Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014 Melog 75 Tennis Rankings

The last decade-plus of men’s professional tennis has been dominated by four players: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray. These men combined to win every Grand Slam but one from the 2005 French Open through the end of 2013.

This remarkable stretch of hegemony was always going to end eventually; time always wins, after all. 2014 saw the forming of the initial cracks in the Big Four’s dominance, with the season producing multiple first-time Grand Slam winners (Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic) for the first time since 2003. Throw in breakout years from youngsters like US Open finalist Kei Nishikori and Wimbledon semifinalists Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov, and you’ve got a worthy set of challengers to the once-impregnable upper echelon.

Meanwhile, some members of the Big Four started to show seams. Nadal lost in Barcelona for the first time in over a decade, absorbed a similarly early exit in Monte Carlo, and narrowly squeezed out clay titles in Rio (facing down multiple match points in the semifinals) and Madrid (falling behind by a set and a break until an injury to Nishikori allowed Nadal to rally, and eventually forced his opponent to withdraw); he then missed the North American hard court swing (including the US Open) due to injury, and accomplished little after returning to the court in September. But at least Rafa won the French Open again, and made the Australian Open final. Murray didn’t make a single final at any level of the tour between his historic Wimbledon triumph in 2013 and the 250-point event in Shenzen in September of this year, a 14-month gap.

The group’s other two members fared rather better; Federer rallied from an injury-dampened 2013 to win a quintet of titles and lead Switzerland to its first-ever Davis Cup crown, while Djokovic bested Federer in a classic Wimbledon final and took seven total titles in securing the ATP’s #1 spot for the third time. Even these two, however, had their moments of frailty; Djokovic’s streak of 14 Grand Slam semifinals was broken by Wawrinka in Melbourne, while Federer lost to the mercurial Ernests Gulbis in the round of 16 at Roland Garros. Both men would also absorb the occasional puzzling defeat in Masters events, with Djokovic’s loss to Tommy Robredo in Cincinnati and Federer's defeat by Jeremy Chardy in Rome serving as particular standouts. Great as they were, neither was quite as ironclad as they’d once been.

So with that in mind, let’s dust off the Melog 75 tennis ranking system (the initial form of which was laid out in these three posts; I have since made a couple of modifications that don’t really affect the top players at all, though I still think they’re fairly important and can go into further detail if there’s any interest), and see who it thinks were the best players of 2014:

Monday, November 17, 2014

The best single-postseason hitting performances of all time

All right, now that we’ve got all the negativity out of the way, let’s return to the study of legends. Here are the ten best hitting performances in a single postseason, chosen as always by Championship Probability Added.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The worst single-postseason hitting performances of all time

Well, we covered bad pitching in the last entry, so let’s switch gears back to good pitching – or at least, to hitters who made pitchers look good, which is perhaps not quite the same thing.

Either way, that’s what we’re doing. Brace yourself for the ten worst single-year postseason efforts by hitters, as measured by Championship Probability Added.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The worst single-postseason pitching performances of all time

Since the last installment in this series was the exploration of the ten best Championship Probability Added scores ever achieved by a pitcher in a single postseason, the natural (if slightly morbid) successor to that topic is the opposite: the pitchers who did the most harm to their teams’ chances of winning the title. Here they are, in worsening order:

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The best single-postseason pitching performances of all time

As promised, we’re following up on the discussion of 2014’s best performers by addressing the question that arises from an analysis of Madison Bumgarner’s exemplary work throughout this October: Just how historically rare was the effort we just saw?

The short version: Very. For the long version, I present the ten best Championship Probability Added scores ever accrued by a pitcher in a single postseason.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Best and Worst Players of the 2014 Postseason

The 2014 postseason was a strange one. It started off with one of the greatest single games in playoff history, and contained a number of other exceptional contests, including one that tied the record for most innings in a playoff game – but the series in which those games occurred were predominantly brief. Through the LCS round, none of the six multi-game matchups included more than one win by the team that lost the series. The World Series broke that trend, lasting the full seven, but it did so while having the average game become far duller than those involved in the briefer clashes that preceded it.

On the other hand, the individual performances seen in October 2014 were often quite memorable. And this space has previously explored Championship Probability Added (CPA), which is designed to analyze just those sorts of performances. So… let’s do that!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Game of the Day (9/30/84)

Angels 1, Rangers 0. California's Mike Witt was 23 and good. Texas's Charlie Hough was 36 and also good. Despite the 13-year age difference, Hough had more time left in the majors. Knuckleball!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Game of the Day (9/29/84)

Blue Jays 5, Brewers 4. Toronto's excellent Dave Stieb, who would lead the AL in ERA the next season, took on Milwaukee's mediocre Bob McClure, who would move to the bullpen at the end of the year.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Game of the Day (9/27/14)

Reds 10, Pirates 6 (10). Pittsburgh's Francisco Liriano was brilliant in half a season in 2006, then got injured and was up-and-down (largely down) for the next several years before joining the Pirates last season and pitching quite well. Cincinnati's Alfredo Simon is 33 years old, and is finishing off his first complete season in a major league starting rotation.

Two years ago, this pitching matchup would have been a throw-away game. Now, it's a September faceoff with pennant race implications.

Game of the Day (9/27/84)

Red Sox 4, Orioles 3. Baltimore sent 23-year-old right-hander Ken Dixon to the mound for the second start of what would be a fairly brief career. Boston countered with Bob Ojeda, who was 26 -the same age that Dixon would be in his last season - and still had a decade left.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Game of the Day (9/26/14)

Cardinals 7, Diamondbacks 6 (10). St. Louis started Michael Wacha, who is quite young and promising. Arizona sent Trevor Cahill, who at 26 is still reasonably young, but whose over-5 ERA this year has eaten away much of his once-substantial promise.

Game of the Day (9/26/84)

Brewers 7, Tigers 5. Detroit's Milt Wilcox, who was 34 and rapidly nearing the end of his career, faced Milwaukee's Don Sutton, who was 5 years older than Wilcox but still had considerably more left. Normally, this would be a pitching mismatch - but the teams behind them evened things out nicely.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Game of the Day (9/25/14)

Mets 7, Nationals 4. New York sent Dillon Gee to the mound, taking on Washington's Blake Treinen...

No, wait, you know what? I'm going to the manual override on this one. It's not an option I activate on anything like a regular basis (outside of no-hitters, at least), But Yankees 6, Orioles 5 (started by the young Kevin Gausman and the old Hiroki Kuroda) is a game that people are going to REMEMBER, and I sincerely doubt that the matchup between the Mets and Nationals, fine game though it was, will meet that standard.

Game of the Day (9/25/84)

Royals 6, Angels 5 (12). California's Mike Witt and KC's Mark Gubicza were both young right-handers (Gubicza a 21-year-old rookie, Witt a fourth-year pitcher but only 23) who would go on to 2000-inning careers that were spent mostly but not entirely with their current teams and resulted in career records very close to .500. Witt was better in 1984; Gubicza would be better over the course of their full careers.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Game of the Day (9/24/14)

Phillies 2, Marlins 1. Miami's Brad Hand took on Philly's Kyle Kendrick. Hand is roughly the left-handed version of what Kendrick was six years ago - a young starter who's not yet proven that he's above average. Kendrick is now a recently-turned-30-year-old starter who is still trying to prove that he's above average.

Game of the Day (9/24/84)

A's 10, Rangers 6. The starters were Oakland's Bill Krueger and Texas's Frank Tanana, both of whom prove (in very different ways) that if you're left-handed, you can pitch forever.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Game of the Day (9/23/14)

Cubs 4, Cardinals 3 (10). A couple of promising youngsters started this one, with Chicago's Kyle Hendricks facing St. Louis's Shelby Miller.

Game of the Day (9/23/84)

Brewers 8, Blue Jays 5. Milwaukee's Bob McClure was 32, and had not posted an ERA+ above 90 in more than 10 innings since 1980. Toronto's Luis Leal was 27 and finishing off his third straight 200-inning campaign with an ERA+ of 100 or better.

This game would be the third-to-last start of McClure's career - but only because he transitioned into a full-time relief role, which he maintained for nearly a decade. Leal, meanwhile, would be finished in the majors by the end of 1985.

