched twice, and in ERA+ twice.  He pitched over 240 innings in five of those years and almost certainly would have in 1981 if not for the players' strike.  He averaged 275 innings pitched from 1982-85.  He had one no-hitter and five one-hitters.  The workload took its toll, as he had down years in 1986 and 1987, although he remained in the rotation and still averaged 190 innings in those years.  He bounced back and had three more excellent seasons from 1988-90, and this time his won-lost records showed it:  in those seasons he was 51-22, 3.11, making two more all-star teams and finishing fifth in Cy Young voting in 1990.  He was off to another fine start in 1991, but was injured in mid-May, missed the rest of the season, and never was the same pitcher.  He stumbled through a poor 1992, made four starts for the White Sox in 1993, and then retired.  In 1998, though, at age forty, he decided to come back, pitched pretty well in AAA, and by late June was back with Toronto.  Unfortunately, this isn't a movie:  he went 1-2, 4.83, 1.49 WHIP.  It was a pretty fine career, though:  176-137, 3.44, 1.25 WHIP, 103 complete games, 30 shutouts, 2895.1 innings.  At last report, Dave Stieb was in the real estate business in Reno, Nevada.

Happy Birthday–January 8

Walker Cooper (1915)
Jim Busby (1927)
Gene Freese (1934)
Reno Bertoia (1935)
Bruce Sutter (1953)
Ramon Romero (1959)
Randy Ready (1960)
Brian Boehringer (1969)
Jason Giambi (1971)
Mike Cameron (1973)
Carl Pavano (1976)
Jeff Francis (1981)
Jeff Francoeur (1984)

Three players named Jeff were born on this day.  In addition to the two listed above, this is also the birthday of Jeff Hoffman, who appeared in eight games for Colorado in 2016.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–January 8

Winter Wonderland: Games of January 6

VENEZUELAN LEAGUE

ZULIA 5, ARAGUA 1 IN ARAGUA

Two errors and two singles produced two Zulia runs in the third and they led the rest of the way.  Reynaldo Rodriguez was 1-for-4 for Zulia.  Eduardo Escobar was 1-for-4 with a triple and an RBI for Aragua.  Rolando Valdez pitched 4.1 innings for Zulia, giving up one run on six hits and one walk with one strikeout.  Jose Tabata was 3-for-4 with a double and a walk for Zulia, driving in three.  Ali Castillo was 3-for-4 with two runs for Zulia.

Zulia wins the series 4-0.

LARA 9, MARGARITA 2 IN MARGARITA

Lara led 4-2 after seven and then scored five in the eighth to put the game out of reach.  Jesus Montero hit a home run for Lara, as did Paulo Orlando.

The best-of-seven series is tied 2-2.

ANZOATEGUI 16, LA GUAIRA 2 IN LA GUAIRA

Anzoategui scored five in the first and were never threatened.  Emerson Martinez, pitched four shutout innings for Anzoategui, giving up four hits and a walk with two strikeouts.  Denis Phipps was 3-for-4 with a home run, a double, and two walks for Anzoategui, scoring three times and driving in five.  Mario Lisson had two home runs for Anzoategui, driving in five.

The best-of-seven series is tied 2-2.

DOMINICAN LEAGUE

AGUILAS 2, GIGANTES 1 AT GIGANTES

The Aguilas got RBI singles from Juan Perez and Zoilo Almonte in the third inning and that was all they needed.  Danny Santana was 1-for-4 with a run for the Aguilas.  Chris O'Grady pitched five innings for the Aguilas, giving up one run on two hits and no walks with three strikeouts.

LICEY 7, ESCOGIDO 4 IN LICEY

Trailing 4-1, Licey scored six in the seventh to go into the lead to stay.  Anderson Hernandez capped the inning with a three-run triple.  Jorge Polanco was 1-for-5 with a double and a run for Escogido.  Diory Hernandez was 3-for-5 for Licey, scoring once and driving in one.

STANDINGS

Aguilas, 8-1
Escogido, 3-5
Licey, 3-5
Gigantes, 2-5

PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE

No games scheduled.

