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.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Game of the Day (6/24/14)

Yesterday was a pretty terrific baseball day. For starters, Clayton Kershaw followed up a no-hitter by throwing eight shutout innings, and Cub hurler Jake Arrieta didn't allow a baserunner for the first six innings of his start against Cincinnati. Not including those contests, there were four nine-inning games that were in the top third of all games played so far this year.

On top of that, there was a 16-inning marathon between the Nationals and Brewers, with Washington coming out on top. That game ranks among the top 20 so far this season... and it wasn't the day's best, because of the magnificence that was Diamondbacks 9, Indians 8 (14).

Game of the Day (6/24/84)

Padres 8, Reds 3 (13). Eric Show, arguably the Padre ace, took on Joe Price, who was in the second of his two years as a full-time starter.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Game of the Day (6/23/14)

Out of the 10 games played yesterday, only two of them were in the 35th percentile or better. Naturally, both of them involved gut-punch endings being delivered to Chicago teams. The better (or worse, depending on your perspective) of the two was Orioles 6, White Sox 4, which opened with the high-caliber lefty-lefty matchup of Chris Sale and Wei-Yin Chen.

Game of the Day (6/23/84)

June 23, 1984, is the date of one of the most famous regular season games in baseball history. Willie McGee hit for the cycle, and was not even close to making the headlines. That's because future Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg went 5 for 7 and hit game-tying homers against fellow future Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter in back-to-back innings. The final score was 12-11 in 11 innings; Sandberg posted a ridiculous WPA of +1.063, and rode this game and the Cub division title to a well-deserved MVP.

So why the heck is the game of the day Yankees 5, Orioles 4 (11)?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Game of the Day (6/22/14)

Brewers 6, Rockies 5. Milwaukee's resurgent veteran Kyle Lohse took on Colorado's Tyler Matzek, who was making his third career start.

Game of the Day (6/22/84)

Pirates 7, Phillies 6 (13). Philly's Kevin Gross, who was young and mediocre, took on Pittsburgh's Lee Tunnell, who was also young and pretty close to being outright bad. Both of them spent 1984 splitting time between the rotation and the bullpen, despite serving as near full-time starters in the surrounding years.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Game of the Day (6/21/14)

Tigers 5, Indians 4 (10). Detroit's Justin Verlander, normally an outstanding pitcher but struggling this year, faced Cleveland's Trevor Bauer, who was expected to be an outstanding pitcher but has struggled for his whole career so far.

Game of the Day (6/21/84)

Mets 10, Phillies 7. Philly's Charles Hudson had a career of just over 1000 innings; New York's Walt Terrell lasted for nearly twice as many. And yet, neither man would ever have a season in which he both qualified for the ERA title and had an ERA+ better than 110. Which hopefully explains why neither of them had made much of an impression on my baseball memory coming into this game.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Game of the Day (6/20/14)

Braves 6, Nationals 4 (13). Atlanta's Mike Minor (and bullpen) faced off with Washington's Stephen Strasburg (and bullpen).

Game of the Day (6/20/84)

Tigers 9, Yankees 6 (13). Detroit's Dan Petry was a capable starter in the middle of a very good four-year stretch. New York's Bob Shirley was also solid, but primarily served as a reliever; his starts were strictly of the spot variety, and after making 17 of them in 1983, he would not begin as many as 10 games in any of his last four major league seasons.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Game of the Day (6/18/14)

Dodgers 8, Rockies 0. LA's Clayton Kershaw taking on Colorado's Jorge de la Rosa.

Game of the Day (6/18/84)

Yankees 2, Tigers 1. Detroit's Milt Wilcox was in his last full season at age 34, and hadn't thrown 200 innings since 1978. (This is not entirely fair - he'd gone over 190 three times and would again in '84, and threw 166.1 in the abbreviated 1981 season - but it is technically correct.) New York's Phil Niekro was 11 years older than Wilcox, but was in the middle of his 17th consecutive 200-inning season (with the exception of '81), and would throw two more before the string ended. He had exceeded 300 innings more recently than Wilcox had thrown 200, and was more effective while on the mound to boot.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Game of the Day (6/17/14)

Reds 6, Pirates 5. Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto entered the game with a 1.85 ERA in 2014. Pittsburgh's Brandon Cumpton stood more than three times higher, at 6.06. Not exactly something you'd expect to be an even matchup.

Game of the Day (6/17/84)

Giants 5, Padres 3 (15). The Giants started Mike Krukow, a long-tenured pitcher having one of his worst seasons. San Diego replied with Mark Thurmond, who would barely pitch a third of Krukow's career innings, but had his best year in 1984. Sometimes, the difference between first place and last comes down to things like getting a career year out of Mark Thurmond while your rivals get Mike Krukow's worst work.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Game of the Day (6/16/14)

The Cubs and Marlins played a 13-inning barn burner yesterday, the 25th-best game of the year, and as a Cub fan, I would very much like to break with my evaluation system and write about a North Side win for once.

But narrowly edging past it into 24th place for the 2014 season so far, was Phillies 6, Braves 1 (13), pitting Philly's Cole Hamels (and his bullpen) against Atlanta's Julio Teheran (and his bullpen).

