Monday, September 12, 2016

Game of the Day (9/12/91)

Angels 7, White Sox 4. The Angels started Chuck Finley, who would go on to pitch in over 500 games in his career, with 467 of them being starts. Chicago countered with Roberto Hernandez, who would pitch in nearly twice as many games as Finley, exceeding 1000 for his career - but only start three of them. In fact, this was the third appearance of Hernandez's career - and his last start. His next game began a streak of 1007 consecutive relief appearances.

Finley got into and out of trouble in the first. Robin Ventura walked with one out, and Frank Thomas singled him to third. After the second out, Bo Jackson walked to load the bases, but Finley retired Craig Grebeck to leave all three men on. Hernandez was perfect in the first, and Finley worked around a single-and-steal by Lance Johnson in the second. Hernandez then set the Angels down in order again.

Ventura led off the third with a homer to open the scoring, but the Angels responded in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Dave Gallagher singled and John Orton doubled, putting both men in scoring position. Luis Polonia tied the game with an RBI groundout, and Dick Schofield added a single to drive Orton home. A wild pitch moved Schofield to second, and he came around from there on a Wally Joyner single. Dave Winfield also singled, and that was it for Hernandez; Greg Hibbard relieved and ended the inning.

Finley threw a 1-2-3 fourth, while Hibbard allowed a leadoff single to Donnie Hill but worked around it. Ozzie Guillen opened the top of the fifth with a single; Tim Raines hit into a force at second, but moved to second himself on an error when the Angels tried to complete the double play. After the second out, Thomas walked, and Finley then drew a popup from Carlton Fisk to end the inning. Hibbard gave up only a two-out single to Joyner in the home fifth. In the sixth, Finley walked Grebeck, but erased him on a double play, and nobody else reached for either side. The seventh was similarly placid, as Gallagher's single in the bottom of the inning made him the lone baserunner.

Finley retired Ventura to start the eighth, then gave up a single to Thomas and was pulled for Mark Eichhorn. Fisk walked, and pinch hitter Dan Pasqua then doubled to drive in both Thomas and pinch runner Rodney McCray. Warren Newsom's groundout moved Pasqua to third, and Johnson scored him with a single, putting Chicago in front 4-3.

Joyner began the home eighth with a single, ending Hibbard's day. Melido Perez relieved and immediately gave up a double to Winfield and a single to Gary Gaetti, tying the game at 4. Scott Radinsky walked Hill to load the bases, and Brian Drahman was summoned; he retired Lance Parrish, but then gave up a three-run double to Gallagher. A walk later, Ken Patterson was summoned to end the inning; Bryan Harvey followed with a perfect ninth to close out the game.

For the second time in three days, the White Sox were trailing going into the eighth inning against a team based in California - and for the second time in three days, they rallied in the top of the eighth to take the lead. This time, however, their bullpen (well, and Greg Hibbard, who relieved in this game but was generally a starter) was unable to preserve the newfound lead, and the Californians emerged with the victory.

Outside of it being a generally exciting game, the most interesting thing about this one was Chicago's pitcher usage. As mentioned in the intro, Roberto Hernandez was the starter; he started only three games in his career, then went on to relieve in over a thousand. He was replaced in the third inning by Greg Hibbard, whose usage was skewed the other direction (though less severely) - Hibbard started 158 games in his career, and relieved in seven.

Hibbard pitched well for a long stretch in this game; Hernandez held his own for two innings, but then broke in the third. So it would seem that if the White Sox had used the two men in the roles to which they either were or eventually would become accustomed, they likely would have come out of this one with a victory.

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