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Tournament of Champions: Round 1, day 6

i'm racing to catch a plane. links for boxscores only are right here; writeups after the jump. tournament summary at Cardinal70's tracker page.

Game 4, 1930 v 2000
Game 5, 1888 v 1987
Game 3, 2002 v 2005
Game 4, 1887 v 1996

1930 CARDINALS v. 2000 CARDINALS
Game 4
(2000 leads, 3 games to 0)

summary by lboros

The 1930 Cardinals finally got some hits in Game 3 --- 13 of them, easily their highest total of the series --- but they left 10 men on base and still only scored 4 runs. The explosive offense just hasn't materialized, which helps illustrate the fact that numbers have to be placed into context. The 1930 baseball season was one of the most notoriously high-scoring in history --- not just in St. Louis but throughout both leagues. So the gaudy numbers cited in the series opener --- the 1,000 team runs-scored total, the all-.300-hitting lineup --- have to be taken with a big boulder of salt. The 1930 Cardinals lineup wasn't nearly as good as the numbers suggest; it just happened to play in a year when the league, as a whole, couldn't pitch.

They'll take a crack today at a pitcher whose quality (or lack thereof) is roughly 1930-caliber --- Garrett Stephenson. Bill Hallahan goes back to the mound for Gabby Street's squad. Shawon Dunston makes his first start for the 2000 squad.

1930 2000
Taylor Douthit, cf Fernando Vina, 2b
Frank Frisch, 2b Edgar Renteria, ss
Chick Hafey, lf Mark McGwire, 1b
Jim Bottomley, 1b Jim Edmonds, cf
George Watkins, rf Ray Lankford, lf
Sparky Adams, 3b Fernando Tatis, 3b
Gus Mancuso, c Shawon Dunston, rf
Charlie Gelbert, ss Mike Matheny, c
Bill Hallahan, p Garrett Stephenson, p

The 1930s' missing bats finally show up for Game 4: the 2d and 3d batters of the game, Frisch and Hafey, go deep back to back to give their side a 2-0 lead. They won't go down without a fight. But the lead doesn't last long --- Vina triples leading off the game for the 2000s, and Renteria singles him home and steals 2d; he scores moments later on a base knock by Lankford. Just one inning in, and already it's 2-0.

With two out in the second, Stephenson walks the pitcher to bring up the top of the 1930 order with men on base . . . . ain't that typical for this player? And, true to form, he pays full price for the mistake: Douthit doubles home both runners, Frisch drives home Douthit with a single, and the 1930s are back on top by 3. They pad the lead in the 3d on a two-out double by Mancuso, which plates Hafey and Watkins (aboard via walk and error, respectively). It's 7-2, Stephenson is gone, and the 1930s are cruising.

It's still 7-2 three innings later when Dunston leads off with a triple. Matheny walks, and Will Clark comes off the bench to double both runners home. Don't go anywhere; it's 7 to 4. Hallahan, clearly laboring, yields a double to Vina, but Street leaves him in with two tough right-handers (Edgar and McGwire) due up. He only pitches to one --- Renteria blasts it into the bleachers for a homer. The 5-run bulge is all gone; we're tied 7-7, the 1930s are barely afloat, and the 2000s are circling.

They close the deal in the 8th: Renteria leads off with a hit, and McGwire (how many homers do you reckon he would have hit vs 1930s pitching?) golfs one way out of the park to put 2000 ahead, 9-7. The celebration begins in the home team dugout; it looks like a sweep. Veres comes out for the 9th and gets Frisch on a flyball to center. Hafey also hits it to center, but Lankford has a long run; he catches up with it, but the ball pops out of his glove. Tough play, but it should have been made; it's an error, and the 1930s still have life. Veres, unnerved, walks the next couple of guys to bring up Ray Blades with the tying run in scoring position; it ain't over yet. He steadies himself to strike out Blades; the 2000s are one out from clinching. Veres has thrown 25 pitches, and he's tired, so Tony waves in Mike Timlin to get the final out. The batter's Mancuso, a .366 hitter but a mere rookie. He is not intimidated; Timlin fires, and "Blackie" laces it into right field. Two runs score . . . the game is tied, and the 1930s are off the hook. The visitors' dugout erupts --- and the jubilation continues when Charlie Gelbert follows with a base hit, which chases home the go-ahead run. The bats have awakened just in time; 1930 leads 10-9, and we're headed for Game 5.