MEXICAN LEAGUE

HERMOSILLO 8, CULIACAN 4 IN HERMOSILLO

Hermosillo went into the lead to stay in the third inning, when they scored twice to break a 2-2 tie.  Okay, only one of the runs actually broke the tie, but you know what I mean.  Anyway, Jason Bourgeois hit a home run for Hermosillo.  Culiacan starter Salvador Valdez apparently injured his leg warming up to pitch the first inning, and so is officially the starting pitcher even though he did not face a batter.

The best-of-seven series is tied 2-2.

MAZATLAN 7, LOS MOCHIS 6 IN MAZATLAN

Los Mochis led 6-2 half-way through, but Mazatlan tied it 6-6 in the seventh and Drew Maggi's RBI single in the ninth ended it in Mazatlan's favor.  Leandro Castro was 1-for-4 with a double and a walk for Los Mochis, scoring twice.  Los Mochis out-hit Mazatlan 9-5.

Los Mochis leads the best-of-seven series 3-1.

MEXICALI 14, NAVOJOA 1 IN MEXICALI

Yuniesky Betancourt's three-run double highlighted a five-run second that put Mexicali in control of the game.  Miguel Pena pitched seven innings for Mexicali, giving up one run on three hits and no walks with three strikeouts.  Jon Del Campo was 4-for-4 with a three-run homer and a walk for Mexicali, scoring four times.  Ramon Rios was 4-for-5 with a home run and a double for Mexicali, scoring three times and driving in three.  Xorge Carrillo was 3-for-5 with a home run and a double for Mexicali, scoring twice and driving in two.

Mexicali leads the best-of-seven 3-1.

AUSTRALIAN LEAGUE*

CANBERRA 5, ADELAIDE 2 IN ADELAIDE (GAME 1--7 INNINGS)

Canberra trailed 2-1 after five but scored two in the sixth and two in the seventh for the win.  Sean Guinard pitched five innings for Canberra, giving up two runs on five hits and two walks with four strikeouts.

CANBERRA 5, ADELAIDE 3, IN ADELAIDE (GAME 2)

A two-run fifth broke a 3-3 tie and put Canberra ahead to stay.  David Kandilas was 3-for-5 with two runs and an RBI for Canberra.

BRISBANE 19, MELBOURNE 4 IN MELBOURNE

Leading 4-1, Brisbane scored eleven runs in the sixth.  Brisbane hit two homers in the inning, a solo shot by Trent Oeltjen to lead off the inning and a grand slam by Logan Wade.  Aaron Whitefield was 1-for-6 with two runs for Brisbane and is batting .336.  Wade was 2-for-6 with a double and two runs and is batting .304.  Ryan Rowland-Smith pitched four shutout innings for Brisbane, giving up one hit and three walks with three strikeouts.  Connor MacDonald was 5-for-6 with a double for Brisbane, scoring twice and driving in two.  David Rodriguez was 3-for-5 with two home runs for Brisbane.  Wade Dutton was 3-for-4 with two runs and three RBIs for Brisbane.

*Games played January 7.  It's timey-wimey.

January 7, 2016: First-Time Home Buyers Class

That'll be my Saturday. I got about four hours of real sleep, so this should be fantastic. It's always fun when I absolutely need sleep because I have an early obligation, and then I wake up at about 4, jarred by a dream where I find myself nude in a car dealership, and see my grandmother on the other side of the room trying to figure out if she saw someone she knew, so I duck down behind the receptionist, consumed with fear and shame.

Happy Birthday–January 7

Kitty Bransfield (1875)
Al Todd (1902)
Johnny McCarthy (1910)
Johnny Mize (1913)
Alvin Dark (1922)
Dick Schofield (1935)
Jim Hannan (1940)
Jim Lefebvre (1942)
Tony Conigliaro (1945)
Joe Keough (1946)
Ross Grimsley (1950)
Bob Gorinski (1952)
Jeff Montgomery (1962)
Craig Shipley (1963)
Allan Anderson (1964)
Rob Radlosky (1974)
Alfonso Soriano (1976)
Eric Gagne (1976)
Brayan Pena (1982)
Francisco Rodriguez (1982)
Edwin Encarnacion (1983)
Jon Lester (1984)

Continue reading Happy Birthday–January 7

Winter Wonderland: Games of January 5

VENEZUELAN LEAGUE

ZULIA 9, ARAGUA 2 IN ZULIA

Zulia scored three in the fifth to break a 2-2 tie and led the rest of the way.  Reynaldo Rodriguez was 0-for-4 for Zulia.  Eduardo Escobar was 0-for-3 with a walk for Aragua.  Freddy Galvis was 4-for-5 with two doubles for Zulia, scoring twice and driving in two.  Ali Castillo was 3-for-4 with three runs for Zulia.  Jordany Valdespin hit a two-run homer for Zulia.

