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Big Hair and Plastic Grass Revival League
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Oakland at Kansas City ( Strat and History Maker, and Bootsy's Rubber Band "Pinnochio Theory")

The A's and Royals met for what has been the most intense series to date. The A's, already 0-3, knowing they can't lose any more ground to KC in a short season, and the Royals viewing an opportunity to bury their most likely competitor in the division, meeting in an early matchup.  Each game was nail-biter, with a couple of decisions here or there changing the outcome. 

The A's won the opener 4-1, but it was much closer than that. Dick Williams and pitching coach Wes Stock nursed Blue Moon Odom along for a solid and suprising 5 innings with just one run allowed, while Andy Hassler was solid for the Royals, allowing only three hits in seven innings. The game was scoreless, and then 1-1 until the fateful 8th inning. Bill North, hitless on the year, drew a leadoff walk, then stole second. Herzog went to Doug Bird. Jesus Alou's attempted a sacrifice but his bunt was poor and North was gunned down at third by John Mayberry. Sal Bando singled to send pinch runner Billy Conigliaro to third, and with Reggie Jackson coming up, Herzog went back to his bullpen and lefty Steve Mingori. Jackson, as he did throughout the series, went the other way with a Mingori slider, singling to left, scoring Conigliaro, giving Oaklnd a 2-1 lead. North would get his first hit the next inning, a two-run double to give the A's thier final lead. Rollie Fingers picked up the win with two innings of dominant relief, and side-wheeling Horacio Pina picked up the save, getting Al Cowens to ground out with the bases loaded and two out in the ninth.

Game two was another tense, pitching dominated game, Ken Holtzman and Dennis Leonard both reversing their previous outings with spectacular starts. Bert Campaneris' two run single had given the A's the lead, and Holtzman appeared poised for a shutout. With a runner on and two outs in the eighth, Mayberry came to the plate. Fingers was ready in the bullpen, but Williams decided to stay with the platoon advantage. Mayberry made him regret it with a towering two run shot onto the grass in CF to tie the game. The contest appeared headed to extra innings but with one out in the bottom of the ninth, the skies opened up, and the ballgame could not be resumed. Although the stats will count, it went into the books as a tie, forcing the two teams to play on the off day, early in the morning.

The third game saw Oakland jump out to a 2-0 lead with North and Campy providing another brace of RBIs off Paul Splittorf. But the A's could not hold the lead and KC scored in the third on a Patek double, and then Freddie helped clear a bases loaded situation with a 2-run single, and the Royals regained the lead, 4-2. Oakland cut the lead to 1 with another North RBI, but the A's failed to capitalize on opportunities in the seventh and eighth, and KC held on to win, 4-3. Mark Littell threw two innings in relief, and Mingori and Bird finished up in the ninth.  

The fourth and deciding game of the series was unscheduled, so Whitey Herzog went to his versatile reliever and spot starter Marty Pattin. Needing a win, Williams sent out Catfish Hunter on short rest. While Pattin was decent, Hunter was razor sharp, allowing only a solo homer to Amos Otis. Hunter took full advantage of the big park in KC, and the Royals hit numerous flies to the warning track in a futile attempt to take him deep. Meanwhile the A's banged out ten hits, led by Reggie Jackson's 3-4 game and lazer home run into the Royal bullpen. The A's touched up reliever Larry Gura in the ninth to stretch a close game into a 6-1 win.

NOTES: Herzog intentionally walked Sal Bando to get to a Gura-Jackson matchup, and once again Reggie made the White Rat pay, drawing a bases loaded walk. For the series, Reggie looked every bit an MVP, going 8-15 with three RBIs and two stolen bases and some fine defensive work in RF...Joe Rudi is in the midst of a mystifying slump, and may be nursing an unannounced injury. He was 0-12 against KC and 1-21 on the year, and has sat twice... The A's held the Royals to 11 runs in 4 games; KC  had 16 in three against Boston...

QUOTABLE: "I've always gone back to the belief that you don't win; the other team usually beats themselves. That's why I'll continue to stress pitching and defense. You get those two things straightened out and the offense will take care of itself." Dick Williams, A's manager.

World Series Closeup of Oakland Athletics manager Dick Williams before Game 2 vs Cincinnati Reds at Riverfront Stadium Cincinnati OH CREDIT Neil...

Making the right moves



-- Edited by pfunkone on Tuesday 6th of October 2015 08:26:55 AM

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After two series, the Yankees and Royals remain in first at 5-1 and 4-2 respectively. The Orioles are 3-3, and the Red Sox 2-4 in the East, while the White Sox and A's are 2-4 in the West.