It would seem to be a fair statement that pitchers can be unpredictable at times.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Game of the Day (9/22/14)

Giants 5, Dodgers 2 (13). San Francisco's Jake Peavy faced LA's Dan Haren in a matchup of well-traveled right-handers. How well-traveled? Between them, they've pitched in all six of MLB's divisions, and have pitched for every NL West team except the Rockies.

Game of the Day (9/22/84)

Pirates 2, Phillies 1 (12). Pittsburgh's Rick Rhoden, a veteran having a to-date career year, faced Philly's Charles Hudson, a second-year pitcher whose most notable feat to this point was allowing a colossal number of unearned runs in the '84 season.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Game of the Day (9/21/14)

A's 8, Phillies 6 (10). Philly's AJ Burnett took on Oakland's Scott Kazmir. Three or four years ago, I would not have guessed that either of them would be putting in full seasons in MLB rotations this year - yet here we are.

Game of the Day (9/21/84)

Angels 5, Rangers 4. Texas's Danny Darwin was 28 and had been in the majors for 6 years, but was still in the early stages of what ended up being a productive career. California's Ron Romanick was also a relative neophyte in the majors (he was a rookie in '84), but his career would end up being considerably shorter than Darwin's.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Game of the Day (9/20/14)

Nationals 3, Marlins 2. Washington's Jordan Zimmermann, who has pitched roughly like an ace for the last 3 or 4 years, took on Miami's Jarred Cosart, who has pitched roughly like an ace since being acquired from the Astros at the trade deadline.

Game of the Day (9/20/84)

Twins 5, White Sox 4. Minnesota's Frank Viola was approaching the end of a terrific 1984 season, one that would begin a decade in which Viola was frequently (though not always) one of the best pitchers in baseball. Over the next 7 years, Viola would lead the league in wins once, starts twice, and innings once, win a Cy Young award, and throw a shutout in a World Series Game 7. Not a bad list of accomplishments at all.

He was opposed by Chicago's Tom Seaver, whose career already included three Cy Youngs and an equal number of ERA titles, and would eventually include to 311 wins and the to-date highest Hall of Fame vote percentage ever. Viola's career isn't outclassed by a huge number of pitchers, but Seaver was worth approximately two of him.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Game of the Day (9/19/14)

Twins 5, Indians 4 (10). Cleveland's Trevor Bauer and Minnesota's Phil Hughes are both former top pitching prospects who have been cut loose by their original organizations, but are making credible careers for themselves - Hughes is doing better in this respect, but has also had more time to work on it.

Game of the Day (9/19/84)

Padres 5, Giants 4 (10). San Francisco's Jeff Robinson was approaching the end of a pretty rough rookie season. He took on San Diego's Eric Show, who was establishing himself as the ace of the eventual pennant winner (albeit in part because no other Padre exceeded 200 innings).

Friday, September 19, 2014

Game of the Day (9/18/14)

Cardinals 3, Brewers 2 (13). Milwaukee's Kyle Lohse used to pitch for the Cardinals; he was in the rotation for the 2011 World Series winning team. After the 2012 season, he signed with the Brewers as a free agent - and St. Louis replaced him with youngster Shelby Miller, who opposed Lohse in this game.

Game of the Day (9/18/84)

Astros 5, Giants 4 (10). San Francisco's George Riley was making the third of his five career starts (he made more appearances as a reliever, but not exactly a massive number). Houston's Mike LaCoss, meanwhile, was smack in the middle of a 14-year career that was at least reasonably productive at times.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Game of the Day (9/17/14)

Giants 4, Diamondbacks 2. San Francisco ace Madison Bumgarner took on Arizona's Andrew Chafin, a 24-year-old lefty making his second major league start.

Game of the Day (9/17/84)

Padres 3, Reds 2 (11). San Diego's Ed Whitson was an established veteran having what was a career year at the time; he would go on to pitch for a total of five teams (returning to the Padres again later and having his actual best seasons) and is best known (arguably) for getting into a fight with his manager (the manager in question was Billy Martin, which explains a lot). Cincinnati's Tom Browning, was making his second big league start; he would pitch for the Reds for the next decade and is almost certainly best known for throwing a perfect game.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Game of the Day (9/16/14)

Brewers 3, Cardinals 2 (12). Milwaukee's Willy Peralta took on St. Louis's Lance Lynn in a matchup of reasonably young, reasonably anonymous NL Central pitchers who are better than you'd probably think (or at least better than I would have thought).

Game of the Day (9/16/84)

Dodgers 7, Reds 5 (10). LA's Fernando Valenzuela and Cincy's Mario Soto were both ace-level starters at times in the early '80s, and both would break down within the next three years.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Game of the Day (9/15/14)

Royals 4, White Sox 3. KC ace James Shields took on Chicago's John Danks, who was once a borderline ace himself, but hasn't held that status in at least four years.

Game of the Day (9/15/84)

Red Sox 4, Yankees 3. Boston's Al Nipper, who was 25 and solid, but not destined for marked improvement, faced New York's John Montefusco, who at 25 had been better than Nipper ever was, but who was now 34 and had four starts (and a few relief appearances) left in his career.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Game of the Day (9/14/14)

Marlins 5, Phillies 4. Miami's Tom Koehler faced off with Philly's David Buchanan. Koehler, making his 54th career start, was easily the more experienced of the two.

Game of the Day (9/14/84)

Pirates 8, Cardinals 7 (12). Pittsburgh's Jose DeLeon, a 23-year-old future Cardinal, faced St. Louis's Danny Cox, a 24-year-old future Pirate. Both men were below average in '84, but would pitch into the middle of the next decade with reasonable effectiveness.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Game of the Day (9/13/14)

White Sox 7, Twins 6. Minnesota's Logan Darnell, a 25-year-old rookie making his fourth major league start, faced Chicago's Scott Carroll, who will turn 30 later this month and is also in his first big league season.

Yes, it's a September game between non-contenders; how could you tell?

Game of the Day (9/13/84)

Yankees 6, Blue Jays 1. New York's Ray Fontenot and Toronto's Luis Leal were both in their mid-20's at the time of this game, and both had solid 1984 seasons; it was the fourth such campaign in a row for Leal, and Fontenot had another one coming the next year.

Leal was out of the majors one year later; Fontenot lasted two. So it goes with pitchers.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Game of the Day (9/12/14)

Orioles 2, Yankees 1 (11). New York's Brandon McCarthy and Baltimore's Kevin Gausman are both midseason additions to their respective rotations - but joined them in very different ways. McCarthy, a 30-year-old veteran, was acquired by trade, while Gausman, aged 23, was summoned from the minors.

Game of the Day (9/12/84)

Phillies 6, Cardinals 5. Philadelphia's Kevin Gross took on St. Louis's Bob Forsch. The two men would end up with pretty similar careers (between 2400 and 2800 innings, ERA+ figures not far below 100), but were at very different stages in them. Gross was 23 and was not fully established in the rotation, while Forsch was 34, missed significant time in '84, and would soon be on the downslope of his career.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Game of the Day (9/11/14)

Red Sox 6, Royals 3. Boston's Clay Buchholz, still struggling through a rather disastrous season, faced KC's Liam Hendriks, who is not exactly a reassuring starting option for a playoff contender in September.

Game of the Day (9/11/84)

Mariners 4, Rangers 3. Seattle's Salome Barojas and Texas's Dave Stewart were both 27-year-old right-handers who had rough seasons in 1984. Stewart would turn things around a couple years later, eventually pitching for another decade and having several fine seasons with Oakland. Barojas, on the other hand, had less than 100 innings left in his career.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Game of the Day (9/10/14)

White Sox 2, A's 1. Jeff Samardzija, one of Oakland's prize midseason acquisitions, faced Chris Bassitt, a 25-year-old rookie who had made his first big league appearance less than 2 weeks prior (though it did come on August 30, narrowly exempting Bassitt from pejorative categorization as a September callup).

Game of the Day (9/10/84)

Expos 8, Pirates 5. Montreal's David Palmer, age 26 and still trying to establish himself after missing two of the previous three seasons, faced Pittsburgh's John Candelaria, a former ERA champ who threw his last 200-inning season in 1980, but would pitch until 1993.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Game of the Day (9/9/14)

Marlins 6, Brewers 3. Miami's Tom Koehler came into 2014 with a vastly lower profile (and paycheck) than Milwaukee's Matt Garza - but so far this season, he's thrown more innings with a lower ERA.

