A few weeks ago a friend of mine who is really into board games offered me his 1989 copy of Statis Pro Baseball after we finished playing an unrelated game, knowing what a baseball fanatic I am. I played a couple games and was immediately enamored. I am astounded at how realistic of a game of baseball this simple board game simulates. I've played sports video games for years, but this does it so simply with cards and you can see the play develop before you.
Being so enthralled, I asked him if I could borrow his game for a while and when he agreed, I came up with a plan. Plan a full 162 game season seemed like way too much of an undertaking, so instead I decided to think of a small opportunity. I came up with finishing out the strike-cancelled 1994 MLB season. Now, playing every single game of the about 45-50 games per team would still be way too much work, so I picked one team in contention, the Cleveland Indians and decided I would manage them to finish out the season.
In order to simulate the other games around the league, I'm cheating. I'm using a website called WhatIfSports.com which allows you to take any MLB team from any year and pit it against another team in its simulation computer. I'm taking the outcomes of those games, changing the starting pitchers and small lineup changes and getting results for other games and entering them into a spreadsheet. As the season progresses I may pick games down the stretch that are pivotal to the playoffs and play them out on Statis Pro, even if they aren't Indians games. I'm also using WIS.com and Statis Pro to track a few other storylines from the 1994 season, namely Ken Griffy Jr and Matt Williams both have over 40 HRs at the time of the strike and are chasing the 61 of Roger Maris. Also, Tony Gwynn is in striking distance of .400 and Chuck Knoblauch, Craig Biggio and Larry Walker all face the opportunity to break the single season doubles leader. All these storylines may be played out at pivotal moments on Statis Pro.
With all that being said, I will be provided brief synopses of the games I play here as a type of journal. I've already played out about the first 5 games and plan to journal the first 3 today. Bare with me as its been a few days since I played these, but I'll do my best to hit the main points.
I hope you all (or someone) enjoys reading it.
What a great idea! I look forward to you sharing how things go!
I want to apologize for the delayed response. I had expected to give at least the first update by now, but it didn't happen as life got in the way this week. However, I now have the time to report back with our first series following the strike as the Indians resume play against the Milwaukee Brewers at home in Jacobs Field. This is a three game series.
A couple other notes first: I'm playing as if the strike lasted a week, so all pitchers are available and rested. Also, it would have taken way too long to go back and figure out who may have been injured on each time, so as of now I'm playing with all players healthy. Statis Pro includes injuries in the game, so that may change, and I may add injuries to the opposition if I get some too in order to keep it even.
Without further ado... the series summary.
Milwaukee Brewers (53-62) @ Cleveland Indians (66-47)
Cal Eldred (11-11) vs. Dennis Martinez (11-6)
This game was a pitcher's duel early. Martinez held the Brewers to 1 hit through 4 innings. The Tribe took a 1-0 lead into the 5th but the Brewers tied it on a 2-out infield hit by (CF) Alex Diaz. The Brewers then got to Martinez for 4 runs in the 6th, which Martinez didn't escape. The major blow was a 3-run homer by (1B) John Jaha. The Indians scored single runs in the 8th and 9th and finally chased Eldred from the game in the 9th, but Brewers closer Mike Fetters shut the door and the Brewers won baseball's return by a final of 5-3. Eldred got his 12th win. Martinez got his 7th loss. Jaha and Indians CF Kenny Lofton both homered.
Milwaukee Brewers (54-62) @ Cleveland Indians (66-48)
Ricky Bones (10-9) vs. Charles Nagy (10-8)
The Indians jumped on Bones early. SS Omar Vizquel scored on a wild pitch and DH Eddie Murray followed with a 2-run homer. The Tribe added single runs in the 2nd and 3rd and Bones didn't return for the 4th inning. The Indians wouldn't stop there though as the Indians proceeding to scored in every inning but the 8th. Cleveland homered 4 times in the game as Belle, RF Manny Ramirez and 1B Paul Sorrento all got into the act. Ramirez was the star as he went 3 for 4, scored 3 times and drove 3 in as well. Nagy was solid as well, going 7 innings, giving up 4 runs before handing the game over to Steve Farr as the Tribe dominated throughout, winning 15-4.
Milwaukee Brewers (54-63) @ Cleveland Indians (67-48)
Bill Wegman (8-4) vs. Jack Morris (10-6)
The Indians jumped ahead in the 2nd inning with a 3-run home run by C Sandy Alomar and added a run with a Belle homer in the 4th. Jack Morris looked to be cruising in the 5th with a 4-1 lead but allowed the first 5 to reach base in the inning in what would become a 5-run inning. The big hit was the go-ahead single by Brewers 3B Kevin Seitzer. Cleveland answered in the 6th and re-took the lead on a big 2-run homer by 3B Jim Thome, leading 7-6 after 6. Morris handed the game to Eric Plunk in the 7th and Plunk returned for the 8th but gave up a lead-off home run to Brewers C Dave Nilsson (who had a great series, going 7 for 13 with 3 HR). The game remained tied into extra innings as both bullpens put in exemplary performances. Graeme Lloyd gave the Brewers 4 scoreless innings out of the pen and Derek Lilliquist did the same for the Tribe. The tie was broken in the 14th when Paul Shuey gave up solo home runs to Brewers' DH Brian Harper and SS Jose Valentin. Doug Henry pitched an uneventful 14th for the Brewers and Milwaukee took the rubber match of the series 9-7. Henry got the win and Shuey received the loss.
That's the first recap as the Brewers take 2 of 3 from Cleveland on the road. My Indians will now host the Oakland Athletics in a three game series to end the homestand.
I hope you all enjoyed. If anyone has questions about the games, or how I'm presenting things, or even ideas on how I can improve this, let your voice be heard, I'm open to feedback.
Until next time.
Our next series brings Rickey Henderson, Mark McGwire and the rest of the Oakland Athletics into town in a 3 game set at Jacobs Field. You'll see how we fared below.
Oakland Athletics @ Cleveland Indians
Miguel Jimenez (1-4) vs. Mark Clark (11-3)
Things looked great for the Tribe early as they exploded out to a 6 run bottom of the 1st inning capped with home runs by LF Albert Belle and RF Manny Ramirez. Oakland manager Tony LaRussa decided to stick with the young starter Jimenez and that paid off as he followed up that horrific 1st inning by only allowing 1 more run through the next 4. He was removed in the 6th after a lead off base hit to C Tony Pena, who later came around to score the Indians 8th run. Oakland was able to mount a comeback, the big innings being a 3-run 2nd and a 4-run 5th, which included a 3-run homer by C Terry Steinbach. Oakland led 9-8 after 6 innings and never relinquished that lead as the Indians bullpen continued to let them add on. 12-9 was the final. Jimenez ended up with his 2nd win for his efforts. Russ Swan got the loss for the Indians out of the bullpen as he gave up all the runs in that 4-run 5th.
Player of the Game: Oakland C Terry Steinbach 4 for 4, 4 runs scored, 6 RBI
Steve Karsay (1-1) vs. Jason Grimsley (5-2)
The Indians struck first in the bottom of the 3rd inning with a 2-run home run by CF Kenny Lofton and tacked on a run in the 4th on an RBI single by C Sandy Alomar and again in the 5th on an RBI double by Lofton. That lead was plenty as Grimsley was masterful early on, allowing no runs and only 5 hits through 6 innings. He finally faced serious trouble in the 7th, aided by an error by 3B Jim Thome, he allowed 2 runs in the inning, only 1 of them earned before giving way to reliever Eric Plunk with 2 outs for the biggest at bat of the game. With a runner on first and the tying run in slugger Mark McGwire at the plate Plunk got McGwire to pop up in foul ground to Alomar and the Indians preserved the 4-2 lead they'd take the rest of the way. Grimsley got his 6th win and Karsay his 2nd loss. Jose Mesa shut the door for his 3rd save.
Player of the Game: Plunk 1 1/3 IP 1 hit, 0 runs, key out of McGwire in the 7th
Ron Darling (10-11) vs. Dennis Martinez (11-7)
McGwire's bat showed up early in this rubber match as he hit a 2 run homer off Martinez in the 1st to give the As the lead before the Indians even hit. The Indians responded in a big way though, the biggest blow coming in the 4th where they scored 4 runs on 5 consecutive hits that would ultimately chase Darling from the game. 2B Carlos Baerga's 2-run triple was the biggest hit in the inning as the Indians led 7-3 after 4. Another big inning in the 5th including a 3-run homer by Belle made it look like a comfortable victory for the Tribe before the Indians bullpen seriously faltered. Matt Turner and Steve Farr combined to give up 6 runs in the 8th that brought the As back into the ballgame at 13-10. The Tribe resorted to closer Jose Mesa to get the final 5 outs of the game and order was finally restored as with much 8th inning drama, the Indians still won this one 13-10 and the series with it. Martinez pitched admirably, giving up 4 runs over 6 1/3 innings and got his 12th win. Darling took his 12th loss and Mesa notched 2 saves in a row for his 4th.
Player of the Game: Baerga 3 for 4, 1 triple, 2 runs scored, 5 RBI
So we take 2 of 3 from the As. Next in town are the Seattle Mariners who are in for 4 games to finish out the homestand.
Once I get caught up with my updates to where I am with actually playing the games (getting there) I will give some updates around the league and maybe more specifics. Once again, questions or feedback are encouraged, but regardless, thank you for reading.
After going 3-3 so far on the homestand, the Indians will close out with 4 game at Jacobs Field against Ken Griffey Jr and the Seattle Mariners.
Seattle Mariners @ Cleveland Indians
Chris Bosio (4-11) vs. Charles Nagy (11-8)
Nagy was masterful throughout as the he pitched a complete game, giving up only 1 run in the 3rd inning on a sacrifice fly by Mariners 2B Rich Amaral. He scattered 7 hits and struck out six batters. The Indians scored 8 runs gradually throughout the game in what ended up being a rout. Homers by DH Eddie Murray and 3B Jim Thome were among the big blows. Not much drama in this one. Nagy got his 12th win in the complete game. Bosio got his 12th loss as he left after only 4 innings.
Player of the Game: Charles Nagy 9 IP, CG, 7 hits, 1 run, 1 BB, 6 K
Greg Hibbard (1-6) vs. Jack Morris (10-6)
This was a wild one throughout as both teams jumped on the starting pitchers early and often. The Mariners struck first with 2 in the 2nd, but the Indians answered with 3 in the bottom of the inning, including a lead off home run by Murray and a 2-run single by C Sandy Alomar. Both teams tacked on in the 3rd, where Morris was chased from the game after giving up a total of 7 runs. RF Jay Buhner hit a 3-run homer from the Mariners in the frame and when it was over the Mariners led 7-5. Neither starting pitcher appeared in the 4th inning. After a little more scoring on both sides, including a home run and 2 more RBI for Alomar, the game was tied at 9 after 5. At that point, the Mariners bullpen shut down the Tribe the rest of the way. Goose Gosage, Bill Risley and Bobby Ayala allowed no runs in the final 4 innings of work. The Mariners scored 4 off of Steve Farr in the 7th including another 3-run homer by LF Eric Anthony, and that was the ballgame. Mariners win 13-9. Gossage got the win, going to 4-0. Farr got the loss going to 1-2.
Player of the Game: Mariners RF Jay Buhner 4 for 5, 3 runs scored, 4 RBI, HR, BB
Roger Salkeld (2-6) vs. Mark Clark (11-3)
The Indians jumped on another Mariners starting pitcher and chased Salkeld after 3 innings, scoring 7 runs on him including a 4-run 3rd that had a 3-run home run by Manny Ramirez. It looked like smooth sailing for the Tribe as they held a 7-0 lead. However, the Mariners bullpen returned to the same form as the night before, allowing no runs in 5 innings of work between Jeff Nelson, Risley and Tim Davis. That gave the opportunity for the Mariners to threaten a comeback. 3 solo homers from the 4th through 8th innings brought the score to 7-3. Wanting to stop the drama before it began, the Indians went to closer Jose Mesa in the 9th despite the 4 run lead meaning no save situation. One out away from victory, with 2 out and 2 on Mariners DH Reggie Jefferson strode to the plate with current AL home run leader CF Ken Griffey Jr. on deck as the tying run. Jefferson singled, scoring C Bill Haselman and bringing the deficit to 3. Griffey would hit as the tying run. Mesa stepped up though, striking out Griffey to end the ballgame. Mark Clark went 5 1/3 innings, gave up 2 runs and struck out 2. He got his 12th win. Salkeld got the loss, his 7th.
Player of the Game: Indians RF Manny Ramirez 3 for 4, 2 runs scored, 4 RBI, 2 HR, 1 double
Randy Johnson (14-6) vs. Jason Grmisley (6-2)
With the big unit on the mound and a strong performance from Grimsley his last time out I thought this would be a pitchers duel to end the series. I was wrong. Grmisley was chased after 3 innings, allowing 5 runs, only 3 of them earned though an error by Thome on a Buhner grounder in the 2nd proved costly, allowing 2 runs later to score in the inning. Johnson didn't last much longer though as the Indians exploded for 6 runs in the 4th on 6 hits, including a 2-run single by Alomar that ultimately led to Johnson's removal. The Mariners' bullpen, exhausted by so many innings of long but effective use in the series faltered finally. The Indians scored 9 more runs on the pen and ran away with the ballgame. Another crooked number of 5 in the 7th was a major factor, including homers by 2B Carlos Baerga and Alomar. Milt Hill was the pitcher that took the brunt of it for Seattle, allowing 6 runs in 2 innings. The Indians bullpen was erratic but effective enough, allowing 4 runs in 6 innings, 3 of them given up by Russ Swan in the 4th and 5th, in which Anthony homered again. The Indians went on to win, scoring their most runs so far since returning from the strike, 16-9. Despite being not that effective Swan got his first win on the season, going to 1-2. Kevin King got the loss out of the bullpen and went to 0-3.