League Leaders (AL)

Batting Average-Rice, BOS .417, Jackson, OAK & Davis BAL .393

HR-Mayberry KC 3

RBI-Piniella NY 6

SB-North OAK 3

Wins-Many with 2

Saves-Lyle NY 3

ERA-Reynolds, BAL 0.00, Hunter OAK 1.00, Moret BOS 1.43, Figeroa NY 1.56

Strikeouts-Leonard KC 15

Sweet Looooou



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League Leaders (NL)

Batting Avg.-McBride PHI .529, Clemente PIT .500, Griffey CIN .474

HR-Luzinski PHI 4

RBI-Bench CIN 12

SB-McBride PHI 3

Wins-Marichal SF & Nolan CIN 2

Saves-Johnson SF 2

ERA-Hooton LA 0.00, Matlack NY 0.00, Nolan CIN 0.61

Strikeouts-Seaver NY 12

In the next set of games, the Mets welcome the Tokyo Giants to Shea; the Pirates host the Phillies in a Pennsylvania showdown; the Reds meet Yokohama who are still looking for their first win; while the Dodgers and Giants square off at Candlestick with first place in the West on the line.

Bake McBride of the Philadelphia Phillies bats during an Major League Baseball game circa 1980 at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia Pennsylvania...

Shakin' and Bakin' in Philly...



-- Edited by pfunkone on Monday 5th of October 2015 11:28:43 PM



-- Edited by pfunkone on Tuesday 6th of October 2015 08:25:47 AM

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Tokyo at New York (Ballgames brought to you by Statis-Pro and History Maker, and Billy Stewart's "Sittin' in the Park")

"...waiting for Oh..."

That's how the song should read, at least in the view of thousands of Japanese fans and even more curious Americans that have packed ballparks along the east coast. All waiting for the sublime Sadaharu Oh to go yard. Just sitting in the park, waiting...

First game at Shea is a typically one-sided affair. The Giants continue their habit of playing poorly in their first game of a series, although Hajime Kato keeps it relatively close. The Mets score a pair of runs in the third, sixth, and eighth and cruise to a 6-1 win. Jerry Koosman overmatches the Giants left-handed laden lineup, allowing only five hits and zero walks, and Willie Mays and Felix Millan collect two hits a piece.

Game two is the NBC GOW. Joe Garagiola cracks bad Japanese jokes, mangles names, but admmits in the end, "these little guys can play." Takashi Nishimoto, thrust into a rotation role for the Giants baffles the weak Met hitters for six innings with an assortment of junk. Unfortunately for Tokyo, Jon Matlack continues his early season dominance, and the game is tied at one going to the ninth. Reliever Mitsuo Sumi walks Millan and Staub, and his replacement, Susuma Omata gets John Milner to fly out. But Cleon Jones comes through again, singling to center, plating Millan with the game winner.

For all their troubles adjusting to the American game, the Giants had yet to be swept. But a struggling bullpen let them down in game three. Heralded reliever Hisao Niura continued his pyrotechnics, failing to keep a Met rally in check in the seventh, giving up a two run single to a red hot Ed Kranepool to give the Mets a 4-2 lead that would eventually settle at 5-2. Kranepool finished 4-4, with all four Met RBIs (a fifth run scored on a passed ball), and George Stone (8 IP, 2 R) and Tug McGraw combined on a seven hitter.

NOTES: Oh finished 4-11 with a ringing double, and appeared to have abandoned over-swingin to appease the fans. He also displayed some nimbleness around the bag at first. But he is still homerless on the tour...American Johnny Sipin proved to be the biggest bat for the Giants, going 6-12 with a booming homer and two doubles. But the Giants, like their counterparts from Yokohama, are fiding it difficult to score runs...an ageless Willie Mays continues to surprise. The Old Hey Kid went 3-8...McGraw's save was his third of the year...

Image result for sadaharu oh images
The result being ZERO homers



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Philadelphia at Pittsburgh (Replay, Ballhalla, and Strat; music by War "All Day Music")

Booming bats were the order of the weekend at Three Rivers. The Phillies and Pirates combined nine runs in the first four innings and pitchers were trying to stay in the shadows lest they too be summoned for a beating. Richie Hebner (playing for the Pirates), Roberto Clemente, and Willie Stargell all rocketed balls off the outfield facade by way of Larry Christenson, while the Phils banged out eight hits off Dock Ellis, including doubles by the insanely hot Bake McBride and Greg Luzinski. After five, the Pirates held a narrow 5-4 lead that no one would have thought would hold up. Yet it did. Both teams got four innings of scoreless relief (Twitchell and Reed for Philly, Briles and Guisti, who got the save, for the Bucs) and the Pirates took the win.

Game two was played on a cold, cloudy day, with Randy Lerch matched up with Bob Johnson, which was apparently code for BP pitchers. Lerch, who had pitched well in the opener, returned to his usual awful self, and the Pirates wailed on him for seven runs and nine hits in less than five innings. But Johnson was even worse, giving up six runs in only 2 and a third. The game was tied at 7 going to the ninth, both bullpens once again able to squelch any attempt at offense. With one on, palmballer Dave Guisti faced Mike Schmidt of the Phillies, and for the second time in a week, Schmidt delivered a clutch homerun, driving in Larry Bowa from first and giving Philadelphia a 9-7 lead. Gene Garber came in and pitched a scoreless ninth to preserve the win.

