Thursday, August 11, 2016

Game of the Day (8/11/91)

Cubs 3, Mets 2 (14). New York's Sid Fernandez and Chicago's Rick Sutcliffe were both capable pitchers - and both had seen much better days than they were having in 1991.

Sutcliffe worked around a two-out Gregg Jefferies single in the top of the first. The bottom of the inning started with a Jerome Walton walk and a Mark Grace single, but the Cubs mustered nothing else behind them, thereby allowing the Mets to strike first in the second when Howard Johnson walked, Mackey Sasser singled him to third, and Daryl Boston hit a sacrifice fly.

Fernandez was flawless in the home second, then led off the third with a single. Vince Coleman bunted into a force at second; Dave Magadan then singled, and an error by Walton allowed the runners to move to second and third. Jefferies added a sacrifice fly to make it a 2-0 game.

Grace singled and Ryne Sandberg walked in the home third, but both men would be stranded. The Mets had a great chance to blow the game open in the fourth, as Johnson, Sasser, and Boston all singled to load the bases with nobody out, but Kevin Elster hit into a 1-2-3 double play and Fernandez struck out to squander the opportunity. Chicago then tied it at 2 in the home fourth when George Bell singled, Shawon Dunston tripled, and Joe Girardi hit an RBI groundout.

Grace singled again in the fifth, but was erased on a double play; he was the only batter on either team to reach in either the fifth or sixth inning. Boston drew a leadoff walk in the seventh and was bunted to second, but stalled there. Alejandro Pena took the mound in the bottom of the inning and allowed a pinch single to Dwight Smith, but nothing else. Magadan was walked by Paul Assenmacher to start the eighth, then was caught stealing two batters later; Pena then set the Cubs down in order. The ninth passed just as quietly, as Assenmacher allowed a two-out single to Rick Cerone and nobody else on either side reached base.

Assenmacher was flawless in the tenth; John Franco relieved in the bottom of the inning and saw Girardi reach on an error, but gave up nothing else. Les Lancaster yielded a single to Kevin McReynolds in the top of the eleventh, while Franco allowed a single to Sandberg and wild pitched him to second before ending the home half of the inning. Lancaster tossed a 1-2-3 twelfth; Dunston greeted Jeff Innis with a bunt hit in the bottom of the inning, but Pete Schourek then relieved and set down the next three hitters.

Vince Coleman led off the thirteenth with a double against Chuck McElroy and was bunted to third, but advanced no farther. Schourek was spotless in the home thirteenth, and the Mets tried again in the next inning when Cerone hit a two-out double off of Shawn Boskie only to be left on. Bell then led off the bottom of the fourteenth with a solo homer, finally ending the game.

You know how you end up with a game in which the two teams combine to score five runs in 14 innings? Have them go 1 for 21 with runners in scoring position between them. And here's the kicker - the one RISP hit did not actually score a run; it just loaded the bases. The five run-scoring plays were a solo homer, a triple with a runner on first, and three sacrifice flies.

I'm not sure how rare that is, but it seems pretty odd - particularly the sacrifice flies outnumbering all other scoring plays. Of course, since sacrifice flies are often not the most exciting of outcomes, it's also kind of a downer... or as much of one as you can have in a 14-inning baseball game.

No comments:

Post a Comment