Player of the Game: Indians 2B Carlos Baerga 4 for 5, 2 runs scored, 3 RBI, 1 HR, 1 double
That ends the homestand as the Indians go 6-4 on it. We now hit the road for the west coast as a follow-up series against Oakland is next. As I am approaching catching up to where I stand in playing games and have the reports up to date, I may post an "Around the League" post next.
Thanks for reading.
I know I had said this next post would be Around the League, but I've fallen back behind again the number of games I have actually played and want to catch back up. There will however be an Indians standings update after I re-cap my most recent series as we travel to the west coast and once again take on the Oakland Athletics. Lets begin.
Cleveland Indians @ Oakland Athletics
Dennis Martinez (12-7) vs. Bobby Witt (8-11)
This game was a close one throughout and well pitched for the most part on both sides with the exception of the bottom of the 4th for the Indians and Martinez. With the Indians up 3-1 Martinez allowed a 4-run 4th, with a 2-run homer by RF Ruben Sierra ambushing Martinez with the 2nd batter of the inning to tie the game. 4 more singles followed in the inning leading to 2 more runs. After scoring single runs in the first 3 innings the Indians bats went silent the rest of the way, only getting 1 hit off the Oakland bullpen after Witt exited after 5 innings. The Indians bullpen was equally competent but the damage had already been done. Witt got the win, his 9th. Martinez got the loss, his 8th. Dennis Eckersley recorded the save for the As. It was his 21st.
Player of the Game: Athletics RF Ruben Sierra 1 for 4, 1 run 2 RBI, HR
Charles Nagy (12-8) vs. Todd Van Poppel (7-12)
Both teams scored early with the Indians hitting first and getting 3 right off the bat. DH Eddie Murray's 2-run home run was the big at bat in the inning. The lead would be tacked onto in the 2nd with 2 more runs on RBI hits by CF Kenny Lofton and 2B Carlos Baerga but Oakland would answer back with 3 of their own in the bottom of the frame. Sierra's second homer in as many days was the big swing. This one was a 2-run shot. After that 2nd inning though Nagy settled in and allowed only one more run in 5 2/3 innings of work. Van Poppel wasn't as fortunate. He allowed one more run in the 4th on a lead off solo homer to C Sandy Alomar before being lifted from the game early. Unlike the night before the Indians punished the As bullpen, scoring in every inning but the 9th. The biggest was a 4-run 6th with a 3-run homer by Baerga. The As scratched out 3 more runs of their own through the later innings but weren't able to really complete. Cleveland took this one by a final of 13-7. Nagy was the winner, his 13th (he's won all 3 starts since coming back from the strike). Van Poppel lost for the 13th time.
Player of the Game: Indians 2B Carlos Baerga 3 for 5, double, HR, 2 runs scored 5 RBI
Jack Morris (10-6) vs. Miguel Jimenez (2-4)
Not to kill any sort of suspense, but this one was over early. 8 runs on hits in the 2nd for the Indians led to a huge rout. 3B Jim Thome and LF Albert Belle both homered in the inning. Every starter but RF Manny Ramirez scored (he actually made both the first and last out of the inning). With all that, Jimenez actually returned for the 3rd but didn't go much further. 2 more runs in the 3rd were his demise. The Indians also added on the in the 6th with a grand slam by Alomar and the 8th with RBI hits by SS Omar Vizquel and Baerga. In the end the Tribe scored 16. Oakland hit the ball around too but were just overwhelmed. They scored 4 in the 4th including a 3rd day in a row with a Sierra home run (3 run shot this time). They also scored 4 more in the 6th before Morris was finally lifted. A 2-out 2-run double by LF Rickey Henderson was the big swing in the inning for the As. Oakland went down without a whimper after Morris left though and the Indians went on to win handily, 16-8. Despite giving up 8 runs, Morris got his 11th win. Jimenez got his 5th loss after beating the Indians just a few days earlier.
Player of the Game: Indians C Sandy Alomar 2 for 5, 2 HR, BB, 3 runs scored, 5 RBI
For our next series we will remain on the west coast and take on the California Angels. The Angels are a very young team with a lot of guys that are up and coming but not quite stars yet. It should be a goo opportunity to make this west coast trip a success.
As for our standings check, I have since overwritten by standings document as I am further ahead than this update, but I can tell you that by taking 2 of 3 from Oakland the Indians, who at the beginning of this Statis Pro journey sat 1 game behind the Chicago White Sox for the AL Central and firmly in the lead in the wildcard have now flipped spots with Chicago and lead them in the division by 1 game. Also, at this point, the Indians are 8-5 since returning from the strike and have won every series except the first one, against the Milwaukee Brewers. They will try to continue the march to October with the Angels next.
Our west coast trip continues with 3 games against the young, lowly California Angels. We will try end complete the road trip on a positive note.
Cleveland Indians @ California Angels
Mark Clark (12-3) vs. Joe Magrane (2-7)
This game was low scoring early as Clark and Magrane were matching each other pretty well. The Indians struck first with RBI doubles by 2B Carlos Baerga and DH Eddie Murray in the 3rd inning, but the Angels cut the deficit in half in the 4th when Angels 3B Spike Owen drove in a run on an error by Indians SS Omar Vizquel. After that, Clark was money. He didn't allow a run for the next 4 innings and ended up pitching a complete game, finally surrendering a second run in the 9th. By then, the Indians had already added 5 in the 6th, the big blow was a 3-run homer by C Sandy Alomar. The Indians tacked one more on in the 8th. Clark went all 9 innings, scattering 8 hits and 2 walks. He have up 2 runs and struck out 5 as the Indians coasted to a 8-2 victory. Clark notched his 13th win and Magrane got his 8th loss.
Player of the Game: Indians SP Mark Clark 9 IP, CG, 8 hits, 2 earned runs, 2 BB, 5Ks
Jason Grimsley (6-2) vs. Chuck Finley (10-11)
The Indians struck immediately in this one, the first 3 runners scored for the Tribe, including a 2-run home run by Baerga. The Indians took that 3-0 lead out of the 1st. After a single run in the 2nd, the Angels added 5 in the 3rd. Angels RF Tim Salmon has a 2-run double in the inning off Grimsley as the major hit. Grimsley would continue on and concede another run in the 4th, but would exit after a leadoff hit allowed to Jackson in the 5th, ending his night allowing 7 runs. Finley really settled in after the first 3 batters of the night until he allowed 2 in the 5th on RBI doubles by Baerga and LF Albert Belle. Finley was done after 5 1/3 innings and left with the lead. The Angels bullpen would run with that lead the rest of the way as the Indians only threatened in the 7th. Angels reliever Mike Butcher intentionally walked Baerga in with a man on 2nd and 1 out. Butcher proceeded to get Belle to line out sharply to left and Murray to ground out to shortstop. The Angels added 1 in the 8th and took the victory and split the series, 8-5. Finley got his 11th win. Grimsley got his 3rd loss. Joe Grahe got his 15th save.
Player of the Game: Angels DH Chili Davis 2 for 4, double, HR, 2 runs scored, 2 RBI
Dennis Martinez (12-8) vs. Phil Leftwich (6-12)
Much like Game 2, the Indians got on the board as CF Kenny Lofton jumped on Leftwich immediately for a triple. Vizquel followed with a groundout to score Lofton, and the Indians led 1-0 after 2 batters. The Tribe tacked on 2 more in the 2nd with RBI singles by Alomar and Lofton and another in the 3rd by Murray on a solo home run. The Indians led throughout the middle innings 4-1 as Martinez looked formidable for the first time since his first start since the return from the strike. The Indians added a run in the 7th, but the Angels drew closer in the bottom of the inning with a 2-run single by CF Chad Curtis. The tying run the came to the plate in Angels SS Gary DiSarcina but he had the bat taken out of his hands. Curtis was picked off of 1st base by Martinez to close out the inning. After an uneventful 8th inning Martinez turned the ball over to closer Jose Mesa, who allowed a hit but no further damage and the Indians took the victory, and the series, 5-3. Martinez got the win, going to 13-8. Leftwich lost for the 13th time. Mesa notched his 4th save.
Player of the Game: Indians SP Dennis Martinez 8 IP, 7 hits, 3 earned runs, 3 BB, 4 Ks
With that final deciding game the Tribe took the series and ended the road trip with a 4-2 record. The Indians, still in the thick of a division race will return home after a day off and take on the Kansas City Royals. The Royals are in the wildcard hunt (about 5 games out if memory serves me) and will be the first above .500 team the Tribe has faced since the strike. It should shape out to be my best series yet. You'll find that next right here.
After a successful 4-2 west coast trip the Indians return to Jacobs Field and will take on wildcard candidate, the Kansas City Royals. This series will be the Tribe's biggest challenge yet since returning from the strike. You may notice these re-caps being slightly longer than some of the previous. There were some tight games in this series and I felt they deserved a little closer detail in the play-by-play.
Tom Gordon (13-7) vs. Charles Nagy (13-8)
Both pitchers have been having great seasons and this one was expected to be a pitcher's duel. It certainly didn't disappoint. There was scoring early, as the Tribe got 2 in the bottom of the 1st on a bit of bad defensive play by the Royals. Indians CF Kenny Lofton singled to start the inning and went to 2nd base on the play due to an error by Royals LF Vince Coleman. SS Omar Vizquel sacrifice bunted him to 3rd and after a strikeout LF Albert Belle drove him in from 3rd on an infield hit. Belle then went to 2nd on a wild pitch and DH Eddie Murray drove him in with a single of his own. The Indians booted the ball themselves right away in return as a 2-base error by Indians 3B Rene Gonzales (giving Thome the day off) led to an RBI hit by Royals 1B Wally Joyner.
After all the early mistrials though the good pitching took over and the game stayed deadlocked going into the 8th. Nagy came back out for the 8th, Tribe still leading 2-1 and with 1 out gave up an infield hit to Coleman. Coleman, KC's speedster at the top of the lineup was sure to steal with the Royals down 1 run. In an attempt to pick him off Nagy sent a throw over to Indians 1B Paul Sorrento. It sailed down the right field line and Coleman took second on the error. Appearing momentarily rattled, Nagy proceeded to immediately give up a triple to Royals CF Brian McRae. Coleman scored easily and the game was tied at 2. The Indians decided to stick with Nagy, having been so good since the return from the strike. That decision paid off. He stuck out RF Felix Jose for the 2nd out of the inning, intentionally walked DH and cleanup hitter Bob Hamelin and got C Mike MacFarlane to pop up in foul ground to Indians backstop Sandy Alomar. The Tribe may have lost the lead, but the tie was preserved.
Gordon also returned to start the 8th before being removed after a leadoff walk of Belle. Billy Brewer came in and quickly retired Murray and coaxed Sorrento into an inning ending double play. Nagy put the Royals down without any drama in the 9th and the Royals went to closer Jeff Montgomery in the bottom of the frame. Montgomery was welcomed by RF Manny Ramirez who greeted him with a leadoff double. Wayne Kirby entered for the Tribe in order to pinch run for Ramirez and went to 3rd base on Alomar's groundout to first. With 1 out and a man on 3rd the Indians pinch hit Jim Thome for Gonzales and the Royals countered by intentionally walking Thome to face Lofton. Lofton then walked too and the bases became loaded for Vizquel. With 1 out and the bases loaded Vizquel proceeded to smack a line drive to left field, going over Coleman's head, scoring Kirby from 3rd and winning the ball game for the Tribe! 3-2 Indians! Nagy got the complete game win, he's 4-0 since the strike and 24-8 overall. Montgomery got the loss, his 4th as he is 2-4.
Player of the Game: Indians SS Omar Vizquel 1 for 4, sacrifice bunt, RBI, walk-off single
David Cone (18-6) vs. Jack Morris (11-6)
The pitching would seem to favor Cone in this one as he has been dominant all season and that showed despite the Tribe scoring 2 in the 1st on a 2-run homer by Belle. The Royals immediately responded with 5 in the 2nd as McRae tripled for the 2nd day in a row. This time it scored 2 of the 5 runs in the inning. Coupled with the 1 run the Royals got in the 1st, they led 6-2 after 2. The Tribe got to Cone again in the 4th as Sorrento hit a 2-run blast of his own and the lead was cut in half, 6-4 in the 4th.
Morris pitched into the 5th where he found himself in more trouble before being replaced by reliever Jeff Russell. With men on 1st and 2nd Russell struck out Royals 3B Gary Gaetti and Joyner to end the threat. In the 7th the Royals tacked on an insurance run when Hamelin hit a solo homer off of Russell with 2 out. He then surrendered a double to MacFarlane but escaped, now trailing 7-4. After the 7th inning stretch the Tribe rallied back off of Royals reliever Stan Belinda. With 1 out Lofton tripled and then scored on a groundout by Vizquel. 2B Carlos Baerga then walked with Belle looming on deck. Belle stepped up in the clutch and homered for the 2nd time, tying the game at 7! Murray flew out to end the inning but the game was knotted up going to the 8th.
