Sunday, October 23, 2016

World Series: Did You Know?

Until this year, 2016, Don Johnson was the last batter for the Chicago Cubs in the Fall Classic. Not related to the actor. You know, from Miami Vice.

But Chicago was last in the World Series in 1945, when the lost to the Detroit Tigers. The Fall Classic went to a deciding seventh game at Wrigley. The Cubs had won a dramatic sixth game at home, 8-7 in extras, to force a winner-take-all last game. But like the Boston Red Sox of 30 years later, they came up short.

Hank Borowy started the game for the home team, but it was his third straight appearance. And Hank didn't last through even one inning. It was the Bengals that score five times in all that frame. Chicago could answer with only a single run in the bottom of the first. And it was Johnson that doubled and scored. But a lot of good that did.

In fact, that was about as close as it would get. A double play stopped any further scoring that inning, and Detroit was not finished. A run in the top of the second and the five-run cushion was restored. The home team scored their second run, but not until the bottom of the fourth. Hal Newhouser was just not going to allow the Cubs to make a game of this.

The Tigers scored run number seven in the top of the seventh, then plated two more the next inning. Hank Greenberg, who's day included two walks and two sacrifices, drove home the ninth run. Johnson was retired in the bottom of the frame, but the Cubs did score their third and final run.

Trailing 9-3 in the bottom of the ninth, Chicago got it's tenth hit (By Roy Hughes) to start the inning. But that proved to be it. Newhouser, sprinting to the finish line for the visitors, retired the next three batters, including Stan Hack on a fly and Don Johnson on a force at second.

You couldn't have told a Cub fan back then that there would be not return for over 70 years. No way! Chicago had, after all, won the World Series in 1907 and 1908. They'd even been there, losing to their crosstown rivals the White Sox in 1906. They made it back several times, including the start of the 10's, 1910. Then again in 1918, 1929. 1932, 1935 (Losing to the Tigers), 1938, and finally 1945. That was 10 times.

But it would be 71 years before they returned to the World Series. 2016 sees Chicago take on Cleveland.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Common Denominator: Sam Bowie And Adrian Dantley

One sits proudly in the Hall Of Fame, a teammate of Kareem and Isiah. The other is supposedly the biggest draft bust in NBA history. And they both could have been a teammate of Micheal Jordan for the first (or maybe all three) of three in a row. Different years, of course.

Adrian Dantley came to the NBA, was healthy, and a teammate of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for two seasons. Just as they were about to win, he was no longer a Laker. Worse still, he missed out on playing with Magic Johnson as Los Angeles traded him for Spencer Haywood. One Hall-Of-Famer for another.

Dantley went on to twice lead the league in PPG in the 1980s, but never won a ring. In seven seasons with the Utah Jazz, Adrian averaged 29.6 PPG. But then, he was on the Detroit Pistons, for 1987/88, getting all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals. Guess who they beat on the way?

Why, the Chicago Bulls!

Then, the next year, they fell to Kareem's Lakers in seven games in the NBA Finals. Just as the Bad Boys were about to embark on a little dynasty, he found himself on the Dallas Mavericks, and watched as Detroit swept Los Angeles in the NBA Finals in 1989, then beat Portlant in five the next season. The Pistons had continued to have Micheal Jordan's number in the playoffs, going 3-0 against them in the postseason from 1988-1990.

So Micheal and company were determined to find away around the Pistons. They sought out Dantley's services in 1990/91 (Having been waived the previous spring), bringing it up to veteran centre Bill Cartwright. The Bulls even talked to one of Dantley's old coaches, Frank Layden. Ultimately, they took a pass. Dantley signed with Milwaukee in April, finishing up his career with them that season.

A little later on that season in Chicago (After sweeping Detroit sans Dantley in the Eastern Conference Finals)...It was "Yes Bull," after years of, "No Bull" in the NBA Finals.

Chicago, of course, went on to win in not only in 1991, but also in 1992, and 1993. How about 1995/96? Well, they were a new team at this point, and many of the old guard was gone. Their centre was Luc Longley, who was not very good. Worse still, the guy couldn't even give you 30 minutes a night! Who could be his backup?

The Bulls had signed James Edwards, the old pro from Detroit, back in the fall of 1995, but he was clearly past his prime. They'd gotten Dennis Rodman, another former Piston in a trade. But he wasn't a centre. Jack Haley had been signed in the fall like Edwards and could play centre. He ended up playing one game all season long.

So the Bulls went after Sam Bowie. Of course, the name Bowie and Jordan are tied forever in the 1984 draft, when Portland picked Bowie second and Chicago of course took Jordan third.

Bowie has seemed like a good pick at the time, in a league dominated by big men. Sam had it toug at the collegiate level, facing some stiff competition some nights. Didn't seem to fair too badly.

Bowie had injury problems, but by the 1990s, they had more or less subsided. And at a very good time, too. Gone (Or on the decline) were Jabbar and Mosses Malone. Replacing them as the dominating big men where Hakeem Olajuwon and Patrick Ewing. There was a guy named Shaq on the horizon. Hakeem beat their teams in 1994 and 1995 for two rings.

