Monday, August 4, 2014

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.

Perez was perfect in the top of the first; Davis walked Claudell Washington, but erased him on a double play. In the second, Bob Brenly and Joel Youngblood singled, but Perez stranded them. Randy Johnson doubled in the bottom of the inning and took third on a passed ball; Davis then struck out Glenn Hubbard to leave him on. Chili Davis and Dusty Baker drew two-out walks in the top of the third before being left on, and the Braves were retired in order in the bottom of the inning.

Youngblood reached on a Johnson error in the fourth, and was the only baserunner from either team in the inning. In the fifth, Chili Davis and Baker opened the scoring with back-to-back doubles. The Braves responded by loading the bases on a Johnson single and walks to Bruce Benedict and Perez, but Washington was retired on a (Batted ball: Unknown out on play) to leave all three runners on. Ah, they joys of 30-year-old game accounts.

Youngblood walked and was caught stealing in the top of the sixth. Rafael Ramirez led off the bottom of the inning with a single, chasing Mark Davis in favor of Frank Williams; Williams induced a forceout from Dale Murphy and a double play from pinch hitter Gerald Perry to end the inning. Perez walked Williams in the top of the seventh, but left him on. Williams threw a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh, and Perez kept the Giants from reaching in the top of the eighth.

Benedict led off the bottom of the eighth with a single, and was run for by Albert Hall. Hall promptly took third on a steal-and-error, and scored the tying run one out later on a Washington single. Gene Garber relieved in the top of the ninth and induced a trio of groundouts. Williams allowed a walk and steal to Perry in the bottom of the ninth, and was pulled for Greg Minton with two outs; Minton struck out Hubbard to send the game to exras.

Garber was spotless again in the tenth, while Minton worked around a walk by pinch hitter Chris Chambliss. Brenly reached on a two-out error in the top of the eleventh before being stranded by Donnie Moore. In the bottom of the inning, Perry doubled with one out, Brad Komminsk singled him to third, and Johnson was intentionally walked to load the bases. The Braves then sent Rufino Linares to the plate for Hubbard, and he singled in the winning run.

The thing that jumps off the page at me in this one is the pitcher usage by the Giants, which was just weird. Mark Davis had not been a particularly effective starter for most of this season - but he was pretty good on this day, allowing just 3 hits and 3 walks through five-innings-plus-a-batter. So I don't really see why he was pulled after giving up a leadoff hit in the sixth. More than that, though, I don't see why the Giants felt the need to use the first man out of the pen, a solid-but-not-great rookie in Frank Williams, for 3.2 innings, even having him bat for himself once (he drew a walk) and begin another inning after blowing the lead.

It's thoroughly unfair to blame pitcher usage for a loss in which your pitching staff gives up two runs in 11 innings, so I won't do that. But that doesn't make it less weird.

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