Both teams went quickly in the 8th and the only threat in the 9th was cut down when Vizquel was caught stealing 2nd base with 2 out, bringing on extra innings. Derek Lilliquist came out for his 2nd inning of relief for the Tribe in the 10th and after a first out found himself in trouble. MacFarlane doubled, bringing up Gaetti who was intentionally walked to set up the double play and in order to create a lefty-lefty matchup vs Joyner. The Royals responded by pinch hitting righty David Howard for Joyner but Howard struck out anyway. With 2 out and 2 on LF David Henderson, starting in place of Coleman came to the plate and smacked an RBI double scoring pinch runner Terry Shumpert who ran for McFarlane. After another intentional walk loaded the bases McRae struck again with a 2 run single giving the Royals a 3 run lead before 2B Jose Lind struck out to end the inning. Going to the bottom of the 10th, the Royals led, 10-7. Montgomery entered for the Royals in the 10th and unfortunately was in much better form than the night before, slicing through the heart of the Indians order. He struck out Baerga and Belle before getting Murray to pop out to end the inning and the game, 10-7.
Billy Brewer got the win, his 6th as he is 6-1. Lilliquist was the loser, going to 1-4. Montgomery got his 33rd save.
Player of the Game: Royals CF Brian McRae 2 for 6, 1 run scored, 4 RBI, 1 triple
Kevin Appier (8-6) vs. Mark Clark (13-3)
For the 3rd day in a row the Indians struck first as Lofton scored on an RBI single by Murray before Belle hit into a double play to end the threat. They added 1 in the 2nd and 2 in the 3rd on a 2-run homer by Murray as well and led 4-1 after 3 innings as Clark out-pitched Appier early. Keeping the game close, the Royals scored twice on a 2-run triple by Joyner in the 4th, bringing the lead to 1 run.
The scored held there until Clark was lifted in the 6th after a leadoff double allowed to Hamelin. The move to reliever Paul Shuey though proved costly as the Royals exploded for 7 runs in the 6th, including home runs by MacFarlane and Jose. Jose's was a 3 run shot. The Indians trailed 10-4 but chipped way with a single run in the 6th and 2 in the 7th but the Royals just added on to their 10-7 lead in the 8th with a 2-run shot by Hamelin off of reliver Matt Turner. Trailing 12-7, the Indians won't go quietly as they scored 3 in the bottom of the 8th, including 2 of them on a double by Sorrento. After another run by the Royals made it 13-10 Montgomery entered for KC for the 3rd night in a row. Lofton led off with a single but was quickly erased on a fielder's choice by Vizquel. Murray popped out for the 2nd out but Belle singled to put runners on 1st and 2nd and bring the tying run to the plate with 2 out in the 9th. Sorrento came to the plate with a chance to tie the game but ended up popping up to Joyner who caught it and ended the game and the series. Royals reliever Mike Magnante got the win for his 2 1/3 scoreless inning effort. He is 4-3. Shuey got the loss. He is 0-3. Montgomery got his 2nd save in a row and his 34th for the season.
Player of the Game: Royals DH Bob Hamelin 3 for 5, 3 runs scored, 2 RBI, 2 doubles, 1 HR
So after a well fought series the Indians drop 2 of the 3 games on their homefield. The opportunity for a quick turnaround comes though as the California Angels come to town after having just recently dropping 2 of 3 to the Tribe on the west coast. Furthermore, the Indians' following series with be a rematch with these Royals from Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.
I know those were much lengthier game re-caps and I hope that is a positive as they are more detail-filled and not a negative as they are more long-winded and wordy. As usual any feedback, as simple as a thumbs up or down is always appreciated.
One thing I didn't mention last time because I didn't realize is that the series to come at home here against the California Angels is a 4-game series. We will be taking on the cellar dwellers on the AL West from home then in the four game set, with hopes of sweeping, if not at least winning the series and keeping pace with the White Sox for first in the division. One other item of note would be that this series will bring us into the September portion of the MLB schedule as we enter Game 133. I promise the Around the League post is also coming.
California Angels @ Cleveland Indians
Chuck Finley (11-11) vs. Jason Grimsley (6-3)
This pitching matchup was a re-match from last week's series back in California, but its started much more tidy for Grimsley. The Indians struck early again on Finley in the 1st as the Tribe scored 2, capped by a home run by LF Albert Belle. They added 2 more in the 2nd as well with a 2-run shot by RF Manny Ramirez. Grimsley did concede a run in the 1st as well but quickly settled down after the RBI hit by DH Chili Davis. Following the 1st he proceeded to pitch 5 scoreless innings as the Tribe grew their lead to 5-1.
However, with 2 down in the 6th and the Angels at the plate Grimsley coaxed Angels 3B Spike Owen to hit a ball on the ground to the right side of the infield. Indians 1B Eddie Murray (Sorrento's been struggling, I've given him a couple days off and let bench player Candy Maldanado DH) ranged to his right and gloved the grounder but his short toss to Grimsley covering first was errant. Grimsley was able to catch it and step on the base, but in doing so he collided with Owen as the both converge to the bag. The play sent them both toppling and in his haste to brace his fall Grimsley landed on his wrist on his right (throwing) hand. He was removed from the game and afterwards diagnosed with a sprained wrist. Due to the injury being on his pitching arm, he was placed on the 15-day DL. I haven't decided who will replace him yet.
The Indians didn't let the injury phase them as they scored again in the bottom of the frame and even after Derek Lilliquist came in for relief in the 7th and allowed a 2-run home run to Angels CF Chad Curtis, the lead was still safe. The Tribe bullpen shut down the Angels the rest of the way and the Indians eventually won by the final of 7-3. Though injured, Grimsley got his 7th win. Finley went 4 2/3, allowing 6 runs. He was the loser for the 12th time.
Player of the Game: Indians RF Manny Ramirez 2 for 3, 1 run scored, 3 RBI, HR, BB
Phil Leftwich (6-13) vs. Dennis Martinez (13-8)
In this pitching re-match it appeared that both offenses learned well from the previous week's meeting against Leftwich and Martinez. After his 8 inning, 3 run performance last time, the Angels jumped on Martinez early, scoring 3 in the 1st on 2 home runs by LF Bo Jackson and Davis (his 4th in 5 games vs the Tribe!). In the 3rd Martinez got the first 2 outs before an error by 3B Jim Thome let Jackson reach. 4 more baserunners would reach before Martinez could end the 2-out rally which included an RBI double by RF Tim Salmon and 2-run hit by C Greg Myers. The Angels has scored 6 unanswered all told going to the bottom of the 3rd.
The Indians struck back immediately though, the exclamation point was a 3-run bomb by Murray that brought the score to 6-4 going to the 4th. Martinez was removed after 3 innings but the Indians bullpen brought little relief. Reliever Jeff Russell allowed 3 runs in the 4th, included a 2-run single by Davis (god, he kills us!). The Indians scored single runs in the 4th and 5 to bring the score to 9-6 after 5 but the Angels just responded with their 4th 3-run inning of the game in the 6th off of reliever Paul Shuey. Jackson has a 2-run homer in the frame for the Halos. The score remained 12-6 into the 8th where the Tribe tried to make it interesting. They scored to in the 8th, including a solo shot by Ramirez and then 2 more in the 9th off Angels closer Joe Grahe, but their efforts fell short and the Angels took this one 12-10. Leftwich actually pitched into the 7th, going 6 1/3 and allowing 6 runs. He was victorious, getting his 7th win. Martinez lost and went to 13-9. Grahe entered the game with the Angels leading by 4, so he did not get a save.
Player of the Game: Angels LF Bo Jackson 2 for 5, 2 HR, 3 runs scored, 4 RBI
Mark Langston (8-11) vs. Charles Nagy (14-8)
Charles Nagy has been close to unhittable since returning from the strike, but early on Langston looked up to the challenge of besting him in Game 3 of this series. The Angels scratched out a run with a single by Curtis followed by a stolen base and double back Jackson that scored him. The Angels took that 1-0 lead to the 4th where doubles by Indians 2B Carlos Baerga and Sorrento (newly returning to the lineup) tied the ballgame at 1. This well-pitched game was deadlocked at 1 as Langston only allowed 3 hits through 5 innings and Nagy only 4 hits in the same span. The Tribe was able to break Langston in the 6th though with 4 singles in the inning, including RBI hits by C Sandy Alomar and Ramirez. The rally put the Indians up 3-1 going into the 7th.
Nagy had set down 14 Angels batters in a row with 2 outs in the top of the 8th but walked Angels SS Gary DiSarcina and allowed an infield hit to Jackson. With the go-ahead run at the plate in cleanup hitter Tim Salmon Nagy was able to get him to fly out to Kenny Lofton in center. Eddie Murray added a solo home run for insurance to lead off the bottom of the 8th but the Angels threatened again in the 9th as Nagy appeared to tire after once again getting the first 2 outs. After being so great all game he sputtered at the finish line, allowing a walk, sandwiched between 2 singles. Pinch hitter Jim Edmonds's single scored a run and brought the deficit to 2. Edmonds also represented the tying run and that's when the Indians finally replaced Nagy with closer Jose Mesa. Mesa retired Curtis immediately on a grounder to Baerga and the game was over, 4-2 Tribe. Nagy barely missed his 3rd complete game since the strike, but got the win and is now 15-8. Langston allowed 4 runs over 7 innings and lost, he's 8-12. Mesa received his 5th save for his 1/3 inning of work.
Player of the Game: Indians SP Charles Nagy W, 8 2/3 innings, 7 hits, 2 earned runs, 6 Ks, 3 BBs
Brian Anderson (8-6) vs. Jack Morris (11-6)
Yesterday's well pitched ballgame was followed up with another early on as the Indians looked to take the 4-game series and the Angels looked to split it. The Indians did score in the 1st on an RBI double by Albert Belle but couldn't add on in the early frames. The Angels were able to tie the ballgame when Myers scored from second on a 2-out double by DiSarcina to center. However, Angels 2B Damion Easley was on first at the time of the hit and tried to score on the play as well. He was thrown out on the relay from Lofton to Vizquel to Alomar and the inning was over on a play that could prove costly for the Angels later. The very next batter for the Angels to lead off the 4th was Bo Jackson and he hit a solo shot to give the Angels the lead before Morris set down the next 3 batters. The score was locked at 2-1 Angels going into the bottom of the 7th where Anderson, who had allowed a masterful 1 run on 5 hits to this point gave up 2 home runs in the inning to Jim Thome and Lofton. Thome's tied the game and Lofton broke the tie with a 2-run bomb. The Indians lead didn't last though as Morris, who had settled in, cracked in the top of the 8th as well. The Tribe killer, Chili Davis hit a 2-run blast and tied the game at 4 with 1 out but no further damage was done. Despite his trouble, Anderson returned for the 8th with the Angels bullpen waiting in tow but that proved costly. Belle responded to Davis's 2-run shot with 1 of his own and the Indians re-took the lead at 6-4. Anderson was removed after the homer, his line score not nearly as pristine as it once was: 7 innings, and 6 earned runs after only allowing 1 run in the first 6 innings. Mesa entered from the Tribe in the 9th and although the leadoff man got aboard and the tying run came to the plate, Mesa was able to strike out Edmonds who pinch hit and get Curtis to ground into a double play to end the game. Morris got the win in easily his best outing since the strike. He is 12-6. Anderson was the loser after his collapse and is now 8-7. Mesa got his 6th save, and his 2nd in a row as the Indians take the series 3 games to 1.
Player of the Game: Indians LF Albert Belle 3 for 3, 2 doubles, go-ahead HR, 1 walk, 1 run scored, 3 RBI
A couple notes about our opponent: Bo Jackson was 7 for 17 (.412) in the series. 5 runs scored, 6 RBI, 3 HR.
Chili Davis was 5 for 15 (.333). 3 runs scored, 6 RBI, 2 HR.
Their numbers stuck out so I thought I'd pull their stats.
Next we head to Kansas City to have a rematch vs. the Royals after the took 2 of 3 from us on our home field. This game have big implications as the Royals are not only in the wild card hunt but also still in the conversation for the division with the Indians and White Sox, albeit from 3rd place currently.
Thanks all for reading.
Around the League
So finally here it is... this is my "Around the League" post as I will update you on the MLB standings in this 1994 Statis Pro experiment where I am simulating the games never played in the 1994 strike season.
I will start with the standings of MLB at the time of the strike. You can see those in the link below.
Here are the main points to take away:
The Yankees are really good (.619 win %). They held a commanding 6.5 game lead in the AL East over Baltimore at the time of the strike.
We (the Indians) were in a dead heat with the White Sox for the AL Central, sitting only 1 game back. The Royals are in the thick of it too at only 4 games back.
The AL West is horrible. No team is above .500 at the time of the strike. Texas is the leader at 52-56, but all 4 teams are within 5.5 games on the division lead.
The Expos (.649 win%) are the best team in baseball and hold a 6 game lead on Atlanta.
The Reds have a minuscule lead on the Astros by just a half a game on in the NL Central.
In the NL West the Dodgers are 2 games above .500 and in the lead in the division, but the Giants are only 3.5 games back with Colorado 6.5 back in striking distance.
Also of note from that webpage is Tony Gywnn leading baseball in batting avg at .394. I've been tracking his road to .400 as well.
I'm also tracking Ken Griffey Jr and Matt Williams and their home run race to Roger Maris's 61. Williams is at 43 and Griffey at 40.
Now I was hoping their would be a way to link my standings spreadsheet to this post, but I don't see one. You'll have to bare with me as I give you the top of the standings updated to the point I'm now at in the season. For reference, the last post I gave you on my Indians schedule was for Sunday September 4th, 1994. Now, the strike in this universe lasted a week so that was ultimately September 11th. So these standings are for this point in the season with roughly 25 games left for each team.
