Saturday, May 31, 2014

Game of the Day (5/30/14)

Phillies 6, Mets 5 (14). Rafael Montero of the Mets was making his fourth career start. Philly's AJ Burnett was just 18 starts shy of letting me say that he was making his four hundredth. Still, 382-4 is a pretty stark disparity in big league tenure.

Game of the Day (5/30/84)

Reds 6, Pirates 4 (14). Cincinnati put Tom Hume on the mound to open the game; Hume was a solid enough reliever, but was making only his second start since 1979. Pittsburgh, naturally, countered with our old friend John Tudor, who is making his fifth appearance in this space in the season's first two months.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Game of the Day (5/29/14)

Royals 8, Blue Jays 6 (10). KC's James Shields faced Toronto's RA Dickey. It's one of the more interesting pitching matchups of the year, because the two starters mirror each other pretty well; both were acquired in trades before the 2013 season with the intent of installing them as aces of playoff teams. Only one team has ended up with the ace it hoped for - but the other team is the one in first right now.

Game of the Day (5/29/84)

Reds 5, Pirates 4 (10). Pittsburgh started Larry McWilliams, a pretty decent starter having his best year. Cincinnati replied with Joe Price, whose best year had been 1983 and who was having a season that would get him moved permanently back into the bullpen.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Game of the Day (5/28/14)

Phillies 6, Rockies 3. Colorado's Jordan Lyles took on the sinkerball artist formerly known as Fausto Carmona (and currently known as Roberto Hernandez).

Game of the Day (5/28/84)

Padres 5, Mets 4. San Diego's Eric Show faced New York's Ron Darling. Both would have long and respectable careers; Darling's was longer, but Show was better-established at the time this game was played.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Game of the Day (5/27/14)

Brewers 7, Orioles 6 (10). That pair of teams and score seems familiar somehow... This time, the game began with Wei-Yin Chen of Baltimore facing Matt Garza of Milwaukee.

Game of the Day (5/27/84)

Blue Jays 6, Indians 5. Cleveland sent Steve Comer, struggling mightily in his last big league season, against Toronto's Jim Gott, a relative youngster whose role had still not yet been established between the rotation and the bullpen.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Game of the Day (5/26/14)

Orioles 7, Brewers 6 (10). Once AL East rivals, these two teams now faced off as interleague opponents in a game started by Baltimore's Chris Tillman and Milwaukee's Kyle Lohse.

Game of the Day (5/26/84)

Reds 7, Cubs 6. Cincinnati started Frank Pastore, a once-decent starter who was in his last year as a regular rotation member (and justifiably so). The Cubs countered with Don Schulze, who was making his fourth and final start with the team (also justifiably).

Monday, May 26, 2014

Games of the Weekend (5/23/14 through 5/25/14)

The Game of 5/23/14 was White Sox 6, Yankees 5, in which Chicago trailed 3-0 after half an inning, rallied to take a 4-3 lead by the fifth, fell behind 5-4 in the seventh, and won the game in the ninth on a two-run Adam Dunn walkoff homer.

The Game of 5/25/14 was Diamondbacks 2, Mets 1. The teams traded runs in the first, then went back and forth stranding runners (20 combined LOB, 21 AB with RISP for the game) until a ninth-inning error allowed Arizona to take the lead; the Mets would then get runners to first and second before bowing out. (This game very narrowly edged out Josh Beckett's no-hitter; given the subjective nature of both my no-hitter adjustment in particular and excitement in general, I will not argue with anyone who would choose differently between those two games.)

The best game of the weekend, however, came on Saturday the 24th: Royals 7, Angels 4 (13).