Game of the Day (9/9/84)

Phillies 6, Expos 5 (11). The two starting pitchers in this game had incredibly similar results in 1984 - 229 innings and 104 runs allowed (91 earned) for one, 226.2 and 100 (91) for the other. Apart from that, however, they could hardly have been more different. Montreal's Bill Gullickson was a 25-year-old right-handed control pitcher who would go on to a respectably long career that reached above stolid competence only a couple of times. Philadelphia opposed him with 39-year-old power lefty Steve Carlton, who would rank among the top half of the pitchers in the Hall of Fame by even the most uncharitable interpretation.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Game of the Day (9/8/14)

White Sox 5, A's 4 (12). Chicago's Hector Noesi, who has pitched for three different teams in 2014, faced Oakland's Sonny Gray, who has pitched only for the A's, and done so quite well.

Game of the Day (9/8/84)

Yankees 12, Red Sox 6. New York's Joe Cowley and Boston's Bruce Hurst were both reasonably effective 26-year-old pitchers on the date of this game. Hurst would pitch well through the remainder of the decade and into the '90s; Cowley, meanwhile, had only two respectable seasons left in him.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Game of the Day (9/7/14)

Orioles 7, Rays 5 (11). Baltimore sent Bud Norris, who has been typical of the 2014 Oriole rotation - steadily average. Tampa Bay opposed him with Jeremy Hellickson, who has been equally representative of the '14 Rays pitchers - good and injured.

Game of the Day (9/7/84)

Brewers 10, Orioles 8. Milwaukee's Bob McClure and Baltimore's Dennis Martinez were both in their low 30s in 1984, both split the '84 season between the bullpen and the rotation, and would both go on to pitch into their 40s. But McClure would do so almost exclusively out of the bullpen after this season ended, while Martinez established himself as a permanent starter.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Game of the Day (9/6/14)

Rockies 7, Padres 6 (12). Colorado's Jorge De La Rosa, making the 188th start of his career, faced San Diego's Joe Wieland, making his sixth.

Game of the Day (9/6/84)

Braves 3, Dodgers 2 (18). LA started Fernando Valenzuela, who was 23 years old and already in the middle of his third 250-inning season (which actually understates his workload, because he also led the NL with just under 200 innings in the strike-shortened 1981 season). Atlanta opposed him with Rick Mahler, who at age 30 was about to exceed 210 innings for the first time. Valenzuela would eventually suffer arm trouble and take a sojourn in Mexican baseball for a year - right around the age Mahler was at now. Meanwhile, Mahler was about to embark on his own workhorse period, throwing 220 or more innings 5 times in 6 years (and leading the league in hits allowed in four of them).

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Game of the Day (9/5/14)

Red Sox 9, Blue Jays 8 (10). Drew Hutchison, a 23-year-old who's lasted all of 2014 in the Toronto rotation without embarrassing himself, faced Allen Webster, who's a year older and has been considerably worse than Hutchison in just over a quarter as many appearances.

Game of the Day (9/5/84)

A's 5, White Sox 4. Oakland's Ray Burris took on Chicago's Richard Dotson. Both pitched for a long time (around 2000 innings) with losing records and slightly below-average ERAs.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Game of the Day (9/4/14)

Tigers 11, Indians 4 (11). The pitchers were Max Scherzer for Detroit and Trevor Bauer for Cleveland. Scherzer had promise as a youngster, but took a while to get everything figured out. Bauer has struggled early in his career - but he's just now approaching the age Scherzer had as a rookie, which makes it much, much too early to write him off.

Game of the Day (9/4/84)

Mariners 6, Rangers 3 (13). Seattle's Jim Beattie was 29 and pitching well, but injuries would knock him out of the league within the next two years. Texas's Charlie Hough, on the other hand, was also pitching well, but was 36 - and still had another decade left in the majors. The power of the knuckleball!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Game of the Day (9/3/14)

Nationals 8, Dodgers 5 (14). Well, yeah. Washington ace Jordan Zimmermann faced LA's Carlos Frias, who was making his first major league start. Not exactly what you'd anticipate to be an even pitching matchup.

Game of the Day (9/3/84)

Cubs 4, Phillies 3 (12). Chicago's prize midseason acquisition, Rick Sutcliffe, took on Philly's John Denny, who missed just over two months in the middle of the season. Triviality: One of these two pitchers threw 150.1 innings with a 2.69 ERA for his current team in 1984; the other threw 154.1 at a 2.45 clip. One of them parlayed that performance into a Cy Young - with the help of a 16-1 record, of course. The other had won the Cy the previous year, but went 7-7 in '84 and was predictably ignored in the voting.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Game of the Day (9/2/14)

Tigers 4, Indians 2. Detroit's Kyle Lobstein was making his second major league start. That made Cleveland's Carlos Carrasco, age 27 and with 49 career starts, the veteran of the matchup, which is presumably not the most familiar of experiences for him.

Game of the Day (9/2/84)

Mets 3, Padres 2 (12). San Diego's Tim Lollar wasn't a particularly impressive pitcher in 1984, but he was at least game enough to put his innings in. New York's Walt Terrell was better, if only slightly so. Also, Terrell was starting his fifth Game of the Day in the 1984 season.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Game of the Day (9/1/14)

Phillies 7, Braves 0 (hits). Philly's Cole Hamels faced Atlanta's Julio Teheran.

Game of the Day (9/1/84)

Reds 7, Pirates 5 (11). Pittsburgh's Rick Rhoden, in the midst of an excellent year in a career that had a few of them, faced Cincinnati's Frank Pastore, having the worst season of a career that had a few pretty bad ones.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Game of the Day (8/31/14)

Mets 6, Phillies 5 (maybe). The (maybe) is there because this game has a fairly narrow lead on Indians 4, Royals 2 (9.5), which was suspended in the middle of the tenth inning; if the Royals stage a rally of any significance, that game will make the pass. For now, though, this matchup of New York's Dillon Gee and Philly's AJ Burnett takes the top spot.

Game of the Day (8/31/84)

A's 7, Tigers 6 (13). Detroit's Milt Wilcox and Oakland's Ray Burris were both entering their mid-30s, and both of their careers would be over by the end of 1987. Burris, however, was putting up one last good season, while Wilcox was pretty much reliant on the Tiger offense at this point (which ended up working out nicely for him, as he went 17-8 despite a worse-than-average ERA). Incidentally, this game is the fifth Game of the Day started by Wilcox so far in 1984.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Game of the Day (8/30/14)

Indians 3, Royals 2 (11). Cleveland's inconsistent youngster Trevor Bauer faced off with Kansas City's steady workhorse James Shields.

Game of the Day (8/30/84)

Giants 6, Phillies 5. Randy Lerch, a former longtime Phillie who was making a relative pit stop in San Francisco, faced Steve Carlton, an even longer-time Phillie who would later make a briefer appearance for the Giants. Both pitchers were on the downslope of their careers; Lerch, primarily a reliever at this point, would make only one more start after this one.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Game of the Day (8/29/14)

Padres 3, Dodgers 2 (12). LA's Dan Haren faced San Diego's Andrew Cashner. Before looking it up, I never would have guessed that the two of them are separated by a mere 6 years in age (Haren is 33, Cashner 27 - both born in mid-September, actually).

Game of the Day (8/29/84)

Giants 4, Expos 3 (11). Montreal's all-time win leader Steve Rogers fell off sharply in 1984, posting an ERA+ of 80 and walking more batters than he struck out. But even a shell of his Expo-legend self was a match for 20-year-old Giant rookie Mark Grant, who was on his way to a 6.37 ERA for the season.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Game of the Day (8/28/14)

Twins 11, Royals 5 (10). KC's Jeremy Guthrie took on Minnesota's Tommy Milone. Both starters have struck out fewer than 6 batters per 9 innings in 2014. Their K rates would have been above-average 30 years ago, and within hailing distance of average 10 years ago; today, they're both relative soft tossers.