Orioles 75-59 (6 games back)
The Yankees have maintained their 6 game lead, even though they've only gone 12-11 since returning.
White Sox 80-56
Indians 80-56 (0 games back)
Royals 76-61 (4.5 games back)
After taking 3 of 4 from the Angels to end the homestand we are now tied with the White Sox for the division lead. The Royals are holding steady at 4.5 games back, but are obviously running out of time to make up ground.
Rangers 61-75 (1.5 games back)
Mariners 58-77 (4 games back)
The Athletics have taken over the Rangers for the AL West lead as they've played over. 500 at 11-10 since the strike ended. Texas is 9-13 since the strike as they fall behind. The Angels have completely fallen out of the running, in part by losing 5 of 7 to the Indians.
Braves 81-56 (11 games back)
Expos are 17-4 since returning. No contest here.
Astros 75-62 (1 game back)
The NL Central remains super tight as both teams keep pace with one another.
The Giants have been hot and are playing good baseball, going 12-10 sinc the strike, but also the Dodgers have gone 10-12 since returning and have relinquished the division lead
Indians/White Sox 80-56
Orioles 75-59 (4 games back)
Royals 76-61 (4.5 games back)
The AL Central would hold the Wildcard team as of now with their tie at the top of their standings. This shows the Indians are securely in the playoffs as of now.
Astros 75-62 (6 games back)
The Braves appear to be pulling away with the NL Wildcard which is good because they seem in capable of catching the juggernaut Expos but still have the 2nd best record in the National League.
As far as the stats I'm tracking...
Tony Gwynn has been on fire for the Padres. He's now hitting .414 on the season and with 24 games left for the Padres, he very well might hit .400!
Griffey has hit 10 homers since the return and sits at 50, leading all of baseball. Matt Williams has 49. Griffey would be on pace for 60 homers as of now, falling just short of Maris.
One other thing I'm looking at is the doubles leaders as they are possibly in line to get to Earl Webb's single season record of 67 doubles. 3 players are eligible and they are ranking with their now current doubles totals below as of Sept 11th 1994.
Chuck Knoblauch- Twins 56 doubles
Larry Walker- Expos 52 doubles
Craig Biggio- Astros 48 doubles
Knoblauch is currently on pace to tie Webb with 67 doubles.
Its important to remember that as the season continues to come to its end I plan on playing out critical games on Statis Pro, whether it be for these stats races or the playoff races.
That's all the data I have as of now. I'm hoping the poor formatting I was capable of doesn't make this more overwhelming than it is. If anyone has questions or comments I would love to hear them.
Thanks for reading!
So now that we have some perspective on how the league is shaping out, I can continue with the Indians as they head out on the road for a big 4 game re-match with the Kansas City Royals. As a reminder, the Royals trail us and the White Sox for both the division and wildcard lead, so they will look to make up some ground on their homefield after already doing so taking 2 of 3 back in Cleveland a week ago.
Cleveland Indians (80-56) @ Kansas City Royals (76-61)
Mark Clark (13-3) vs. David Cone (18-6)
The Indians jumped on Cone immediately as Indians CF Kenny Lofton started the game with a walk, advanced to 3rd on an error by Cone on a pickoff throw and scored on 2nd hitter Omar Vizquel's single. Vizquel later scored in the inning on a sac fly by DH Eddie Murray. The Indians tacked on a run in the 2nd with an RBI single by 2B Carlos Baerga, and in an unorthodox move, the Royals removed Cone after completing the 2nd inning, having only allowed 3 runs but haven't been caught in much trouble early. The move paid off however, as the Royals bullpen proceeded to pitch 5 straight scoreless innings between Mike Magnante and Rusty Meacham.
This gave the Royals a chance to get back in the game, which they did scoring 5 runs on Clark through 5 2/3 innings. The big inning was the 6th where RF Dave Henderson hit a 3-run home run that chased Clark from the game. The homer came in the clutch as it turned a 3-2 deficit into a 5-3 lead. The Indians cut the lead in half when 3B Jim Thome hit a solo home run to start off the top of the 8th off of lefty Billy Brewer. In the 9th, the Tribe put the tying run in scoring position when LF Albert Belle doubled off of closer Mike Montgomery but Montgomery strike out both Murray and 1B Paul Sorrento in a 9th where he struck out the side around the Belle double. Montgomery got the save for his efforts, his 34th. Meacham got the win, he is now 5-3 and Clark got only his 4th loss and is 13-4.
Player of the Game: Royals RF Dave Henderson 3 for 4, HR, run scored, 3 RBI
Albie Lopez (1-2) vs. Kevin Appier (8-6)
Albie Lopez is pitching in Jason Grimsley's spot as Grimsley recovers from the injury he sustained against the Angels last week. Things looked like they may work out at the Indians jumped out for 3 runs in the 1st inning with 5 straight hits to start out the game. RBI hits by Vizquel, Baerga and Belle drove in the runs and gave Lopez breathing room. That would work out at first, but Lopez gave up 6 runs in the 3rd, including 3 home runs, to LF Vince Coleman, DH Bob Hamelin and 3B Gary Gaetti. Lopez didn't escape that 3rd inning and the Indians trailed 7-4 after 3. Appier settled down after that 1st inning, only allowing 1 more run in the 2nd and then pitching into the 7th.
Hamelin homered in successive innings for the Royals to add a run to their lead in the 4th and the Royals led 8-4 through the middle innings. With the game at that same score in the top of the 7th Appier would exit after allowing a 1-out double to Lofton and walk to Vizquel. After retiring Baerga, reliver Hipolito Pichardo would face Belle and subsequently give up a 3 run homer, bringing the score to 8-7. Murray doubled, but Sorrento failed to be able to tie the game as it went to the bottom of the frame.
However, in the 8th the Indians would strike again as Pichardo would allow a leadoff single to Thome and then an RBI double to C Sandy Alomar, tying the game. Having relinquished the lead, Pichardo would give way to Stan Belinda, but the Indians would score again as RF Wayne Kirby would bunt pinch runner Alvaro Espinoza to 3rd and then Lofton would double him home to take the lead. Belinda would then settle down, but the Indians led, 9-8. That lead wouldn't last though as the Royals had the top of their order in line against Eric Plunk, who had been incredibly reliable of late. Coleman singled and stole a base to start the inning. CF Brian McRae then moved him to 3rd on an infield hit. With the infield in, RF Felix Jose to Vizquel who made a great play to field it and hold Coleman at 3rd, but his only play was to first. With first base open then, Plunk intentionally walked Hamelin to pitch to C Mike MacFarlne. MacFarlane skied one to left, deep enough to bring home Coleman and tie the game. With 2 out, it looked like Plunk may escape without further incident, but a mistake pitch to Gaetti led to a 3-run bomb. 12-9, Royals.
The Indians fought back in the 9th. Murray singled and Thome doubled in the 9th off Montgomery and with 1 out Tony Pena hit after replacing Alomar who had been pinch ran for. Pena hit a slicing line drive to shallow center that McRae made a diving play on to catch and hold the score (CD outcome). With 2 out and the tying run still at the plate, Kirby singled, scoring both runners and bringing the hot Kenny Lofton (4 for 6) to the plate, but with the tying run on, Lofton would ground out to short and for the 2nd straight night the Royals squeaked out the win. Belinda won. He is 3-2. Plunk got the loss and is 7-3. Montgomery got the save again, his 35th.
Player of the Game: Royals 3B Gary Gaetti 4 for 5, 2 HRs, 2 runs scored, 5 RBI
Dennis Martinez (13-9) vs. Mark Gubicza (8-10)
This one was much more of a pitchers duel than the previous night as the first run came in the 3rd on an RBI single by Lofton. The Royals has only 2 hits through 4 innings but got on the board in the 5th when C Brent Mayne drove in Gaetti who had been hit by a pitch to start the inning. The game remained tied going into the 7th as both starters remained in the game, but in the 7th Thome led off with a double and advanced to 3rd on a fly out to Jose in RF. With the go-ahead run on 3rd, Gubicza struck out RF Manny Ramirez, but couldn't retire Lofton as he had yet another clutch RBI double and gave the Tribe the lead. Vizquel was retired to end the frame.
The Indians would hold the lead in to 8th where Martinez found immediate trouble when Coleman led off with a triple. Martinez stayed in and kept his composure, but McRae flew out deep enough to Ramirez to bring Coleman home and tie the game at 2. The Royals would continue to threaten with 2 more hits, but Martinez escaped, coaxing 1B Wally Joyner into a double play. In another game of late inning drama, the Indians threatened again in the 9th again against Pichardo. Alomar legged out an infield hit to start the inning and was pinch ran for by Kirby. Kirby attempted to steal 2nd, and would have been called out, but Royals SS Greg Gagne fumbled the throw from Mayne and Kirby was called safe in the biggest play of the game as Ramirez proceeded to double and bring Kirby home. Indians closer Jose Mesa shut the door in the 9th with a 1-2-3 inning and the Indians took this one 3-2, still with hopes of splitting the 4-game set. Martinez went 8 innings and got the win for it, he's 14-9. Pichardo got the loss, he's 6-5. This was Mesa's 6th save.
Player of the Game: Indians SP Dennis Martinez, 8 IP, Win, 8 hits allowed, 2 earned runs, 1 BB, 5 Ks
Charles Nagy (15-8) vs. Bob Milacki (1-7)
Nagy has been dynamite of late and Milacki's record speaks for itself, so the Tribe had to feel good about their chances to split the series in Kansas City. That feeling had to be enhanced by the 2-0 lead the Indians held after single runs in the 1st and 2nd inning. They would take that lead into the bottom of the 6th where Nagy would allow a leadoff single, followed by 2 walk to load the bases for Gaetti. With a 2 run game, the bases loaded and no one out, the Indians brought their corner infielders in to cut down the runner (Jose) at the plate on a grounder. That grounder came, but it was a G5A outcome (breaking the 4th wall here), and with Thome in on the play, the outcome was a bases clearing couple down the line. Had Thome been playing back, it would have been an out at first and only 1 run scoring. But the Royals now lead 3-2 with Gaetti on 2nd. Nagy stayed in and intentionally walked Joyner to face Gagne. Nagy appeared spent, as he allowed an RBI single to Gagne as Gaetti came around and Joyner went to 3rd, which was huge as he then scored on 2B Jose Lind's sac fly. Nagy was then removed for reliever Matt Turner, who immediately turned a 1-6-3 double play on Coleman, but not before the Royals led 5-3 after 6. The Indians would bring the tying run to the plate in each of the last 3 innings and in the 9th, they had 2 on and no out for the ever dangerous Albert Belle. However, Montgomery would strike out Belle and then Sorrento before retiring Ramirez to end the game, 5-2 Royals. Milacki got only his 2nd win and Nagy lost for the first time in over a month, going to 15-9. Montgomery got his 3rd save of the series (man I'm I tired of seeing him, he's made us pay single allowing the walkoff to Vizquel back in Cleveland to start that series). He has 36 saves.
Player of the Game: Royals SP Bob Milacki 7 2/3 innings, 10 hits, 2 earned runs, 3 BB, 4 Ks
Unfortunately we lost 3 of 4 to the Royals and in the process not only allowed them 2 gain 2 games in the standings on us, putting them only 2 back of our position, but the White Sox also swept the Yankees in a 3 game set, which means we now also trail them by 2.5 games as well. We do hold 2.5 game leads on both the Royals and Orioles still for the wildcard and we now head to Seattle to play a Mariners team that is out of the running, but has good talent on it.
I do have something slightly different planned too. As the end of the season draws nearer I plan to play key games or series between teams still in the running. I have one of these planned next as the NL Central leading Cincinnati Reds host the MLB best Montreal Expos for 3 games. My next post should be a briefer outcome of those games.
As promised, my next series re-cap won't actually be an Indians series as I have been playing throughout this simulation of the games remaining from the 1994 MLB strike. Instead on this given weekend set I am reviewing the September 8th thru 10th series between the Montreal Expos and Cincinnati Reds from Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati. I picked this as it is a meaningful series down the stretch of the season.
Montreal has the best record in baseball at 94-45. Cincinnati is in 1st in the NL Central at 79-61, but is only 1 game ahead of the Houston Astros, who play the lowly Florida Marlins in a three game set this weekend as well. So with such a tough opponent, the Reds could find themselves behind in the standings by the end of the weekend. However, that's why we play (or simulate) the games.
Montreal Expos (94-45) vs. Cincinnati Reds (79-61)
Ken Hill (19-6) vs. John Smiley (14-10)
This shaped out to be a well-pitched, playoff atmosphere-type game early on as both teams were scoreless through 4 1/2 innings. In the bottom of the 5th a 2-run double by Reds 2B Bret Boone was followed by an RBI single by LF Kevin Mitchell. The Boone double could have been even more trouble has Red SS Barry Larkin not been thrown out at the plate trying to score from first. After 5 innings, the Reds led 3-0. To that point, Smiley had been dominant, only allowing 1 hit, but he allowed a 2-out solo homer to Expos CF Marquis Grissom that got the Expos on the board in the 6th. Not to be phased, the Reds tacked on 2 more runs in the bottom on the frame, including a leadoff solo shot off of newly entered reliever Gil Heredia. The swing came from Reds 3B Tony Fernandez. After 6, the Reds led 5-1.