Game of the Day (5/25/84)

A's 10, Yankees 7. There was a time when Ron Guidry vs. Steve McCatty would have been a marquee pitching matchup; the two men combined for three of the four AL ERA titles handed out between 1978 and 1981. But in 1984, Guidry was on the way to his worst full-season ERA, and McCatty was in his last full season, period.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Game of the Day (5/24/84)

Phillies 4, Dodgers 3. The Phils sent reigning Cy Young winner John Denny to the mound; the Dodgers opposed him with eventual 1984 ERA champion Alejandro Pena. It's not a pitching matchup that rings through the ages or anything, but at the specific time that this game occurred, it looks pretty terrific.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Friday, May 23, 2014

Game of the Day (5/22/14)

Indians 8, Orioles 7 (13). Coming off of a 13-inning game the day before, in which they had used this game's scheduled starter in relief, Cleveland turned to Justin Masterson on 3 days' rest to open this game against Baltimore's Wei-Yin Chen.

Game of the Day (5/22/84)

Astros 4, Cardinals 3 (11). Same two teams as yesterday, with each of them selecting a far less notable pitcher than they had the day before. Joe Niekro, age 39, went for Houston; he was faced by St. Louis's John Stuper, age 27. The 39-year-old had 115 starts left after this one; the 27-year-old had 20. That indicates their relative quality pretty well.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Game of the Day (5/21/14)

Indians 11, Tigers 10 (13). Cleveland sent Zach McAllister (who entered the year looking kind of OK but has pitched lousy) against Detroit's Max Scherzer (who entered the year as the reigning Cy Young winner and has pitched like the reigning Cy Young winner).

Game of the Day (5/21/84)

Astros 3, Cardinals 2. St. Louis started Bob Forsch, a veteran right-hander well on his way to a terrible (and abbreviated) season. Houston responded with a hard-throwing fellow you may have heard of - one Nolan Ryan.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Game of the Day (5/20/14)

Rockies 5, Giants 4. San Francisco's Madison Bumgarner opposed Colorado's Franklin Morales. Both were well-regarded as young pitchers, but only Bumgarner has really lived up to his initial promise; Morales is starting regularly for the first time since 2008.

Game of the Day (5/20/84)

Mets 4, Padres 2 (10). New York sent Mike Torrez, a pitcher who had a long and distinguished career that is best remembered for a famous home run he allowed, to the mound for one of the last starts of his MLB tenure. San Diego opposed him with Tim Lollar, who doesn't even have the famous home run on his list of accomplishments. He did get utterly thrashed in a World Series game, though, so he's got that going for him.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Game of the Day (5/19/14)

Reds 4, Nationals 3 (15). Cincinnati sent Mike Leake to the mound to face Washington's Stephen Strasburg.

Game of the Day (5/19/84)

Mariners 6, Orioles 5 (10). Baltimore's Scott McGregor and Seattle's Mark Langston were both left-handed, and both listed as being of fairly similar size (6'1, 190 against 6'2, 177). The similarities ended there, however; McGregor was a veteran where Langston was a rookie, and McGregor was a control artist (career rates of 2.2 BB/9 and 3.8 K/9) where Langston was unharnessed power, at least by 1984 standards (3.9 BB/9, 7.5 K/9).

Monday, May 19, 2014

Game of the Day (5/18/14)

Braves 6, Cardinals 5. Gavin Floyd, who I didn't remember joining the Braves (and who was making only his third start with the team), faced Jaime Garcia, who I did remember being a Cardinal, but who hadn't been one in almost a year thanks to injury.

Game of the Day (5/18/84)

Expos 5, Dodgers 4 (11). The pitching matchup was between Montreal's David Palmer, who had been limited to 13 total starts over the preceding three seasons by injuries, and LA's Alejandro Pena, who would go on to win the ERA title in '84, only to need rotator cuff surgery in '85 and be moved to the bullpen thereafter.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Game of the Day (5/17/14)

Blue Jays 4, Rangers 2. The still-stalwart Mark Buehrle took on somewhat young, somewhat promising fellow lefty Robbie Ross.

Game of the Day (5/17/84)

Padres 5, Expos 4. The Padres started a career-long mediocrity whose claim to fame is throwing a complete game and allowing no hits but still taking the loss. The Expos started the best pitcher in franchise history. But while Andy Hawkins was even more unimpressive than usual in 1984, Steve Rogers was rapidly approaching the end of the line himself, so the matchup was more even than might have been expected.