So, add Bowie? Why not? Sam had retired from the Lakers just before the start of what would be an historic season for Chicago in 1995/96. But still...The guy could still play. From 1989/90 until 1994/95, he'd played 372 out of 492 games, really only missing significant time in 1993/94. Jordan didn't play a single game that year, sitting it out playing some baseball as his interest in basketball appeared to wane.

Jackson liked the idea of Bowie. So did MJ. Bowie attended a Bulls / Knicks game, went to some practices, and heard out Jordan himself. MJ wanted the big guy badly, thinking the NBA Championship would come easier with a centre like Bowie. Certainly it made all the sense in the world.

But Bowie gave it a pass. His interest was now his family, and later, horse racing. Basically, he'd found his calling. That 1984 draft was ancient history. Still, were I in Sam's shoes, I'd have signed right on the spot with MJ. Would have made my life a whole lot easier.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Sure Could Have Fooled Me! And Howe!

Gordie Howe won as many Hart Memorial Trophies by the age of 35 than Bobby Orr, Jean Beliveau and Maurice Richard combined did in their entire careers. That's six, by the way. Until Wayne Gretzky came along, no one else won that award (Given to the NHL's Most Valuable Player) so many times.

Wow! Everyone remembers Gordie for his incredible longevity, but by 1962/63, he had won his sixth MVP. His great rival Maurice Richard, well no doubt a more exciting player (And better goal scorer) won it just once, in 1946/47. That happened to be Mr. Hockey's first NHL season. Howe scored only seven goals all year as a rookie.

But that all changed by 1950/51. Howe won his first scoring title (Richard never won any, Orr two and Beliveau just one. Howe has then all beaten in that category, too. And by a wide margin), but was only third in the MVP race. The next season, Howe made it clear, aged only 24, that he wasn't in the mood to share either the Hart or Art Ross Trophies (Scoring leader) with anyone. He won them both. And he repeated the feat in the following season as well.

Howe finished a rather stunning fourth in the MVP voting in 1953/54 despite winning his fourth straight scoring title. He was, at this point in his career, Gretzkyesque as far as that went. Same thing with his dominance. He was either winning the Art Ross or just missing. Richard, his great rival, never lead the league in assist, either, while Howe led in that category three times.

Gordie was 26 years old at the end of 1954, while all this was going on. But he was only going to get better with age.

He won back-to-back Harts in 1956/57 and 57/58. Rocket Richard, however, now had the upper hand when it mattered most, the playoffs. Montreal, The Rocket's team, won the first of five straight Stanley Cups beginning with a five-game triumph over Howe's Red Wings in 1956. Mr. Hockey would have to be content with his superb individual dominance over all other players in the NHL at that time. Jean Beliveau, now a teammate of Richard's and coming into his prime, took home the MVP in 1955/56, sort of the beginning of his great career. Howe denied him the rest of their careers from ever winning it again, if you can believe it!

The Habs completed their five-in-a-row reign in 1960, but Howe took home MVP #5 that season. In 1962/63, it was Hart #6 for Mr. Hockey. And while it proved to be his last, he was not done with his domination of hockey.

Indeed, Howe also won his last scoring title that season, too.  But in 1967/68, he tallied 82 points, which was amazing since he passed his 40th birthday that season, too. How(e)'d he do the next season? Why, he got 103 points, despite his 41 years. Alas, it was Phil Esposito taking the scoring title with 126 points, at the time a record. Phil also won the Hart Trophy that year, as well he should.

1969/70 belonged to Bobby Orr. He did it all that year, didn't he? Norris Trophy for best defenceman. Art Ross Trophy with 120 points (Although, Howe with 71 points, has hardly through still being a force.) Orr, was an impossible-to-deal with player that year. He dominance continued as his Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup. He helped Phil Esposito get 152 points then next year, but was the MVP again. And a third for good measure in 1971/72. Howe retired for two years after 1970/71. Gordie came back to play in the WHA in 1973/74, and looked like he'd lost none of his old skills. When the WHA and NHL emerged in 1979/80, all Mr. Hockey did was play in all 80 games with the Hartford Whales, score 15 goals and 41 points. Wayne Gretzky was in his first year in the NHL that year, getting 137 points and winning his first Hart. Both Wayne And Gordie's team made the playoffs, only to be swept aside in the first round.

Howe's last goal was against Montreal in the playoffs that year. Just a reminder to Richard and Beliveau that he was still around? Probably!


Sports Reference LLC. - Hockey Statistics and History. Web. 20 Oct. 2016.

Youtube. Web. 20 Oct. 2016.. <>

Monday, October 17, 2016

Common Demoninator: October 10th

"Day that Mantle hit his walk-off home run right into the upper deck against Barney Schultz. Day of Wayne Gretzky's NHL debut."