Or will be, as soon as Grabowski puts them away in the 9th. He yields a leadoff single to Dunston, which brings up Matheny in a bunting situation. Sim Tony gives the swing-away sign; Grabowski fires, Mike swings . . . . . it's high, it's deep, it's gone. Two-run homer; the game, and the series, are over. With one stroke, the weakest hitter on the 2000 team has put away the highest-scoring team in franchise history. The 2000s are on to the second round in a clean sweep.

BOX SCORE

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1888 BROWNS v. 1987 CARDINALS
Game 5
(series tied, 2 games each)

summary by Zubin

1987 had a relatively easy time yesterday. Though they only had one double, they banged out 16 hits in 40 at bats, and they were aided by three Brownie errors and three free passes. Bob Forsch handled the Browns with surprising ease, spreading out five hits and three walks over six innings and giving up just one run.

It may be noteworthy that the two games that 1987 has won were both started by right-handers --- and the 1888 Browns don't have a single lefty hitter. I know Whitey was a firm advocate of left-handed pitching; he knew that most lefty batters and switch hitters don't hit left handed pitching that well, while most righty hitters don't really hit left-handers much better than they hit right-handers. I wonder how he'd line up his pitchers to attack the 1888 Browns lineup? Based on results so far, it seems right-handed pitching is the better option, although I'm not sure what weight (if any) the sim gives to platoon splits. But if it comes down to a Game 7, I'm gonna start Cox or Forsch --- just to be on the safe side.

For Game 5, Silver King is back on the mound. The Redbirds have Steve Lake catching again and Jose Oquendo back in right, with Game 1 starter Joe Magrane taking another shot at the Brownies:

1888 1987
Arlie Latham, 3b Vince Coleman, lf
Yank Robinson, 2b Ozzie Smith, ss
Tip O'Neill, lf Tom Herr, 2b
Charlie Comiskey, 1b Jack Clark, 1b
Tommy McCarthy, rf Willie McGee, cf
Harry Lyons, cf Terry Pendleton, 3b
Jocko Milligan, c Jose Oquendo, rf
Bill White, ss Steve Lake, c
Silver King, p Joe Magrane, p

For the second day in a row, things are quiet through the first three innings. Magrane cruises through the top of the 4th, but King runs into trouble in the bottom half. Herr gets things started with a walk and a swipe of second. Jack follows with a single that drives him in. Willie adds another single, putting men on first and second for Pendleton, who follows suit with yet another single (the lineup's 4th in a row) to drive Clark around third. Here comes the throw --- he's out! For the second day in a row, Tip O'Neill nails Clark at the plate with a perfect throw. Oquendo eases the pain somewhat with a liner to right, scoring Willie to put the Cardinals up 2-0. But the damage should be worse.

Magrane faces his first real threat in the sixth when the first two men reach on an HBP and a walk. The next batter, Comiskey, scorches a line drive to short --- right to Ozzie. McCarthy bounces into a fielder's choice, but he steals second to put the tying runs in scoring position with 2 outs. The hitter is Harry Lyons, a 22-year-old rookie who batted .194 in 1888. Utility man Ed Herr (.267) is available on the bench, but it's a short bench and the game is still relatively young; Comiskey takes his chances with Lyons, who flies out harmlessly to center.

It's a big missed opportunity. McGee leads off the bottom half of the inning with a triple and scores on Pendleton's single into right. Oquendo's ensuing grounder makes it through the left side of the infield, sending Pendleton to third; he scores on Lake's groundball single into right. A fielder's choice by Curt Ford (pinch-hitting for Magrane) scores Oquendo, and it's 5-0 for the 1987 team.