Zulia leads the best-of-seven series 3-0.

MARGARITA 9, LARA 8 IN MARGARITA

Margarita had leads of 4-0, 5-1, and 6-3, but needed a three-run eighth to break a 6-6 tie and then held on as Lara got two in the ninth.  Omar Poveda pitched four innings for Margarita, giving up one run on three hits and two walks with two strikeouts.  Jose Osuna was 4-for-5 with a run and three RBIs for Margarita.  Daniel Mayora was 4-for-5 with two runs and an RBI for Margarita.

Margarita leads the best-of-seven series 2-1.

ANZOATEGUI 6, LA GUAIRA 5 IN LA GUAIRA

Anzoategui trailed 3-0 and 4-2, but single runs in the fifth and sixth tied it and Luis JImenez homered in the seventh to put Anzoategui in the lead to stay.  They got an insurance run in the ninth and needed it, because La Guaira scored once in the ninth, but had the tying run thrown out at the plate trying to score from second on a single.  Each team used eleven pitchers in the game.  Niuman Romero was 3-for-4 with a walk for Anzoategui, scoring once and driving in one.  Rene Reyes and Mario Lisson each hit a home run for Anzoategui.

La Guaira leads the best-of-seven series 2-1.

DOMINICAN LEAGUE

GIGANTES 6, ESCOGIDO 5 IN ESCOGIDO

The Gigantes led 6-0 after eight, but Escogido scored five in the ninth and had the tying run on third before going down.  Jorge Polanco was 0-for-3 for Escogido.  Terry Doyle pitched 4.2 scoreless innings for the Gigantes, giving up three hits and a walk with three strikeouts.  Cam Perkins was 4-for-5 with a run and three RBIs for the Gigantes.  Wilmer Difo was 3-for-4 with a walk and two runs for the Gigantes.

AGUILAS 5, LICEY 2 AT AGUILAS

Licey took a 2-0 lead in the third, but the Aguilas got all five of their runs in the eighth to win.  A three-run double by Brayan Pena broke a 2-2 tie and provided the margin of victory.  Danny Santana was 1-for-3 with a run for the Aguilas.  Francisley Bueno pitched five innings for the Aguilas, giving up two unearned runs on two hits and two walks with three strikeouts.

STANDINGS

Aguilas, 7-1
Escogido, 3-4
Gigantes, 2-4
Licey, 2-5

PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE

No games scheduled.

MEXICAN LEAGUE

CULIACAN 8, HERMOSILLO 7 IN HERMOSILLO

Culiacan led 7-1 half way through, but held on to win 8-7.  Issmael Salas hit a home run for Culiacan.

Culiacan leads the best-of-seven series 2-1.

LOS MOCHIS 3, MAZATLAN 0 IN MAZATLAN

Lew Ford doubled home a run in the third and Los Mochis led the rest of the way.  Luis Niebla pitched eight shutout innings for Los Mochis, giving up four hits and two walks with seven strikeouts.  Ford was 4-for-5 with a double and two RBIs for Los Mochis.

Los Mochis leads the best-of-seven series 3-0.

MEXICALI 3, NAVOJOA 2 IN MAZATLAN

Chris Roberson hit a three-run homer in the second and it stood up.  Navojoa got both of their runs in the fifth.  Navojoa had the tying run in scoring position in the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth, but could not bring him home.  Efren Delgado struck out seven in five innings for Mexicali, giving up two runs on three hits and a walk.

Mexicali leads the best-of-seven series 2-1.