With a split, the Pirates could guarantee at least a tie with New York for first place, and with the easy tossing Jim Kaat going for the Phils, they looked a cinch to do so. The Pirates banged out nine hits off Kaat, but to his credit, the aging lefty kept his team close and worked six innings to give his well-worked bullpen a slight break. The Pirates led 4-1 going to the eighth, when Luke Walker began to tire. A double by Greg Luzinski scored a run and forced Danny Murtaugh to go to his suddenly vunerable pen. Surpisingly he gave the nod to little-used righty Jim Nelson, who was immediately greeted by a Jay Johnstone double. After retiring Garry Maddox, Murtaugh went to Bob Miller who had thrown three scoreless the afternoon before to face Bake McBride, who had been sent in to pinch hit. Bake delivered an RBI single, tying the game.

In the top of the ninth, the Phillies went to their bench again. Tim McCarver led off with a double down the line. Danny Ozark called for a bunt, but failed to pinch run for the slow footed McCarver and it cost him when Bob Robertson gunned McCarver down at third. Unphased by his failed sacrifice, Ozark put a hit and run play on for Ted Sizemore. The usually contact-conscious 2B swung through a sinker, but Bowa was able to steal the bag as Sanguillen bounced the throw to second. It was the sixth stolen base for the Phillies in the series and it proved the most important when Sizemore bounced a single into center, scoring Bowa with what would be the winning run. Garber faced four consecutive pinch hitters in the ninth and retired three to get his second consecutive save.

NOTES: Bake McBride finished 4-9 with two SBs and 3 RBIs, which actually dropped his average to .500 for the year. Greg Luzinksi hit his fifth homerun, and upped his RBI count to 14. In what has been a somewhatdissapointing year for offense, the Phillies have been the exception, hitting over .300, and slugging over .500 as a team, and are scoring over six runs a game. Their bullpen finished the series with 12 2/3 scoreless innings...The team that won each game in the series had the fewer hits, leaving one with the distinct impression the Pirates were the better team despite actually being outscored...Tug McGraw, a no-show for the first game, reluctantly showed up to play on Saturday, and threw two scoreless innings for a relief win Sunday. When asked about his recent desire to pitch only for the Mets, McGraw had no comment...

Image result for mike schmidt images

Michael Jack comes up clutch again!



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Yokohama @ Cincinnati (Statis-Pro FAC/Dice and History Maker, and War "Four Cornered Room" from a Youtube Mix)

Heading into their weekend series with the thus-far pathetic Whales, the Reds faced an uncommon pressure--both the Dodgers and Giants had swept the "pride" of Taiyo, and the Reds would have to do so just to stay even. Plus, no one wants the indignity of being the first team to fall at their hands. The Big Red Machine was more than up to that modest challenge.

Game one saw some offensive spunk from the Whales. They scored five runs and even had an early lead. But as has become customary, the lead was short-lived, and Cincinnati proved too much for the Whales beleaguered pitching staff. The Reds pounded out three home runs (Bench, Driessen, and Foster) and fourteen hits to take an 8-5 win that wasn't really that close. Davey Concepcion went 3-3, and Pete Rose reached base four times, as Cincinnati simply had too many weapons.

Game two was no different--if anything it was worse. Fred Norman, despite pitching with  2-4 PB went five solid innings and the Red's bullpen (Carroll and McEnaeney) threw blanks the remaining four. Meanwhile, the offense actually improved from Friday night, scoring nine runs on 15 hits including six extra-base hits (and Bench's league-tying fifth home run.) Industrial-league pitcher Acho Sato finally got a start that counted, but it was far from memorable, going six innings with six runs earned and ten hits. Rose had another three himself.

With the series in the bag, Sparky Anderson decided to give the blistering hot Bench a day off, and start the light-hitting Bill Plummer. "John is the best catcher in the world, but even the best need a break some time" he answered. The decision, while certainly justifiable, almost bit Sparky in the hind quarters. The Whales played their best game of the series, and had the game tied going to the bottom of the fifth. Rose hit his second double of the game (and third of the series) and Joe Morgan drilled a grounder through a drawn-in infield two batters later to give Cincy the lead. He did the exact same thing two innings later after a Ken Griffey triple to give the Reds an insurance run, and Cincinnati's bullpen once again supported a solid start (Gullett 6 IP 2 ER) to give them the win, Rawley Eastwick picking up the save. Cincinnati had it's sweep.

NOTES: Yokomama is starting to give the impression that only a miracle will allow them victory. Only one regular (1B Makota Matsubura) is hitting above .245, and the team ERA is near 7.00. Manager Betto made some lineup changes as Nakatsuka and Millan, the #1 and #2 hitters, have produced all of two runs on the season (and that in the first game of this series.)...Akio Saito's suspension ended and he will likely start their next game against Philadelphia as the Whales head east...Rose finished the series 7-13 and will likely take over the batting lead in the NL...Dan Driessen was 5-12 filling in for Tony Perez, with two doubles, a homer, a stolen base, and four runs scored...Cincy's bullpen worked nine scoreless innings against the Whales...even the usually light-hitting Reds pitchers got into the act; each starter got a hit (Billlingham a double, Norman an RBI single, and Gullett a single and run scored.)

