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Tournament of Champions, Round 2: day 2

two Game 1s and two Game 2s today; the summaries are after the jump, and the boxes / bracket are right here.

Game 1, 1985 v 1996
Game 1, 1885 v 2000
Game 2, 1888 v 2004
Game 2, 1943 v 2005

Game 1

summary by cardsfanunion

It's a dream match-up for modern Cardinal fans, and it could lead to the first ever Civil War in Redbird Nation. It's Whitey vs. Tony, speed vs. power, turf vs. grass, Gussie vs. DeWitt, young Ozzie/Willie vs. old Ozzie/Willie. Oh the controversy, the division; it's enough to make Kevin Slaten wet his pants in anticipation.

The best-of-seven series opens in the 1985 version of Busch Stadium --- which means Astroturf, a huge outfield, and a standard sea of red. But you know it's 1985, as half the men are sporting a mullet. The Heat is On!!! To complete the atmosphere, and to really stretch the laws of physics, 14 year-old Nikko Smith sings the national anthem --- and then 3-year-old Nikko Smith leads the '85 Cards onto the field with his then-signature forward roll. Somewhere, Stephen Hawking's head explodes.

The pitching match-up is intriguing, as it pits John Tudor vs. Andy Benes. Tudor started 1985 by going 1-7, before winning 20 of his last 21 decisions to finish 21-8. Benes also started 1-7, and then went on to win 17 of his last 20 decisions to finish 18-10. The 1985 version of Tim McCarver remarks in the pregame that one of the two pitchers will be unable to get a win tonight. Tim's paid for lines like that.

The lineups are as follows:

1996 1985
Royce Clayton, ss Vince Coleman, lf
Ray Lankford, cf Willie McGee, cf
Ron Gant, lf Tom Herr, 2b
Brian Jordan, rf Jack Clark, 1b
Gary Gaetti, 3b Andy Van Slyke, rf
John Mabry, 1b Terry Pendleton, 3b
Tom Pagnozzi, c Tom Nieto, c
Luis Alicea, 2b Ozzie Smith, ss
Andy Benes, p John Tudor, p

Note that Sim-Tony has benched 1996 Ozzie in favor of Clayton. Give the kharmatic edge to the '85 Birds.

After the 1996 Cards go down in order to open the game, Coleman coaxes a leadoff walk, steals second, takes third on a young McGee groundout, and scores on Tommy Herr's single to give the '85 Birds a 1-0 lead. Both pitchers settle in and start mowing them down; Tudor retires 13 of 14 at one point, while Benes scatters 4 baserunners after the first inning. The '85 team wastes a leadoff double by Clark in the 4th, only moving him as far as third base. The '96 Cards blow a golden opportunity in the 7th inning, when Jordan leads off with a single, steals second, and then steals third with one out. But Tudor gets Mabry on a groundout to first --- with the infield pulled in, Jordan has to hold --- and Pagnozzi on a line drive to second base. Heading into the 8th, it's still 1-0.

While there is little action on the field, KMOX listeners have noticed that Mike Shannon seems to live and die --- simultaneously --- with each pitch. Watching his beloved Redbirds succeed at the expense of his beloved Redbirds is enough to drive a man to drink. Not sure what kind of trip that is for Mike.

Entering the 8th, Tudor has given up 3 hits and 1 walk in 7 innings. He retires Alicea and Mark Sweeney to start the eighth, but Clayton reaches on a seeing-eye single through the left side and then swipes second. Sim-Tony is giving Sim-Whitey a taste of his own medicine, as Clayton's steal is the 1996 Redbirds' third of the game. (The 1985 Cards have stolen only one base so far.) Sim-Tony seems intent on playing small-ball, and he's on the top step of the dugout signaling to Rene Lachemann like he was first mate of the Minnow. Clayton bluffs stealing twice. It seems another steal attempt is imminent until Ray Lankford crushes a 3-2 pitch over the centerfield wall. The sudden, unexpected homer gives the 1996 Cards a 2-1 lead. So much for subtlety.

TJ Mathews relieves Benes, who gave up 1 run on 3 hits in his 7 innings. Cesar Cedeno greets him with a drive deep into right for an opposite-field home run to tie the game. Homers > steals. But steals fight back right away: Coleman walks, and then (after young McGee flies out) steals second and third. Sim-Tony brings the infield in, and Herr obliges with a sharp grounder to Mabry, keeping Coleman at third. Clark flies out to end the inning. We're tied at 2-2.