AUSTRALIAN LEAGUE*

MELBOURNE 5, BRISBANE 3 IN MELBOURNE

Melbourne scored two in the seventh to take a 3-2 and Mike Walker hit a two-run homer in the eighth (his fifth) to secure the win.  Aaron Whitefield was 2-for-5 with a double and a run for Melbourne and is batting .347.  Logan Wade was 0-for-5 for Melbourne and is batting .303.  Jeremy Guthrie struck out six in six innings for Melbourne, giving up an unearned run on four hits and a walk.

ADELAIDE 8, CANBERRA 3 IN ADELAIDE

Adelaide scored four in the first and four in the seventh to get the win.  Jack O'Laughlin pitched six innings for Adelaide, giving up two runs on seven hits and a walk with one strikeout.

PERTH 8, SYDNEY 7 IN PERTH

Sydney scored seven in the second to take a 7-0 lead, but Perth got four in the third and two in the sixth to get back into the game and in the ninth, RBI singles by Tim Kennelly and Matt Kennelly won it for Perth.  Luke Hughes hit a three-run homer for Perth, his fourth.

*Games played January 6.  It's timey-wimey.

FMD: Musical Hell Is…

... having the wrong song stuck in your head.

Yesterday was a rough day for me. Part of that was I had two different, awful, songs stuck in my head. The first was the Thomas & Friends theme. If you don't know it... you're lucky. It goes in a class with Lamb Chop's theme and Barney's song. ::shudder:: I assume the selection was commissioned by the CIA for the purpose of "data extraction."

The other one was "It's Raining Men." Unlike the Thomas theme, I can acknowledge that "It's Raining Men" is legitimately a song, and that there is a time and a place for it. I only take umbrage with that time and place being "constantly" and "in my head."

So let's talk pain. What are the worst songs to get stuck in your head? Worst times and places? That sort of thing. Random 10's also welcome!

1987 Rewind: Game Ninety-five

MINNESOTA 2, NEW YORK 1 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Tuesday, July 21.

Batting stars:  Tom Brunansky was 1-for-3 with a home run (his twenty-first) and a walk.  Kent Hrbek was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base, his fifth.  Gary Gaetti was 1-for-4 with a double and a run.

Pitching star:  Bert Blyleven pitched a complete game, giving up one run on seven hits and four walks with eight strikeouts and zero pitches left up.

Opposition stars:  Ron Guidry pitched eight innings, giving up one run on six hits and no walks with four strikeouts.  Mark Salas was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk.  Claudell Washington was 1-for-4 with a double and a run.

The game:  Dave Winfield singled Washington home in the first to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead.  Brunansky homered in the fourth to tie it 1-1.  There was no more scoring until the ninth, when Gaetti led off with double off Tim Stoddard.  Brunansky was intentionally walked and Pat Clements came in to face Hrbek, who singled to center to bring Gaetti home with the winning run.  Apparently, saving your closer for a save situation was a thing back then, too, because Dave Righetti had not pitched since July 17 and would seem to have been available, but was not used.

Of note:  Kirby Puckett was 0-for-4, dropping his average to .325...TK used a rather strange top of the order.  Al Newman led off and was the DH, one of two times that season and in his career that he was a starting DH.  Puckett batted second, with Dan Gladden third.  If someone had the time to look it up, it would be interesting to know if the papers at the time said anything about the reasons for that arrangement.

Record:  The Twins were 52-43, in first place, two games ahead of Oakland.