Smiley really began to crack in the 7th though. To start the inning, he allowed 3 straight hits, more than the previous 6 innings combined, and the final of the 3 hits was a huge, 3-run home run by C Darrin Fletcher that brought the Expos within 1 run. Despite this, Smiley remained in the game and retired the next 3 batters, lead intact going to the bottom of the 7th. Smiley then returned for the 8th inning, but that was clearly a mistake. A 1-out triple by Grissom was followed by a double by Expos 3B Sean Berry, and the game was tied. It wasn't until a 2-run triple later in the inning by 1B Cliff Floyd that Smiley exited, and at that point, what had been a dominant performance had turned into an utterly disastrous 8-run collapse.
The Expos led 8-5 going to the bottom of the 8th. The Reds fought back though. After an RBI single by Boone, the Reds had runners on 1st and 2nd and the go-ahead run at the plate in their clean-up hitter, Mitchell. Expos reliver Mel Rojas struck out Mitchell though, and although Reds C Eddie Taubensee brought the deficit to 1 with an RBI hit next, Rojas got 1B Hal Morris to ground out with the tying run on 2nd and the threat was over. Fernandez was able to double with 1 out in the 9th and was on 3rd base with 2 out when Reds RF Reggie Sanders came to the plate to tie or win the game. Expos closer John Wetteland though was able to strike Sanders out to end the game. Heredia got the win for the Expos, he is 8-3. Smiley got the loss, bringing him to 14-11. Wetteland got his 32nd save.
Player of the Game: Expos C Darrin Fletcher 2 for 4, HR, 2 runs scored 3 RBI
Montreal Expos (95-45) vs. Cincinnati Reds (79-62)
Pedro Martinez (15-5) vs. Erik Hanson (8-7)
The Expos scored in the 1st inning off Hanson when clean-up hitter Larry Walker homered for 2 runs and the Expos held an early lead. Both pitchers then settled in and this was another well-fought pitcher duel early. Hanson only gave up 3 hits through 5 innings and Martinez scattered hits going into the 5th when he finally allowed a run on an RBI single by Larkin. That cut the lead in half, but the Expos still led 2-1 going to the 6th. Misfortune turned to luck in this game for the Expos as Fletcher fouled a pitch off his leg in the 4th and had to be removed from the game. Backup catcher Tim Spehr replaced him though and he hit an RBI double in the 6th that got the run conceded by Martinez back.
The 3-1 lead wouldn't last though as Martinez became his own worst enemy in the bottom of the 6th. He committed a 1-out error allowing Morris to reach first. He got the 2nd out but then walked the 7 and 8 hitters before allowing a 2-run single to pinch hitter (for Hanson) Kevin Mitchell (got the day off in LF). That single was immediately followed by a 3-run home run by Reggie Sanders and suddenly the Reds had a 6-3 lead. The Expos pushed to tie or lead in the 8th as they loaded the bases and brought the go-ahead run to the plate in Floyd against Reds reliever Jeff Brantley, but Brantley got Floyd to hit into a fielder's choice that only conceded 1 run and then he struck out SS Freddie Benavides to end the threat. The Reds would hold that 6-4 lead and add 2 in the 9th on a 2-run shot by Larkin. They took this one, 8-4 and evened the series. Hanson got the win and is 9-7. Martinez got the loss and is 15-6.
Player of the Game: Reds RF Reggie Sanders 3 for 5, HR, 2 runs scored, 3 RBI
Montreal Expos (95-46) vs. Cincinnati Reds (80-62)
Jeff Fassero (12-7) vs. John Roper (8-3)
In the rubber match the Reds grabbed an early lead in the 2nd inning on a solo home run by Boone, but that lead wouldn't last. Aided by an error by Tony Fernandez (playing SS today), the Expos scored twice in the top of the 3rd on RBI hits by LF Devon White and RF Larry Walker. Had Larkin's error not led Grissom reach, White and Walker would have never batted in the inning. Not to kill the tension, but those 2 runs would be all the Expos would need. Fassero was masterful, allowing only 4 hits, and no runs after the Boone homer. No runner made it past 1st base after the 2nd inning for the Reds. Roper wasn't nearly as good, going 4+ innings and ultimately allowing 5 runs. The big hit was a 2-run home run by White in the 5th, giving the Expos a 5-1 lead. They would add 1 more in the 6th on an RBI hit by Spehr (Fletcher was given the day off due to his injury the previous day), and the Expos would walk away with this game and the 3-game series. The final was 6-1. Fassero pitched a complete game and got his 13th win. Roper wen to 8-4 with the loss.
Player of the Game: Expos SP Jeff Fassero 9 IP, 4 hits allowed, 1 earned run, 1 BB, 7 Ks.
So the Expos took the 3-game weekend series in Cincinnati, 2-1 games and continue to mount their lead in the entire National League. Cincinnati dropped 2 of 3, but ended up with some fortune of their own. I've done the rest of the league simulations and found that the Astros lost 2 of 3 as well to the Marlins. This means the Reds continue to hold their 1 game lead in the NL Central and remain playoff bound at the moment.
I will be returning to my Indians games next as over this same weekend we take on the Seattle Mariners in hopes of catching the White Sox for the division lead or at least keeping the Royals and Orioles as bay for the wildcard spot. You can expect that series re-cap next.
Thanks all for reading!
With the Expos-Reds series out of the way we are back on track with my 1994 Cleveland Indians as they continue their road trip after a disappointing series in Kansas City where we dropped 3 of 4 to the Royals. We head west now for 3 games in the Kingdome in Seattle vs. the Mariners.
Jack Morris (12-6) vs. Roger Salkeld (2-9)
The Mariners scored first in the bottom of the first in just 2 batters as 2B Rich Amaral led off with a triple and was driven in by SS Felix Fermin on a simple grounder to Paul Sorrento at first. The Indians would answer with 1 in the 3rd but the real response came in the 4th to the tune of 7 hits and 7 runs that removed Salkeld from the ballgame. LF Candy Maldanado's (starting to give Belle a day off) 3-run homer in the inning was the big blow and the Indians led 8-1 in the 4th. The Indians would tack on 2 in the 7th and the Mariners would finally score more on Morris in that same inning, he ended up giving up 5 runs but went a deep 8 1/3 innings in what was still a much improved outing. This game was decided before Morris allowed 4 runs total in the 7th and 8th though and it was even more decided when the Tribe put another 7-spot on the Mariners in the 9th. Relivers Tim Davis and Bobby Ayala combined to give up the 7 runs in the frame as C Sandy Alomar's 3-run home run was a major contribution. The Indians ran away with this one after terrorizing Seattle's pitching all night. The final was 17-5. Morris got the win and is 13-6. Salkeld lost and is an abysmal 2-10.
Player of the Game: Indians RF Manny Ramirez 5 for 5! 2 doubles, 2 home runs, 1 walk, 4 runs scored 2 RBI
Mark Clark (13-4) vs. Randy Johnson (14-6)
The Mariners took the early lead again in this one with a sac fly by 1B Tino Martinez in the 1st inning before the Indians took the lead in the 4th with RBI hits by LF Albert Belle and 3B Jim Thome. The Mariners would return the 4th inning favor of Cleveland from the night before though as they dropped 7 runs of their own in the bottom of the 4th, getting Clark removed from the game in the process. The difference in this inning though is that it was aided by a critical fielding error by Thome at third to start off the inning. With or without the error, Tino Martinez's grand slam put the Mariners up 8-2 after 4 innings. Seattle would add on too, with 2-run home runs by CF Ken Griffey Jr, 3B Edgar Martinez and RF Jay Buhner in the 6th, 7th and 8th innings respectively. All this offense was too much for the Indians to overcome, even if they did scratch out 2 runs in the 6th and 3 in the 7th of their own. Their rally would fall substantially short as Mariners reliever Tim Davis would shut the door, pitching 2 2/3 scoreless innings to close out the game. The Mariners won this one and split the series. The final was 14-7. Johnson got the win and went to 15-6. Clark for the 2nd time in a row and went to 13-5.
Player of the Game: Mariners 1B Tino Martinez, 1 for 4, Grand Slam, sac fly, 2 runs scored, 5 RBI
Albie Lopez (1-2) vs. Dave Fleming (9-15)
The Mariners looked to snag this series early in this one with a 4-run 1st inning off the injury replacement, Lopez. Buhner's 3-run homer was the catalyst for the inning and the early Mariners lead as they added 2 more in the 2nd and 3 more in the 3rd as Lopez wouldn't escape that 3rd inning and wouldn't even register a single out in it. The Indians found themselves down 9-2 after 3 innings in this rubber match. However, they would chip away at Seattle's lead with 2 runs in the 4th, 3 2 in the 5th and 2 in the 6th and would come within a single run of the lead at 9-8 going into the 7th. Derek Lilliquist provided a huge boost out of the Indians bullpen as he pitched the middle innings without allowing a run in the 4th, 5th or 6th. Indians 2B Carlos Baerga would strike out against Mariners reliever Bill Risley with the bases loaded and 2 out to end a threat to have the Indians tie or take the lead and the game remained the same 9-8 score through the 7th and 8th innings.
The Mariners went to their closer Bobby Ayala in the 9th with a 1 run lead that he immediately surrendered on a game-tying lead off home run to Manny Ramirez. Ayala must have been shellshocked as he then allowed Thome to double immediately afterward. Thome was pinch ran for by Rene Gonzales at 2nd and Wayne Kirby pinch hit for C Tony Pena. Kirby was only able to ground out to first base, but the out did move Gonzales to 3rd. That was enough as CF Kenny Lofton skyed a fly ball to center field and despite Griffey's best efforts, Gonzales scored on a sacrifice fly. The Indians led 10-9. Seattle would get a 1-out hit by Tino Martinez in the bottom of the 9th but Indians closer Jose Mesa induced Buhner into a game-ending 6-4-3 double play and the Indians, after trailing 9-2 in the 3rd came all the way back to beat the Mariners 10-9. Eric Plunk, who pitched 2 scoreless innings of his own, would get the win for his effort. He is now 8-3. Ayala blew the save for the Mariners and got the loss. He is 4-4. Mesa recorded his 7th save.
Player of the Game: Indians RF Manny Ramirez 3 for 3, HR, 2 walks, 2 runs scored, 2 RBI
Ramirez was a total terror in this series for the Mariners. He went 8 for 12 and all 8 of his hits came in the 2 Indians victories. He hit 3 homers, scored 6 times, and drove in 4 runs.
Even with the win of the series, unfortunately the White Sox have stayed hot and now lead us by 3 games in the AL Central standings (I believe they took 3 of 4 in their series). The Royals however were swept and are now 4 games behind the Indians. The Indians still hold the wildcard lead over the Orioles by 3 games. We are currently 3-4 on the road trip, which we will finish out by playing the Brewers in Milwaukee for 3 games. The Brewers have actually pushed themselves out of last place in the Central and sit at 68-72. Winning this series would go a long way in keeping pace with Chicago.
That re-cap will come next. Thanks all for reading.
So to complete the road trip the Indians will head to Milwaukee and face the Brewers in a 3-game set as we will try to keep pace with the White Sox for the division lead.
Dennis Martinez (14-9) vs. Teddy Higuera (3-8)
The Brewers wasted no time in the bottom of the 1st as SS Jose Valentin led off with a single and was moved to 2nd base on a sacrifice bunt by 1B Kevin Seitzer. It would take a clutch, 2-out double by Brewers C Dave Nilsson though to drive Valentin in and give the Brewers the lead. After the run both pitchers would settle in nicely and the score remained 1-0 through 4 innings. The Indians only had 1 hit to that point, but they got on the board with the first batter of the 5th when C Sandy Alomar smashed a solo home run off Higuera, tying the game. The Indians would score again in the following inning on an RBI single by RF Manny Ramirez and take the lead 2-1. Martinez was dominant after surrendering the run in the first inning. He allowed only 4 hits through 6 innings and continued strong into the late innings. The Indians would add on 2 more runs in the 8th inning on a 2-run home run by 1B Paul Sorrento and Martinez would go a total of 8 innings allowing only 1 run and 6 hits. Jose Mesa came in to save the game and did so with a flawless 9th inning. The Indians take this one, 4-1. Martinez got his 15th win, he is now 15-9 after his great outing. Higuera pitched well too, going 8 innings and allowing 4 runs after the Sorrento homer. He struck out 8 but got the loss and now is 3-9. Mesa got his 8th save.
Player of the Game: Indians SP Dennis Martinez Win, 8 IP, 6 hits allowed, 1 earned run, 3 walks, 4 Ks
Charles Nagy (15-9) vs. Angel Miranda (3-8)
It was the Indians turn to score first in this one as they grabbed a run in the top of the 1st after SS Omar Vizquel walked with 1 out, stole 2nd and scored on the RBI hit by 2B Carlos Baerga. The score held at 1-0 going into the 4th when the Indians jumped on Miranda for more. Aided by 2 errors in the inning, the Indians scored also on hits by Alomar and and CF Kenny Lofton and going to the bottom of the 4th, the Indians led 5-0. The Brewers weren't out of it yet though, as they finally cracked Nagy in the 5th with a solo homer run by Valentin, but the big blow came in the bottom of the 7th. The Brewers scored 4, tied the game and chased Nagy after what had been shaping up as another really solid performance. Four different batters drove in runs in the inning, as all 4 hits in the inning scored runs.
The Indians didn't back down though after blowing a 5-0 lead, in fact they responded with a huge, 7-run 8th inning. The runs came off Doug Henry and Jesse Orosco out of the Brewers bullpen and 2 more errors in the inning helped accounted for the runs as the Brewers had 4 errors in the game, each one costly and 2 a-piece from Valentin and RF Matt Mieske. The Indians also smashed 2 2-run homers in the inning, one by Baerga and the other by Ramirez as the Indians used this huge 8th inning to run away with what seemed like a game in danger just the previous half inning before. The Indians won 12-5. Indians reliever Jeff Russell pitched 2 1/3 innings in relief of Nagy and didn't allow a run and struck out 3. He got the win after righting the ship Nagy was starting to lose. Russell is now 2-1. Henry got the loss and is now 2-4.