That would be October 10th of 15 years apart. And at the opposite ends of the spectrum in each other's careers. The Mick and his mighty Yankees were about to slide into fifth place in 1965, whereas Gretzky's Oilers were in their first NHL season. Five years later, they were Stanley Cup winners.

Mickey didn't have to wait as long as Wayne to be a champion. Mantle's New York Yankees won it all in 1951, his rookie campaign. He also won it again the next two seasons. By the end of the 1950s, the Bronx Bombers had won six World Championships, Mantle not there in 1950, obviously. The 60s started out with a frustrating, heartbreaking seven-game loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. But soon, it was back to the Yankee dominance. They won in 1961 and '62. The Los Angeles Dodger stopped them from making it three in a row with a sweep of 'em the next season. But 1964 meant another World Series for Mantle and company.

But they were up against the St. Louis Cardinals, and pitcher Bob Gibson. The Yankees' ace, Whitey Ford, pitched in game one, taking the loss. Due to an injury, it proved to be the lefty's last appearance in the Fall Classic.

But then New York went out and beat Gibson in game two, right there in St. Louis. Mantle scored the run that broke a 1-1 deadlock. The 8-3 final score sent the 1964 World Series to New York for games three, four and five. At Yankee Stadium.

Game three was a classic pitcher's duel. Jim Bouton of the Yankees and Curt Simmons of the Cardinals battled each other to a standstill. Simmons tied the game and Mantle made a big mistake. Trailing 1-0 in the top of the fifth, Tim McCarver of the Cardinals got a rally going. He singled past Joe Pepitone at first. The ball continued into right, rolling right through Mantle's legs (Roger Maris was playing centre, Mantle's normal position). McCarver ended up at second. The next two batters were retired by Bouton, but Simmons was the batter. The lefty-pitching, lefty-hitting hurler knocked it off Clete Boyer's glove at third, and McCarver motored on home to tie the game.

The Cards nearly won in in the top of the tenth as Phil Linz, the shortstop replacing Tony Kubek at short, muffed McCarver's grounder to start the ninth. A bunt by Mike Shannon got him to second. Another pinch hitter, Carl Wawrick, walked. Bob Skinner batted for Simmons and gave it a ride to deep right-centre. Roger Maris made the putout on the warning track, and McCarver made it to third. Curt Flood lined to Mantle in right.

St. Louis brought in Barney Schultz to pitch the bottom of the ninth. And let's let Mantle take it from here:

The Mick really gave it a ride!

St. Louis, however, ended up winning the 1964 World Series in seven games (Despite two more long balls from The Mick). Mantle did not make it back to the Fall Classic again. He retired after the 1968 season.

Flash forward fifteen years from that day Mantle hit his dramatic walk-off, and it's a young 18-year old about to walk on to the ice at Chicago Stadium. Wayne Gretzky had completed his first WHA season in 1978/79, but it was "Welcome to the Big Show, kid!"

The Edmonton Oilers were bunch of kids. They had two other first year boys in Kevin Lowe and Mark Messier, both of whom were a few years away from greatness. Gretzky? He'd arrived. The Hawks had another veteran aside from Esposito. Stan Mikita, who'd been with Chicago since 1959/60, two years before Gretzky was born. Wayne had to be really feeling young!

But first, there was the matter of the Chicago Blackhawks. They trotted out 36-year old Tony Esposito in the net for this game, while the Edmonton Oilers countered with Ken Dryden's older brother Dave. For a while, this October 10th, 1979 game was a mismatch.

Chicago led 2-0 before the game reached it's third minute. Edmonton fought back as Kevin Lowe scored, Gretzky getting his first assist. Dave Hunter then tied it at 14:53, but the first period ended with the home team up 3-2. Bob Murray scored the lone goal of the second period on a powerplay, and that gave the Hawks a two-goal cushion to work with. Esposito kept Wayne and company at bay the rest of the way.

The Oilers may have lost the game 4-2, but they would actually make the playoffs. Wayne himself would been in the postseason every year until 1993/94, and from there make it only twice his last six years, retiring in 1998/99.

"The information used herein was obtained free of charge from and is copyrighted by The Hockey Summary Project. For more information about the Hockey Summary Project please visit:



Hockey Summary Project. 10 Jan. 2001. Web. 17 Oct. 2016. <>

Sports Reference LLC. - Major League Statistics and Information. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.

Sports Reference LLC. - Hockey Statistics and History. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.

Youtube. Web. 17 Oct. 2016. <>

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sure Could Have Fooled Me!

Austin Matthews scored four goals in his first NHL. Wayne Gretzky had to wait until his tenth game to collect his fourth NHL goal. And twelve to get to five. Austin is ahead of The Great One's pace his first NHL season! For now.

Gretzky came into the NHL in 1979/80 with the Edmonton Oilers, and his first game was against the Chicago Blackhawks on October 10th, 1979. Right there at the old stadium. Chicago was no pushovers. Stan Mikita was there for his 22nd NHL season. Doug Wilson was coming into his own. The Hawks also boasted Tom Lysiak, centre Terry Ruskowski, still another middle man. And still a tremendous force in the Hawks net was veteran Tony Esposito, now 36 years old, but still capable of turning everything thrown at him away.

