Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Game of the Day (9/29/84)

Blue Jays 5, Brewers 4. Toronto's excellent Dave Stieb, who would lead the AL in ERA the next season, took on Milwaukee's mediocre Bob McClure, who would move to the bullpen at the end of the year.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Game of the Day (9/27/14)

Reds 10, Pirates 6 (10). Pittsburgh's Francisco Liriano was brilliant in half a season in 2006, then got injured and was up-and-down (largely down) for the next several years before joining the Pirates last season and pitching quite well. Cincinnati's Alfredo Simon is 33 years old, and is finishing off his first complete season in a major league starting rotation.

Two years ago, this pitching matchup would have been a throw-away game. Now, it's a September faceoff with pennant race implications.

Game of the Day (9/27/84)

Red Sox 4, Orioles 3. Baltimore sent 23-year-old right-hander Ken Dixon to the mound for the second start of what would be a fairly brief career. Boston countered with Bob Ojeda, who was 26 -the same age that Dixon would be in his last season - and still had a decade left.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Game of the Day (9/26/14)

Cardinals 7, Diamondbacks 6 (10). St. Louis started Michael Wacha, who is quite young and promising. Arizona sent Trevor Cahill, who at 26 is still reasonably young, but whose over-5 ERA this year has eaten away much of his once-substantial promise.

Game of the Day (9/26/84)

Brewers 7, Tigers 5. Detroit's Milt Wilcox, who was 34 and rapidly nearing the end of his career, faced Milwaukee's Don Sutton, who was 5 years older than Wilcox but still had considerably more left. Normally, this would be a pitching mismatch - but the teams behind them evened things out nicely.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Game of the Day (9/25/14)

Mets 7, Nationals 4. New York sent Dillon Gee to the mound, taking on Washington's Blake Treinen...

No, wait, you know what? I'm going to the manual override on this one. It's not an option I activate on anything like a regular basis (outside of no-hitters, at least), But Yankees 6, Orioles 5 (started by the young Kevin Gausman and the old Hiroki Kuroda) is a game that people are going to REMEMBER, and I sincerely doubt that the matchup between the Mets and Nationals, fine game though it was, will meet that standard.

Game of the Day (9/25/84)

Royals 6, Angels 5 (12). California's Mike Witt and KC's Mark Gubicza were both young right-handers (Gubicza a 21-year-old rookie, Witt a fourth-year pitcher but only 23) who would go on to 2000-inning careers that were spent mostly but not entirely with their current teams and resulted in career records very close to .500. Witt was better in 1984; Gubicza would be better over the course of their full careers.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Game of the Day (9/24/14)

Phillies 2, Marlins 1. Miami's Brad Hand took on Philly's Kyle Kendrick. Hand is roughly the left-handed version of what Kendrick was six years ago - a young starter who's not yet proven that he's above average. Kendrick is now a recently-turned-30-year-old starter who is still trying to prove that he's above average.

Game of the Day (9/24/84)

A's 10, Rangers 6. The starters were Oakland's Bill Krueger and Texas's Frank Tanana, both of whom prove (in very different ways) that if you're left-handed, you can pitch forever.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Game of the Day (9/23/14)

Cubs 4, Cardinals 3 (10). A couple of promising youngsters started this one, with Chicago's Kyle Hendricks facing St. Louis's Shelby Miller.

Game of the Day (9/23/84)

Brewers 8, Blue Jays 5. Milwaukee's Bob McClure was 32, and had not posted an ERA+ above 90 in more than 10 innings since 1980. Toronto's Luis Leal was 27 and finishing off his third straight 200-inning campaign with an ERA+ of 100 or better.

This game would be the third-to-last start of McClure's career - but only because he transitioned into a full-time relief role, which he maintained for nearly a decade. Leal, meanwhile, would be finished in the majors by the end of 1985.

It would seem to be a fair statement that pitchers can be unpredictable at times.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Game of the Day (9/22/14)

Giants 5, Dodgers 2 (13). San Francisco's Jake Peavy faced LA's Dan Haren in a matchup of well-traveled right-handers. How well-traveled? Between them, they've pitched in all six of MLB's divisions, and have pitched for every NL West team except the Rockies.

Game of the Day (9/22/84)

Pirates 2, Phillies 1 (12). Pittsburgh's Rick Rhoden, a veteran having a to-date career year, faced Philly's Charles Hudson, a second-year pitcher whose most notable feat to this point was allowing a colossal number of unearned runs in the '84 season.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Game of the Day (9/21/14)

A's 8, Phillies 6 (10). Philly's AJ Burnett took on Oakland's Scott Kazmir. Three or four years ago, I would not have guessed that either of them would be putting in full seasons in MLB rotations this year - yet here we are.