Game of the Day (8/28/84)

A's 4, Yankees 3 (12). New York's Ray Fontenot took on Oakland's Tim Conroy in a matchup of two pitchers who were right around halfway through careers that didn't quite last 500 innings.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Game of the Day (8/27/14)

Padres 3, Brewers 2 (10). Milwaukee ace Yovani Gallardo took on San Diego's Cuban import Odrisamer Despaigne. That is a pair of excellent names.

Game of the Day (8/27/84)

Giants 5, Expos 4 (11). Montreal's Charlie Lea was making his second consecutive Game of the Day start while the clock ticked down on his time bomb of a shoulder. He faced our old friend Bill Laskey, appearing in his sixth Game of the Day of the season.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Game of the Day (8/26/14)

Red Sox 11, Blue Jays 7 (11). Boston's Rubby De La Rosa, who is 25 and just cleared 150 career innings, faced Toronto's RA Rickey, who is 39 and has thrown over 150 innings in each of the last five seasons.

Game of the Day (8/26/84)

Royals 6, White Sox 5 (16). Chicago's Richard Dotson had posted a very good year in 1983. KC's Charlie Leibrandt would go on to an excellent 1985. In 1984, neither pitcher was quite at his best, though both still did very good work (though Leibrandt's was abbreviated, as he had missed the entire '83 season and didn't make his first '84 appearance until June).

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Game of the Day (8/25/14)

Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 3 (10). Toronto's JA Happ faced Boston's Clay Buchholz. Both of them debuted in 2007, Buchholz as a top prospect and Happ as a relative afterthought. Buchholz has indeed been the better pitcher overall - but not by nearly as much as would have been expected seven years ago.

Game of the Day (8/25/84)

Twins 5, Blue Jays 4 (12). Toronto's Jim Clancy, a 28-year-old franchise stalwart having a very rough mid-career season, took on Minnesota's Ed Hodge, who at 26, was in both his first and final big league season, which is rarely a good sign.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Game of the Day (8/24/14)

Mariners 8, Red Sox 6. Seattle started Hisashi Iwakuma, who would be the ace on a normal pitching staff. Boston replied with Allen Webster, who would arguably still be in the minors on a normal pitching staff.

Game of the Day (8/24/84)

Yankees 6, Mariners 4 (10). New York's John Montefusco was rapidly approaching the end of a solid 1650-inning career. Seattle's Mark Langston was just getting started on one that would last nearly twice as long.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Game of the Day (8/23/14)

Rockies 5, Marlins 4 (13). Colorado's Jordan Lyles and Miami's Tom Koehler both entered this season with less than 400 major league innings and never having had an ERA+ over 90. The difference, such as it is, is that Lyles is a still-relatively-salvageable 23, while Koehler is 28. (On the other hand, they've both pitched acceptably if not spectacularly this season.)

Game of the Day (8/23/84)

August 23, 1984 saw the playing of three big league baseball games. Three! So it would not have been terribly surprising if the best of the tiny bunch was a relative clunker.

Despite the small sample, baseball managed to produce the nifty Astros 9, Cardinals 6, which matched up St. Louis's Danny Cox against Houston's Mike LaCoss. Neither pitcher amounted to much in 1984; Cox would improve on his performance over the rest of his career, while LaCoss didn't so much (though he did last longer).

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Game of the Day (8/22/14)

Braves 3, Reds 1 (12). Atlanta's Mike Minor and Cincinnati's Mat Latos have both had trying seasons - Latos due to injury, Minor by virtue of simple ineffectiveness.

Game of the Day (8/22/84)

Expos 5, Dodgers 3 (11). LA started Rick Honeycutt, a 30-year-old lefty having a solid year. His effectiveness would decline over the next three seasons, but underwent a resurgence after a move to the bullpen once he joined the A's. Montreal's hurler of choice was Charlie Lea, a 27-year-old right hander who was blossoming into quite a good pitcher when this game occurred - and who would be felled by a serious shoulder injury after making only four more starts.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Game of the Day (8/21/14)

Nationals 1, Diamondbacks 0. Arizona's Wade Miley, who looks as though he may have peaked in 2012, faced Washington's Gio Gonzalez, who... looks as though he may have peaked in 2012.

Game of the Day (8/21/84)

Rangers 4, White Sox 3 (10). Texas started Mike Mason, a 25-year-old lefty who had a good year in 1984 and went downhill sharply. Chicago sent Gene Nelson, a 23-year-old right-hander who was off to an inauspicious start as a swingman, but would later reinvent himself as a moderately successful reliever.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Game of the Day (8/20/14)

Blue Jays 9, Brewers 5. Toronto's RA Dickey, 39 years old and working on his third consecutive year leading the league in games started, faced Milwaukee's Jimmy Nelson, who is 25 and was making the ninth start of his career.

Game of the Day (8/20/84)

Braves 4, Pirates 1 (10). Both teams sent long-tenured right-handed starters named Rick - Mahler for Atlanta, Rhoden for Pittsburgh. The two of them were born within 3 months of each other, but debuted five years apart; as a result, Rhoden had already thrown well over half of his career innings, while Mahler was in only his second full season as a starter, and was beginning a streak of six straight 190-inning seasons.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Game of the Day (8/19/14)

Tigers 8, Rays 6 (11). Detroit's Max Scherzer, the defending Cy Young winner, took on Tampa's Chris Archer, whose ERA is about the same as Scherzer's this year. (Archer has fewer innings and an easier park, but they're still not exactly separated by a qualitative ocean.)

Game of the Day (8/19/84)

Giants 7, Mets 6. New York started third-year right-hander Walt Terrell, who was on his way to a solid and lengthy career. San Francisco sent rookie Jeff Robinson, who was (very understandably) in the middle of his only full season as a starter, but would turn himself into a perfectly decent reliever and pitch for most of a decade.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Game of the Day (8/18/14)

Nationals 5, Diamondbacks 4 (11). Arizona's Vidal Nuno, who has thrown less than 150 innings in his major league career, took on Washington's Jordan Zimmermann, who has thrown 150 or more in each of the last four years (including this one), with an ERA+ of 116 or better each time.

Game of the Day (8/18/84)

Giants 6, Mets 5. New York started Ron Darling, a moderately effective youngster who was about to have a couple of very nice seasons. San Francisco used Bill Laskey, who was less effective, a couple of years older, and on a downward arc that would take him out of the league. He's also making his fifth Game of the Day start of the year, albeit his first since April.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Game of the Day (8/17/14)

Nationals 6, Pirates 5 (11). Washington started Doug Fister, who was dumped by the Tigers this offseason and has been better than ever. Pittsburgh opposed him with Edinson Volquez, who is painfully familiar with the feeling of being dumped by a team, but has actually been pretty respectable this year as well.

Game of the Day (8/17/84)

Rangers 8, Royals 6. Both teams started pitchers who would make over half of their 1984 appearances in relief - veteran Dickie Noles for Texas, and rookie Bret Saberhagen for KC. This is about the only equivalence you'll ever see anyone draw between those two pitchers.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Game of the Day (8/16/14)

Giants 6, Phillies 5. San Francisco's Tim Hudson, who might start working his way into Hall of Fame conversations some time soon if he keeps pitching as well as he has been this year, faced Philadelphia's Kyle Kendrick, who... probably won't.

Game of the Day (8/16/84)

Tigers 8, Angels 7 (12). California started Ron Romanick, who was putting up a pretty respectable rookie year at age 23, but would be out of the majors after two more seasons. Detroit opposed him with Jack Morris, who you're probably already familiar with if you're reading this - 254 wins, one incredibly famous postseason start (and some other good ones), six times leading the league in wild pitches, and not quite enough (but still too many) Hall of Fame votes.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Game of the Day (8/15/14)

Astros 5, Red Sox 3 (10). Houston's Dallas Keuchel, who entered 2014 with a career ERA+ of 78, faced Boston's Clay Buchholz, who began the year at 121. I wonder what odds you could have gotten on Keuchel's ERA being over two and a half runs lower than Buchholz's this season...

Game of the Day (8/15/84)

Indians 4, Blue Jays 3 (13). This was the second game of a doubleheader, and you could tell by the starting pitchers - Toronto's Jim Acker made only three starts out of his 32 appearances in 1984, and Cleveland's Jamie Easterly was making his only start from 26 games.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Game of the Day (8/14/14)

Marlins 5, Diamondbacks 4 (10). Arizona started Chase Anderson, a 26-year-old rookie who's actually pitched quite well this year, which is not necessarily what you expect from a 26-year-old rookie. Miami countered with Brad Penny.