Tony didn't quite do that in this game, played at home. Chicago showed these new upstarts (The Edmonton Oilers had come over from the rival WHA after the previous season) that this was the big time. They took an early 2-0 lead in the opening stanza on goals by John Marks and Rich Preston. Edmonton came back before the period was over, however. Kevin Lowe (From Gretzky) and Dave Hunter, tied it. Ultimately, it was Marks' second tally of the period that proved to be the game winner. Edmonton lost, 4-2.

The Oilers then lost their home opener to the Red Wings despite a Gretzky assist. His first goal game in his third game vs. Vancouver. Three assists, but no goals, followed against Quebec, and The Great One had clearly arrived. His second goal (And still another assist) gave him a two point night vs. Minnesota in game number five. The next four games Gretzky was shutout in the goal department. And then he missed a game. Are you ready for two goals?

The New York Islanders were going to win their first of four in a row in 1979/80, but first they tasted Wayne Gretzky's wrath. He tallied twice and added an assist for good measure as the Oilers won, 7-5. The Boston Bruins kept Gretzky at four goals after eleven games. It could only go on for so long, as The Great One scored in his next game against Detroit for his fifth. He'd add 46 more in 68 games to finish with 51 red lights and 86 assists, tying Marcel Dionne for the league lead. Dionner, however, had more goals and was awarded the Art Ross Trophy.

Flash forward 37 years later after Gretzky played in Chicago. Austin Matthews was right there in Ottawa, with Toronto. Battle of Ontario it sure was. Matthews put four goals behind the Senators' goalie Craig Anderson, but it wasn't enough. Craig just seemed to get better as the game went on, and his team stayed right with the Leafs, pushing it to overtime. There, Kyle Turris, who'd scored in the third to tie the contest at four, scored again to win it for the home team. The dazzling Sens defenceman Erik Karlsson, picking up from where he left off last year, had three points of his own. The Leafs played well, out-shooting the Senators 38-30, but Anderson made many crucial stops despite the brilliance of Matthews.

"The information used herein was obtained free of charge from and is copyrighted by The Hockey Summary Project. For more information about the Hockey Summary Project please visit:



Dryden, Steve. Total Gretzky: The Magic, The Legend, The Numbers. Toronto, Ont.: McClelland & Stewart, 1999. Print. PP. 128-129.

Hockey Summary Project. 10 Jan. 2001. Web. 16 Oct. 2016. <>

"Official Site Of The National Hockey League." The National Hockey League, n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2016. <>

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

World Series Did You Know?

Rosy Ryan of the Giants is the only relief pitcher to hit a home run. And you have to go all the way back the New York Giants of 1924. While he hit it against Washington in that year's Fall Classic, it was not off Walter Johnson. The Cubs' Travis Wood is the only reliever to go yard is the postseason, in fact.

The Washington Senators of '24 were still looking for their first World Series title, even though they had Johnson. But Walter unable to win the first game, which was decided in extras. The Senators had to pull it out in the bottom of the ninth inning in game two, sending this thing to the Polo Grounds for games three, four and five.

And in game three, it was the home team winning to take a 2-1 Series lead. The big blow was a home run from a relief pitcher.

New York was batting in the bottom of the fourth, and ahead 3-2. The pitcher was Allen Russell. With one out, it was the pitcher's spot due up. The Senators had driven out starter Hugh McQuillan with a two-run uprising in the top of the frame.

But Ryan surprised everyone. He'd gotten the last two in the top half of the fourth. Now, in the bottom half, he took Washington's Allen Russell out of the park to right. 4-2, Giants. Ryan's heroics didn't stop there, as he stopped the Nats cold until they finally scored off him in the top of the eighth. But it was 5-2 for the home side when that happened. Ryan grounded out in the bottom of the frame to restore the three-run cushion.

The Sens still had some surprising fight in them, as they scored a run in the top of the ninth to close to 6-4. Rosy was knocked out of the game, and the rallied continued until Mule Watson got the last two outs, leaving the bases loaded,

Ryan had given up 7 hits over just 4 2/3 innings. Under today's rules, he would have been the winning pitcher. McQuillan got the win despite lasting just 3 2/3 innings. Ryan made just one more appearance in the 1924 World Series. He didn't get a decision in that, either.

Rosy won just 51 games over the course of his short 10 year career. He was not a good pitcher, despite leading the league in ERA in 1922. He's one of many obscure players to accomplish a rare, never duplicated feat in the Fall Classic. But that's what make the World Series so much fun to watch; Even the no-so-good players get a chance to do something truly amazing.