Player of the Game: Indians 2B Carlos Baerga 5 for 6, double, home run, 1 run scored, 3 RBI
Jack Morris (13-6) vs. Cal Eldred (14-14)
After 2 games that were mostly well-pitched (despite the 12-5 score last night), this was more of a slugfest. The Brewers came out especially strong early as the scored 3 in the 1st and 5 in the 2nd, including a 3-run homer by LF Greg Vaughn, as Morris committed a costly error in the 2nd as well that aided the Brewers. The Brewers led 8-1 after 2 innings, but much like the Brewers did the previous night, the Indians were able to strike back. Scoring throughout the middle innings they, scored 1 in the 4th, 3 more in the 5th including a 2-run home run by Murray.
With the score then 8-5 Brewers to start the 6th the Indians then did something improbable. 3B Jim Thome, Alomar and Ramirez hit back to back to back home runs (in for Eldred) to start the 6th, tying the game off newly entered RP Jamie Navarro who didn't record an out in his outing and left after surrendering the home runs. Orosco then entered for the Brewers and was able to get Milwaukee out of the 6th without further incident. He did end up giving up another solo home run to Thome in the 7th, giving the Indians the lead. The Indians added 2 in the 8th and led 11-8 and got 2 2/3 innings out of reliver Matt Turner after Morris couldn't advance out of the 4th inning, however his replacement Paul Shuey was not nearly as effective. Entering in the 8th, he allowed 5 runs and completely blew the 11-8 lead. Brewers 1B John Jaha homered to tie the game to start the 8th and CF Alex Diaz's double brought the Brewers to 1 run. Shuey stayed in the game long enough to still surrender another 3-run shot to Seitzer, putting the Brewers in front 13-11.
The Indians finally went quietly in the 9th and the Brewers stole the final game of the series, escaping a sweep, 13-11. Orosco got the win and is now 5-1. Shuey got the loss and is 0-4. Brewers closer Mike Fetters shut the Indians down in the 9th and received his 22nd save.
Player of the Week: Brewers LF Greg Vaughn 3 for 5, HR, 2 runs scored, 4 RBI
Even after blowing the last game of the series the Tribe was able to win 2 out of 3 and keep pace with the White Sox. We are still 2.5 games back of the White Sox, but the lead for the wildcard is at 4.5 games. After the 10-game road trip that saw us go 5-5 we will head home to play the Blue Jays, another below .500 team. Before we address that though I will be playing the Braves-Astros series from the same timeframe as this Milwaukee series as we will see if the Astros can keep pace with the Reds for the NL Central. They are currently 1 game behind and have a challenge in playing the 87-57, wildcard leading Braves.
That will come next. Thanks for reading.
As promised my next series is coming on the same days of the Indians-Brewers series as I diverge to play the Atlanta Braves vs. the Houston Astros from the Astrodome in a series that could have playoff ramifications, especially for Houston as they try to catch the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central.
Atlanta Braves (87-57) vs. Houston Astros (79-64)
Tom Glavine (17-10) vs. Pete Harnish (11-7)
This was a really well-pitched ballgame both ways, especially early on as neither team scored through the first 3 innings. The Braves scored first in the top of the 4th on a 2-out single by 2B Mark Lembke that scored 1B Fred McGriff. The Braves added another run in the 5th on an RBI groundout by RF David Justice. To that point, Glavine had only allowed 1 hit, but ended up surrendering a run in the bottom of the 5th after Astros LF Luis Gonzalez grounded into a double play that scored SS Andujar Cedeno. Glavine would be dominant the rest of the way, allowing only one more hit in 8 1/3 innings of work. The Braves added 2 more runs in the 8th, including a home run by 3B Terry Pendleton of Harnish. Harnish himself went 7 2/3 innings deep and pitched decently, allowing 4 runs in the effort. The Braves handed the game over to Greg McMichael for the last 2 outs and he struck out Astros slugger Ken Caminiti and Cedeno with 2 men on to end the ball game. Glavine goes to 18-10 with a win and Harnish goes to 11-8 in his loss. McMichael recorded his 30th save.
Player of the Game: Braves SP Tom Glavine 8 1/3 innings, 4 hits, 1 earned run, 8 strikeouts, 3 walks
Atlanta Braves (88-57) vs. Houston Astros (79-65)
Greg Maddux (20-6) vs. Brian Williams (10-7)
This game was another well-pitched one as this series definitely had the makings of a playoff atmosphere. The Braves did strike Williams early as they scored 3 in the top of the 2nd inning. Back to back doubles by Braves C Javy Lopez and Pendleton were major hits in the innings as Pendleton's double drove in 2 runs. Maddux actually added in an RBI single later in the inning. The Astros responded with a run in the 3rd on an RBI double by RF James Mouton, bringing the score to 3-1 after 3 innings. It looked for a while like that would be our final as both starting pitchers settled in. Williams only went 5 innings for Houston but the Astros bullpen stepped up as Dave Veres and Mike Hampton contributed 4 scoreless innings combined. Maddux pitched 8 dominant innings before being removed for a pinch hitter in the top of the 9th. Maddux would have batted with 2 out and men on 1st and 2nd. Mike Mordecai hit for him and walked, loading the bases, but Braves CF Roberto Kelly grounded out to end the threat. The Braves went back to McMichael for the 9th. He recorded the first out, but then allowed a single to C Tony Eusebio and then a game-tying 2-run bomb to 1B Jeff Bagwell. The Braves stuck with McMichael, but Caminiti then reached second base on an error by Pendleton. With a man on 2nd and 1 out the game looked over when Cedeno hit a lined shot, but it was snared by Braves SS Jeff Blauser. With 2 outs, Astros 2B Orlando Miller single, bringing Caminiti around to win the ballgame, stealing a victory after Maddux's dominant outing stifled them for 8 innings. Mike Hampton got the win for the Astros and is now 5-1. McMichael blew the save and is now 5-8 as Orlando Miller got the walk-off single in a 4-3 Astros victory.
Player of the Game: Astros RP Mike Hampton 2 IP, 1 hit, 0 runs allowed, 2 walks, 1 strikeout, gets out of bases loaded jam in 9th
Atlanta Braves (88-58) vs. Houston Astros (80-65)
Steve Avery (11-4) vs. Darryl Kile (13-8)
Atlanta jumped on the Astros in the rubbermatch of the series as they scored 2 in the 1st inning on McGriff's 2-run home run off Kile. The Astros bounced right back though as they scored 1 in the 1st on an RBI single by Cedeno and then they tied the game in the 2nd on a solo home run by RF Kevin Bass. This looked like it was shaping up to be another close-call playoff style game but Avery melted down in the 3rd inning. The Astros put together a 7-run 3rd on Avery, the biggest hit being Bagwell's 2-run double as the Astros had 7 hits in the inning and took a 9-2 lead after just 3 frames. The Braves couldn't mount anything further against Kile as he didn't allow another run going into the 7th inning. The Braves did score in the 7th as McGriff homered again, this time a solo shot. Kile's night ended after a retired Braves C Charlie O'Brien to end the 7th. The Braves bullpen did actually put together 6 shut out innings between Mike Bielecki, Steve Bedrosian and Mike Stanton but the Braves couldn't gain any further traction in the run column. The Astros ran away with the final game of the series, 9-3. Kile got the win and goes to 14-8 and Avery's dismal 3rd inning where he didn't record an out got him the loss. He is 11-5.
Player of the Game: Astros SS Andujar Cedeno 4 for 5, double, 1 run scored, 3 RBI
There actually turned out to be not much of an implication from this series as the Astros took 2 of the from the Braves. The Braves lead in the NL Wildcard shrunk as the Astros gained a game on them, but they are still 6.5 games back. The Astros also gained a half game on the Reds, but are still 2 games behind. I will return to Statis Pro action by returning to my Cleveland Indians schedule as the Tribe will return home to play the Toronto Blue Jays.
That will be next. Thanks for reading.
As we return to our coverage of the Cleveland Indians, they will now take on the Toronto Blue Jays from home as we try to keep pace with the White Sox in the AL Central and maintain our AL Wildcard lead.
Toronto Blue Jays (70-76) vs. Cleveland Indians (85-61)
Pat Hentgen (15-10) vs. Mark Clark (13-5)
This was a really well pitched ball game early on as there wasn't any scoring through 2 innings. The Indians got on the board first in the bottom of the 3rd with an RBI double by Kenny Lofton. Clark only allowed one hit going into the 5th inning but got himself into trouble then. The Blue Jays had scored 2 runs already in the inning when SS Dick Schofield skied a flyball to left centerfield. Indians LF Albert Belle and CF Kenny Lofton both converged on the ball but collided in the process. The ball dropped and Schofield, along with C Pat Borders came around to score on an inside-the-park home run. Lofton had to leave the game with a related injury and the Blue Jays led 4-1 at the end of the inning.
The Blue Jays added on in the 6th with a home run by LF Carlos Delgado and an RBI double by Schofield. At stretch time, the Blue Jays led 6-2. The Indians did try to get back into the game, adding runs in the 7th and 8th but didn't really threaten or come really any closer than the 6-4 final dictated. Hentgen was solid, pitching into the 7th and only allowing 3 runs. He got the win and is 16-10. Clark lost his 3rd game in a row and is now 13-6. Woody Williams saved the game for his first save of the year after Tony Castillo left with an injury.
Player of the Game: Blue Jays SP Pat Hentgen 6 1/3 innings, 6 hits, 3 earned runs, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts
Dave Stewart (9-11) vs. Albie Lopez (1-2)
This game had more scoring early as the Blue Jays got on the board with their first 2 batters but the Indians took the lead 2-1 in the bottom of the inning with back to back RBI singles by DH Eddie Murray and 1B Paul Sorrento. C Sandy Alomar homered in the 2nd and Sorrento hit a 2-run shot in the 3rd to give the Indians a 5-3 lead.
The scoring stalled out from there as both starters temporary settled in. Stewart didn't escape the 5th but didn't allow another run. The Blue Jays brought it to 1 run in the 6th when 3B Ed Sprauge scored on 1B John Olerud's double play. The Indians immediately responded in the bottom of the frame when 2B Carlos Baerga hit an RBI doubled and Belle followed with a 2-run single, giving the Indians a 8-4 lead.
The Blue Jays wouldn't quit though as they scored 3 in the 8th inning on Olerud's 3-run bomb. The Indians immediately responded again though as they loaded the bases with walks to start the inning against Scott Brow and then a run scored when Baerga reached on an error by Sprauge. Brow couldn't stop the bleeding as Belle doubled in 2 runs and his replacement after the double, Darren Hall, allowed a 2-run single to Murray, giving the Indians a 13-8 lead. Paul Shuey struggled in the 8th but returned for the 9th and somehow, someway immediately allowed 3 runs. Allowing 5 straight baserunners, he left the game having not gotten an out in the 9th and with the Indians now holding a 13-11 lead. The Blue Jays had men on the corners with no outs when closer Jose Mesa came in for the Tribe. An infield hit by Olerud scored Delgado and he was immediately followed by Molitor who also singled and scored RF Joe Carter, tying the game without an out being recorded in the 9th. Mesa would quickly right the ship, getting 2B Roberto Alomar to hit into a double play, but the Indians blew a 5-run lead and the game was tied after 9 at 13-13.
The Blue Jays threatened new Indians reliever Matt Turner in the 10th with men on 1st and 2nd and Carter at the plate with one out, but he grounded into a 3-6-3 double play. The Blue Jays got a man to 2nd in the 11th as well after Molitor singled and stole 2nd but he got no further. In the bottom of the inning Sandy Alomar walked and moved to 2nd base on SS Omar Vizquel's groundout. After Lofton lined out RF Wayne Kirby came up in a big spot and delivered with a base hit that drove in Vizquel, ending the ball game at 14-13. Turner got the win after evading trouble for 2 innings, getting his first decision, he is 1-0. Woody Williams got the loss as he allowed the single to Kirby. He is 1-5. The series is split now going into the rubbermatch.
Player of the Game: Indians LF Albert Belle 2 for 6, double, 1 run scored, 4 RBI
Al Leiter (9-10) vs. Dennis Martinez (15-9)
The Indians scored first in the 2nd inning when 3B Jim Thome hit a 2-run home run but the Blue Jays responded with a big inning in the 3rd with 5 runs, including 2-run singles by Molitor and Rob Butler. Martinez finished the 3rd inning but left thereafter. The Indians answered with single runs in the 3rd and 5th as Belle single handledly kept them in the game, tripling in Vizquel in the 3rd and homering in the 5th. The Tribe trailed by 1 after 5. The Indians bullpen faultered in the 6th though as Sprauge hit a 3-run home run, giving the Blue Jays a 8-4 lead. The Blue Jays then pulled away, victimizing Paul Shuey for the second night in a row as he allowed a 2-run double to Olerud and a 2-run single to Carter, staking the Blue Jays to a 12-4 lead. The Indians tried to scratch back, scoring 2 in the 7th on a 2-run hit by Murray. Belle hit for the cycle in the process but the Indians only got 1 more run in each of the final 2 innings and the game turned into a 12-8 loss. Leiter got the win, pitching into the 6th and allowing 4 runs, he is now 10-10. Martinez is now 15-10 after only pitching 3 innings.