Wait, Brad Penny? The guy who got two wins for the Marlins in the 2003 World Series and was a good pitcher for a decent chunk of a decade, then pitched badly for the Tigers as a starter in 2011 and worse for the Giants out of the bullpen in 2012?

Yeah, same guy, returning to the majors after a nearly two-year absence - and making multiple starts for a fringe contender, no less.

Game of the Day (8/14/84)

Astros 7, Cubs 6. Chicago's Steve Trout, who threw over 1500 reasonably effective innings in his career without ever throwing 200 in a season, faced off with Houston's Joe Niekro, who ended up with nine 200-inning seasons - which is far more than Trout, but still less than half as many as his older brother would accrue. Niekro is making his sixth Game of the Day start of the 1984 season, which is either tied for the most or very close.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Game of the Day (8/13/14)

Diamondbacks 1, Indians 0 (12). Cleveland started Josh Tomlin, who has been one of the best control pitchers in the majors for a while... the best way to sum up Tomlin is probably the fact that he had allowed only 11 walks this year - but 17 homers (the career numbers are 69 homers, 76 walks - if you remove IBBs, the homers are higher). Arizona opposed him with Andrew Chafin, who was making his first major league start after posting a 5.40 ERA in 14 AAA appearances. (It's Reno in the PCL, but 5.40 still isn't great.)

Game of the Day (8/13/84)

Indians 6, Yankees 5 (11). Cleveland began the game with rookie right-hander Roy Smith, who was making his eleventh career start. That still gave him more experience than New York lefty Jim Deshaies, who was making only his second MLB appearance. It was also his last of the year, and his last in Yankee pinstripes.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Game of the Day (8/12/14)

Rangers 3, Rays 2 (14). Texas's Nick Tepesch took on Tampa's Jeremy Hellickson, who was making only his fifth start of 2014.

Game of the Day (8/12/84)

Red Sox 3, Rangers 2 (11). Boston's Bruce Hurst faced Texas's Dickie Noles. Hurst was a quality lefty who would do his best work later in the decade; Noles was a right-handed swingman whose career was essentially a plateau of mediocrity (he ended up with -0.6 WAR, and never had more than +1 or less than -1 in a season).

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Game of the Day (8/11/14)

Twins 4, Astros 2. I suppose a third consecutive 19-inning game would have been a bit much to ask... The Astros started Brad Peacock against Minnesota's Tommy Milone. Peacock and Milone were once involved in the same trade; they were both sent from Washington to Oakland in the Gio Gonzalez deal before the 2012 season. The A's have since traded both men, and now they are pitching against each other.

Game of the Day (8/11/84)

Mariners 5, Twins 4 (10). Minnesota's Mike Smithson and Seattle's Salome Barojas both debuted in 1982, and both were out of the majors by the end of the '80s. Barojas was slightly more effective per inning, but also spent most of his career as a reliever; 1984 was the only season in which he made more than four starts, whereas Smithson was exclusively in the rotation until his last couple years.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Game of the Day (8/10/14)

Blue Jays 6, Tigers 5 (19). As of the end of play on August 8, there had been no games longer than 16 innings in the 2014 regular season. Over the next two days, two different games went 19.

Unsurprisingly, both of them were really good. This one would have been worthy of some pregame hype as regular season games go, as it was between two quality teams and the starters were both excellent lefties (Mark Buehrle for Toronto facing the recently-acquired David Price for Detroit).

Game of the Day (8/10/84)

Reds 5, Astros 4 (12). Houston's Joe Niekro was 39 years old when this game was played. Cincinnati's Jay Tibbs was a 22-year-old rookie. And yet both pitchers had very similar amounts of production left in their careers (Niekro would win 33 more games, Tibbs 37).

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Game of the Day (8/9/14)

Angels 5, Red Sox 4 (19). Yeah, if there's a (19) next to the score, it's a pretty good bet you've found the day's best game. This one started with LA's Garrett Richards, whose ERA has improved every year of his career and is down to 2.54 this year, facing Boston's Clay Buchholz, whose ERAs over the last five seasons have started with each number from 1 to 5. Sadly for him, the 5 is this year, and it's 5.99.

Game of the Day (8/9/84)

Phillies 2, Cardinals 1 (13). St. Louis's Dave LaPoint and Philadelphia's Charles Hudson were both in their mid-20's in 1984, and both had superficially similar seasons, pitching just under 200 innings and posting ERAs between 3.90 and 4.10. There was a difference, however: Hudson allowed a remarkable 23 unearned runs, while LaPoint permitted only nine.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Game of the Day (8/8/14)

Rays 4, Cubs 3 (10). Tampa started former Cub farmhand Chris Archer, who they acquired as part of the Matt Garza trade a few years ago. It would have been cool if CJ Edwards, who the Cubs acquired when trading Garza themselves, was currently in the majors to oppose him. As it was, Chicago's response to Archer was Tsuyoshi Wada, a 33-year-old Japanese lefty making his fifth major league start.

Game of the Day (8/8/84)

Astros 7, Giants 6 (12). San Francisco started Mark Davis, who has to be one of the least-impressive pitchers ever to win a Cy Young award (89 career ERA+, 7.3 WAR). Houston countered with one of the best pitchers who never won a Cy, one Lynn Nolan Ryan.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Game of the Day (8/7/14)

Nationals 5, Mets 3 (13). Jacob deGrom, New York's 26-year-old rookie who's been quite terrific this season, faced Washington's Jordan Zimmermann, who is 28 and has been quite terrific for several years.

Game of the Day (8/7/84)

Tigers 7, Red Sox 5 (11). Just in case you didn't get your fill of high-scoring Tigers-Red Sox games with two-run victory margins in yesterday's writeup, this one provides more of the same, starting with a pitching matchup of Detroit's Milt Wilcox, a long-tenured righty whose career was nearly over, and Boston's John Henry Johnson, a lefty who started in only three of his 30 appearances in 1984, being pressed into such service in this one because it was the second game of a doubleheader.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Game of the Day (8/6/14)

Padres 5, Twins 4 (10). Minnesota started 12-year veteran Kevin Correia, who is getting pretty old and has been pretty bad so far this year. The Padres countered with a 27-year-old rookie making his eighth major league start. His name is Odrisamer Despaigne, which is unusual enough that I don't even think a baseball video game generating fictional future prospects could come up with it. (In particular, the first name is uncommon enough that Despaigne, who is not especially famous, is responsible for the entire first page of Google results when searching for "Odrisamer.")

Game of the Day (8/6/84)

Tigers 9, Red Sox 7. Detroit's Dan Petry and Boston's Bob Ojeda were both in their mid-20's. Petry was at his peak and would be for another season, while Ojeda was solid, but wouldn't reach his apex until he was traded to the Mets after the end of 1985.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Game of the Day (8/5/14)

Cubs 6, Rockies 5 (12). Chicago's Travis Wood, a reasonably young lefty who's usually healthy and sometimes effective, against Colorado's Brett Anderson, a reasonably young lefty who's usually effective and sometimes healthy.

Game of the Day (8/5/84)

Royals 5, Tigers 4. Detroit's Dave Rozema hadn't pitched over 150 innings in a season since 1978, and only had two years left in the league after this one; he would end his career with just over 1100 innings of respectable swingman work. That may not sound terribly impressive, but it's far more than many people can say, and opposing starter Mike Jones was definitely among them.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Game of the Day (8/4/14)

A's 3, Rays 2 (10). Jeff Samardzija, one of the many recent acquisitions in the Oakland rotation, took on Alex Cobb, one of the few Rays starters with a chance to pitch even a near-full season with the team.

Game of the Day (8/4/84)

Dodgers 5, Reds 3 (11). Both of the starters in this game were in their second major league campaigns. LA's Orel Hershiser split his time in 1984 between the rotation and the bullpen, making a majority of his appearances in relief. Cincinnati's Jeff Russell meanwhile, served as a starter pretty much all season long.