Image result for pete rose images

"I'm not here to knock Japanese baseball,'' Rose says. "I respect the way they play, the way they practice and I just wish more good players would come over here and play."



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Los Angeles @ San Francisco (Statis-Pro Dice, Ballhalla, and History Maker while listening to the Bus Boys "American Worker)

Another unpleasant evening at Candlestick welcomed the visiting Dodgers, who had seen their brief lead in the West rested away by the Giants. With a lineup loaded with right handers, the Giants sent journeyman Don Carrithers to the hill against the underrated lefty Doug Rau. Swirling winds and low lying fog played havoc with the Dodger OFers and a second inning bloop by Al Gallagher resulted in a run scoring double for the home club. The Dodgers bounced back against Carrithers, however, getting a two run homer from Dusty Baker in the fourth and an RBI single from Steve Garvey in the fifth to give LA a 3-1 lead.

The weather would bedevil the Dodgers again in the sixth. Bill Russell's throw to first sailed on Garvey allowing Ken Henderson to reach, and then Rick Monday would misplay Willie Mays arcing, wind blown liner to the gap in center into a extra base error. Mays would then score when Rau, buffeted by frigid gusts, balked Mays home when he hesitated on a pitch to the plate. It was Rau's second balk of the game, and it would tie the score at 3. 

But Dodger power would ultimately prevail. Steve Yeager and Garvey (3-4) would homer late, and Giant-killer Ron Cey would add an RBI double giving the Dodgers a 6-3 win. Charlie Hough righted himself after a shaky start to the season with a 2-inning save.

The Giants bounced back in game two, under the milder conditions of a Saturday afternoon and a resurgent Gaylord Perry. Perry went the distance, allowing only four hits and no walks (one another home run to Baker) and the Giant spitballer outdueled Tommy John for a 4-2 win. Bobby Bonds went 3-4, and Mays drove home his third and fourth runs of the series, including the game winner.

The rubber game of the series figured to be a real pitcher's duel, and neither Burt Hooton of the Dodgers or Juan Marichal of the Giants disappointed. Between them, only one mistake was made; it was Baker who took advantage of a hanging breaking pitch from Marichal to do the lone damage, a colossal shot off the facade of the upper deck in CF. Baker finished 3-4, as many hits as the entire Giant team, and more than the rest of his teammates. Burt Hooton whiffed 11, as his knuckle curve proved nearly unhittable, while Marichal allowed only five base runners in a ridiculously tough loss.

NOTES: Hooton ran his scoreless streak to 20 innings with the shutout. The Dodgers, though, have scored exactly one run while he has been on the mound...Baker finished the series 5-12 with three home runs and four RBIs...Reggie Smith, after a terrific opening to the season is now 1 for his last 26...Chris Speier of the Giants is now 3-33...With the whitewash, the Dodger's lowered their team ERA  below 3 (2.96).

Johnnie B. bombing.....



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The Dodger win created the ultimate logjam atop the NL West; all three teams are tied at 6-3. All three teams are also an even 3-3 against one another, as all three swept Yokohama. Meanwhile in the East, the Amazin' Mets are 6-3 and in first place, followed by the Pirates and Phillies at 5-4.

The NL Leaders after nine games;

BA-Bake McBride, PHI .500...Pete Rose, CIN .459...Roberto Clemente, PIT .457 

HR-Luzinski, PHI & Bench, CIN 5

RBI-Bench, CIN 15

SB-McBride, PHI 5

 

ERA-Hooton, LA 0.00 (20 IP)...Matlack, NY 0.56...Nolan, CIN 0.61

W-Many tied with 2

SV-Many tied with 2

K-Hooton, LA 20

The upcoming AL schedule;

Baltimore @ New York-home opener for the Yankees but the rotation in disarray; Can the O's take advantage?

Oakland @ Boston-two clubs looking to battle back in their divisions.

Kansas City @ Chicago--Sox with a chance to gain ground on the first place Royals as they end a nine game home stand to start the year.

Image result for burt hooton images

"Happy" with the results...



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Baltimore @ New York (Quincy Jones "Theme from Sanford and Son", while playing History Maker and Ballhalla)

"...this is the Big One. I'm coming to join you Elizabeth..."

Maybe that was what Billy Martin was feeling after this series ended--a sudden pain the in the chest. Or maybe he just felt like calling the back end of the rotation "big dummies." At any rate, that predicted Yankee bugaboo came true. When the front end starters pitch they are hard to beat; when the bottom end guys go, look out.

Take the first game; Yankee home opener, Don Gullett on the hill. While not the rocket launching fast-baller of his earlier years with Cincinnati, Gullett was still very solid, and on this late afternoon, aided by creeping shadows, he is able to out-pitch Baltimore Cy Young candidate Jim Palmer, who suddenly finds himself 0-2. Gullet goes five and a third, and Dick Tidrow and Sparky Lyle finish up a tight affair; Yankees 3, Orioles 2. New York is also aided by having dibs on Paul Blair, and the ex (and current--gotta love mixed season leagues) Oriole goes 3-4 with a double and a run scored to pace the Yank attack.