Both teams fail to score in the ninth, and we head to extra innings. Lots of them. Nobody gets anything going until the 12th, when Alicea doubles leading off --- but he's quickly erased when Ricky Horton picks him off second base. Sim-Tony threatens to bench Alicea, but realizes his backup is Mike "leggo my" Gallego, and reconsiders. In the bottom of the12th, the 1985 Cards load the bases with one out against Petkovsek on singles by Smith (Ozzie) and Smith (Lonnie) and a walk by Coleman. With both the infield and outfield playing in, Petkovsek bears down and strikes out McGee looking . . . marking the first time that McGee v1985 took a pitch in the zone. Herr grounds out to first, and the 1996 Cards dodge a major bullet.

Lankford opens the top of the 13th with a single off of Jeff Lahti. Sim-Tony has Lankford running, and the '96 Birds steal their fourth base of the night. But with a runner on second and no one out, Gant strikes out on a pitch two feet outside. Lahti retires Jordan and Gaetti to end the frame. Clark walks and Van Slyke singles leading off the bottom of the 13th. Sim-Whitey inexplicably fails to bunt, and the runners don't move up as Pendleton is retired on a screaming line-drive to Alicea. Sim-Tony goes to his pen for Danny Jackson, who at this point in the season is incredibly well rested. Jackson strikes out Tom Nieto. After walking Ozzie, Jackson gets pinch hitter Darrell Porter to pop out to end the 13th.

Neither team threatens in the 14th. Both Sim-Tony and Sim-Whitey are in their elements, as each manager is forced to use every potential weapon in his arsenal. Sim-Whitey uses six pitchers after pulling Tudor, and Sim-Tony, never one to be outdone, uses eight. There's even a Cory Bailey sighting. In the 14tth, Sim-Whitey is forced to use rumored game 3 starter Bob Forsch in relief. Meanwhile, Sim-Tony is forced to the outer limits of the 40 man roster, and, in some cases, a bit beyond. Pat Borders leads off the top of the 15th as a pinch hitter and, even more remarkably, gets a hit. Borders is then lifted for pinch runner David Bell. After Clayton flies out, Lankford reaches on a single, and Gant walks to load the bases for Brian Jordan. Mike Shannon has the call:

Bases loaded, one out, Forsch deals to Jordan. Swing and a shot into right center. That's trouble if it's down. IT IS DOWN and it rolls to the wall. Bell and Lankford score. Here comes Gant. They're gonna wave him in and he is.....SAAAAFE as the '96 Cards lead this baby, 5-2.
Mabry follows with a single to plate Jordan, and the top of the 15th ends with the score 6-2. Eckersley retires the side in the bottom of the 15th, and the '96 Cards take a 1-0 series lead.

It was an even game, with the '96 Birds outstealing the '85 Cards 4-3 and each team getting one homer. Neither team made an error. Sixteen pitchers were used in the 15-inning marathon, and one has to wonder how that will effect the staffs as we move forward in this series. Sim-Tony used 13 position players and 9 pitchers, for a whopping 22 out of his 25 man roster --- assuming "What-If" holds Sim-Tony to a 25-man roster. I shudder to think of TLR having access to a 40-man roster for each game. If he does, there's at least a 30% chance I'll wind up with carpal tunnel before the series is out.

Both teams needed just over 200 pitches to complete the 15 innings, and they each allowed 18 baserunners during the game. What looked like a mismatch between the 101-win '85 Cardinals and the 88-win '96 team has started with a very evenly played contest in which both sides showed speed, power, pitching, and defense. It has the makings of a close series. The Heat is On, and we can all say, in the words of Bryan Adams, We're Gonna Win.


