Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Game of the Day (6/7/91)

Phillies 5, Reds 4. Cincinnati started Jack Armstrong, who had been the NL's starting pitcher in the All-Star game a year earlier. Philadelphia countered with Tommy Greene, who had posted a 5.08 ERA in 1990.

The Phillies had the clear advantage in this pitching matchup. Which goes some distance toward establishing the frailty of quality pitcher performance.

The Phils got off to a quick start, with singles by Wally Backman and Mickey Morandini opening the game. One out later, Dale Murphy walked to load the bases. Von Hayes then singled in one run, and Ricky Jordan's sacrifice fly scored another. Cincinnati responded in the bottom of the inning on singles by Bill Doran and Barry Larkin and a double by Eric Davis, but that combination scored only one run, and Greene recovered to retire the next two Reds and keep his team in front.

Dickie Thon led off the top of the second with a single, and was sacrificed into scoring position. Backman followed with a single of his own, but Thon was thrown out trying to score on the play, and Morandini hit into a force to end the inning. Greene recorded the first two outs with no difficulty in the bottom of the inning, but then allowed singles to Armstrong and Doran and walked Larkin to load the bases before Paul O'Neill grounded out to strand all three men.

Philadelphia tacked on individual runs in each of the next two innings when Murphy and Thon hit solo homers. Meanwhile, Greene worked around a double by Chris Sabo in the third, so the lead expanded to 4-1. With two outs in the fourth, however, Doran singled, and Larkin reached on an error by Jordan. Up next was O'Neill, and on a 1-0 pitch, O'Neill homered to even the score at 4.

Armstrong was perfect in the fifth, while Greene worked around a double by Jeff Reed. Jordan and Greene both singled in the sixth and were stranded; Greene then set the Reds down 1-2-3.

With one out in the seventh, John Kruk tripled. (According to the play-by-play description, he "tripled to second base," which would seem unlikely if it was Vince Coleman running, let alone John Kruk; I would guess this was move of a line drive over the second baseman's head and into the gap.) Murphy followed with a single that brought Kruk home with the go-ahead run and chased Armstrong from the game. Don Carman and Keith Brown combined to retire the next two hitters without difficulty.

Greene allowed only a Sabo single in the bottom of the seventh. Darrin Fletcher led off the top of the eighth with a single; a force and a steal later, Thon was at second, but Brown allowed him to advance no further. The bottom of the eighth saw Roger McDowell allow a pinch single to Herm Winningham, who also made it as far as second before his progress stalled. Morandini made it to third in the ninth against Rob Dibble without the benefit of a hit, walking and then advancing two bases on a steal-and-error, but Dibble retired the next three Phillies without allowing the runner to come home.

Mitch Williams relieved in the bottom of the ninth, and was effective, at least by his own standards; he walked both O'Neill and Davis, but then induced a double play from Sabo, and with the tying run at third, drew a game-ending popup from Todd Benzinger.

There are a few issues with this game in excitement terms. One of the teams never held the lead, and they only rallied to tie it once; that tie was broken in the seventh inning. Given those restrictions, it's about as dramatic a game as one could hope for; the Reds, who trailed by narrow margins throughout, left 11 runners on base and went 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position.

Between the general quality of the game and the fact that it's somewhat of a handoff from one of the best outfielders of the '80s (Dale Murphy, solo homer and go-ahead RBI single) to one of the better outfielders of the '90s (Paul O'Neill, game-tying 3-run homer), this would certainly have been a worthwhile game to attend.

No comments:

Post a Comment