The next two games, however, test the depth of New York's mop-up staff, and the culprits are the same ex-A's that pitched Oakland to three consecutive World Series titles; Ken Holtzman and Jim Hunter (and both are pitching marvelously for the A's in this league as well--see earlier comment.) Holtzman fails to get out of the first in game two, allowing eight runs in two-third of an inning; while Catfish, given an extra day of rest, is nonetheless pummeled for seven runs in an inning and a third. Ironically, Gil Patterson, Ken Clay, and Tidrow all pitch effectively in relief, but the holes are too big to climb out of. New York drops game two, 8-4, and game three, 12-5. Brooks Robinson finished up a stellar series by by driving in two runs in Saturday's tilt, and five (including a grand slam) in Sunday's rubber game for Batlimore. All told, a balanced Oriole offense bangs out 23 hits in their two wins, and draws 14 walks. Dole Alexander and Dave McNally pick up the easy victories for the Birds.

NOTES: Robinson finished the series 6-13 with a triple, homer, and seven RBIs. He also scored four runs. Paul Blair was 7-12 with three doubles and three RBIs and Martin started him all three games in the series...When Torrez, Guidry, Figeroa, or Gullett start for New York, they are 6-0. Hunter or Holtzman they are 0-3...Sparky Lyle's ERA took a beating. Forced to pitch mop-up, he allowed four earned runs in a 2 1/3 inning stint. He did pick up his fourth save, however...

Image result for brooks robinson images

Brooksie swinging a hot stick



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Oakland at Boston (Statis-Pro, Ballhalla, and History Maker on the field/Temptations and Rick James "Cold Blooded" in the background)

Fenway Park has been an inhospitable place for the A's in the past, and the opener of this three game weekend series was no different. John Odom started for Oakland, but unlike his previous outing against KC, Blue Moon had no luck or command and the Red Sox savaged him and the Oakland bullpen for eleven runs and fifteen hits. Fred Lynn broke out of his slump in a big way, doubling twice and homering once for a 5-1-3-5 line, while Carlton Fisk went 4-5 with a couple of ribbies. Meanwhile, Rick Wise was dominant on the mound for Boston, scattering six hits, walking none, and striking out nine. Final score, Red Sox 11, Oakland 1. To add injury to insult, Bert Campaneris rolled an ankle going for a ball in the hole, and will miss ten games. This is Campy's second injury already, and it leaves the A's with slow footed, light hitting Ted Kubiak at short once again.

Oakland could have used a little of Campy's speed and spark the next afternoon, as the Spaceman, Bill Lee was nearly as effective as Wise. The A's could manage only a single run through six, but the Sox could do no better; Ken Holtzman was dealing for the green and gold as well ,and the game was tied at 1 going to the top of the seventh. Ray Fosse singled, advanced on a passed ball, and scored when Joe Rudi, hitting for Kubiak, drove him home with a single to RF. Holtzman shut Boston down the rest of the way, and the A's escaped with another one run win by a very un-Fenway-like 2-1 score.

The final game of the series figured to be more typically offensive. With three players out, and the Monster in left looming large, A's skipper Dick Williams decided to activate rookie righty Glenn Abbott, and push back lefties Vida Blue and Dave Hamilton. It proved to be a disastrous decision. Abbott was simply over matched, and the Sox rocked him for six runs in less than three innings. Lynn and Carl Yasztremski hit back-to-back bombs, and Dwight Evans added a three run shot, and very quickly Boston had a commanding 6-1 lead.

Unfortunately for Boston, they had Reggie Cleveland on the mound and the portly righty proved nearly as ineffective, surrendering six runs of his own in five innings of less than spectacular work. Thanks to two runs scored off of hideously ineffective Paul Lindblad, Cleveland still stood to pick up a cheap win, though, and the Red Sox took an 8-6 to the ninth with Jim Willoughby on the hill looking for Boston's first save. Bill North drew a walk, and after a Rudi ground out, A's captain Sal Bando blasted a home run into the seats in center field that tied the game at 8. Rollie Fingers blanked Boston in the bottom of the frame, and the game went to extra-innings.

Boston had bases loaded, one out opportunities off of Fingers in both the tenth and eleventh, but the Oakland ace fireman denied them each time. In the top of the twelfth, Boston's bullpen was not so lucky. Gene Tenace led off the inning with a three hop single to center off of Rogelio Moret. Ray Fosse bunted him to second, and Rich McKinney (Oakland's fourth DH of the game) flied out. Two outs, and the aforementioned Kubiak at the plate. The matchup in favor of Boston, and the Sox thinking ahead to the bottom of the inning.

But a Moret fastball caught a little too much of the plate and Kubiak's flyball to left was a little longer than it looked, and here came the Monster, and suddenly, what appeared to be a routine fly ball to left to end the inning ends up in the screen and Oakland had the lead, 10-8. And Fenway in complete silence. Fingers finished up a heroic four inning relief appearance with a scoreless twelfth, and the A's had another nail-biting, jaw-clinching victory. And the unheralded Kubiak was the hero.