Game of the Day (6/16/84)

Expos 3, Pirates 2 (11). Pittsburgh's Rick Rhoden took on Montreal's Bill Gullickson, both of them solid right-handers who would end up with highly similar career records (they finished within 35 innings of each other, and the difference in their win-loss records was 11-11, with Gullickson having the extra 22 decisions).

Monday, June 16, 2014

Game of the Day (6/15/14)

Marlins 3, Pirates 2 (10). Henderson Alvarez started for Miami; Vance Worley took the mound for Pittsburgh. I had no idea Worley was a Pirate, which makes sense because this was his first start for them.

Game of the Day (6/15/84)

Blue Jays 4, Red Sox 3 (11). Boston's Al Nipper, who was 25 and just establishing himself, took on Doyle Alexander of Toronto, who was in his fourteenth big league season. Despite the significant differences in age and experience, the two were both arguably on the way to their best seasons.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Game of the Day (6/14/14)

Much like June 14 of 30 years ago, yesterday's games included a number of excellent contests that ended in regulation, along with one extra-inning affair. And again, just like 30 years ago, the best of them was Angels 11, Braves 6 (13). This one saw LA's Garrett Richards take on Gavin Floyd of Atlanta.

Game of the Day (6/14/84)

There were four nine-inning one-run games played on June 14, 1984, all of them scoring in the top third of games to that point in the season.

There was also Yankees 12, Red Sox 11 (10). Shockingly, WPL selects that game as better than the accompanying lower-scoring, nine-inning contests. New York's Ron Guidry took on Boston's Bob Ojeda in a matchup of capable lefties who were not necessarily having their best years (Guidry, in particular, was having his worst; Ojeda was merely decent, although he did lead the league in shutouts).

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Game of the Day (6/13/14)

Pirates 8, Marlins 6 (13). Pittsburgh's Jeff Locke opposed Miami's Nathan Eovaldi. Eovaldi has pitched very well this year (and last, for that matter); Locke was also good last year, but was making only his third start of 2014 in this game.

Game of the Day (6/13/84)

Reds 5, Astros 4 (11). Houston's Bob Knepper was 30 years old and coming off of a 6-13 record in '83; Cincy's Joe Price was three years younger and had gone 10-6 the season before. So naturally, it was Knepper who had half a decade of starting left, and Price who would be banished to the bullpen at the conclusion of the '84 campaign.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Game of the Day (6/12/14)

Brewers 5, Mets 1 (13). Milwaukee's Kyle Lohse took on New York's Jon Niese; both starters have been much better this year than could have been reasonably expected 3 or 4 years ago.

Game of the Day (6/12/84)

Padres 7, Braves 6 (12). Atlanta started Pascual Perez; the Padres sent Eric Show to the mound. In other words, two good teams were starting pitchers who were at least arguably their best, which makes for a promising matchup.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Game of the Day (6/11/14)

Phillies 3, Padres 0. Philly's Cole Hamels took on San Diego's Tyson Ross, in what would have been an enormous mismatch two years ago; the pitchers have since become pretty even.

Game of the Day (6/11/84)

Astros 3, Reds 2 (14). Houston sent the mediocre Mike Madden, who would end up with 26 career starts. The Reds replied with Mario Soto, who had more starts than that in four separate seasons (including this one), and more notably, was on the way to his second consecutive league lead in complete games.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Game of the Day (6/10/14)

Angels 2, A's 1 (14). Oakland's Drew Pomeranz and LA's Hector Santiago are both young lefties who are new to their teams this year. Santiago has disappointed slightly in comparison to his prior performance; Pomeranz, meanwhile, has been thoroughly marvelous while splitting time between the rotation and the bullpen.

Game of the Day (6/10/84)

Pirates 12, Phillies 6 (12). Pittsburgh started Jose DeLeon, whose up-and-down career has been reviewed in this space a couple of times already this season. Philly countered with Charles Hudson, whose career was less up-and-down and more steadily mediocre, and who was most notably traded for Mike Easler instead of Bobby Bonilla or Lance Johnson.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Game of the Day (6/9/14)

Blue Jays 5, Twins 4. Minnesota's Ricky Nolasco faced Toronto's RA Dickey.

Game of the Day (6/9/84)

Rangers 4, A's 3 (12). Dave Stewart is best remembered as a member of the A's, but started against them in this one; he was just entering the mid-career nadir from which Oakland would rescue him a few years later. Oakland sent Chris Codiroli to the mound; he was in a similarly ineffective phase, but in Codiroli's case, that phase was his entire career.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Games of the Weekend (6/6/14 - 6/8/14)

The best game of Sunday's action was Red Sox 5, Tigers 3; the teams traded the lead with single runs until David Ortiz hit a go-ahead 3-run homer in the top of the ninth. It scores a WPL of 4.55, one of the top 80 games of the year.

Friday's best effort was A's 4, Orioles 3 (11). Both teams got a pair of solo homers, but once the game was turned over to the bullpens, Oakland took over; their relievers combined for five scoreless innings, giving the lineup time to take the lead in the eleventh on a pinch single by Stephen Vogt. The game's 4.83 WPL is one of the 60 highest scores of the year.