Boeck, Scott. "Cubs Reliever Travis Wood Makes History With Playoff Home Run." USA TODAY: Latest World And US News - N.p., 9 Oct. 2016. Web. 11 Oct. 2016. <>

Sports Reference LLC. - Major League Statistics and Information. Web. 11 Oct. 2016.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Common Denominator: Vic Raschi

"Gave up the first career home run to both pitcher Whitey Ford and rightfielder Hank Aaron."

That would be New York Yankee pitcher Vic Raschi. There was, however, a lot more to The Sprinfield Rifle than that. He was, along with Allie Reynolds and Ed Lopat, part of the "Big Three" of the Yankees pitching staff in the late 40s and early 50s.

He beat the Boston Red Sox 5-3 on the last day of the 1949 season, and that gave the Yankee the pennant. It was Casey Stengel, in his first year at the helm of the Bronx Bombers, who would finally sip champagne after a hard-fought battle between the two teams all year. And Casey then got his first World Series ring as a manager as Raschi and company took care of Brooklyn in the World Series.

Stengel's team won it the next four years for good measure. Raschi went 92-40 over the course of those five years, winning five more games in the World Series. But then, in 1954, he was no longer a Yankee. Vic was purchased by the St. Louis Cardinals for $85,000 in February of that year. Raschi would never pitch in another Fall Classic.

On April 23rd of that year, Raschi found himself pitching against the Milwaukee Braves. And they had rookie Hank Aaron in the lineup despite hitting just .217 in his first six games in the bigs. Aaron wasted no time and singled home a run in the top of the first.

Stan Musial made it 2-1 Cards in the bottom of the frame, but the Braves were on a roll here. Although they fell behind 4-1, Johnny Logan hit a home run off Raschi to get a run back in the fourth. It was Hank Aaron's turn in the top of the sixth. When it was over, it was Milwaukee winning it in 14 innings, 7-5. Aaron had arrived. Raschi was left with a no decision. Hank finished the year with a modest total of 13 home runs, but there was plenty more to follow.

Raschi had to endure a disappointing 8-9 season. Soon, he was back in the American League, but not on the Yankees. He was with the Kansas City Athletics, and pitching his last year in 1955. On July the 29th, Raschi had to face Whitey Ford, who was already 11-5. He'd soon be 12-5.

Ford held the A's to just five hits and two runs. In the bottom of the seventh, he broke a 1-1 tie with a home run off Vic Raschi (Who'd been pitching excellently up to that point) for his first career long ball. The game, played at Yankee Stadium, would soon see Enos Slaugher, who had two tour of duties with the Yankees, tie it for Raschi with a home run of his own in the top of the eighth. He was batting for Vic and taking him off the hook for a loss. The home team took the lead for good, however, in the bottom of the frame. Tom Gorman ended up with the loss, despite Kansas putting a pair of runners on in the top of the ninth.

Raschi finished the year 4-6. So he went out with a wimper. Ford was now the "Go To Guy" in October, and he beat the Brooklyn Dodgers twice in the World Series. He'd go on to face Hank Aaron and the Milwaukee Braves in both the 1957 and 1958 Fall Classics. The Braves won the first time and the Yankees came roaring back from 3-1 down in '58.

Ford didn't hit too many more long balls. He finished with just three. Aaron hit 27 that year, and was just getting better and better. Raschi finished his career with an impressive W% of .667 (132-66), but nowhere enough wins to make the Hall Of Fame. Ford, however, won over 100 more games than Raschi (236) and posted a W% of .690. Aaron went on to hit 755 home runs. In 1982, six years after his retirement from baseball, he joined Ford in the Hall.


Ford, Whitey, and Phil Pepe. Slick. New York: W. Morrow, 1987. Print. PP. 134.

Sports Reference LLC. - Major League Statistics and Information. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Showalter: Off The Hook!

For days now, as Toronto Blue Jays' fans like me celebrate their team's 5-2 win over Baltimore in the winner-take-all Wild Card game, the question still lingers: Why didn't Buck Showalter bring in his ace closer?

To tell you the truth, it might not have mattered. Toronto was going to find a way.

Let's look at a few key facts of the game:

1) The Orioles weren't hitting the Blue Jays' starter

Well, you can't win a baseball game without scoring a run, now can you? The Orioles were having all sorts of problems with Marcus Stroman, who was just zoned in. Baltimore did good to overcome Jose Bautista's early solo home run to stay in the game. Mark Trumbo trumped that with a two-run shot of his own in the top of the fourth. However, that proved to the Toronto's starter's one bad pitch. When he left after six inning of work, it was 2-2 (The Blue Jays tied it in the bottom of the fifth) and Baltimore managed just four hits (And no walks) off him in those six innings. That was all. The game stayed that way until Encanacion's three-run walk-off in extras. If the Orioles could have just gotten to Stroman (9-10), they might have had the game in the bag and perhaps not even need Zack Britton to warm up. Stroman's ERA in 2016? 4.37. His best ever earned run average in a full season was 3.65 in his rookie campaign of 2014. He's 24 years old. After this outing, despite just two earned runs, his postseason ERA is 3.91. You had to think the O's should have done more versus him!