Player profile:  Tim Stoddard had a pretty long career for being no better than he was.  He was drafted by the White Sox in the second round of the January Secondary draft in 1975.  He pitched one inning for the White Sox in 1975, but didn't really start his major league career until 1978.  He was with Baltimore by then, having been released by the White Sox after the 1977 season.  and started the season with the Orioles, but was sent down in early May.  In the next two years, 1979-80, he was excellent.  He posted a 1.71 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in 58 innings in 1979, became the closer in 1980, and did a fine job, going 5-3, 26 saves, 2.51, 1.28 WHIP.  In the next two years, however, he was not nearly as good--his ERAs were around 4.00, but his WHIPs were around 1.5.  He was even worse in 1983 and the Orioles traded him to Oakland.  He never played for them, as they included him in a deal with the Cubs before the 1984 season started.  He was 10-6, 3.82 in relief for them, but with a WHIP of 1.46.  He became a free agent, signed with San Diego, was not very good for them, and was traded to the Yankees in in July of 1986 for Ed Whitson.  The Yankees probably thought it was a good trade just because they were rid of Whitson, but Stoddard was actually a useful reliever for them for the rest of 1986 and 1987, posting ERAs in the threes and WHIPs in the 1.2s.  He imploded the next year, however, was released in mid-August, played about half a season for Cleveland in 1989, and then was done.  For his career, he was 41-35, 3.95, 76 saves, 1.42 WHIP in 485 games (729.2 innings, all in relief).  Not awful numbers, I suppose, but not as good as could be expected from someone who played thirteen years in the big leagues.  A random fact about Tim Stoddard:  he is the only man to play on an NCAA basketball champion (NC State, 1974) and a World Series champion (Baltimore, 1983).  The only other man to play in the Final Four and the World Series is Kenny Lofton.  The two men went to the same high school, Washington High School in East Chicago, Indiana.

1987 Rewind: Game Ninety-six

MINNESOTA 3, NEW YORK 1 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Wednesday, July 22.

Batting stars:  Kent Hrbek was 1-for-1 with a two-run homer (his twenty-fourth) and three walks.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with a home run, his fifteenth.  Dan Gladden was 1-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base (his eighteenth), scoring once.

Pitching stars:  Frank Viola pitched eight innings, giving up one run on four hits and two walks with six strikeouts.  Jeff Reardon pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Claudell Washington was 1-for-4 with a home run, his seventh.  Rick Cerone was 1-for-3 with a double.  Bobby Meacham was 1-for-2 with a walk.

The game:  Hrbek hit a two-run homer in the first inning to give the Twins all the runs they needed.  Puckett homered in the fifth to make it 3-0.  The Yankees didn't get a hit until the fourth and did not get a man past first base until the sixth, when Washington homered.  The only other Yankee threat came in the seventh, when Cerone hit a two-out double followed by a walk to Meacham.  Wayne Tolleson then struck out to end the inning.

Of note:  Puckett raised his average to .327...Greg Gagne batted second...Yankee starter Rick Rhoden pitched 6.1 innings, giving up three runs on nine hits and four walks with five strikeouts...The Twins stranded eleven and went 1-for-9 with men in scoring position, with the "one" being the Hrbek homer...The Yankees were 0-for-1 with men in scoring position.

Record:  The Twins were 53-43, in first place, two games ahead of Oakland.

Player profile:  I remember Bobby Meacham being touted as a really good prospect, but it didn't happen for him.  He was a first-round draft choice, chosen by St. Louis with the eighth pick in 1981.  He had a couple of lackluster years in the Cardinals organization, then was traded to the Yankees with Stan Javier for Steve Finch, Bob Helsom, and Marty Mason, none of whom made the majors.  Meacham at least did better than that, getting a September call-up in 1983 and spending most of 1984-88 with the big club, although he was sent back to AAA for periods of time in most of those years.  He was the semi-regular shortstop for them in 1984, sharing the position with Tim Foli and Andre Robertson but getting the majority of the starts.  He was their full-time shortstop in 1985, starting all but nine games.  Unfortunately, he didn't do much with the chance, batting .218/.302/.266 in 1985 and striking out 102 times.  He did lead the league in sacrifice hits with 23.  He had a shot at getting the shortstop job back in 1986, as the Yankees used seven different players there, but his numbers that year were remarkably similar to 1985 in far less playing time.  In fact, the Yankees really didn't find a shortstop until 1996, when Derek Jeter came along--their starters in that period included Wayne Tolleson, Rafael Santana, Alvaro Espinoza, Andy Stankiewicz, Spike Owen, Mike Gallego, and Tony Fernandez.  Meacham was not around for most of that, though--he was a part-time player for the Yankees through 1988, then spent a couple of years in AAA for Pittsburgh and Kansas City before his playing career ended.  For his career, Meacham hit .236/.313/.308 in 1371 at-bats.  He stayed in baseball as a minor league coach and manager, and in 2016 was the manager of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in the Toronto organization.