By the way, does it strike anyone else as odd that Captain America spent his entire (excellent) career pitching for a Canadian team? Just me? On to the game, then.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Game of the Day (5/16/14)

Marlins 7, Giants 5. Miami sent Henderson Alvarez to take on Yusmeiro Petit of the Giants. Both are kind of mediocre (although Alvarez is both better and younger), and they nearly had the same claim to fame: Petit came one out away from a no-hitter last year, while Alvarez successfully threw one.

Game of the Day (5/16/84)

Yankees 7, A's 6 (10). New York's Ray Fontenot, who made 62 career starts and ended up with a below-average ERA, would not have been the more impressive hurler in too many of his pitching matchups. But he was in this one, thanks to Oakland's Mike Warren, owner of 27 career starts and an ERA of 5.06.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Game of the Day (5/15/14)

Brewers 4, Pirates 3 narrowly edges out the day's lone extra-inning game to take the top spot. The game began with Yovani Gallardo (who's pitched well this year) on the mound for the Brewers, and Wandy Rodriguez (who has not, like at all) for the Pirates.

Game of the Day (5/15/84)

Of the three extra-inning games played on the May 15 of 30 years ago, the best of them was Mets 7, Giants 6 (11). The game started with a pair of young right-handers on the mound - the Mets sent Ron Darling, who was in the first full season of a pretty long and respectable career, while the Giants opted for Jeff Robinson, who would spend his initial season of 1984 as a full-time starter, then move to the bullpen for almost the entire remainder of his big league tenure.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Game of the Day (5/14/14)

Astros 5, Rangers 4. Former Ranger (and prize free agent acquisition) Scott Feldman started the game for Houston; Nick Tepesch, making his first start of the year, opposed him.

Game of the Day (5/14/84)

Expos 7, Padres 6 (10). Bill Gullickson started for the Expos, Mark Thurmond (who pitched about a third as many innings in his career as Gullickson) for the Padres.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Game of the Day (5/13/14)

Cardinals 4, Cubs 3 (12). St. Louis began the game with Adam Wainwright, who has twice finished second in Cy Young voting and owns a career ERA+ of 131. Chicago opposed him with Jake Arrieta, who has never entered a Cy Young voter's mind and has a career ERA+ 50 points lower. That's... about right, for these two teams.

Game of the Day (5/13/84)

Braves 9, Pirates 8 (10). Pete Falcone, rapidly approaching the end of a mediocre career, began the game on the mound for the Braves. The Pirates opposed him with John Tudor, the same age as Falcone but on an opposite career trajectory. Tudor is making his fourth start in a Game of the Day and we're not even halfway through May yet.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Game of the Day (5/12/14)

The race for yesterday's GotD honors was as close as any this year. Nationals 6, Diamondbacks 5 was a worthy contender, a game that remained close throughout and featured four lead changes, the last of which was in the ninth inning. But it was edged out by a hair with a width of .007 WPL by Mets 9, Yankees 7.

Game of the Day (5/12/84)

It should be noted before we get to WPL's favorite game for this date that there is a definite honorable mention selection: Reds 2, Cardinals 1, in which Mario Soto came within one out of a no-hitter only to give up a game-tying home run to George Hendrick. The Reds won in walkoff fashion in the bottom of the ninth. I will not argue strenuously against a preference for this game over Cubs 5, Astros 4, which is the system's selection. This game pitted Chicago's Chuck Rainey, a 30-year-old in his last major league season (and appropriately so), against Joe Niekro of Houston, who was 9 years older and still significantly better.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Game of the Day (5/11/14)

Mets 5, Phillies 4 (11). The teams play their third consecutive one-run game, this one beginning with Philly's Cole Hamels facing New York's John Niese.