Player of the Game: Blue Jays RF Joe Carter 3 for 5, 1 run scored, 3 RBI
So we have dropped 2 of 3 from the Blue Jays but the homestand will continue with 3 games with the Red Sox. We now sit 4 games behind the White Sox for the division, so that race is looking less promising, but we still hold a 4.5 game lead on the Orioles for the wildcard. I will actually be play another non-Indians game next as there is a very relevant Reds-Dodgers series going on. Instead of playing the full 4-game series though I will just be playing the last game of the series to have a little relevance and a little taste of another series. That will be next followed by the Red Sox-Indians series as we creep closer to the end of the season. Updates should start coming quicker, as the holidays have slowed me down.
Thanks for reading.
I'm now going to take a brief look at the single game between the Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers that I played. First a little background: This is the 4th game of a 4 game series between the Reds and Dodgers and is a game that would appear at the same time of the Indians-Blue Jays series I have just played. The game is on Sunday Sept. 18th on the roster and would happen on Sept. 25th in this alternative universe where the strike only lasted a week. The Reds have taken 2 of 3 thus far in the series and look to win it on this Sunday afternoon in LA. The Reds sit 3 games up on the Astros in the NL Central and looked to protect that lead and the opportunity to make the playoffs. On the other hand, the Dodgers sit 3 games BEHIND the Giants in the NL West and hope to make up ground by splitting the series.
Cincinnati Reds (85-64) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (72-77)
John Smiley (15-11) vs. Pedro Astacio (8-11)
The Reds wasted absolutely no time in this game as RF Reggie Sanders hit a leadoff home run in the top of the 1st giving them the lead on Astacio. Clean-up hitter Kevin Mitchell also followed suit in the inning, hitting a solo home run of his own, and the Reds had an early 2-0 lead without the Dodgers even coming to bat. Astacio was prone to the long ball early in this game as the gave up another solo shot to lead off the 2nd against Reds 1B Hal Morris. After that blast, Astacio settled down some with the help of a 4-6-3 double play in the 2nd as well. On the other side, Smiley was masterful. After an error and an infield hit in the 3rd, Smiley faced men on the corners and 1 out, but he got Dodgers SS Jose Offerman to ground into a double play, saving the 3-0 lead and escaping the inning. Astacio allowed another run in the 5th on an RBI single by Reds 2B Bret Boone and the 5th would be Astacio's last inning as the left with a 4-0 deficit. Smiley would face trouble again in the 6th when Dodgers CF Brett Butler lead off with an infield hit, stole 2nd base and moved to 3rd on Offerman's fly to Sanders in RF. Smiley was able to induce Dodgers LF Cory Snyder into a pop up to Boone at 2nd though and got RF Raul Mondesi to fly out to CF with 2-out, once again leaving a run on third, and saving the shutout. The Reds would add 3 more in the 8th off Dodgers reliever Roger McDowell, the big hit was a 2-run double with 3B Tony Fernandez at the plate, as the poor decision to not walk Fernandez and force Smiley to hit with the bases loaded and 2 out came back to bite the Dodgers. LA would only get a runner in scoring position one more time in the game anyway and the Reds ran away with a 7-0 victory. Smiley pitched a complete game shutout as the dominated the Dodgers all day despite only having 2 strikeouts. Smiley is 16-11. Astacio got the loss and is 8-12 as the Dodgers playoff hopes appear to be fading, 3.5 games out with about 12 games left (although its definitely not insurmountable).
Player of the Game: Reds SP John Smiley 9 IP, CG, SHO, 7 hits allowed, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts
We will return to Indians action next with their home 3-game series vs. the Red Sox. I have not decided if their will be another series or single game of other play after that series but that decision will obviously come on my next post.
Thanks for reading all.
I return to play with the Cleveland Indians as we take on the Boston Red Sox at home from Jacobs Field, holding onto a 4.5 lead over the Orioles in the AL Wildcard. We hope to grow that lead and catch the White Sox against a sub.500 Red Sox team
Chris Nabholz (5-7) vs. Charles Nagy (15-9)
The Indians were able to grab the lead first in the series as 2B Carlos Baerga doubled home CF Kenny Lofton in the first after Lofton doubled himself, but Nagy immediately conceded that lead on an RBI hit by Red Sox 3B Scott Cooper. The game wouldn't remain tied long though as the Tribe scored 3 in the bottom of the 2nd, including a 2-run home run by C Sandy Alomar. The score remained at 4-1 Indians until the top of the 4th when the Red Sox whittled the lead to 1 run on back-to-back RBI hits by 2b Tim Naehring and C Damon Berryhill. The Indians would extend the lead back out in the 5th with a 2-run single from DH Eddie Murray but the Red Sox would respond again in the 6th. The Red Sox would ultimately take the lead in the inning and chase Nagy from the game, the big blow was from Red Sox slugger Mo Vaughn who hit a 3-run bomb in the frame. Going to the bottom of the 6th the Red Sox led 8-6. Nagy allowed 4 of the runs in 5+ innings.
This game continued to rollercoaster though as the Indians tied the game in the bottom of the 6th off Red Sox reliever Chris Howard. Lofton and SS Omar Vizquel had the RBI hits in the inning. The Indians bullpen would settle down with reliever Russ Swan pitching 2 solid innings and a clutch 8th inning solo home run by 1B Paul Sorrento was followed by 2 more runs giving the Indians an 11-8 lead that closer Jose Mesa would lock up in the 9th. Swan got the win and he is now 2-2. Howard got the loss for the Red Sox, allowing the homer to Sorrento, and is now 2-2 as well. Mesa logged his 9th save.
Player of the Game: Indians CF Kenny Lofton 5 for 5, double, 2 runs scored, 1 RBI
Roger Clemens (12-10) vs. Jack Morris (13-6)
This game started slow as the Tribe faced the Sox ace and scratch out a run in the 2nd on a solo homer by RF Manny Ramirez but Boston responded with a lead off home run of their own by Cooper in the top of the 3rd and the game was tied after 3 at 1-1. The score would remain there into the bottom of the 5th when Ramirez singled to lead off. After a strikeout, C Tony Pena somehow legged out a triple that scored Ramirez, and then used his unlikely legs to scamper home on a passed ball from Berryhill. The costly Boston miscue put the Indians up 3-1 after 5. Morris was great going into the 7th giving up only 1 run on 3 hits, but a sac fly by Boston RF Wes Chamberlin brought the score to 3-2 and with 2 outs and a man on 3rd Red Sox LF Mike Greenwell came up with a clutch double that scored SS John Valentin and tied the game at 3. Morris would avoid further damage but the Indians had more work to do against the Boston bullpen.
Unfortunately the Red Sox would respond again first as Boston would pinch hit Rich Rowland for Chamberlin with men on 2nd and 3rd and 1 out in the 8th. Rowland would repay them with a huge 3-run bomb off Morris. The homer would chase Morris from the game who was solid in 7 2/3 innings outside of the one bad pitch. Down 6-3 in the bottom of the 8th, the Tribe would cut the lead to 1 on RBI doubles from Murray and Ramirez but with the bases loaded and 1 out pinch hitter Candy Maldanado (hitting for Pena) would pop out to short and Red Sox reliever Greg Harris would then escape, getting Lofton to ground out to short as well.
The Indians held the Red Sox in the 9th and then got a little luck as Vizquel led off the 9th against Boston closer Ken Ryan and reached on an error by Red Sox SS John Valentin. That was followed by a single by Baerga that send Vizquel from 1st to 3rd. LF Albert Belle then tied the game with a sacrifice fly to CF. This shaped out for a crazy finish as the next batter, Eddie Murray hit a groundball to Red Sox 2B Naehring who had to make a tough play to his backhand side. He fielded it but his throw was wild and bounded off 1B Vaughn's glove and into the outfield for a throwing error. Miraculously, Baerga hustled all the way around and was able to score the walk-off run on the error as the Indians won the game in dramatic fashion, 7-6! Derek Lillquist pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief and got the win for his effort. He is not 2-4. Ken Ryan was the tough luck loser, more a victim of poor defense than anything else in his blown save. He is now 2-5.
Player of the Game: Indians RF Manny Ramirez 3 for 4, double, home run, 2 runs scored, 2 RBI
Aaron Sele (10-9) vs. Mark Clark (13-6)
Clark looked to get turned around after 3 straight losses as the Indians tried to sweep the Red Sox but this game got off to a bad break immediately as Red Sox CF Otis Nixon led off with a ball hit into the hole between short and 3rd base. Vizquel fielded the ball and performed a jump throw that was too late. More importantly, the usually graceful Gold-Glove shortstop landed awkwardly on his way down from the jump throw and injured his knee in the process. He was removed from the game immediately and early returns aren't optimistic. It appears the awkward fall led to a partially torn meniscus and there is the chance the will not be able to return for the remaining 10 games of the playoffs. Mark Lewis replaced Vizquel in the game. Despite the injury the Indians jumped all over Sele as Albert Belle hit a 2-run home run in the 1st, but the damage was really done in the 2nd when the Tribe scored 9 runs, including a 2 run homer by Maldanado who started at DH as Sorrento got the day off. The Indians led by an astounding 11-0 score after just 2 innings and Mark Clark was absolutely magnificent as he went on to pitch 6 full innings before surrendering a run on a lead off home run in the 7th to Rowland. By that time the Indians would lead 12-1 and then they scored 4 more in the 7th on 3 home runs in the inning by Baera, Belle and Maldonado. Both teams would score once more but obviously the Indians ran away with this game and the series as they took the finale 17-2. Clark pitched a complete game and moved his record to 14-6. Sele didn't survive that 9-run 2nd inning and he is now 10-10.
Player of the Game: Indians LF Albert Belle 4 for 5, 2 doubles, 2 home runs, walk, 3 runs scored, 7 RBI!
This sweep was huge for the Indians as it draws them within 3 games of the White Sox for the AL Central crown, but more importantly both the Royals and Orioles struggled in their series and the Tribe now leads the Royals by 5.5 games in the wildcard with the Orioles now 6.5 back, all with only 10 games left. The Indians will next head to Detroit to play 3 games against the Tigers, the last 3 road games before playing 7 in the final week at home. Jason Grimsley will return from the DL to pitch the first game of the Detroit series as well.
Before all of this though I will be playing a relevant NL series as the Reds will take on the Braves in Atlanta. The series is important as Atlanta may have the NL Wildcard all but locked up with an 8 game lead over Houston, but the Reds hold a slim 2.5 game lead on that same Astro team in the NL Central.
That's what will come next. Thanks for reading.
Around the League
At this point I have the Indians down to their 10 final games of the regular season, and as you know we are 3 games back on the White Sox for the AL Central and 5.5 up on the Royals for the AL Wildcard. However, its been a while since I have updated you on the league, so I am actually going to change course a little and do that now. For a previous update, I would suggest checking out my Around the League post from the 25 games left mark that I previously entered a while back. Below are the standings for all relevant teams in their divisions and the Wildcard races.
Orioles 81-68 (10.5 games back)
The Yankees have officially clinched the AL East with their 10.5 game lead on the Orioles
White Sox 92-60
Indians 89-63 (3 games back)
After both being at 80-56 at our least update the Sox have gone 12-4 and have taken a strangle-hold of the AL Central in the process. The Royals find themselves out of contention, although technically not mathematically eliminated yet. They're 9.5 games out.
Rangers 69-82 (1 game back)
These 2 teams actually just played in the last set of series and the Rangers swept the As in 3 games to put themselves right back into contention. This might be the most compelling race left, if not the most pitiful with the teams being so bad.
Braves 91-59 (10 games behind)
The Braves have 3 less games played because I am currently playing this series. Regardless, they are a 90 win team with 10 games left and are still 10 games out of first. Wow! Any Expos win or Braves loss will win the division for Montreal.
Astros 84-68 (2.5 games behind)
The Reds are the other team missing games because of the series I am playing. The Astros still find themselves in striking distance and Cincinnati's 3 games with Atlanta might help their cause.
Dodgers 74-78 (2 games behind)
No one wants to seems to want to win this division. Since our last update the Giants are 6-10, yet they still lead because the Giants have matched their record.
Royals 84-69 (5.5 games back)
Orioles 81-68 (6.5 games back)
The Indians appear securely in the playoffs but there is still time left.
Astros 84-68 (8 games behind)
The Braves aren't going to catch the Expos but they should find their way into the playoffs.
Now for my milestone stat update:
At our last update Tony Gwynn was still hitting an incredible .414, as is stands today, he remains at that same average! Assuming 3 at bats a game for the Padres 8 remaining games, Gwynn would need just 2 hits in the remaining 24 at bats in order to bat .400. I am ballparking but he needs to hit about .083 the rest of the way. That's it.
Matt Williams now has 56 HRs and 7 since our last update and he leads MLB in the stat. Ken Griffey Jr. sits at 53 HRs. Williams is on pace for 60 HRs, just short of breaking Maris's record of 61.
Larry Walker leads all players in doubles as he has 61 for the Expos. He's needs 68 to break the single season record. Chuck Knoblauch has 59 for the Twins and Craig Biggio has 51 for the Astros. Walker is on pace for 65 doubles and looks to fall just short.
We will have to see how this all shakes out with the remaining games. As is represented here most every team has about 10 games left approximately, so there is still about a week and a half of season for ground to be made up of records to be broken.
Thanks for reading!
As stated in the Around the League post I just did, I mentioned the relevance of this Red-Braves series I decided to play out. Not only are the Reds trying to put ground between them and the Astros in the NL Central, but any loss by the Braves will lead to the Expos clinching the NL East with a little less than 2 weeks left in the season.
