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.