Game of the Day (5/11/84)

Mariners 4, Yankees 3 (17). Why yes, this is the second consecutive game of 16 or more innings the Yankees have played. This one pits Seattle's Matt Young, who in his 10-year big-league career led the league in losses as many times as he had a winning record, against New York's Ray Fontenot, who would probably not object to swapping careers with Matt Young.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Game of the Day (5/10/14)

Orioles 5, Astros 4 (10). Baltimore's Miguel Gonzalez entered the game with a mere 49 career starts - which is still 37 more than his opponent, Houston's Collin McHugh.

Game of the Day (5/10/84)

There were nine games on May 10, 1984; only three of them were in the AL. One of those games was decided in 9 innings; the road team trailed 5-3 going into the ninth, rallied to take a 6-5 lead, and then lost 8-6 in the bottom of the inning. One of them lasted 10 innings. In that one, the home team came from three runs down to tie the game in the eighth, both teams put the go-ahead run in scoring position early in the ninth, and after a homer put the road team in the lead, the home team got the tying run to second in the tenth before losing.

The third AL game was Yankees 7, Indians 6 (16). Unsurprisingly, it was the best of the three extraordinary AL games that day.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Game of the Day (5/9/14)

Yesterday was a solid, if not spectacular, day of baseball; eight of the fifteen games on display were in the 60th percentile or better. On the other hand, only one of those eight cracked the top 15% so far on the season (at least if you don't account for Yu Darvish's almost-no-hitter, which WPL unfortunately doesn't). That one was Phillies 3, Mets 2 (11), which was good enough to overcome Darvish's outing even with near-no-no credit.

Game of the Day (5/9/84)

Reds 6, Expos 4. Montreal started Bill Gullickson, a competent young pitcher who was off to a dreadful start but would recover to post a decent season overall. Cincinnati opposed him with Bruce Berenyi, who I had never heard of before now, but who did once lead the league in losses and fewest home runs per 9 innings in the same season, which seems like a fairly unorthodox combination.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Game of the Day (5/8/14)

Marlins 3, Padres 1 (11). Miami's Jacob Turner faced San Diego's Ian Kennedy.

Game of the Day (5/8/84)

White Sox 7, Brewers 6 (25).

Hang on, what was that?

White Sox 7, Brewers 6 (25).

OK, that's what I thought it said. That's a pretty substantial number of innings. The first several were pitched by an unbelievably inequitable duo: Hall of Famer Don Sutton of the Brewers was opposed by Chicago's Bob Fallon, who was making the third of his three career major league starts.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Game of the Day (5/7/14)

Mariners 6, A's 4 (10). Oakland's Dan Staily, a young pitcher off to a rough start so far this season, took on Seattle's Felix Hernandez, a pitcher who's basically on his way to the Hall of Fame given health. Not the most spectacularly even opening pairing.

Game of the Day (5/7/84)

A's 6, Mariners 5. Seattle sent Bob Stoddard, who is pretty unimpressive. Oakland's response was Steve McCatty, who had once been impressive but was not any longer.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Game of the Day (5/6/14)

Red Sox 4, Reds 3 (12). The aggressively crimson-themed matchup gave starts to Cincinnati's Homer Bailey and Boston's Felix Doubront.

Game of the Day (5/6/84)

There were 15 games on May 6, 1984, which is unusual enough to begin with because there were only 26 teams. (Two doubleheaders, obviously.) Seven of those games ranked in the top 100 of the season so far, and three were in the top 20. The best of the group was Tigers 6, Indians 5 (12), pitting Detroit's Milt Wilcox, an acceptable pitcher over a career of reasonable length (just clearing 2000 innings) against Cleveland's Bert Blyleven, a Hall of Famer. Of course, the Tigers had the best lineup in the league, so the uneven pitching matchup was barely enough to make it fair.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Game of the Day (5/5/14)

There was a game played yesterday in which the home team trailed 3-0 in the sixth, 4-3 in the ninth, and 5-4 in the twelfth; they came back to tie the first two times, and took their first lead on the last play of the game. It was a phenomenal game, the twelfth-best of the season so far.