NOTES: Lynn finshed the series a very loud 5-15; two doubles, two homers, and seven RBIs. He appears to be out of his slump...This was the third blown save by Boston already, and it would appear deciding on a closer that can finish off a game will be crucial to any success the Red Sox will have in the future...Carlton Fisk has been a torrid 14-30 on the year for Boston...


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An unlikely hero



-- Edited by pfunkone on Friday 16th of October 2015 08:24:43 AM

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Kansas City @ Chicago (Statis-Pro and Ballhalla; while groovin' to Marvin Gaye's What's Going On?)

The Royals travel to Chicago to defend first place against the Pale Hose.  The Sox send knuckleballer Wilber Wood to the mound in game one, and old Wilbur, bad knee and all has his flutterball dancing. The Royals are held to just one run through the first six innings, while his teammate's silent bats are roused to action the second time through the order against struggling Jim Colborn. Chicago gets six runs in the middle innings, and Lerrin LaGrown turns in a seven out save to give the Sox a 7-4 win. Catcher Jim Essian, in addition to keeping all of Wood's deliveries in play, gets his first hits of the season, going 3-4 with two doubles, and Ralph Garr and Jorge Orta add two hits a piece to pace the White Sox attack.

Chicago taps Steve Renko, late season trade acquisition, to go against wild Andy Hassler in game two. Hassler walks five in just under six innings, and allows eight hits, yet Chicago only scores two runs through the first eight innings. The Sox strand thirteen runners, but nonetheless have lead entering the ninth, 2-1. With one out, John Mayberry walks,  and Whitey Herzog pinch runs with John Wathan. The deceptively quick Wathan steals second and goes to third on Essian's throwing error. Al Cowens grounds to short, but Wathan beats Alan Bannister's throw home to tie the game. Darrell Porter's fourth single of the game sends Cowens to third and marks the end for Renko. Pete La**** greets reliever Bart Johnson with a single that scores Cowens, giving the Royals a 3-2 lead, heading to the last of the ninth.

With lefty Steve Mingori on the bump, Chicago's first hitter, Chet Lemon, reaches when Wathan, not yet adept as a first baseman, makes a poor throw to the pitcher covering. Eric Soderholm erases Lemon with a fielder's choice groundout, and then advances to third when pinch hitter Brian Downing doubles to center. With the winning run in scoring position, Herzog stays with the lefty-lefty matchup as as the red-hot Orta comes to the plate. Jorge had already doubled and tripled, and he gets one hit closer to a cycle when he singles past Bob Heise at second to score both runners for a one out, walk-off win.

With a chance to sweep KC and take over first, the Sox run into Dennis Leonard. The Royal ace picks up his first win of the year, tossing a complete game, five hitter, with only an unearned run to blemish a brilliant performance. Meanwhile, the Royals abuse surprise starter Ken Brett, who is drilled for a triple and a single by baby brother George, and four hits from Hal McRae (including two doubles) in a face saving 5-1 win. Mayberry maintains his league leading home run total with number four in the first inning.

NOTES: The White Sox defense continues to be abysmal. The made five errors in the series and have committed 12 overall, including another two-error game from Bannister, prompting colorman Jimmy Piersall to moan "we're just horrible right now, out there. God, don't hit the ball to him (Bannister.)...Orta finished the series 6-12 with four RBIs...The White Sox, despite being known as the "South Side Hitmen," have just five home runs on the year, while the line drive hitting Royals have hit eight. Chicago also has the lowest team ERA (3.30) in the league, and turned eight DPs in the series, despite their fielding shortcomings...

Image result for jorge orta images

Is it Jorge or is it George?

Either way it's two game winners for the Sox second sacker



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After nine games, the Yankees maintain their lead in the East at 6-3, followed closely by the Orioles (5-4), with the Red Sox in third at 3 and 6. In the West, KC (5-4) holds a slim lead over both Oakland and Chicago, who sit at 4 and 5.

AL Leaders

Avg.-Carlton Fisk, BOS .467...Jim Rice, BOS .417...Thurman Munson, NY .378...

HR-John Mayberry, KC 4

RBI-Brooks Robinson, BAL 9

SB-Bill North, OAK 5

 

ERA-Lerrin LaGrow, CHI 0.96...Jim Hunter, OAK 1.00...Bob Reynolds, BAL 1.00

W-Many tied with 2

SV-Sparky Lyle, NY 4

SO-Dennis Leonard, KC 20

Up next in the NL;

New York @ Pittsburgh; the Amazin's cruise into Three Rivers in first place

Yokohama @ Philadelphia; the Phils look to leapfrog into first with the winless Whales coming to town

Cincinnati @ San Francisco; first place on the line at the 'Stick

Tokyo @ Los Angeles; the Dodgers take on the "other" Giants



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New York @ Pittsburgh (Ballhalla and History Maker; George Clinton's "Last Dance" on the turntable)

In an upside down world, the Mets entered the series leading the NL East, albeit by a mere game. Back of the rotation starters Ray Sadecki and Nellie Briles hooked up in a pitcher's duel of sorts in game one, and eighth inning runs by both teams sent the game to extra innings, tied at 2. The pitching for both teams remained airtight until the thirteenth, when the wild Bruce Kison allowed seven consecutive Mets to reach base. Four runs later and the Amazin's had the win 6-2, with the unlikely duo of Buzz Capra and Phil Hennigan picking up the win and save respectively. Bud Harrelson had his best game of the season, going 3-6 for New York.

