Sunday, July 27, 2014

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.

Schatzeder allowed first-inning singles to Lee Lacy and Jason Thompson, but stranded both of them. Montreal then took the game's first lead, starting with a Tim Raines double and a Pete Rose RBI single. Rose was then caught stealing second. Andre Dawson and Gary Carter both walked, and Tim Wallach singled Dawson in; Jim Wohlford then struck out, and Wallach was caught stealing on strike 3 to end the inning. Two runs had scored, but had the Expos not had multiple runners caught stealing, the lead might have been larger.

Brian Harper led off the second with a single, but Dale Berra hit into a double play. In the bottom of the inning, Schatzeder singled and Raines walked, but Rose flied out to leave them on. The Pirate comeback began in the third on singles by Lacy, Jim Morrison, and Bill Madlock, the third of which scored their first run of the day. After a perfect inning from Tudor, Pittsburgh took the lead in the fourth. Berra started the rally with a one-out double, and Marvell Wynne walked. Tudor struck out, but Lacy doubled in a pair of runs, and Morrison singled to bring Lacy home for a 4-2 lead.

Derrel Thomas doubled in the bottom of the fourth, but the subsequent hitters were Doug Flynn and Schatzeder, which had the unsurprising result of stranding Thomas at second. Both starters were perfect in the fifth, and Schatzeder kept the bases clear in the sixth as well. Wallach doubled with one out in the bottom of the inning, and moved to third on a Wohlford groundout; Thomas then grounded to third, which ended up having the odd result of Wallach being tagged out between third and home. I would be very curious to see this play and find out what circumstances led Madlock to choose the tag over the throw to first with two outs; sadly, I would be shocked if video footage is readily available.

Schatzeder worked around a walk in the seventh. Tudor gave up a leadoff single to Flynn, then another to pinch hitter Tony Scott, and was relieved by Don Robinson; the move was accompanied by a pair of defensive replacements, with Johnny Ray taking over second and Doug Frobel entering to play right. Raines flied out, but Rose singled to load the bases and Dawson hit a sacrifice fly. With Carter at the plate, Robinson then threw back-to-back wild pitches, allowing Scott to come around from second with the tying run. Carter then fouled out to leave the go-ahead run at third.

Bob James relieved in the top of the eighth; he allowed a leadoff hit to Tony Pena and walked Ray, then got a forceout from Berra and a double play from Wynne. Robinson remained on the mound for the bottom of the inning and served up back-to-back two-out doubles to Thomas and Flynn, putting Montreal in front. Jeff Reardon took over for the ninth and retired the Pirates in order to end the game.

I almost feel a little bad for poking fun at Doug Flynn in the early portions of recapping a game in which he went 2 for 4, scored a run, and had a game-winning RBI double. Then I look at his seasonal batting line and remember that this game brought his numbers all the way up to .267/.290/.309, and that he managed to decline considerably from even that modest height by the end of the season. His line from July 27 to the end of the year was an execrable .208/.234/.242, reaffirming his status as one of the worst hitters to hold down a long-term job in recent major league history.

But he had a fine game on July 26. So he had that going for him.

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