Cincinnati Reds (85-64) vs. Atlanta Braves (91-59)
Jose Rijo (13-8) vs. Mike Bielecki (4-0)
The opener was a really well pitched ball game early on as the only blemish was a lead off home run Bielecki surrendered to Reds LF Kevin Michell in the top of the 2nd. That was the only hit Bielecki gave up through 4 innings and he didn't really find himself in trouble again until the 6th. Bielecki gave up a 1-out triple to Reds 3B Tony Fernandez in the 6th and that was immediately followed by an RBI single by Reds 2B Bret Boone. Bielecki then walked Mitchell and that was the end of his night. Reliever Gregg Olson didn't help the situation as he gave up an RBI double to Reds C Eddie Taubensee for the first batter he faced. The Reds would score once more in the inning and lead 4-0 going into the bottom of the 6th. In the 7th they tacked on 2 more runs off of Olson who remained in the game in order to prevent having to pinch hit for another reliever.
With the game in hand in the 8th at a score of 6-0 Rijo finally faultered when he allowed a pinch hit home run to Mike Mordecai but he would not be deterred. Rijo had only allowed 3 hits through 7 innings before the home run and only allowed a single the rest of the way, pitching a complete game, 5-hitter. The Reds took this one with ease, winning 6-1. Rijo went to 14-8 with the win and Bielecki got his first loss and is 4-1, and with the defeat the Braves were officially out of the hunt for the NL East.
Player of the Game: Reds SP Jose Rijo CG, 5 hits allowed, 1 earned run, 3 walks, 12 strikeouts
Cincinnati Reds (86-64) vs. Atlanta Braves (91-60)
Erik Hanson (9-7) vs. Steve Avery (14-8)
The Reds used the previous day's momentum to their advantage as they got on Avery in the 2nd inning. The inning included an RBI triple by Red SS Barry Larkin and an RBI double by Fernandez as the Reds had 3 extra base hits in the frame. For the second outing in a row Avery didn't escape the 3rd as he didn't allow any more runs, but the Braves used a quick trigger to pull him out after a lead off single started the 3rd. The score was 4-1 in the bottom of the 3rd when Braves 1B Fred McGriff brought the lead to just 1 with a 2-out, 2-run home run off Hanson.
The Braves received quality relief from Steve Bedrosian and 2 innings of Mike Stanton, but returning Stanton for a 3rd inning of relief proved costly as the first 3 batters he faced all game around to scored as he and fellow reliever Mark Wohlers allowed a total of 4 runs in the inning. The big hit was a 2-run single by Reds CF Deion Sanders. Hanson would put up a solid 5 innings and would hand over the games to Hector Carrasco and Jeff Brantley, both pitching 2 shutout innings. Pitching has proved the key to this series through the first 2 games, allowing only 3 runs in 2 games. The Reds win this one too, the final was 8-3. Hanson got the win and reaches the double digit win mark. He is 10-7. Avery losses again and is now 14-9.
Player of the Game: Reds SS Barry Larkin 3 for 4, double, triple, walk, 2 runs scored, 2 RBI
Cincinnati Reds (87-64) vs. Atlanta Braves (91-61)
John Roper (9-4) vs. John Smoltz (9-13)
Looking to salvage a game in the series the Braves scored first in the 2nd inning on an RBI single by 3B Terry Pendleton that brought around McGriff who led off with a double. McGriff would then add on as he homered in the 3rd as well, his 2nd 2-run shot in consecutive games and the Braves would lead 3-0 after 3 innings. The Reds would respond in the 4th though as 3 consecutive singles by Larkin, 1B Hal Morris and Boone would bring home a run leading off the inning. LF Thomas Howard would also single later in the inning to score Morris and the Reds drew within 1 run.
The score would remain there into the bottom of the 6th hen after Roper left after a lead off single to McGriff, the Reds bullpen would finally fail. Lefties Pat Schourek and Tim Fortungo would combine to allow 5 runs score in the inning, including the one inherited by Roper. The big hit was one that almost didn't happen as the Braves opted to pinch hit for Smoltz, who was cruising with only 2 runs allowed through 6 innings. Rafael Belliard would pinch hit and triple with the opportunity. The hit brought 2 runs around to score. When the frame was over the Braves led 8-2. Smoltz leaving meant the Braves bullpen would inherit a 6 run lead and they did allow a home run to Mitchell in the 7th but the Braves would get that run back in the 8th when Mordecai pinch hit and homered for the 2nd time in the series. Wohlers would pitch the 9th for the Braves and did allow a run, but was able to close out the game without much drama. The final was 9-4 and the Braves salvaged a game in the series, preventing a sweep at the hands of the Reds. Smoltz wins and goes to 10-13. Roper lost and went to 9-5 on the season.
Player of the Game: Braves 1B Fred McGriff 3 for 4, double, home run, walk, stolen base, 3 runs scored, 2 RBI
Despite losing out on the sweep, the Reds won the series and now lead the Astros by 3 games in the NL Central. Not only was this series big for the teams involved, but also the Astros who find themselves on the outside looking in. They now trail the Braves by a seemingly insurmountable 7.5 games in the Wildcard as well.
We will return to Indians action with my next post. They travel Detroit for their last 3 road games of the season against the Tigers. They will need a successful trip if they want any chance to catch Chicago for the AL Central
Thanks for reading.
Return to action with the Cleveland Indians, we finish out our final 10 games of the 1994 season with our final road series as we travel to Tigers Stadium to play Detroit. Detroit finds themselves out of the hunt and we try to hold our big Wildcard lead and gain ground on the White Sox in the AL Central.
Jason Grimsley (7-3) vs. Bill Gullickson (6-9)
The series opened up with a quiet couple of inning besides Indians LF Albert Belle getting injured batting the the top of the 2nd. The injury wasn't serious but he did need to be removed from the game. Candy Maldanado came in to play left and hit cleanup the rest of the way. In the top of the 3rd the Indians got on the board first with an RBI double by 2B Carlos Baerga but the Tigers bounced right back in the bottom of the inning when a sacrifice fly by Tigers 1B Cecil Fielder scored CF Milt Culyer from 3rd bases to tie the game. The game remained scoreless into the 6th when a 2 out walk by Tigers reliever Storm Davis led to a double by DH Eddie Murray. Maldanado scored safely from first on the double and the Indians scratched out a run and the lead. The lead was short lived though as a 2-run home run by Tigers DH Kirk Gibson gave them the lead off Grimsley.
The lead flip-flopped again though almost immediately as Indians 3B Jim Thome hit a solo home run leading of the 7th, tying the game at 3. Davis continued to struggle in relief as an error and 3 more walks in the inning led to another run coming around on a walk to Baerga. The walk gave the Indians a 4-3 lead. They would tack on in the 8th on another solo home run by Thome and an RBI double later in the inning by SS Mark Lewis. With the 6-3 lead the Indians could afford to let Grimsley come back out in the 8th and give up another run, which they did. With no further incident though Jose Mesa closed out the game in the 9th. The Indians took the series opener 6-4. Grimsley got the win in his return from the DL and is 8-3. Storm Davis got the loss for the Tigers in relief and he is now 3-7. Mesa got his 10th save.
Player of the Game: Indians 3B Jim Thome 2 for 5 2 home runs, 2 runs, 2 RBI, 3 strikeouts
Dennis Martinez (15-10) vs. John Doherty (8-10)
The Tigers struck first in the bottom of the 2nd against Matinez with a 2 out double by RF Junior Felix followed by and RBI single by 3B Travis Fryman. The Indians were silent through 3 innings but in the top of the 4th a single and 2 walks led to a 2-out at bat for RF Manny Ramirez. Ramirez responded with a bomb over the fence for a grand slam, giving the Indians a 4-1 lead. The Tigers got one run in return in the bottom of the 4th but didn't muster anything else before the Indians scored 2 more in the top of the 5th on an RBI double by Murray and then a sacrifice fly by 1B Paul Sorrento, giving the Indians a 6-2 lead. The Tigers did cut the lead in half in the bottom of the 6th as a single, passed ball and another RBI single by Fielder scored a run. Fielder later scored on a sacrifice fly by Tigers SS Alan Trammell. The Tribe would add an insurance run in the 7th and would hold the lead there. Martinez was more than solid, pitching 8 innings and giving up 4 runs in a winning effort. He is 16-10. Mesa got a save for the 2nd day in a row in the victory and now has 11 on the season. Doherty pitched 6 innings for the Tigers but got the loss. He is now 8-11.
Player of the Game: Indians RF Manny Ramirez 2 for 4, grand slam, 1 run, 4 RBI
Charles Nagy (15-9) vs. David Wells (8-11)
The Indians looked poised to sweep the Tigers with their best starter down the stretch in Nagy on the mound but after a solo home run by Murray gave the Indians the lead Detroit responded with a 5-run 2nd inning that included 3 home runs off of Nagy. The homers included back to back bombs by Felix and Fryman and then a 3-run homer by C Mickey Tettleton. While Belle returned to the field after his injury earlier in the series and homered in the 4th, the Indians lost CF Kenny Lofton in the first, injuring himself trying to field a fly ball in center field against the wall. He was replaced by Wayne Kirby, but doesn't expect to be out long. Nagy didn't survive the 4th as 2 more runs scored in the inning, one of which he was responsible for as Tettleton homered again, this time of off Russ Swan and the inning ended with the Tigers up 7-2.
The Indians bullpen settled down the Tigers and proceeded to pitch 3 scoreless innings between Swan and Jeff Russell. The good bullpen work allowed the Indians to pull back into contention as C Sandy Alomar hit a solo home run in the 6th to bring the score to 7-3. The Tigers scratched out a run in the 9th against reliever Derek Lilliquist but the Indians didn't give up as Alomar doubled and Maldanado homered to start off the 9th. This led to Tigers' reliever Greg Cadaret being replaced by closer Joe Boever. After a groundout the Indians scored a run on a walk followed by back to back singles that scored Kirby on Baerga's hit. The Indians then brought Belle to the plate with men on the corners, down 8-6 with Baerga representing the tying run and Belle at the plate as the go-ahead. Boever got Belle to strikeout for the 2nd out by wasn't out of the woods yet with Murray at the plate. Murray also struck out though and the Tigers held on to win the finale and not get swept. The final was 8-6 Tigers. Wells got the win, going 5 2/3 innings with 3 runs allowed. He is 9-11. Nagy struggled and is now 15-10. Boever got his 12th save.
Player of the Game: Tigers C Mickey Tettleton 3 for 4, triple, 2 home runs, 2 runs scored, 5 RBI
The Tribe will return home for their final 7 games with 4 against the Yankees and the Orioles for the 3 to end the season. We now trail the White Sox by 4.5 games as they had a strong series themselves. The Wildcard is right in our grasp though as the Royals now trail us by 6.5 games. Any KC loss or any Indians win will lead to a clinching of the Wildcard. The Orioles are officially out as they are 7.5 games behind us. My next game will be a single game between the Cincinnati Reds and San Fransisco Giants that will end their 4 game series. After the Astros swept their series the Reds now only lead them by 1 game in the NL Central. The Giants hold a 2 game lead on the Giants in the NL West. I look forward to sharing what happens as we come down the stretch of the 1994 season.
Thanks for reading.
As promised I am continuing with my 1994 simulation with a single game between the San Fransisco Giants and the Cincinnati Reds. This is the last game of a 4-game series that has seen the Reds take 2 of 3 at home thus far. The Reds lead the Astros by 1 game in the NL Central and the Giants lead the Dodgers by 2 in the NL West. Mind you, there will be a week of season left after this game. My quick re-cap is below
San Fransisco Giants (78-77) vs. Cincinnati Reds (88-67)
John Burkett (10-11) vs. Erik Hanson (10-7)
The Reds jumped on the Giants right away as in the bottom of the first Reds SS Barry Larkin led off with a home run. C Eddie Taubensee homered in 2 more himself in the inning and the Reds led 3-0 after 1 frame. Burkett proved more prone to the long-ball as he then allowed a 2-run shot to Reds LF Kevin Mitchell in the 3rd. Not only did this give the Reds a 5-0 lead but it chased Burkett from the game. The Giants bullpen proved solid as only allowed 2 runs over the course of the rest of the ballgame and both of those came on another Taubensee home run in the 5th off of Rich Monteleone.
The bullpen did its job but the Giants lineup could do little to get itself back in the game immediately. Hanson was fantastic, scattering 7 hits over 6 2/3 innings an allowing only 1 run which came largely off a lead off double by Giants SS Royce Clayton. The Reds held a 7-1 lead into the 9th when reliever Hector Carrasco began to faulter. He allowed a lead off home run to Giants LF Barry Bonds to start the 9th and following a strikeout of 3B Matt Williams he was chased from the game on an ensuing homer by RF Willie McGee and another single. Chuck McElroy took the mound and made it look easy following the single. He got C Kirt Manwaring to hit into a double play and with 1 batter he ended the game.
Hanson got the win and is 11-7. Burkett lost for his poor effort and is 10-12. The tying run wasn't on deck and the Reds led by more than 3 so there was no save.
I will return to Indians coverage next as we will end up the last week of the season. The New York Yankees come to town for 4 games in what is potentially a playoff preview. The Yanks have already clinched the AL East where as the Indians magic number is 1. Any win or Royals loss will clinch us the Wildcard spot and we still have an outside chance at the AL Central if the White Sox struggle. I hope to bring the next update a lot sooner than this one. The last couple weeks have not been conducive to playing much Statis Pro but its not from a lack of enthusiasm to get the season and done get to the playoffs.
Thanks for reading all!