And then they exchanged roles for the rest of their lengthy careers.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Game of the Day (8/3/14)

Padres 4, Braves 3 (10). Second verse, extremely similar to the first. The game was started by Atlanta's Aaron Harang and San Diego's Tyson Ross, both right-handers whose careers appear to have peaked in their late 20's. The difference is that Ross, who is 27, is just entering that period, while Harang, who is 36, left it a long time ago.

Game of the Day (8/3/84)

Braves 2, Giants 1 (11). San Francisco's Mark Davis was about to be permanently moved to the bullpen, and pitched most of 1984 like he deserved it. (The move worked out OK.) Atlanta's Pascual Perez was in the middle of a solid season, but would start on an extraordinarily terrible one six months later.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Game of the Day (8/2/14)

Padres 3, Braves 2 (12). Atlanta's Ervin Santana and San Diego's Ian Kennedy are both right-handed starters in their late-prime type years (Kennedy is 29, Santana 31), who have career ERA+ figures of exactly 100 and are within a few points of that mark this year. So it would seem fair to classify this as a pretty even pitching matchup.

Game of the Day (8/2/84)

Cubs 3, Expos 2. Montreal's starter was Bryn Smith, who was having a pretty good year for a 29-year-old first-time full-time rotation member. In this game, however, he was matched against Chicago's Rick Sutcliffe, who in 9 starts with his new team was 7-1 with a 2.49 ERA.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Game of the Day (8/1/14)

White Sox 10, Twins 8. I've seen a good number of highly-unbalanced pitching matchups in these games, but this one may take the cake. Minnesota opened with Logan Darnell, a 25-year-old lefty making his second big league start after what looks like a decent-but-unspectacular minor league career. Chicago also started a southpaw who was born a quarter century ago - but theirs was Chris Sale, one of the best pitchers in baseball.

Game of the Day (8/1/84)

Braves 6, Astros 5. Houston's Joe Niekro, who led the NL in starts in both 1983 and '84, faced Atlanta's Rick Mahler, who headed the same category in 1985 and '86. They may not have pitched brilliantly in those seasons (although they certainly weren't bad), but they sure did pitch frequently.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Game of the Day (7/31/14)

Trade deadline day was, of course, highly eventful in off-field ways, with Jon Lester, David Price, and a host of lesser players changing teams. It was also a good day on the field, with over half of its 11 games landing in the 70th percentile or higher on the season so far. That added up to a status as one of the best non-full-slate days of the season.

Unsurprisingly, the best game was also the only one to last beyond regulation: Angels 1, Orioles 0 (13), which began with LA's Tyler Skaggs and Baltimore's Bud Norris on the mound.

Game of the Day (7/31/84)

Rangers 7, Orioles 6. Texas's Dave Stewart and Baltimore's Dennis Martinez were both pretty unimpressive in 1984, and would be for the next couple of seasons as well. Given their ages (not old, but not young), you'd figure they were both on their way out of the league. Instead, Stewart would go on to four straight 20-win seasons in his early 30's, and Martinez would capture an ERA title at age 37.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Game of the Day (7/30/14)

Dodgers 3, Braves 2 (10). I have very little familiarity with Atlanta lefty Alex Wood, which makes some sense given that he has not yet reached 200 career MLB innings. He does have 180, however, and they have been pitched at a solidly above-average level, at age 23 or younger, and with an average of a strikeout per inning.

LA's Zack Greinke is... slightly better-established in my mind, given that he is a former Cy Young winner and current All-Star.

Game of the Day (7/30/84)

Angels 5, A's 4 (12). California's Geoff Zahn, a 38-year-old righty having a very good second-to-last year, took on Oakland's Curt Young, a 24-year-old southpaw having a mediocre second year. It was opposite day, apparently.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Game of the Day (7/29/14)

Cubs 4, Rockies 3 (16). Colorado's Jorge De La Rosa is a solid veteran pitcher, at least when he's healthy enough to take the mound. Chicago's Edwin Jackson is a veteran pitcher who is sadly always healthy enough to take the mound.

Game of the Day (7/29/84)

Twins 6, Angels 5 (10). California's Mike Witt and Minnesota's John Butcher had debuted 3 and 4 years earlier, respectively; they were both right-handed, and they had very similarly solid 1984 seasons (between 225 and 250 innings, ERAs in the 3.40s, respectable records). Their careers would take sharply opposite turns starting in 1985, however, as Witt had several more good years remaining and Butcher had none at all. (It was not a shocking outcome, as Witt was four years younger and struck out over twice as many batters per inning.)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Game of the Day (7/28/14)

Diamondbacks 2, Reds 1 (15). Arizona's Chase Anderson, making his 12th career start, took on Cincinnati's Homer Bailey, making his 164th.

Game of the Day (7/28/84)

Red Sox 3, Tigers 2. Boston started John Henry Johnson, who up to this point had come exclusively out of the bullpen in 1984; his longest outing of the season had been 3.1 innings. Detroit countered with workhorse Jack Morris, who had only one outing shorter than 3.1 innings through the season's first four months.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Game of the Day (7/27/14)

Orioles 3, Mariners 2 (10). Baltimore's Miguel Gonzalez, who has been both solid and largely unnoticed since coming in as a 28-year-old rookie two seasons ago, took on Seattle's Roenis Elias, who is having an unspectacular debut season at age 25.

Game of the Day (7/27/84)

Cardinals 3, Pirates 2 (10). St. Louis sent Joaquin Andujar, who was a pretty good pitcher for a pretty long time, against Pittsburgh's Larry McWilliams, who lasted the same number of years, but threw fewer innings at a slightly lower level of effectiveness.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Game of the Day (7/26/14)

Diamondbacks 10, Phillies 6 (10). Arizona started Josh Collmenter, who has returned to the rotation this year after a couple seasons of partial or full-time bullpen duty. Philadelphia countered with Cliff Lee, who hasn't pitched out of the bullpen since turning into one of the best pitchers in baseball seven years ago.

Game of the Day (7/26/84)

Expos 5, Pirates 4. Montreal started Dan Schatzeder, a lefty who pitched 15 years and spent respectable amounts of time as both a starter and a reliever, yet somehow escaped my notice until now. Pittsburgh replied with our old friend John Tudor, starting his sixth Game of the Day this year, albeit his first since May.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Game of the Day (7/25/14)

Cubs 7, Cardinals 6. St. Louis sent Joe Kelly, recently back from injury, against Chicago's Travis Wood, who was an All-Star last year and has not remotely lived up to that status this season.

Game of the Day (7/25/84)

Royals 5, Blue Jays 4 (13). Toronto's Jim Clancy, a right-hander having a down year smack in the middle of a solid career, took on KC's Charlie Leibrandt, a lefty having a respectable partial season which also came smack in the middle of a career that was somewhat better than Clancy's, but not overwhelmingly so.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Game of the Day (7/24/14)

Royals 2, Indians 1 (14). Cleveland's Corey Kluber took on KC's Danny Duffy in a faceoff of two reasonably young pitchers who hadn't done much before this season, but have been terrific so far in 2014.

Game of the Day (7/24/84)

Mets 9, Cardinals 8 (10). New York's Bruce Berenyi was 29 and had just experienced the first and only team change of his MLB career. St. Louis's Dave LaPoint was only 24, but had already changed teams once, and was approaching the end of a four-year Cardinal tenure that would be easily his longest stint with one team; he ended up playing for a remarkable nine distinct squads in a 12-year career, plus a reappearance in St. Louis a few years hence.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Game of the Day (7/23/14)

Angels 3, Orioles 2. Baltimore's Chris Tillman, who has been pretty good for the last three years, took on LA's Jered Weaver, who has been excellent for nearly a decade.

Game of the Day (7/23/84)

Mets 4, Cardinals 3 (12). Both teams started fairly young, relatively effective lefties, with St. Louis's Ricky Horton taking on New York's Walt Terrell.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Game of the Day (7/22/14)

Giants 9, Phillies 6 (14). The Giants started Yusmeiro Petit (who I just realized has a delightful name-and-team combo that should definitely result in his being awarded the nickname "the Little Giant"); the Phillies sent Roberto Hernandez, who has started enough of these games over the past couple of years to long since exhaust my supply of Fausto Carmona jokes.