Game of the Day (9/21/84)

Angels 5, Rangers 4. Texas's Danny Darwin was 28 and had been in the majors for 6 years, but was still in the early stages of what ended up being a productive career. California's Ron Romanick was also a relative neophyte in the majors (he was a rookie in '84), but his career would end up being considerably shorter than Darwin's.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Game of the Day (9/20/14)

Nationals 3, Marlins 2. Washington's Jordan Zimmermann, who has pitched roughly like an ace for the last 3 or 4 years, took on Miami's Jarred Cosart, who has pitched roughly like an ace since being acquired from the Astros at the trade deadline.

Game of the Day (9/20/84)

Twins 5, White Sox 4. Minnesota's Frank Viola was approaching the end of a terrific 1984 season, one that would begin a decade in which Viola was frequently (though not always) one of the best pitchers in baseball. Over the next 7 years, Viola would lead the league in wins once, starts twice, and innings once, win a Cy Young award, and throw a shutout in a World Series Game 7. Not a bad list of accomplishments at all.

He was opposed by Chicago's Tom Seaver, whose career already included three Cy Youngs and an equal number of ERA titles, and would eventually include to 311 wins and the to-date highest Hall of Fame vote percentage ever. Viola's career isn't outclassed by a huge number of pitchers, but Seaver was worth approximately two of him.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Game of the Day (9/19/14)

Twins 5, Indians 4 (10). Cleveland's Trevor Bauer and Minnesota's Phil Hughes are both former top pitching prospects who have been cut loose by their original organizations, but are making credible careers for themselves - Hughes is doing better in this respect, but has also had more time to work on it.

Game of the Day (9/19/84)

Padres 5, Giants 4 (10). San Francisco's Jeff Robinson was approaching the end of a pretty rough rookie season. He took on San Diego's Eric Show, who was establishing himself as the ace of the eventual pennant winner (albeit in part because no other Padre exceeded 200 innings).

Friday, September 19, 2014

Game of the Day (9/18/14)

Cardinals 3, Brewers 2 (13). Milwaukee's Kyle Lohse used to pitch for the Cardinals; he was in the rotation for the 2011 World Series winning team. After the 2012 season, he signed with the Brewers as a free agent - and St. Louis replaced him with youngster Shelby Miller, who opposed Lohse in this game.

Game of the Day (9/18/84)

Astros 5, Giants 4 (10). San Francisco's George Riley was making the third of his five career starts (he made more appearances as a reliever, but not exactly a massive number). Houston's Mike LaCoss, meanwhile, was smack in the middle of a 14-year career that was at least reasonably productive at times.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Game of the Day (9/17/14)

Giants 4, Diamondbacks 2. San Francisco ace Madison Bumgarner took on Arizona's Andrew Chafin, a 24-year-old lefty making his second major league start.

Game of the Day (9/17/84)

Padres 3, Reds 2 (11). San Diego's Ed Whitson was an established veteran having what was a career year at the time; he would go on to pitch for a total of five teams (returning to the Padres again later and having his actual best seasons) and is best known (arguably) for getting into a fight with his manager (the manager in question was Billy Martin, which explains a lot). Cincinnati's Tom Browning, was making his second big league start; he would pitch for the Reds for the next decade and is almost certainly best known for throwing a perfect game.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Game of the Day (9/16/14)

Brewers 3, Cardinals 2 (12). Milwaukee's Willy Peralta took on St. Louis's Lance Lynn in a matchup of reasonably young, reasonably anonymous NL Central pitchers who are better than you'd probably think (or at least better than I would have thought).

Game of the Day (9/16/84)

Dodgers 7, Reds 5 (10). LA's Fernando Valenzuela and Cincy's Mario Soto were both ace-level starters at times in the early '80s, and both would break down within the next three years.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Game of the Day (9/15/14)

Royals 4, White Sox 3. KC ace James Shields took on Chicago's John Danks, who was once a borderline ace himself, but hasn't held that status in at least four years.

Game of the Day (9/15/84)

Red Sox 4, Yankees 3. Boston's Al Nipper, who was 25 and solid, but not destined for marked improvement, faced New York's John Montefusco, who at 25 had been better than Nipper ever was, but who was now 34 and had four starts (and a few relief appearances) left in his career.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Game of the Day (9/14/14)

Marlins 5, Phillies 4. Miami's Tom Koehler faced off with Philly's David Buchanan. Koehler, making his 54th career start, was easily the more experienced of the two.