The Browns, relieved to have Magrane out of the game, put up a pair off Bill Dawley and Rick Horton in the seventh, and with two outs they have the bases loaded for McCarthy --- a chance to tie it or even take the lead. Tommy hits the ball hard but right at Herr, who gloves it to quash the rally. It proves to be 1888's last real chance; they never again bring the tying run to the plate. 1987 wins the game 5-2 and stands within a win of clinching the series.

BOX SCORE

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2002 CARDINALS v. 2005 CARDINALS
Game 3
(series tied, 1-1)

summary by lboros

Evenly matched series so far, as you'd expect --- a couple of 1-run games. Both teams have 12 runs through the first two games; the 2002s are batting .314, the 2005s .320. But here's a shock: these powerful lineups have combined for only one homer in the series so far against the two rather pedestrian pitching staffs --- and Yadi Molina hit it. The teams switch dugouts for Game 3, with 2002 taking the role of the home team for the next three games:

2005 2002
David Eckstein, ss Fernando Vina, 2b
Larry Walker, rf Edgar Renteria, ss
Albert Pujols, 1b Albert Pujols, lf
Jim Edmonds, cf Jim Edmonds, cf
Reggie Sanders, rf Scott Rolen, 3b
Mark Grudzielanek, 2b Tino Martinez, 1b
Abraham Nunez, 3b JD Drew, rf
Yadier Molina, c Mike Matheny, c
Matt Morris, p Andy Benes, p

The 2005 version of Edmonds (3 for 8 with 2 doubles) outclassed the 2002 version (1 for 5) through the first two games; that trend continues at the outset of Game 3, as Edmonds '05 homers with 2 outs (the first dinger of the series by either Edmonds) to put his team ahead 2-0. His '02 doppelganger answers in the bottom of the 2d, leading off with a solo shot. Renteria doubles home a run in the bottom of the 3d to even the score, but the tie doesn't last long --- Edmonds again (the '05 version) doubles home Albert to put 2005 ahead, 3-2. So far in this game, the two Edmondses have combined for 10 total bases in 3 at-bats, with an intentional walk tossed in for good measure. Strange to think that he's no longer a member of the organization . . . .

In the 6th, Sim Tony 2005 faces a classic managerial dilemma. His team leads 3-2, and there are runners at second and third --- the tying and go-ahead runs --- with 2 out and Mike Matheny at the plate. The pitcher's on deck, so Sim Tony could issue an IBB; but that would only bring a pinch-hitter to the plate (and Tony ought to know, since he's managing both teams), so he gets a better matchup if he simply lets Morris pitch to the weak-hitting Matheny. Then again, Matheny knows Morris better than any hitter on the field, having caught the dude for six years . . . . there's a conference on the mound, and it's decided to go after Matheny.

He whacks it out of the park for a 3-run homer.

Drew tacks on a solo homer in the 8th, and it's not inconsequential --- the 2005s get to Isringhausen for two runs in the 9th and put the tying run at second base two outs. But Izzy bears down and gets Hector Luna to chase a bad pitch for strike three. That's the final out; the 2002s win the game 6-5 and take a 2-1 lead in the series.

BOX SCORE

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1887 BROWNS v. 1996 CARDINALS
GAME 4
(1996 leads, 2 games to 1)

summary by Zubin

Yesterday Tip O'Neill finally hit the first home run of this series. While both sides are getting lots of base hits, they have been strangely void of power. 1996 has hit nine doubles but no triples or home runs; 1887 has had 5 doubles and a home run. Insofar as the simulation works by normalizing (adjusting to league averages) the offensive output and pitching of each team, perhaps these results shouldn't be too surprising. In 1887 pitchers gave up relatively few homeruns, and Silver King was better than average in this respect. Much better: he gave up less than half of what we'd expect based on innings and park factor. Thus, the 1996 Cardinals (despite a lineup packed with power hitters) are having a tough time hitting the longball against him. On the other hand, the 1996 Cardinals pitching corps were close to average in a league that gave up a lot of homeruns. The 1887 version of Tip O'Neill wouldn't hit .400 in 1996, but he might hit 30 or 40 homeruns (he actually hit 14).