But neither game was the best of the three full days of baseball that just transpired. That honor goes to Saturday's best: Diamondbacks 4, Braves 3 (11).

Game of the Day (6/8/84)

Yankees 4, Blue Jays 3 (11). Toronto's Jim Gott was in the third of what would eventually be 14 major league seasons, most of which would be spent in the bullpen. He would make his last MLB appearance on his 36th birthday, which meant that he retired just under a decade before reaching the age that Phil Niekro had when Gott opposed him in this game.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Game of the Day (6/7/84)

Twins 5, Rangers 4. Texas's Danny Darwin pitched pretty well for quite a long time (21 big league seasons), and ended up with a losing record to show for it. Minnesota's Ken Schrom pitched pretty badly, for the most part, and for a relatively short time - and ended up breaking even in terms of wins and losses. Don't ever let anyone tell you life is fair.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Game of the Day (6/6/84)

Braves 5, Giants 4 (11). Atlanta's Pete Falcone was in the last season of a mediocre 10-year career, which started with the Giants. San Francisco's Jeff Robinson was just beginning his own mediocre 9-year major league stint, which would come to an end with... the Cubs. (This would have been much cooler if I could have ended that sentence with "the Braves," but reality doesn't usually let you do things like that.)

Friday, June 6, 2014

Game of the Day (6/5/14)

Brewers 8, Twins 5. Willy Peralta has started out nicely for Milwaukee, posting a 3.03 ERA that's at least partly backed up by his peripheral statistics. It's also less than half of the ERA of the opposing pitcher in this game; Minnesota's Kevin Correia is sitting at 6.11.

Game of the Day (6/5/84)

Red Sox 5, Yankees 4. Al Nipper was just starting out with the Red Sox; Shane Rawley was rapidly approaching the end of a two-and-a-half year stint with New York. Both were workmanlike starters over the course of careers of moderate length (though Rawley's was over twice as long).

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Game of the Day (6/4/14)

Indians 7, Red Sox 4 (12). Cleveland's Corey Kluber faced Boston's Brandon Workman in a matchup of pitchers who fall into the general category "reasonably young right-handers who do not seem to be stars but are pretty OK."

Game of the Day (6/4/84)

Tigers 6, Blue Jays 3 (10). The Tigers, having gotten off to arguably the best start in baseball history at 35-5, were finally in a bit of a slump; they had lost 6 of 9 since playing their 40th game. Their task would be no easier in this one, as they sent back-of-the-rotation starter Juan Berenguer against a Toronto team with the second-best record in baseball and their ace, Dave Stieb.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Game of the Day (6/3/14)

Royals 8, Cardinals 7. Kansas City sent James Shields to the mound against Jaime Garcia of St. Louis. It was the Royals' ace against the Cards' #5 starter... insert joke about almost equalizing the quality of the two teams here.

Game of the Day (6/3/84)

Padres 7, Giants 6. Eric Show was tabbed for San Diego. The Giants opposed him with Mark Grant, who I confess is entirely new to me; he was also almost entirely new to the majors, as a 20-year-old making his third career start. He would pitch intermittently (and badly) during this season, then reestablish himself in the majors three years later and go on to a reasonably long career, most of it spent in relief.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Game of the Day (6/2/14)

Pirates 10, Padres 3. How the heck does a 10-3 game become the best of the day? Let's find out!

Charlie Morton started for the Pirates against San Diego's Tim Stauffer. Both of them are guys you would describe as journeymen, except that they haven't really journeyed - Stauffer's entire career has been spent in San Diego, while Morton has been in Pittsburgh for the last six years.

Game of the Day (6/2/84)

Blue Jays 9, Yankees 8 (10). New York sent Dennis Rasmussen out for his fourth career start; he would end up with 235 in a respectable career. Toronto's reply was Luis Leal, who was a 27-year-old veteran and just over a year away from the end of his big league tenure.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Game of the Day (6/1/14)

Mets 4, Phillies 3 (11). And there's still a game left in the series... The Mets at least bothered to find an experienced starter in this one, sending Jon Niese against Philly's Cole Hamels.

Game of the Day (6/1/84)

Cardinals 5, Mets 1. There weren't an enormous number of pitchers who could be considered clearly favored over St. Louis's Joaquin Andujar in 1984, as he was on his way to a 20-win season including league leads in innings and shutouts. But one of those pitchers was making his tenth major league start in this game - Dwight Gooden, whose own version of Fernandomania was beginning to coalesce (he already had four starts in his first nine in which he struck out ten or more hitters while allowing one run or fewer).

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Game of the Day (5/31/14)

Mets 5, Phillies 4 (14). Second verse, highly similar but slightly superior to the first. Once again, the Mets sent a pitcher making his fourth career start (Jacob deGrom) against a Philly veteran (Kyle Kendrick).

Game of the Day (5/31/84)

Pirates 2, Expos 1. Montreal sent Bill Gullickson, who was young but pretty well-established, against Pittsburgh's Jose DeLeon, who was even younger and just starting out.