2) The Orioles weren't hitting the relief corps of the Jays, either (*Groan*)

Stroman gave way to Brett Cecil, who started the seventh by getting Matt Wieters. Chris Davis, a lefty facing the lefty Cecil, coaxed a full-count walk off him. But that proved to be Baltimore's last base runner. Joe Biagini came in and fanned the next two batters. Davis was the O's last man to reach first. Jason Grilli, Roberto Osuna and Francisco Liriano came in and combined to retire the next 12 batters, meaning the Toronto bullpen went five innings, allowing not a run or a hit. Even if Britton had matched that, what was his team going to do against that bullpen?

3) Chris Tillman was pulled too soon

Okay, here's where you do fault Showalter. He sent out Chris Tillman to the hill to get the job done, and he was a better choice than the Jays decision of going with Stroman. Tillman was not only 16-6 in 2016, but 65-33 over the course of the last five seasons, so a proven winner. Although his ERA is 3.91 during that span, that's in large part due to it being 4.99 in 2015. Tillman has had seasons (So far) of his earned run average at 2.93 and 3.34, far better than Stroman.

Tillman gave up the early home run to Bautista in the second inning, after a 1-2-3 first. He also had a 1-2-3 third. He got through the fourth by allowing Toronto just a walk. So ahead 2-1 going into the bottom of the fifth, Tillman looked like he had it. And then the wheels came off the chariot.

Troy Tulowitzki flied out, and Tillman appeared to be safe. But then he gave up a double, another double, and a single. The score was tied at two and there was just one out. Showalter removed him, bringing in Mychal Givens, who got out of that via a double play.

However, with that, and the game essentially like game seven, it was going to be a long night for the Orioles' bullpen. Tillman had only walked one batter in 4 1/3 innings and fanned four.

4) The Orioles Bullpen Was Pretty Good Without Britton Pitching

Givens gave way to Donnie Hart after 2 1/3, who held 'em in check. Hart got the only batter to face him out. In came in Brad Brach, who won 10 games in 2016. You know, the guy that made my list of "Greatest Relief Seasons Of All Time?" Check out his first and second set of stats for 2016 (Albeit not final ones). Brach had a 1-2-3 eighth. Showing great confidence in him, Showalter let him pitch the ninth. Toronto looked like they were going to win it as Josh Donaldson led off with a double. Showalter then ordered Edwin Encarnacion walked intentionally, so Brach would face Bautista. Bautista fanned.

Darren O'Day was brought in to pitch and try to send this to extras. He did just that as he induced Russell Martin to hit into an inning-ending double play. The home team had now done that twice in the ballgame, missing out on two key opportunities to score important runs.

O'Day got through the 10th 1-2-3, as Baltimore kept hanging around. Brian Duensing came in to pitch the next inning, and got the only batter to face him on a strikeout. The game, however, would come to a sudden end.

Britton was being saved for a save situation by Baltimore, who's bullpen was nearly matching Toronto's. Ironically, it was one of their starters that lost the game. Ubaldo Jimenez hopped in, and the Blue Jays pounced on him. Devon Travis wasted no time and singled on a 1-1 pitch. Donaldson followed suit on the first pitch, Travis taking third. Encarnacion wasted no time himself. He played hero on the first pitch, smacking it out of here to win the game in dramatic fashion.

5) Bringing In Your Closer To Early Can Have Disastrous Consequences!

The Jays found that out. Roberto Osuna, their closer, who'd struggled as of late, pitched a 1-2-3 ninth in a non-save situation, of course. Now, that's about that should have been asked of him, or Britton for that matter. If there was a time to bring in Britton, it would have been in the Toronto half of that inning,

The start of the inning. Toronto nearly won it. But say Zack throws a 1-2-3 inning, how does that change the outcome when the team isn't hitting? So Britton gets them to the 10th, only to see his team get set down in order in that inning. Not without some drama.

The Jays (Foolishly) brought Osuna back out. He fell behind Chris Davis 2-1, then got a called strike on a very high pitch. On the 2-2, Bautista put the squeeze on Davis' fly. That, however, proved to be Osuna's last pitch. Roberto's shoulder had tightened. He'd been out there too long. Today's closer's are one inning guys. No more. Osuna appeared to be alright a few days later in game two of the ALDS vs. Texas, but we will see how this shoulder trouble plays out in the coming days.

In any event, if Showalter wasn't going to use Britton then, with the game on the line, why should he later? Point #4, perhaps?


Agsgdgfg01. "AL Wild Card [Toronto Blue Jays] vs [Baltimore Orioles] 2016.10.04." Online Video Clip. YouTube. YouTube, 05 Oct. 2016. Web. 08 Oct. 2016. <>

Kennedy, Brendan. "Is Osuna OK? Plus Other Fallout From Blue Jays Wild-Card Win." The Toronto Star, 05 Oct. 2016. Web. 08 Oct. 2016. < 2016/10/05/is-osuna-ok-plus-other-fallout-from-blue-jays-wild-card-win.html>

Sports Reference LLC. - Major League Statistics and Information. Web. 08 Oct. 2016.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Russell Rushes To The Rescue Of Texas In 1989, Part 2!

