Tuesday, August 26, 2014

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.

Hodge worked around a George Bell walk in the first, a Dave Collins single in the second (via caught stealing), and a Garth Iorg single in the third (double play). Clancy kept the bases clear in the first two innings, then walked Tim Laudner and allowed a Kirby Puckett single in the third before stranding both men.

Toronto opened the scoring in the fourth when Cliff Johnson doubled with two outs, Jesse Barfield walked, and Collins tripled to score both of them; Collins went for the inside-the-park homer but was thrown out at the plate to end the inning. Kent Hrbek led off the bottom of the fourth with a double, Randy Bush was hit by a pitch, and Tom Brunansky singled Hrbek home. Minnesota then had the tying run in scoring position, but a strikeout and a double play left it there.

Hodge and Clancy exchanged flawless fifths, and Hodge was perfect in the sixth as well; Clancy worked around a Hrbek single in the bottom half. Hodge allowed a Johnson walk and a Collins single-and-steal in the seventh, but Barfield hit into a double play before Collins reached, defusing a potential rally. Tim Teufel singled in the bottom of the inning and was also cleared from the bases on a DP.

Iorg led off the eighth with a triple, chasing Hodge from the game. Bobby Castillo relieved and retired Alfredo Griffin, but then allowed singles to Damaso Garcia (scoring Iorg) and Lloyd Moseby (moving Garcia to third). While Bell struck out, Moseby stole second, and Laudner committed a throwing error that allowed Garcia to score and make it a 4-1 lead.

Darrell Brown hit a pinch single to lead off the bottom of the eighth, Puckett singled him to second, and Mickey Hatcher doubled them both home. Jimmy Key replaced Clancy and allowed a game-tying Hrbek single. A sac bunt and an intentional walk later, Roy Lee Jackson was summoned from the bullpen and induced a double play from Gary Gaetti to end the inning.

Castillo walked Ernie Whitt and Rance Mulliniks in the ninth, but Whitt was caught stealing before Mulliniks drew ball four. Jackson walked Teufel in the bottom of the inning, but Ron Washington flied into a double play to send the game to extras. Bell's walk made him the only runner to reach in the tenth; the eleventh inning was rather more eventful. Barfield led off with a walk and stole second, but pinch hitter Tony Fernandez struck out to leave him there. In the bottom of the inning, Andre David reached on a one-out Fernandez error, Gaetti singled David to third, and Teufel was intentionally walked to load the bases; pinch hitter Dave Engle then hit into an inning-ending 5-3 double play.

Castillo worked around a Moseby walk in the twelfth, courtesy of a Bell double play. Jim Gott took the mound in the bottom of the inning and allowed a leadoff double to Washington. Dennis Lamp replaced Gott and allowed a sac bunt to Puckett, then intentionally walked the next two hitters, setting up a force at home. Dave Meier flied out, and Lamp then reminded everyone of the dangers of walking the bases loaded by issuing a walkoff walk to David.

Bobby Castillo was 29 years old when this game occurred, and was on his way out of baseball; he had posted an ERA+ of 89 in fairly regular starting duty in 1983, and would manage only a mark of 64 in five starts in '85. But in 1984, he managed 25.1 innings of 1.78 ERA, and did so despite walking 19 batters and striking out 7.

This game was pretty typical of his efforts. In five innings, he walked seven and struck out three; he allowed his only inherited runner to score and allowed a run of his own, but the run went down as unearned, and largely thanks to one runner getting caught stealing and another being eliminated on a double play, the six walks he issued in the next four innings led to no scoring at all.

All told, the performance earned Castillo a +.496 WPA and a win. Which has to be in the upper echelon of all-time 7-walk, 3-strikeout efforts.

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