Sunday, July 31, 2016

Game of the Day (7/31/91)

July 31 brought the year's two most exciting teams together again. The AL West rivals in Chicago and Texas played one of the best nine-inning contests of the year to date, in which the score went from 1-0 to 1-1 to 4-1 to 5-4 to 5-5 to 8-5 to 10-8, with the last change coming courtesy of a walkoff grand slam from a young star off of a Hall of Fame closer. It was exactly the kind of game I love writing about.

And it was exceeded, easily, by Red Sox 11, A's 10 (14). The pitching matchup was Oakland's Dave Stewart, posting a disappointing season in the midst of a solid career, and Boston's Dana Kiecker, posting a terrible season that ended his justifiably brief career. (This was actually Kiecker's last career start; he made a few relief appearances later in the year and then was done in the majors for good.)

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Game of the Day (7/30/91)

Reds 6, Cubs 5 (10). Cincinnati started Tom Browning, who once threw a perfect game. Chicago responded with Greg Maddux, who never even managed a measly no-hitter.

See, if you try hard enough, you can make any pitching matchup sound even! (Seriously, though, Browning was decent, and Maddux, while very good, was not MADDUX quite yet.)

Friday, July 29, 2016

Game of the Day (7/29/91)

Giants 6, Expos 5. Montreal's Brian Barnes was over two years younger than San Fran's John Burkett, and if you didn't look too closely, you might think they were similar pitchers. In actuality, Burkett was solidly better (as indicated by his peripheral numbers in '91), and proved it by lasting nine years past the end of Barnes's career.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Game of the Day (7/28/91)

Expos 2, Dodgers 0. Montreal's Dennis Martinez was 37 years old, but playing on only the second of what would eventually be five teams. LA's Mike Morgan was over half a decade younger, and yet had already played for more teams (six) than Martinez would join in his entire lengthy career. Oh, and his travels were only half over.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Game of the Day (7/27/91)

White Sox 10, Red Sox 8 (14). Chicago's Greg Hibbard was a fairly decent, fairly young lefty who was becoming both older and less decent. Boston's Roger Clemens was on the way to the third of what would eventually be seven Cy Young awards.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Game of the Day (7/26/91)

Tigers 3, Rangers 2 (10). Detroit started the declining Walt Terrell; Texas, the young Kevin Brown. As of this point in time, there was absolutely no guarantee that Kevin Brown would end up with a career as good as Walt Terrell's.

(Spoiler: He did. In fact, he ended up being rather better.)

Game of the Day (7/25/91)

Cubs 5, Reds 4 (13). Cincinnati started Jose Rijo, who was kept under 2000 innings by injuries, but still managed to be an All-Star and receive MVP votes in two separate seasons (not counting his World Series MVP win in 1990). He was opposed by Greg Maddux, an even better pitcher whose career was not shortened at all by injuries (or by anything else, really).

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Game of the Day (7/24/91)

Cardinals 4, Astros 3. Houston's Pete Harnisch and St. Louis's Ken Hill were both right-handed pitchers in their mid-20's and were both on the way to nearly identically solid careers. (Seriously, it's almost alarming how similar they are - they're both among each other's top 5 similar pitchers per Baseball Reference, and that doesn't account for the fact that they both pitched for exactly the same years, 1988-2001.)

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Game of the Day (7/23/91)

A's 10, Indians 7. Oakland's Bob Welch was the reigning AL Cy Young winner and an eventual 200-game winner. Cleveland's Rod Nichols would go on to throw less than 500 innings in his career and post a record of 11-31.

And yet, Nichols was in the process of having the better season in 1991.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Game of the Day (7/22/91)

White Sox 5, Brewers 4. Chicago's Greg Hibbard, who was a pretty solid pitcher for just under 1000 innings, faced Milwaukee's Bill Wegman, who was a pretty solid pitcher for just under 1500 innings.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Game of the Day (7/21/91)

Rangers 6, Blue Jays 5. At age 24, Toronto's Juan Guzman was in the first year of a decade-long big league career. A year younger, Texas's Gerald Alexander was in the midst of exceeding 10 innings in a season for the first and last time.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Game of the Day (7/20/91)

White Sox 7, Brewers 6 (10). We've seen Chicago's Ramon Garcia in two previous Game of the Day entries this year, and both times, he was facing an exceptional starting pitcher. This time, the pitcher he opposed had his name on a Hall of Fame plaque; it just happened to be a plaque belonging to someone else. The Jim Hunter who was starting this game for the Brewers would never be referred to as "Catfish," at least as far as I'm aware; he would also pitch 31 innings in his career, and give up 26 runs. Which is a lot closer together than you'd usually like those numbers to be.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Game of the Day (7/19/91)

Twins 3, Red Sox 2 (11). Minnesota's David West was a swingman who would spend about a decade in the majors, never qualify for the ERA title, and pitch under 1000 innings split between four teams. Boston's Joe Hesketh would have a highly similar career, just a better version of it (and spent only on three teams rather than four).

Monday, July 18, 2016

Game of the Day (7/18/91)

Angels 5, Indians 4. Both starters were left-handers in their 20's who would end up with careers long enough to lose over 100 games, but not of sufficient quality to approach the Hall of Fame (one of the pitchers made the All-Star team once, while the other received Cy Young votes once). Cleveland's Greg Swindell was the better of the two, but was still rather less famous than his counterpart; becoming a major league pitcher with only one hand will do that.