The rest of Jeff Russell's 1989 stats are impressive, as well.

Stat Set 2

Pitcher Year S BS S% H ERA K K/9 WHIP WAR
Walsh 1904 1 ? ? ? 2.60 57 4.6 1.102 0.1
Griffith 1905 1 ? ? ? 1.68 46 4.1 0.954 3.3
Keefe 1907 3 ? ? ? 2.50 20 3.1 1.387 2.0
Chappelle 1908 0 ? ? ? 1.79 23 2.9 1.095 0.3
Leever 1909 2 ? ? ? 2.83 23 3.0 1.257 -0.1
Pitcher Year S BS S% H ERA K K/9 WHIP WAR
Phillipe 1910 4 ? ? ? 2.29 30 2.2 0.986 2.0
Baskette 1912 1 ? ? ? 3.18 51 4.0 1.336 2.2
Crandall 1913 6 ? ? ? 2.86 42 3.9 1.290 0.5
Wolfgang 1914 0 ? ? ? 1.89 50 3.8 1.073 1.8
Mays 1915 7 ? ? ? 2.60 65 4.4 1.063 1.0
Danforth 1917 9 ? ? ? 2.65 79 4.1 1.324 3.2
Dubuc 1919 3 ? ? ? 2.66 32 2.2 1.182 0.6
Pitcher Year S BS S% H ERA K K/9 WHIP WAR
Morton 1921 1 ? ? ? 2.76 45 3.8 1.207 2.3
Baumgartner 1925 3 ? ? ? 3.57 18 1.4 1.368 2.5
Marberry 1926 22 ? ? ? 3.00 43 2.8 1.348 3.1
Haid 1928 5 ? ? ? 2.30 21 4.0 1.064 0.4
Pitcher Year S BS S% H ERA K K/9 WHIP WAR
Lindsey 1931 7 1 0.875 ? 2.77 32 3.9 1.634 1.1
Quinn 1932 13 ? ? ? 2.66 24 3.5 1.383 1.1
Russell 1933 13 ? ? ? 2.69 28 2.0 1.218 3.1
Brown 1938 5 ? ? ? 3.80 55 3.7 1.500 0.4
Pitcher Year S BS S% H ERA K K/9 WHIP WAR
Beggs 1940 7 4 0.636 0 2.00 25 2.9 1.161 2.2
Murphy 1941 15 7 0.682 0 1.98 29 3.4 1.397 2.2
Adams 1943 9 2 0.818 0 2.82 46 3.0 1.254 3.0
Heving 1944 10 ? ? 0 1.96 46 3.5 1.228 1.9
Maltzberger 1944 12 ? ? 0 2.96 49 4.8 1.095 1.8
Christopher 1947 12 2 0.857 0 2.90 33 3.7 1.277 1.4
Page 1949 27 11 0.711 0 2.59 99 6.6 1.315 4.2
Pitcher Year S BS S% H ERA K K/9 WHIP WAR
Konstanty 1950 22 4 0.846 0 2.66 56 3.3 1.039 4.7
Wilhelm 1952 11 1 0.917 1 2.43 108 6.1 1.155 2.7
Paige 1952 10 5 0.667 1 3.07 91 5.9 1.254 3.4
Kinder 1953 27 8 0.771 4 1.85 39 3.3 1.140 4.5
Mossi 1954 7 0 1.000 0 1.94 55 5.3 1.022 3.3
Sain 1954 26 4 0.867 1 3.16 33 3.9 1.052 1.5
Narleski 1955 19 2 0.905 6 3.71 94 7.6 1.281 2.5
Freeman 1956 18 3 0.857 2 3.40 50 4.1 1.344 2.6
Farrell 1957 10 3 0.769 0 2.38 54 5.8 1.320 2.4
Zuverink 1957 9 8 0.529 0 2.48 36 2.9 1.278 2.7
Hyde 1958 18 5 0.783 0 1.75 49 4.3 1.136 4.9
Duren 1959 14 7 0.667 1 1.88 96 11.3 1.200 3.8
Staley 1959 15 4 0.789 2 2.24 54 4.2 1.169 2.5
Face 1959 10 9 0.526 1 2.70 69 6.7 1.243 3.2
Henry 1959 12 3 0.800 1 2.68 115 7.7 1.020 4.4
Pitcher Year S BS S% H ERA K K/9 WHIP WAR
McDaniel 1960 26 6 0.813 1 1.29 95 8.2 0.863 6.0
Arroyo 1961 29 10 0.744 1 2.19 87 6.6 1.109 3.3
Fox 1961 12 2 0.857 3 1.41 32 5.0 1.012 2.6
Radatz 1963 25 3 0.893 0 1.97 162 11.0 1.096 5.7
Perranoski 1963 21 8 0.724 0 1.67 75 5.2 1.202 4.5
Lee 1964 19 8 0.704 1 1.51 111 7.3 1.058 4.3