Game of the Day (7/22/84)

Mets 7, Reds 6. New York's Ron Darling was on his way to a two-year run that made him look like an ascendant star, though he regressed significantly after 1986. He still came out better than Cincinnati's Joe Price, who was on his way to the bullpen after the 1984 season concluded.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Game of the Day (7/21/14)

Marlins 3, Braves 1 (10). The two starters in this one entered the game with very similar levels of experience; the matchup was between Atlanta's outstanding youngster Julio Teheran and Miami's pretty OK kind-of-young Tom Koehler.

Game of the Day (7/21/84)

Brewers 7, A's 4 (10). Oakland started former Brewer Lary Sorensen, who was 28 and on the fast track to being washed up. Milwaukee replied with future A Tom Candiotti, who at 26 was still struggling to establish himself in the majors, but would pitch for another decade and a half. You can do that when you're a knuckleballer.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Game of the Day (7/20/14)

Yesterday's slate of baseball was about as good as you can get when there aren't any extra-innings involved. Seven of the fifteen games were decided by one run, and four of the others had scores like 11-7, 9-6, and 5-3 that are capable of producing exciting games, and they all fully exercised that capability.

Despite the stiff competition, the best game of the bunch was between the same pair of teams who also combined on the last two: Angels 6, Mariners 5, with Seattle's Chris Young facing LA's Tyler Skaggs.

Game of the Day (7/20/84)

Mets 3, Reds 2 (11). Both teams started rookie pitchers in this game. Cincinnati went with Jay Tibbs, who was making the second start of his career; he would end up posting a nice half-season, but his initial success was largely illusory (which is generally the case when you strike out 40 batters and walk 33 in 100.2 innings).

The New York rookie was about as different from Tibbs as it is possible to be (well, they were both right-handed). His name was Dwight Gooden.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Game of the Day (7/19/14)

Mariners 3, Angels 2 (12). Seattle began the game with All-Star starter Felix Hernandez on the mound; LA countered with bemoaned All-Star snub Garrett Richards. So that's at least a mildly interesting pitching matchup.

Game of the Day (7/19/84)

Reds 9, Mets 6. Cincinnati's Mario Soto, who would end up as a career Red, faced New York's Bruce Berenyi, who had also been a career Red until the team traded him just over a month earlier. This was actually Berenyi's second appearance against his former squad in the roughly five weeks since the trade.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Game of the Day (7/18/14)

Angels 3, Mariners 2 (16). LA's Jered Weaver took on Seattle's Hisashi Iwakuma; my in-depth analysis of their capabilities indicates that both of them fall into the category generally known as "very good pitchers."

Game of the Day (7/18/84)

Cardinals 8, Giants 4 (11). St. Louis started rookie left-hander Ricky Horton, who had been promoted to the rotation just over a month earlier. San Francisco countered with Atlee Hammaker, who is making an appearance in this space for the third consecutive start - which is even more remarkable considering that he only made six total starts in the 1984 season.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Game of the Day (7/17/84)

Astros 3, Mets 2. New York's 23-year-old Ron Darling squared off against Houston's 39-year-old Joe Niekro. Both men would pitch for a long time and earn healthy reputations, yet both ended up with slightly below-average ERAs for their careers.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Game of the Day (7/16/84)

Yankees 9, Rangers 8. As you might expect from the final score, the pitching matchup was highly undistinguished, with Texas's Dickie Noles (usually a mediocre reliever) taking on New York's Joe Cowley (who was primarily a starter, but qualified for the ERA title only once in his five seasons, that being 1986 when he scraped past the qualification line with 162.1 innings).

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Game of the Day (7/15/84)

Astros 3, Phillies 2 (16). Philadelphia's Charles Hudson was five years younger than Houston's Bob Knepper, but Knepper still had more time left; in fact, Hudson would end his career when he was the same age Knepper was at the time of this game.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Game of the Day (7/14/84)

Tigers 6, Twins 5 (12). Detroit's Milt Wilcox was not exactly a spring chicken in 1984; at age 34 and not quite maintaining a league average ERA despite an excellent defense behind him, he had only 32 starts left in his career after this one. But that's still nearly twice as many as the 18 starts Minnesota's Pete Filson, who was primarily a reliever (and a pretty mediocre one), would make after this game.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Game of the Day (7/13/14)

Indians 3, White Sox 2. Chicago's John Danks, who seems to be having a nice rebound from a couple of lost years, faced Cleveland's Trevor Bauer, who finally appears to be establishing himself in the majors.

Game of the Day (7/13/84)

Pirates 4, Giants 3 (18). San Francisco's Atlee Hammaker, the 1983 NL ERA titlist who would make only six appearances in '84, opposed Pittsburgh's Larry McWilliams, a capable veteran having arguably his best year. Since the game was played in 1984 and not 1884, neither starter would figure in the decision by the time the 18th inning rolled around.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Game of the Day (7/12/14)

Pirates 6, Reds 5 (11). Pittsburgh's Charlie Morton and Cincinnati's Mike Leake are both solidly in the realm of average-or-slightly-above. Neither of them has yet thrown 200 innings in a season, but both of them likely will this year if they remain healthy. The most notable thing about either of them is the fact that Morton threw a mere 116 innings last year - and still led the NL by hitting 16 batters. And he's hit 16 again this year in roughly the same number of innings, leading the majors so far. If he remains in the rotation for the rest of the year and keeps up anything approaching that pace, Morton may end up hitting more batters than any pitcher in over a century.

Game of the Day (7/12/84)

Mets 8, Braves 6. New York started rookie right-hander Ron Darling, who would be excellent in each of the next two seasons, then fail to clear a 100 ERA+ again until 1992. Atlanta countered with veteran righty Rick Mahler, who would go on to lead the NL in hits allowed in four of the next five seasons; a cursory examination of the league leader tables on B-R says that he's the only pitcher to do that since Robin Roberts gave up the most hits in five consecutive years in the '50s. And given that, unlike Roberts, Mahler did not also lead the league in complete games in all five of those seasons (and innings and wins in four of them)... you probably get a sense of his quality as a pitcher.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Game of the Day (7/11/14)

Cubs 5, Braves 4. Atlanta's Alex Wood took on Chicago's Jake Arrieta. There may not be many Cub games left this year in which the Chicago starter is (a) not Edwin Jackson or Travis Wood, and (b) more experienced than his opponent. But this was one of them.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Game of the Day (7/10/14)

Cubs 6, Reds 4 (12). Chicago sent Kyle Hendricks to the mound for his MLB debut, continuing its post-Samardzija-trade parade of pitchers who... well, let's just say they wouldn't have been in the rotation before the trade. Cincinnati countered with Homer Bailey.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Game of the Day (7/9/14)

Yankees 5, Indians 4 (14). Brandon McCarthy made his Yankee debut in this game, facing off with Cleveland's Josh Tomlin. Apropos of nothing, I saw Tomlin in person earlier this year; he pitched an efficient and effective game against the Rangers in Arlington.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Game of the Day (7/8/14)

Cardinals 5, Pirates 4. Pittsburgh's Vance Worley is a veteran who strikes out an acceptable number of hitters and walks very few; he has made five career appearances out of the bullpen, with the rest of them starts. St. Louis's Carlos Martinez is a flame-throwing youngster who strikes out a pretty high number of hitters but walks quite a few as well; he's just making the transition into the rotation, so before this game, all but five of his career appearances were in relief.

In other words, if one of them was left-handed, they would basically be opposites.

Game of the Day (7/8/84)

White Sox 9, Indians 8. The final score does not immediately suggest "pitching matchup between two Hall of Famers," but that's what it was, with Cleveland's Bert Blyleven taking on Chicago's Tom Seaver.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Game of the Day (7/7/14)

Mets 4, Braves 3 (11). Atlanta's Mike Minor faced off with New York's Daisuke Matsuzaka. Daisuke is apparently 33 years old. That doesn't feel right to me, but the trouble is that I can't tell whether it seems like he should be older or younger.

Game of the Day (7/7/84)

Astros 3, Expos 2. Montreal started a 26-year-old right-hander who had not pitched in the majors at all in 1983, but who was on the way to a halfway credible season in '84. Houston's starter was 3 years older and having a disaster area of a 71 ERA+ season. Based on those descriptions, you'd figure that the Expo hurler would have a brighter future (if not necessarily a bright one in absolute terms).

