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Tournament of Champions: Round 1, day 8

today's main discussion (comparing the cardinal v pirate lineups) is directly below. here's the latest from the tournament --- the bracket reflects status of each series heading into today's action. there are only two games today; the 1996 v 1887 series has an off-day. boxes only, click here; game summaries are after the jump. you can follow the tournament at Cardinal70's tracker page.

Game 6, 1888 v 1987
Game 5, 2002 v 2005

Game 6
(1987 leads, 3 games to 2)

summary by Zubin

1987 has a chance to close this one out today. Thus far they have defied the odds and outplayed 1888. Look at the hitting lines for the series to date: 1987 has gone .306 / .362 / .367, while 1888 has a line of .223 / .374 / .274 (obp is approximate only). Neither club is exactly slugging up a storm, but 1888 has only 7 extra-base hits in 5 games --- six doubles and one triple. They may not be helping themselves on the base paths either, at thriteen stolen bases versus seven caught stealing.

For Game 6, 1987's Greg Mathews gets the start (his first) and Curt Ford is back in right. For 1888, Elton Chamberlain heads back to the mound, and Jocko Milligan stays at catcher. Lineups:

1888 1987
Vince Coleman, lf Arlie Latham, 3b
Ozzie Smith, ss Yank Robinson, 2b
Tom Herr, 2b Tip O'Neill, lf
Jack Clark, 1b Charlie Comiskey, 1b
Willie McGee, cf Tommy McCarthy, cf
Terry Pendleton, 3b Harry Lyons, rf
Curt Ford, rf Jocko Milligan, c
Tony Pena, c Bill White, ss
Greg Mathews, p Elton Chamberlain, p

The scoring starts early again: O'Neill strokes a two-out double in the first, Comiskey drives him home with a single, and the Browns go up 1-0. But the Cardinals come right back in the top of the second. Clark reaches on a error; Willie strokes a single to right-center, and (an out later) Curt Ford ground a single into right --- Clark scores, and the Redbirds are even. After a Pena strikeout, Mathews has a chance to help his own cause. He lines a single to right-center and the Cardinals are up 2-0. The next batter, Vince Coleman, grounds to short; perhaps his speed unnerves the already shaky Brown defense, because Gleason hurries the throw and allows Coleman to reach. Ford scores, the Cardinals are up 3-1, and the 1888s are staring elimination right in the face.

The Browns don't panic. They get one back in the third on a walk to Robinson, a steal of second, and a Tip O'Neill single. In the fifth a walk, a single, and another walk load the base for Yank Robinson. He fails to get a big hit, but his groundout to short plates a run and ties the game at 3-3.

Jim Devlin, the third Brownie pitcher, enters to pitch the 6th and immediately yields a double to Clark. McGee is up, with the bottom of the order behind him; If I'm in the dugout, I'm ordering the bunt here. Sim Whitey decides otherwise: he has McGee swing away, and Willie strikes out. Pendleton follows with a goundout that might (but might not) have scored Clark from 3d base; Ford ends the inning with another groundball, and the opportunity slips away. The Browns fashion their own in the bottom half: McCarthy leads off with a single, then steals second. Again a bunting situation, and again the sim flashes "swing" --- Lyons grounds out, and here we go again. But then McCarthy steals 3d base, and Milligan singles him home; the Browns go up 4-3 and look poised to even the series.

Devlin shuts them down in the 7th, and Game 4 starter Nat Hudson comes on to try to make the lead stand up. It's an interesting choice; the Cardinals beat this pitcher into submission in Game 4, banging out 16 hits and 11 runs (5 unearned) in 6 innings. There's a bit of urgency here for the 1987s; if they fail to come back here, Silver King looms in Game 7. The top of the order is up, but Hudson sets them down 1-2-3 in the 8th; in the 9th a man reaches on an error with one out, and Ford follows with a line drive --- but it finds a glove. Instead of keying a rally it's merely the 2d out. Pena flies out to end the game, and the Browns win 4-3 to even the series. Game 7 pits Silver King vs Danny Cox; tune in tomorrow.


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Game 5
(series tied, 2 games each)

summary by lboros

Pivotal game in this series, and a fun mound pairing. The 2005s have the best pitcher in the series (Carpenter) on the mound. Not that that helped in Game 1; he got raked, and only an improbable comeback pulled that game out of the fire for the '05s. The 2002s are throwing their best pitcher, Morris '02, who threw 5 barely adequate innings in the opener . . . . . hmmmm, maybe it's not such a great pairing after all.

The 2002 bullpen has thrown twice as many innings as the 2002 starters ---- 23 and a third innings, vs 11.2 for the starters. One starter (Simontacchi) didn't make it out of the first inning; two others (Williams and Benes) are assigned low stamina ratings by the simulator (due to their low innings-pitched totals in the regular season) and departed after 3. The bullpen has gotten mixed results, blowing a big lead in Game 1 but earning wins in Games 2 and 3. Their aggregate ERA so far is 6.17. The 2005 relievers' ERA is even worse (6.52), but they've only thrown 9.2 innings. Game 5 lineups:

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

Morris '02 struggles out of the gate, yielding two line drives --- one for a single, the other for a loud out. He gets Pujols swinging, but Edmonds and Sanders both walk to bring up Rolen '05 --- the sore-shouldered version, making his first start of the series. Morris attacks him, and Rolen strikes out looking. It's still scoreless in the 3d when the top of the 2005 lineup gets a second crack at Morris. He's not fooling anybody: Eckstein, Walker, and Edmonds stroke doubles, Sanders blasts a 2-run dinger, and the 2002s suffer another very short start ---- Morris leaves after just 2 and a third, behind 4-0.

His mates make like to get him off the hook in the bottom of the inning, when Vina and Drew lead off with singles (the first hits of the game for the `02s), but Albert kills the rally with a double play --- a run scores, but that's it. They get another hit in the 5th, a two-out double by Matheny, but '05 Carpenter sets down the next 9 in a row. A procession of weary relief 2002 pitchers begins --- Hackman, Veres, Kline, Crudale --- matches him goose egg for goose egg; Veres gets a big out in the 7th, fanning Albert with a man on 3d and one out to keep a run off the board. But the '02 bats just can't take advantage of the opportunity. Eduardo Perez gets a two-out double in the 8th but doesn't score, and Carpenter leaves after the inning with a stellar line: 8 innings, 4 hits, 1 run.

He's only at 96 pitches, but Sim Tony calls Isringhausen in to close out the game. The call is ripe for 2d-guessing should things go awry, but Izzy sets 'em down 1-2-3 and that's the ballgame. 2005 Cards 4, 2002 Cards 1 --- the '05s lead the series 3 games to 2.