Game of the Day (9/14/84)

Pirates 8, Cardinals 7 (12). Pittsburgh's Jose DeLeon, a 23-year-old future Cardinal, faced St. Louis's Danny Cox, a 24-year-old future Pirate. Both men were below average in '84, but would pitch into the middle of the next decade with reasonable effectiveness.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Game of the Day (9/13/14)

White Sox 7, Twins 6. Minnesota's Logan Darnell, a 25-year-old rookie making his fourth major league start, faced Chicago's Scott Carroll, who will turn 30 later this month and is also in his first big league season.

Yes, it's a September game between non-contenders; how could you tell?

Game of the Day (9/13/84)

Yankees 6, Blue Jays 1. New York's Ray Fontenot and Toronto's Luis Leal were both in their mid-20's at the time of this game, and both had solid 1984 seasons; it was the fourth such campaign in a row for Leal, and Fontenot had another one coming the next year.

Leal was out of the majors one year later; Fontenot lasted two. So it goes with pitchers.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Game of the Day (9/12/14)

Orioles 2, Yankees 1 (11). New York's Brandon McCarthy and Baltimore's Kevin Gausman are both midseason additions to their respective rotations - but joined them in very different ways. McCarthy, a 30-year-old veteran, was acquired by trade, while Gausman, aged 23, was summoned from the minors.

Game of the Day (9/12/84)

Phillies 6, Cardinals 5. Philadelphia's Kevin Gross took on St. Louis's Bob Forsch. The two men would end up with pretty similar careers (between 2400 and 2800 innings, ERA+ figures not far below 100), but were at very different stages in them. Gross was 23 and was not fully established in the rotation, while Forsch was 34, missed significant time in '84, and would soon be on the downslope of his career.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Game of the Day (9/11/14)

Red Sox 6, Royals 3. Boston's Clay Buchholz, still struggling through a rather disastrous season, faced KC's Liam Hendriks, who is not exactly a reassuring starting option for a playoff contender in September.

Game of the Day (9/11/84)

Mariners 4, Rangers 3. Seattle's Salome Barojas and Texas's Dave Stewart were both 27-year-old right-handers who had rough seasons in 1984. Stewart would turn things around a couple years later, eventually pitching for another decade and having several fine seasons with Oakland. Barojas, on the other hand, had less than 100 innings left in his career.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Game of the Day (9/10/14)

White Sox 2, A's 1. Jeff Samardzija, one of Oakland's prize midseason acquisitions, faced Chris Bassitt, a 25-year-old rookie who had made his first big league appearance less than 2 weeks prior (though it did come on August 30, narrowly exempting Bassitt from pejorative categorization as a September callup).

Game of the Day (9/10/84)

Expos 8, Pirates 5. Montreal's David Palmer, age 26 and still trying to establish himself after missing two of the previous three seasons, faced Pittsburgh's John Candelaria, a former ERA champ who threw his last 200-inning season in 1980, but would pitch until 1993.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Game of the Day (9/9/14)

Marlins 6, Brewers 3. Miami's Tom Koehler came into 2014 with a vastly lower profile (and paycheck) than Milwaukee's Matt Garza - but so far this season, he's thrown more innings with a lower ERA.

Game of the Day (9/9/84)

Phillies 6, Expos 5 (11). The two starting pitchers in this game had incredibly similar results in 1984 - 229 innings and 104 runs allowed (91 earned) for one, 226.2 and 100 (91) for the other. Apart from that, however, they could hardly have been more different. Montreal's Bill Gullickson was a 25-year-old right-handed control pitcher who would go on to a respectably long career that reached above stolid competence only a couple of times. Philadelphia opposed him with 39-year-old power lefty Steve Carlton, who would rank among the top half of the pitchers in the Hall of Fame by even the most uncharitable interpretation.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Game of the Day (9/8/14)

White Sox 5, A's 4 (12). Chicago's Hector Noesi, who has pitched for three different teams in 2014, faced Oakland's Sonny Gray, who has pitched only for the A's, and done so quite well.

Game of the Day (9/8/84)

Yankees 12, Red Sox 6. New York's Joe Cowley and Boston's Bruce Hurst were both reasonably effective 26-year-old pitchers on the date of this game. Hurst would pitch well through the remainder of the decade and into the '90s; Cowley, meanwhile, had only two respectable seasons left in him.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Game of the Day (9/7/14)

Orioles 7, Rays 5 (11). Baltimore sent Bud Norris, who has been typical of the 2014 Oriole rotation - steadily average. Tampa Bay opposed him with Jeremy Hellickson, who has been equally representative of the '14 Rays pitchers - good and injured.

Game of the Day (9/7/84)

Brewers 10, Orioles 8. Milwaukee's Bob McClure and Baltimore's Dennis Martinez were both in their low 30s in 1984, both split the '84 season between the bullpen and the rotation, and would both go on to pitch into their 40s. But McClure would do so almost exclusively out of the bullpen after this season ended, while Martinez established himself as a permanent starter.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Game of the Day (9/6/14)

Rockies 7, Padres 6 (12). Colorado's Jorge De La Rosa, making the 188th start of his career, faced San Diego's Joe Wieland, making his sixth.