As I was thinking about that, it struck me that in terms of normalization (as measured by OPS+), Tip O'Neill is far and away the best hitter in this tournament. With an OPS+ of 211, he was more than twice as productive as the average hitter in his league. Here are the top five OPS+ figures in the tournament:

  1. 211 --- Tip O'Neill 1887
  2. 183 --- Stan Musial 1946
  3. 178 --- Stan Musial 1943
  4. 178 --- Albert Pujols 2006
  5. 176 --- Jack Clark 176
Who knows, O'Neill and Silver King might be enough to carry the 1887 team a long way in this tournament. But King's not on the mound today for the Browns; Nat Hudson gets the start opposite the Cards' Donovan Osborne. The rest of the lineups:
1887 1996
Arlie Latham, 3b Royce Clayton, ss
Bill Gleason, ss Ray Lankford, cf
Tip O'Neill, lf Ron Gant, lf
Charlie Comiskey, 1b Brian Jordan, rf
Bob Caruthers, rf Gary Gaetti, 3b
Yank Robinson, 2b John Mabry, 1b
Curt WelCh, cf Tom Pagnozzi, c
Jack Boyle, c Luis Alicea, 2b
Nat Hudson, p Donovan Osborne, p

The scoring starts in the bottom of the first: Clayton lines a single, Lankford bounces into a fielder's choice and steals second, Gant walks, and Jordan lines a single to score Lankford. 1-0, 1996. The Browns come back in the second. Caruthers walks, steals second, moves the 3d on a groundout by Robinson, and ambles home on a single by Welsh. Curt then steals second, and a pitch later he swipes third. The Browns want a grounder to the right side of the infield to score Welsh, but Boyle can only manage a meek bouncer to third --- Curt can't score. Hudson, the pitcher, should be an easy out; he hits a slow roller to Clayton, but he hustles down the line and beats the throw. Welsh scores and the Browns take the lead 2-1.

The Cardinals make a quick comeback in the next inning --- or, more accurately, the Browns' defense falls aparts. Alicea and Osborne both reach on one-out errors (by Latham and Gleason, respectively), and Hudson walks Clayton to load the bases. The inning should be over by now; instead the sacks are loaded for Lankford, who promptly hits a single to put the Cardinals back up 3-2. Gant drives Clayton in on a fielder's choice, and (after a hit batsman) Gaetti hits one up the middle to score Gant. Commey has finally seen enough and pulls the luckless Hudson from the game, bringing in Silver King to pitch yet again. He gets Mabry to groundout to end the inning, but the damage has been done: Cardinals now have the lead 5-2.

The Browns turn the tables in the fifth, exploiting a leadoff error (by Gary Gaetti) to plate 3 unearned runs and tie the score. They all score on clutch two-out hits by O'Neill and Comiskey; it's 5-5, and still half a game to go. 1887 threatens to go up in the 7th inning when Gleason and O'Neill reach with two outs, but Sim La Russa calls in Tony Fossas to face Comiskey (an odd choice, since Comiskey bats right-handed . . . . ), and Fossas gets him on a flyball to center.

It's still tied in the bottom of the eighth when Alicea leads off with a single. Willie McGee pinch hits for Fossas with one out and lines a single to put the go-ahead run at third base. But Royce Clayton blows it, taking a called third strike for out number two. Lankford comes up with a chance to atone for Clayton's error --- and he does, lofting a single to right. Alicea scores, and 1996 takes the lead 6-5 with three outs to go.

But the Browns aren't quite done. With two outs Arlie Latham comes to the plate and pokes a single off Eckersley, putting the tying run on for Bill Gleason. O'Neill stands on deck, but Latham isn't waiting around; he takes off for second, hoping to get into scoring position. The throw by Pagnozzi, the tag . . . . . he's out. The game's over, and the series is tied. It's a 6-5 win for 1996.

BOX SCORE