The second game of the series matched aces Tom Seaver and Steve Blass. Blass regained his command after a shaky second start, and allowed only two hits and two walks in seven innings. It was enough for the Mets, however, who took advantage of those walks and a Jackie Hernandez error to score two runs in the sixth. They added another on Rusty Staub's double, followed by John Milner's single in the ninth, which was enough for the brilliant Seaver. Tom Terrific allowed a single run in the ninth and struck out seven to capture his first win of the year, in a 3-1 New York victory.

Looking at a possible sweep, the Buccos got off the deck in the finale, getting three quick runs of Jerry Koosman in the first inning. Dave Cash surprised with a home run over the center field fence, Roberto Clemente doubled, and Willie Stargell, mired in a season long slump, blasted a Koosman fastball into the seats in right. But the Pirates did not score again in the game, and had to rely on another solid start by three game winner Dock Ellis to avoid falling four games behind the Mets. Dave Guisti picked up the save, although he continues to struggle in fireman situation for the Pirates. Final score, Pittsburgh 3, New York 2.

NOTES: Ellis has made two starts against the Mets and has pitched 17 innings with one earned run allowed...The Pirate defense had been solid up until this series, committing just six errors in the first twelve games. Six different Bucs made errors in this series alone...Guisti has worked 9 2/3 innings for Pittsburgh and has given up 6 runs. By comparison, Tug McGraw has pitched 10 scoreless innings for the Mets, and that difference in bullpen efficiency is the primary reason for the Mets success thus far...

And of course, there's Yogi...



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Yokohama @ Philadelphia (Statis-Pro Dice and History Maker on the field, Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" on Sirius)

At 0-9, perhaps Kuaro Betto, Whale manager, engaged in some sort of superstitious ritual peculiar to baseball lifers of all cultures. Perhaps he and his struggling hitters burned and buried bats. Maybe he had his woeful pitchers douse their arms in an exotic potion to elicit some effectiveness. Or maybe the percentages finally played in his favor. Or maybe, and more likely, the Whales fortines turned with the return of ace Akio Saito, back from his suspension, equipped with his "scuff ball that is not a scuff ball." 

Whatever the reason, Taiyo finally broke through, defeating the Phillies in extra innings 5-2. Saito went seven, gave up just two, but got no decision. Phillie starter Jim Lonborg, pitching like it was 1967, was even better, allowing only three hits and a run in 7 and a third. But the Phillie bullpen, thought to be a strength, gagged up the game. Gene Garber allowed Lonborg's run to cross the plate in the eighth, gave up a Danny Walton sac fly in the ninth, then gave up a lead off single in the tenth to Daisuke ####. That brought in Tug McGraw, who was greeted with lusty boos from an already disenchanted Phillie crowd, who were not not in the mood to see a pitcher who had stated a preference not to pitch for them. Tug retired Takagi on a bunt, and Danny Ozark had him intentionally walk the Whales only consistent offensive threat Matsaburu. Nagasaki flew to the track in right, which brought up 3B Tomio Tashiro, who had doubled earlier. With Ron Reed warm in the pen, Danny Ozark continued his habit of curious decisions and left McGraw in the game. Tashiro gave the second guessers and verbally abusive drunks in the stands both their quota of ammunition when he rocketed a three run homer to give Yokohama their first and only lead. The Whales would hold on in the tenth to gain their first victory, which they celebrated in uncharacteristic fashion as though they had won a world series as downcast Phillies watched from the dugout.

The Phillies gained some measure of revenge the next night, but even with Steve Carlton pitching the game was no walk over. Danny Walton, Hisaaki Fukushima, and Makato Matsubara all hit solo homers off of Lefty, but the Phils were equal to the task. Greg Luzinski hit his league leading sixth homer, and Carlton hit his first, and Philadelphia ewas able to answer each Whale blast for a 5-3 win. Bake McBride went 2-4 with two runs and a triple to extend his hitting streak to ten games for Philadelphia in their win.

In game three the Whales, with a first win under their belts now had a chance to take their first series. The veteran Stadium crowd was in a testy mood on a cold night, and became even more irritated when Yokohama jumped a struggling Larry Christenson for two runs in the first inning on back-to-back doubles by Yoshi Takahgi and Matsubara. The Phils got three back in their half, however, ripping Masaji Hirmatsu for four hits and a Mike Schmidt two-run homer. Hiramatsu would only last until the fifth, giving way to Shigeyuki Takahashi, while Christenson would somehow last until the sixth. By then, Takagi had doubled in another run, and had blasted a two run homer, and the Whales had taken a 5-4 lead. Enter McGraw--who managed to get through an unscathed seventh inning. In the eighth, he was rocked for two more home runs (Nagasaki and Fuskushima) and left the game to a torrent of abuse from irate Phillie fans. 