The Expo was David Palmer, who trundled along at OK for a few years. The Astro? Mike Scott, who was soon to begin one of the game's all-time late-career resurgences.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Game of the Day (7/6/14)

Orioles 7, Red Sox 6 (12). Boston sent former Cy Young winner Jake Peavy to the mound; Baltimore replied with a pitcher they hope might someday become Jake Peavy in Kevin Gausman.

Game of the Day (7/6/84)

Cubs 5, Giants 4. Both teams started the game with pitchers who did not begin the year in their rotations. San Francisco's Atlee Hammaker, who won the 1983 NL ERA title but did not make his first start of 1984 until late June, faced Chicago's Dennis Eckersley, who had been acquired from the Red Sox in May. Eckersley is not exactly the midseason 1984 pitching pickup that is most talked about for the Cubs, but he pitched creditably for his new team.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Game of the Day (7/5/14)

Mariners 3, White Sox 2 (14). Jose Quintana has developed into a highly capable starter for the White Sox... but not quite so capable that you'd necessarily like his chances against the magnificent Felix Hernandez. But then, there aren't many pitchers with that level of capability.

Game of the Day (7/5/84)

White Sox 7, Indians 6. Cleveland's Steve Farr was a 27-year-old rookie in 1984. He was still looking for his first career win at the time of this game, but would end up pitching 11 years in the majors, mostly as a solid reliever.

By contrast, Chicago's Britt Burns was only 25, but was already in his seventh major league season. His 1984 season was a bad one, but he rebounded nicely to post 18 wins in 1985 - and then came down with an injury that ended his career, meaning that his last game came when he was younger than Farr was at the time of his MLB debut.

That's pretty weird.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Game of the Day (7/4/14)

A's 1, Blue Jays 0 (12). Oakland's Tommy Milone is a relative neophyte; this game represented his 78th career start. But he's still got over 10 times as many as Toronto's Marcus Stroman.

Game of the Day (7/4/84)

Reds 5, Phillies 4 (10). Cincinnati left-hander Bob Owchinko pitched just under 900 innings in his 10-year career. He had two seasons with above-average ERAs; he pitched 39.1 innings in one, and 15 innings in the other. In 1984, he made 49 appearances, with only four of them starts; this was the last of the starts. After the '84 season concluded, his remaining career would consist of three starts in 1986.

The opposing starter was also left-handed, but that was about all that Owchinko had in common with Steve Carlton.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Game of the Day (7/3/14)

Phillies 5, Marlins 4. Philly's Kyle Kendrick, who has started semi-regularly since 2007, took on Miami's Brad Hand, who was making only his third start of the year (along with 14 relief appearances) and the 18th of his career.

Yes, Kyle Kendrick now gets to be the established veteran in some of his pitching matchups. (No offense to Kendrick; I've just never revised the initial impression of him as the unspectacular youngster who kind of rode on the coattails of the Hamels-Lee-Halladay-Oswalt rotations of the last half decade or so.)

Game of the Day (7/3/84)

Red Sox 6, A's 5. Unlike the previous day's pitching matchup, this one did not feature a pair of ERA champs. Boston's Bruce Hurst would eventually go on to garner league leads in complete games and shutouts in separate seasons; Oakland's Tim Conroy never pitched enough in a year to lead the league in anything, and if he had, his career 81 ERA+ indicates that it likely would not have been in a beneficial category.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Game of the Day (7/2/14)

Indians 5, Dodgers 4. Cleveland's Trevor Bauer came up through the Arizona farm system as a much-hyped prospect, but has struggled to stick in the majors over parts of three seasons. LA's Hyun-jin Ryu, meanwhile, was a mildly-discussed import from Korea before the 2013 season, and has pitched a year and a half of excellent ball for the Dodgers.

Game of the Day (7/2/84)

A's 9, Red Sox 6 (11). Oakland's Steve McCatty was a former ERA champion (kind of) who was all but washed up. His opponent was a 21-year old righty who would have a slightly better year than McCatty in '84 - but it was the 24 wins, ERA title, and MVP two years later that would really bring Roger Clemens into national prominence; he would, of course, go on to win a total of seven ERA titles and the same number of Cy Young Awards, which is pretty respectable.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Game of the Day (7/1/14)

Marlins 5, Phillies 4. Miami's Henderson Alvarez took on Philly's AJ Burnett in a matchup of two of the five pitchers who have thrown no-hitters for the Marlins. (Yes, the Marlins have thrown five no-hitters in 22 years - and had two more thrown against them, for that matter.)

Game of the Day (7/1/84)

Angels 7, Brewers 6. Bob McClure started for Milwaukee, Jim Slaton for California. The two had been Brewer teammates for six seasons (which were non-consecutive, oddly - Slaton spent a year in Detroit in the middle of the stretch), and this was Slaton's first season in California, so this was sort of a discount version of a Glavine-Maddux faceoff after Glavine joined the Mets.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Game of the Day (6/30/14)

Rays 4, Yankees 3 (12). Tampa's Chris Archer took on New York's David Phelps.

Game of the Day (6/30/84)

White Sox 5, Orioles 4 (11). Baltimore's Storm Davis was 22 and on the way to a 125 ERA+ in 225 innings. That would prove to be the best season of his career. He was opposed by Chicago's Britt Burns, who can sympathize with the plight of peaking early; he was at his best from 1980-81, at ages 21 and 22, and by 1984 was a 25-year-old on his way out of the league, courtesy of a 5.00 ERA.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Game of the Day (6/29/14)

Royals 5, Angels 4. LA's CJ Wilson took on KC's Jeremy Guthrie. Both pitchers are relatively recent free agent acquisitions - one hyped, the other all but unnoticed. But they've pitched with fairly similar levels of effectiveness for their current teams.

Game of the Day (6/29/84)

Indians 13, Rangers 12 (13). I haven't seen many scores that serve to more clearly announce "THIS IS GOING TO BE THE GAME OF THE DAY" before the numbers are run than this one.

Texas started the eventually-excellent Dave Stewart; Cleveland countered with the already-excellent Bert Blyleven.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Game of the Day (6/28/14)

A's 7, Marlins 6 (14). The game began with a pair of pretty effective 24-year-old right-handers on the mound, Sonny Gray for Oakland and Nathan Eovaldi for Miami.

Game of the Day (6/28/84)

Red Sox 9, Mariners 6 (11). The pitching matchup was a pair of fairly young lefties - Seattle's Matt Young against Boston's Bruce Hurst. Neither of them was at anything like their best level in 1984, which meant that Hurst was only slightly better than average and Young was terrible.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Game of the Day (6/27/14)

Pirates 3, Mets 2 (11). Pittsburgh's Brandon Cumpton took on New York's Jacob deGrom. It was Cumpton's 14th career start - and he was the relative veteran in the matchup, as deGrom was making just his ninth big league appearance.

Game of the Day (6/27/84)

Cubs 8, Pirates 7 (11). Pittsburgh's Lee Tunnell faced Chicago's Rick Reuschel. Reuschel would make eight times as many starts as Tunnell in their respective careers, and throw over seven times as many innings - but in 1984, at least, they pitched with similar (and highly limited) effectiveness.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Game of the Day (6/26/14)

Phillies 5, Marlins 3 (14). Miami's Tom Koehler took on Philly's Cole Hamels. (Did you know that Cole Hamels turned 30 last December? I did not know that, and kind of wish that I still didn't.)

Game of the Day (6/26/84)

Angels 3, Rangers 2 (14). California's Jim Slaton had just turned 34 and firmly entrenched in a decline that would have him out of the league in two years. Texas's Charlie Hough was well past his 36th birthday, and had another decade left in the league. Ah, the power of the knuckleball.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Game of the Day (6/25/14)

Orioles 5, White Sox 4 (12). Chicago's Hector Noesi took on Baltimore's Ubaldo Jimenez; the two of them have combined for one ERA+ over 100 since 2010, and that was Noesi's first year in the majors.

Game of the Day (6/25/84)

Rangers 5, Angels 4 (11). Texas started the 27-year-old Dave Stewart, who was not yet as good as he would become. California countered with the 38-year-old Geoff Zahn, who was on the way to one last excellent season before leaving the league in 1985.