Giants 11, Pirates 10 (13) was better, and by a healthy margin.

Game of the Day (5/5/84)

Pirates 8, Dodgers 7 (10). LA's Bob Welch and Pittsburgh's John Candelaria both had excellent careers, combining for 388 wins and winning a Cy Young and an ERA title, respectively. This game would not appear anywhere near the top of the career highlight list for either man.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Game of the Day (5/4/14)

A's 3, Red Sox 2 (10). The pitching matchup was of rookie postseason heroes - Sonny Gray from last year, John Lackey from (ready to feel old?) 2002.

Game of the Day (5/4/84)

Cubs 7, Padres 6. San Diego's Andy Hawkins, who was having a lousy year, took on Chicago's Scott Sanderson, in the middle of a decent, if not full-length, season.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Game of the Day (5/3/14)

Yesterday featured one of the best 9-inning games of the year, an 11-10 throwdown in which the home team rallied from a 6-0 deficit with an 8-run fifth inning, blew the resultant lead in the eighth and let the road team go ahead in the ninth, then came back to win with two runs in the bottom of the inning.

It also had an extra-inning game. So naturally, WPL selects Dodgers 9, Marlins 7 (11) as the superior outing.

Game of the Day (5/3/84)

Brewers 6, Royals 5 (10). Milwaukee started Don Sutton, who was 39 years old but still had it. KC responded with Bud Black, who was about to turn 27 and just starting to put it together.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Game of the Day (5/2/14)

Rays 10, Yankees 5 (14). David Price (who entered with 9 career complete games, not to mention 74 wins and a Cy Young) opened on the mound for Tampa; New York sent Vidal Nuno (making his sixth career start) to oppose him. That matchup seems... less than equitable.

Game of the Day (5/2/84)

Indians 9, Orioles 7 (16). Tough to go wrong with a score like that. We've seen both starters already this season, with Baltimore sending Scott McGregor (who would be an Oriole for his entire career) and Cleveland answering with Rick Sutcliffe (who would be an Indian for another month and change).

Friday, May 2, 2014

Game of the Day (5/1/14)

Yesterday's three best games were all in the 90th percentile or higher on the season so far. They were also all second halves of doubleheaders. Thanks, rain!

The best of the bunch was Dodgers 4, Twins 3 (12), which saw Red Patterson make his big league debut and Kris Johnson his first appearance for Minnesota. This may be related to the aforementioned fact that it was the second game of a doubleheader.

Game of the Day (5/1/84)

Dodgers 3, Giants 2 (11).

This one veered into oddity before the game even began. The Dodgers started Burt Hooton against San Francisco's Randy Lerch; that's not the odd part, because both of them spent most of their careers as starters. However, they spent very little of 1984 as starters - Hooton made only 6 starts that season (against 48 relief appearances), while Lerch started a mere 4 games (and relieved 33 times). Based on those numbers alone, the odds that a game in which both Hooton and Lerch appeared in 1984 would be started by both of them are 4/333, which produces the rather satisfying decimal form of .012012 (repeating those three digits infinitely, as do all fractions of 333).

Math aside, you don't often see both teams turn to emergency pitchers at the same time. It's as if the Dodgers and Giants forgot they had a game scheduled and their entire starting rotations were out golfing.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Game of the Day (4/30/14)

Royals 4, Blue Jays 2. The month closes out with a matchup of two young pitchers, one of whom pitched in the majors last year but still qualifies as a rookie (KC's Yordano Ventura), and the other one of whom did not make a big-league appearance last year, yet does not retain rookie eligibility (Toronto's Drew Hutchison).

Game of the Day (4/30/84)

Well, the run of classics had to end some time; might as well be on a day when there were only six games played. That leaves us with Cardinals 5, Pirates 3, with St. Louis stalwart Bob Forsch facing future St. Louis ace John Tudor. Incidentally, this ties Tudor for the early-season lead in most Games of Days started (3, neck-and-neck with the immortal Bill Laskey).