(California's starter was Jim Abbott, in case that wasn't clear.)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Game of the Day (7/17/91)

Royals 9, Orioles 8 (15). Baltimore's Ben McDonald was 23 and had posted an excellent partial season in 1990. KC's Mark Gubicza was a veteran at 28, and had been an All Star in two of the three preceding seasons.

But we're past the midway point of the season now, and it's time to start talking about how the pitchers were doing in the '91 season itself. In this case, both of them had ERAs over 5.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Game of the Day (7/16/91)

A's 7, Indians 6 (13). Oakland's Dave Stewart, who was coming to the end of a tenure as a successful starter on a team with a great lineup, faced Cleveland's Charles Nagy, who was just about to begin such a stretch.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Game of the Day (7/15/91)

Blue Jays 5, Royals 3 (12). Toronto's Juan Guzman was a promising rookie. Kansas City's Mike Boddicker was also a promising rookie... eight years ago. (He still wasn't too bad in 1991 but didn't have much left after the season.)

Game of the Day (7/14/91)

A's 3, Orioles 2 (11). Oakland's Mike Moore had entered the league at age 22 in 1982 and been a solid starter for several years. In 1991, he was on the way to one of his best seasons, and would hang around for a few more years. Baltimore's Roy Smith had entered the league at age 22 in 1984, and made very intermittent appearances up to this point; he threw over 100 innings in only two seasons, and was to be out of the league at the end of the '91 season.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Game of the Day (7/13/91)

Orioles 2, A's 0. Baltimore's Bob Milacki, a moderately effective, moderately young right-hander, faced Oakland's Eric Show, a much older righty who had once been better than Milacki ever would be, but was now deservedly in the last year of his career.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Game of the Day (7/12/91)

Yankees 2, Angels 1 (10). California's Mark Langston was in his eighth major league season and a firmly-established star. New York's Scott Kamieniecki was making the fifth start in a decent career that would end up encompassing just under 1000 innings.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Melog rankings: Post-Wimbledon 2016

Well THAT was interesting.

It's not necessarily an earth-shaking shock to see Novak Djokovic lose; it was always going to happen eventually, and grass is a surface that's prone to creating upsets, because it's harder to break serve. So in the abstract, losing a four-set match (including two tiebreaks) to a server of Sam Querrey's quality isn't the most appalling thing that could happen to a tennis player; Querrey isn't even the lowest-ranked player Novak has lost to this year. But given that Djokovic hadn't lost a Grand Slam match in 13 months... it's still rather startling.

The loss drives home two points. First, it is REALLY DIFFICULT to do what Djokovic did in capturing four consecutive Slams; you have one bad day against the wrong person, and it's over. And second, nobody is unbeatable - either in the matches themselves or in the rankings. (Don't look now, but Novak's lead on Andy Murray in the ATP's Race to London - which counts 2016 points only - is suddenly less than 1000 points, a very manageable deficit. A strong finish to the year could get Murray to the ATP #1 spot for the first time.)

So let's see what the turmoil of Wimbledon (or at least relative turmoil - the world #2 still won the title, after all) does to Melog's opinion of the world's best tennis players.

Game of the Day (7/11/91)

Astros 6, Cubs 4 (11). Houston's Jim Deshaies, a decent pitcher having a bad year, took on Chicago's Greg Maddux, a great pitcher having a good year.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Game of the Day (7/7/91)

Cardinals 8, Cubs 7 (12). St. Louis began the game with Ken Hill, a starter who would go on to a fairly long career. The Cubs started Les Lancaster, who was primarily a reliever and would have a fairly short career.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Game of the Day (7/6/91)

Blue Jays 4, Mariners 3 (10). The two starters were both lefties in their late 20's who were still struggling to put everything together. Most pitchers in that position don't work out - but teams keep giving them chances, because sometimes they turn into David Wells and Randy Johnson.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Game of the Day (7/5/91)

Expos 4, Pirates 3. The two starters were Pittsburgh's John Smiley, a highly inconsistent pitcher who would end up with a career of nearly 2000 innings, and Montreal's Dennis Martinez, who was only slightly more consistent in a career over twice as long as Smiley's.

In many seasons, this could have been a dud of a matchup; in 1991, it pitted an eventual 20-game winner against the eventual NL ERA champion.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Game of the Day (7/4/91)

Padres 5, Dodgers 4 (12). San Diego's Greg Harris would eventually have a decent eight-year career spread across three teams. LA's Mike Morgan had played for five teams in his first eight seasons; at this point, he was in year 11 and on team 6, and was still just warming up.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Game of the Day (7/3/91)

White Sox 3, Mariners 2 (12). Seattle started Bill Krueger, who was in his ninth reasonably effective major league season and on his fourth team. Chicago's answer was Charlie Hough, in his twenty-second MLB season, but just starting out with his third team.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Game of the Day (7/2/91)

Mets 2, Expos 1. Montreal started Oil Can Boyd, who was doing fairly well for it being his last year in the majors. New York started David Cone, who was also doing fairly well for being stuck pitching in front of a horrible group of fielders. (Per Baseball Reference, his ERA was three quarters of a run higher than his league-best FIP.)

Friday, July 1, 2016

Game of the Day (7/1/91)

Cubs 6, Pirates 5 (13). Pittsburgh's Bob Walk had two years remaining in a career that was pretty long and usually fairly solid. He was opposed by Frank Castillo, who was making his second big league appearance, and who would end up with a very similar career.