Game of the Day (9/6/84)

Braves 3, Dodgers 2 (18). LA started Fernando Valenzuela, who was 23 years old and already in the middle of his third 250-inning season (which actually understates his workload, because he also led the NL with just under 200 innings in the strike-shortened 1981 season). Atlanta opposed him with Rick Mahler, who at age 30 was about to exceed 210 innings for the first time. Valenzuela would eventually suffer arm trouble and take a sojourn in Mexican baseball for a year - right around the age Mahler was at now. Meanwhile, Mahler was about to embark on his own workhorse period, throwing 220 or more innings 5 times in 6 years (and leading the league in hits allowed in four of them).

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Game of the Day (9/5/14)

Red Sox 9, Blue Jays 8 (10). Drew Hutchison, a 23-year-old who's lasted all of 2014 in the Toronto rotation without embarrassing himself, faced Allen Webster, who's a year older and has been considerably worse than Hutchison in just over a quarter as many appearances.

Game of the Day (9/5/84)

A's 5, White Sox 4. Oakland's Ray Burris took on Chicago's Richard Dotson. Both pitched for a long time (around 2000 innings) with losing records and slightly below-average ERAs.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Game of the Day (9/4/14)

Tigers 11, Indians 4 (11). The pitchers were Max Scherzer for Detroit and Trevor Bauer for Cleveland. Scherzer had promise as a youngster, but took a while to get everything figured out. Bauer has struggled early in his career - but he's just now approaching the age Scherzer had as a rookie, which makes it much, much too early to write him off.

Game of the Day (9/4/84)

Mariners 6, Rangers 3 (13). Seattle's Jim Beattie was 29 and pitching well, but injuries would knock him out of the league within the next two years. Texas's Charlie Hough, on the other hand, was also pitching well, but was 36 - and still had another decade left in the majors. The power of the knuckleball!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Game of the Day (9/3/14)

Nationals 8, Dodgers 5 (14). Well, yeah. Washington ace Jordan Zimmermann faced LA's Carlos Frias, who was making his first major league start. Not exactly what you'd anticipate to be an even pitching matchup.

Game of the Day (9/3/84)

Cubs 4, Phillies 3 (12). Chicago's prize midseason acquisition, Rick Sutcliffe, took on Philly's John Denny, who missed just over two months in the middle of the season. Triviality: One of these two pitchers threw 150.1 innings with a 2.69 ERA for his current team in 1984; the other threw 154.1 at a 2.45 clip. One of them parlayed that performance into a Cy Young - with the help of a 16-1 record, of course. The other had won the Cy the previous year, but went 7-7 in '84 and was predictably ignored in the voting.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Game of the Day (9/2/14)

Tigers 4, Indians 2. Detroit's Kyle Lobstein was making his second major league start. That made Cleveland's Carlos Carrasco, age 27 and with 49 career starts, the veteran of the matchup, which is presumably not the most familiar of experiences for him.

Game of the Day (9/2/84)

Mets 3, Padres 2 (12). San Diego's Tim Lollar wasn't a particularly impressive pitcher in 1984, but he was at least game enough to put his innings in. New York's Walt Terrell was better, if only slightly so. Also, Terrell was starting his fifth Game of the Day in the 1984 season.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Game of the Day (9/1/14)

Phillies 7, Braves 0 (hits). Philly's Cole Hamels faced Atlanta's Julio Teheran.

Game of the Day (9/1/84)

Reds 7, Pirates 5 (11). Pittsburgh's Rick Rhoden, in the midst of an excellent year in a career that had a few of them, faced Cincinnati's Frank Pastore, having the worst season of a career that had a few pretty bad ones.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Game of the Day (8/31/14)

Mets 6, Phillies 5 (maybe). The (maybe) is there because this game has a fairly narrow lead on Indians 4, Royals 2 (9.5), which was suspended in the middle of the tenth inning; if the Royals stage a rally of any significance, that game will make the pass. For now, though, this matchup of New York's Dillon Gee and Philly's AJ Burnett takes the top spot.

Game of the Day (8/31/84)

A's 7, Tigers 6 (13). Detroit's Milt Wilcox and Oakland's Ray Burris were both entering their mid-30s, and both of their careers would be over by the end of 1987. Burris, however, was putting up one last good season, while Wilcox was pretty much reliant on the Tiger offense at this point (which ended up working out nicely for him, as he went 17-8 despite a worse-than-average ERA). Incidentally, this game is the fifth Game of the Day started by Wilcox so far in 1984.