Meanwhile, Takahashi put together a brilliant 4 1/3 innings of shutout relief, and the Whales had another win, 7-4. "Perhaps we should not have been so jubilant in victory" said Betto in the post-game of his giddy players. "But it has been a long road thus far. It's a welcome change of scenery for us."

NOTES: Fukushima has now hit four home runs, all solo shots...Takagi now has 9 RBIs for the season...Mc Bride singled in the third game to stretch his hitting streak to eleven games and keep his batting average within shouting distance of .500. His platoon partner Jerry Martin is 5-11...Christenson's 6 IP 5 ER effort actually lowered his ERA from 9.00 to 8.40, such have been his struggles. He has been taken deep seven times...Garry Maddox suffered the first major injury of the season when he collided with Ted Sizemore on a pop fly. Sizemore was uninjured, but Maddox suffered a slight shoulder separation and was placed on the 21-day disabled list, an eternity in a short season. Expect McBride and /or Martin to move to CF in the interim...

QUOTABLE: "Ten million years from now, when then sun burns out and the Earth is just a frozen iceball hurtling through space, nobody's going to care whether or not I got this guy out." -Tug McGraw

Kuoro Betto, Whale manager



-- Edited by pfunkone on Friday 23rd of October 2015 09:35:10 AM



-- Edited by pfunkone on Friday 23rd of October 2015 09:35:42 AM

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Cincinnati @ San Francisco ( Statis-Pro and Strat-O-Matic; and the Chambers Bros. on the turntable)

With the Dodgers playing down the coast against Tokyo there was a feeling this series would be for second place in the division, at least temporarily. And the Giants temporarily took the lead with a 6-4 win that was not nearly as close as the score. Ron Bryant made his second start of the year, both against the Reds, and both victories. Bryant struck out seven and was one out away from from a complete game, one run game, when the Big Red Machine decided to start operating. Three runs later, Jerry Johnson was finally sent for, and he was able to saw off Pete Rose for a flukey pop to the pitcher with the tying runs on base. Dick Deitz hit two more home runs, while Bobby Bonds added his second on the year for the Giants' offense.

Things flipped in the second game. Sparky Anderson continued to experiment with his Tony Perez-less lineup and the results improved for a 5-2 win. Gary Nolan continues to be dominant, notching his third win of the year while allowing only three hits in 7 2/3 innings, and Rawley Eastwick added his third save. Offensive stalwarts Rose, Morgan, and Bench all had two hit games and the Reds overcame a third Bonds home run for the win.

The rubber game of the series was a more competitive affair, one that started out with surprising pitching performances by Steve Stone and Jack Billingham and ended with bullpen implosions. The Giants lead early when the usually light-hitting Stone doubled to lead off the third (his second double of the year.) Bonds walked, Tito Fuentes bunted them ahead, and Billingham balked in Stone. Willie McCovey would single in Bonds to give the Giants a 2-0 lead. They made it 4-1 in the seventh, scoring two more off of Pedro Borbon on singles by Fuentes and Ken Henderson (his first RBI of the year.)

The lead was short lived, however. Stone tired in the eighth, allowing Rose and Griffey to reach. Giant manager Charlie Fox went to lefty Steve Hamilton to face Joe Morgan and he got on with an infield single, loading the bases. That brought on Johnson, who had been as reliable as any reliever on the season. But Johnny Bench hit a sac fly, Dan Driessen singled to reload the bases, and singles by Dave Concepcion and pinch hitter George Foster gave the Reds back the lead, 5-4.

The Giants rallied in the ninth to re-tie the game when McCovey doubled in Bonds, sending the game to extra innings. But Don McMahon could not quell the Machine. Cincinnati scored three in their half of the tenth off the aged SF reliever, a Foster single serving as the game winner, and Eastwick closed the door in the bottom of the inning for his fourth save. In their 8-5 win, Cincinnati had eleven hits, all but one (a Geronimo double) singles, but they drew eight walks and stole three bases, prompting Fox to state he had "never seen a team with so many weapons."

NOTES: Bonds had another monster series, going 6-11 with 2 HRs, two stolen bases, seven runs scored, and a man thrown out at the plate. He is quietly putting together MVP like stats...On the other hand, Chris Speier's struggles are taking on biblical proportions. He is currently 3-44, and in danger of losing his spot to Hal Lanier. Fortunately for the Giants his troubles have not followed him to the field where he has made just one error on the year...Bill Plummer started all three games in the series behind the plate for Cincinnati and went 3-8 with a homer and a double. The move allowed Bench to play first and right field and get some rest for his knees on the hard Candlestick turf...Foster was not activated by the Giants, allowing the Reds to use him in the series. However there was dispute over whether this was appropriate, so the Reds voluntarily removed him from the starting lineup the last two games. The Giants  wished he had been fully inactive given his performance off the bench in the third game, and have lodged a complaint with NL President Chub Feeney...

Putting up big numbers in SF



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