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.