Happy Birthday–January 6

George Shoch (1859)
Phil Masi (1916)
Jiro Noguchi (1920)
Early Wynn (1920)
Ralph Branca (1926)
Lee Walls (1933)
Lenny Green (1933)
Ruben Amaro (1936)
Don Gullett (1951)
Norm Charlton (1963)
Dan Naulty (1970)
Marlon Anderson (1974)
Brian Bass (1982)
Anthony Slama (1984)

Jiro Noguchi was one of the greatest pitchers in the early days of Japanese professional baseball, winning 237 games with an ERA of 1.96.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–January 6

Winter Wonderland: Games of January 3-4

GAMES OF JANUARY 3

VENEZUELAN LEAGUE

LARA 8, MARGARITA 1 IN LARA

It was 1-1 after three, but Lara scored six in the fourth to take control of the game.  Jorge Martinez pitched six innings for Lara, giving up one run on three hits and no walks with three strikeouts.  Juniel Querecuto was 3-for-5 with a double, scoring once and driving in two.

The best-of-seven series was tied 1-1.

LA GUAIRA 13, ANZOATEGUI 6 IN ANZOATEGUI

Again a six-run inning made the difference, as La Guaira got that number in the sixth to turn a 3-2 deficit into an 8-3 lead.  Hector Sanchez was 4-for-4 with a home run and a walk for La Guaira, scoring three times and driving in four.  Danry Vasquez was 4-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs.

La Guaira led the best-of-seven series 2-0.

ZULIA 6, ARAGUA 5 IN ZULIA

It was tied going to the bottom of the ninth.  The first two batters went out, but a single was followed by two walks, loading the bases.  A wild pitch then brought home the winning run.  Reynaldo Rodriguez was 1-for-4 with a double and a walk for Zulia, scoring once.  Eduardo Escobar was 1-for-4 for Aragua.  Alex Romero was 3-for-4 with two doubles for Zulia, scoring twice and driving in one.

Zulia led the best-of-seven series 2-0.

DOMINICAN LEAGUE

AGUILAS 7, GIGANTES 5 AT GIGANTES

The Aguilas scored three in the first and built a 7-0 lead through four.  The Gigantes got back into it with one in the sixth and four in the seventh but did not get the tying run on base.  Jose Urena pitched five shutout innings for the Aguilas, giving up one hit and no walks with four strikeouts.  Ronny Rodriguez was 3-for-5 with two doubles for the Aguilas, scoring once and driving in two.  Alfredo Marte was 3-for-4 with a double for the Aguilas, scoring twice and driving in one.

ESCOGIDO 2, LICEY 0 IN ESCOGIDO

It was scoreless through eight.  The first two Escogido batters went out in the ninth, but an error was followed by Ronny Paulino's two-run walkoff homer.  Jorge Polanco was 0-for-4 for Escogido.  Kelvin Marte pitched six shutout innings for Escogido, giving up four hits and a walk with three strikeouts.

STANDINGS

Aguilas, 5-1
Escogido, 2-3
Licey, 2-3
Gigantes, 1-3

PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE

SANTURCE 2, CAROLINA 1 IN SANTURCE (11 INNINGS)

Ivan De Jesus, Jr.'s RBI single in the bottom of the eleventh won it for Santurce.  J. J. Fernandez was 1-for-4 for Carolina.  Adalberto Flores pitched 6.1 scoreless innings for Santurce, giving up one hit and one walk with two strikeouts.

Santurce leads the best-of-seven series 1-0.

MAYAGUEZ 4, CAGUAS 3 IN MAYAGUEZ (14 INNINGS)

Caguas got three in the ninth to tie it 3-3.  In the fourteenth, however, Yadiel Rivera delivered a two-out RBI single to win it for Mayaguez.  Eddie Rosario was 3-for-6 for Mayaguez.  Kennys Vargas was 1-for-5 with a double and a walk for Mayaguez, scoring once and driving in one.  Benji Gonzalez was 1-for-4 with a run for Mayaguez.  Dereck Rodriguez pitched two-thirds of an inning for Mayaguez, giving up no runs on two hits.  Jorge Lopez struck out six in five innings for Mayaguez, giving up one run on one hit.  Henry Ramos was 3-for-6 with a run for Mayaguez.