Ellis 1964 14 2 0.875 1 2.57 125 9.2 1.054 3.1
Schultz 1964 14 2 0.875 1 1.64 29 5.3 0.932 1.7
Miller 1965 24 1 0.960 1 1.89 104 7.8 0.997 4.3
Regan 1966 21 7 0.750 1 1.62 88 6.8 0.934 5.0
Drabowsky 1967 12 5 0.706 3 1.60 96 9.1 0.955 3.2
Abernathy 1967 28 6 0.824 1 1.27 88 7.4 0.978 6.2
Wood 1968 16 5 0.762 7 1.87 74 4.2 1.006 5.4
Tatum 1969 22 1 0.957 2 1.36 65 6.8 1.042 4.3
Pitcher Year S BS S% H ERA K K/9 WHIP WAR
Williams 1970 15 4 0.789 7 1.99 76 6.0 1.032 2.8
McMahon 1970 19 5 0.792 0 2.96 74 7.1 1.219 3.0
Sanders 1971 31 4 0.886 0 1.91 80 5.3 1.064 4.1
Giusti 1972 22 5 0.815 0 1.93 54 6.5 1.058 2.3
Hiller 1973 38 4 0.905 0 1.44 124 8.9 1.021 8.1
Jackson 1973 9 2 0.818 3 1.90 47 5.3 0.971 2.1
Borbon 1973 14 5 0.737 6 2.16 60 4.5 1.421 2.5
Marshall 1974 21 12 0.636 9 2.42 143 6.2 1.186 3.1
Gossage 1975 26 5 0.839 1 1.84 130 8.3 1.193 8.2
Eastwick 1976 26 9 0.743 1 2.09 70 5.9 1.115 2.8
Lyle 1977 26 8 0.765 1 2.17 68 4.5 1.197 3.7
Sutter 1977 31 9 0.775 0 1.34 129 10.8 0.857 6.5
Stanley 1978 10 5 0.667 1 2.60 38 2.2 1.242 4.1
Blair 1978 28 5 0.848 2 1.97 91 8.2 1.246 4.1
Tekulve 1979 31 6 0.838 8 2.79 75 5.0 1.176 3.2
Pitcher Year S BS S% H ERA K K/9 WHIP WAR
McGraw 1980 20 5 0.800 0 1.46 75 7.3 0.921 4.7
Fingers 1981 28 6 0.824 0 1.04 61 7.0 0.872 4.2
Caudill 1982 26 6 0.813 0 2.35 111 10.4 1.045 4.4
Hernandez 1984 32 1 0.970 0 1.92 112 7.2 0.941 4.8
Lamp 1985 2 5 0.286 8 3.32 68 5.8 1.164 1.3
Eichhorn 1986 10 4 0.714 7 1.72 166 9.5 0.955 7.4
Henke 1987 34 8 0.810 1 2.49 128 12.3 0.926 3.3
Burke 1987 18 4 0.818 5 1.19 58 5.7 0.890 4.3
Henneman 1988 22 7 0.759 2 1.87 58 5.7 1.051 3.3
Lancaster 1989 8 3 0.727 7 1.36 56 6.9 1.032 3.9
Russell 1989 38 6 0.864 0 1.98 77 9.5 0.950 2.5
Pitcher Year S BS S% H ERA K K/9 WHIP WAR
Eckersley 1990 48 2 0.960 0 0.61 73 9.0 0.614 3.3
Thigpen 1990 57 8 0.877 0 1.83 70 7.1 1.038 3.4
Henry 1991 15 1 0.938 3 1.00 28 7.0 0.833 2.2
Aguilera 1991 42 9 0.824 0 2.35 61 8.0 1.072 2.4
Ward 1992 12 4 0.750 24 1.95 103 9.1 1.135 3.1
Rojas 1992 10 1 0.909 13 1.43 70 6.3 1.043 3.9
Wetteland 1993 43 1 0.977 0 1.37 113 12.0 1.008 4.2
Harvey 1993 45 4 0.918 0 1.70 73 9.5 0.841 4.0
Beck 1993 48 4 0.923 0 2.16 86 9.8 0.882 2.4
Hoffman 1998 53 1 0.981 0 1.48 86 10.6 0.849 4.1
Urbina 1998 34 4 0.895 0 1.30 94 12.2 1.010 3.2
Williamson 1999 19 7 0.731 5 2.41 107 10.3 1.039 2.8
Pitcher Year S BS S% H ERA K K/9 WHIP WAR
Rhodes 2001 3 4 0.429 31 1.72 83 11.0 0.853 2.5
Smoltz 2003 45 4 0.918 0 1.12 73 10.2 0.870 3.3
Timlin 2005 13 7 0.650 24 2.24 59 6.6 1.320 2.9
Nathan 2006 36 2 0.947 0 1.58 95 12.5 0.790 3.3