Mayaguez leads the best-of-seven series 1-0.

MEXICAN LEAGUE

MEXICALI 7, NAVOJOA 6 IN NAVOJOA

Navojoa led 6-4 after four, but Mexicali got single runs in the fifth, sixth, and seventh, the last on a C. J. Retherford homer, to take the lead.  Yuniesky Betancourt was 3-for-5 with an RBI for Mexicali.

The best-of-seven series is tied 1-1.

HERMOSILLO 6, CULIACAN 4 IN CULIACAN

Hermosillo got three in the third and three in the sixth to gain the victory.  Barry Enright pitched 5.1 innings for Hermosillo, giving up one run on four hits and a walk with three strikeouts.  Jorge Flores was 3-for-4 for Hermosillo.  Tim Torres hit a two-run homer for Hermosillo.

The best-of-seven series is tied 1-1.

LOS MOCHIS 6, MAZATLAN 4 IN LOS MOCHIS

Eugenio Velez hit a two-run homer in the seventh to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 Los Mochis lead.  Saul Soto homered in the eighth for an insurance run.  J. C. Linares and Leandro Castro also homered for Los Mochis.

AUSTRALIAN LEAGUE

No games scheduled.

GAMES OF JANUARY 4

VENEZUELAN LEAGUE

No games scheduled.

DOMINICAN LEAGUE

ESCOGIDO 5, LICEY 0 IN LICEY

Erik Gonzalez hit a two-run double in a three-run third and Escogido never trailed.  Jorge Polanco was 1-for-5 for Escogido.  Bryan Evans pitched 4.2 scoreless innings for Escogido, giving up five hits and a walk with three strikeouts.

AGUILAS 5, GIGANTES 3 AT AGUILAS

Already leading 3-2, the Aguilas scored two runs in the fifth and the Gigantes were never able to get the tying run on base after that.  Danny Santana was 0-for-1 for the Aguilas in a reserve role.  Angel Castro pitched five innings for the Aguilas, giving two runs on four hits and no walks with one strikeout.  Jonathan Villar was 3-for-5 with a double for the Aguilas, scoring once and driving in one.

STANDINGS

Aguilas, 6-1
Escogido, 3-3
Licey, 2-4
Gigantes, 1-4

PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE

CAROLINA 6, SANTURCE 3 IN CAROLINA

Luke Tendler hit a three-run homer in the fifth to break a 3-3 tie.  J. J. Fernandez was 1-for-3 for Carolina.

The best-of-seven series is tied 1-1.

MAYAGUEZ 5, CAGUAS 1 IN MAYAGUEZ

Mayaguez took a 2-0 lead in the first and put the game out of reach with a three-run sixth.  Eddie Rosario was 1-for-5 with a run and two RBIs for Mayaguez.  Kennys Vargas was 2-for-5 with an RBI for Mayaguez.  Benji Gonzalez was 1-for-3 with a walk for Mayaguez.  Hiram Burgos pitched six innings for Mayaguez, giving up one run on five hits and no walks with three strikeouts.  Henry Ramos was 3-for-5 with a run for Mayaguez.

Mayaguez leads the best-of-seven series 2-0.

MEXICAN LEAGUE

No games scheduled.

AUSTRALIAN LEAGUE*

MELBOURNE 4, BRISBANE 3 IN MELBOURNE

Melbourne scored two in the sixth to tie it 3-3.  In the ninth, Mike Walker delivered an RBI single to win it for Melbourne.  Aaron Whitefield was 3-for-5 with a run for Brisbane and is batting .344.  Logan Wade was 2-for-5 with a run for Brisbane and is batting .317.  Mark Hamburger struck out thirteen in eight innings for Melbourne, giving up three runs on ten hits and a walk.

SYDNEY 3, PERTH 0 IN PERTH

Sydney scored one in the first and two in the second and the pitchers took it from there.  Trevor Foss struck out seven in six shutout innings for Sydney, giving up five hits and a walk.  Todd Van Steensel pitched a perfect inning for Sydney, striking out one.

*Games played January 5.  It's timey-wimey.

Remodeled basement. Same half-baked taste.