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Game 1

summary by Zubin

Like the 1888 v. 2004 series, this is a match up of practically polar opposite historical eras and teams. Nothing illustrates this better than the home run totals of both teams. The 2000 Cardinals hit a franchise record 235 home runs. The 1885 team hit 17 --- the fourth-lowest total in the history of the franchise, ahead of only 1882, 1883 and 1884. For the sake of comparison, five individuals on the 2000 team (McGwire, Lankford, Edmonds, Tatis, and Drew) had more homers than the entire 1885 roster. On the surface, that seems to be a complete mismatch. However, since the Browns also allowed very few homeruns (12), their pitching may well render the Cardinals' power bats impotent. And as we saw in the 1888 v. 1987 series, the Browns' hitters may perform better against modern pitching than they did against their 1880s counterparts. But all in all, I think the Cardinals are the favorites in this series. I don't think the Browns hitting will improve enough against the 2000 pitchers --- especially Kile and Ankiel --- to catch up to the Cardinals, even if the home runs are taken away.

The lineups are below. The 2000 lineup is pretty straightforward, but the 1885 lineup was more difficult to figure out than that of 1887 or 1888. I am quite sure that the top of the order (Latham, Gleason, Comiskey) is correct. Sam Barkley would have been the obvious cleanup hitter, except by midseason Tip O'Neill joined the club, so he and his 167 OPS+ would have displaced Barkley's 113. The postseason record from 1885 is even more baffling, with Comiskey recording the most PAs and catcher Doc Bushong playing in only four of seven games. I think (but can't be sure) that Caruthers played catcher in the other three contests.

2000 1885
Fernando Vina, 2b Arlie Latham, 3b
Edgar Renteria, ss Bill Gleason, ss
Jim Edmonds, cf Charlie Comiskey, 1b
Mark McGwire, 1b Tip O'Neill, lf
Ray Lankford, lf Sam Barkley, 2b
Fernando Tatis, 3b Yank Robinson, rf
J.D. Drew, rf Curt Welch, cf
Mike Matheny, c Doc Bushong, c
Darryl Kile, p Bob Caruthers, p

The series opens with a single by Vina and a double by Renteria; just like that, the Cardinals go up 1-0 with a chance for more. Edmonds grounds out to third, bringing up the 6'5" Mark McGwire to face the diminutive (5'7") Bob Caruthers. McGwire watches the first couple sail wide of the plate. The next pitch is a fast ball in that jams him; the ball squirts past the pitcher's mound into the hole at short. Gleason ranges to his right and makes the play, but his throw to first is off balance and weak. It's an infield hit for McGwire (!), and runners are at the corners for Ray Lankford. But Ray goes down on strikes, and Tatis lines out to Gleason for the final out. The Cardinals lead, but it's a disappointing inning.

It becomes more disappointing in the bottom half of the frame. A, walk, single, and walk load the bases with one out for Sam Barkley. With the fielders at double-play depth, Barkley grounds one to first. McGwire charges and throws the ball home, but the speedy Gleason beats the throw and the Browns tie the game at 1 apiece --- and only one ball has left the infield so far. Yank Robinson then singles to left-center, and it's suddenly a 3-1 lead for the Browns.

Both sides go in order in the second. In the 3rd, Renteria takes on off the knee and moves to third base on Edmonds' bloop single to center. McGwire comes up next with a chance to put the Cards back on top; he swings mightily, but the ball doesn't have the distance and Mac has to settle for a sac fly. Lankford pops up to end the inning; the Cardinals only trail by a run.

But the top of the Browns lineup is set on showing the first inning was no fluke. Gleason reaches again, this time on a single to center. A sac bunt by Comiskey gives O'Neill another chance to bat in an RBI situation. Kile delivers from the stretch; O'Neill swings and drives the ball high and deep. Lankford gives chase to the track and to the wall; he jumps, but the ball is gone and the Browns take a 5-2 lead.

It stays that way for the next several innings. Both sides put runners on in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings, but neither side can get their men home. The Browns finally break through in the eighth on Welch's two-out RBI double, which scores O'Neill. The light-hitting Doc Bushong then comes to the plate and doubles as well to drive Welch home. Sim LaRussa has seen enough and pulls Kile for Britt Reames, but he just adds gas to the fire: Caruthers walks, Latham singles, it's 8-2 Browns and the Cardinals are toast.

That's the way it ends. O'Neill goes 3 for 3 with a walk and a homer, but the player of the game is Bob Caruthers, who tames the mighty 2000s on a complete-game 7-hitter.


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Game 2
(1888 leads, 1 game to 0)

summary by Zubin

In game one 1888's big strength really carried them. Silver King had a great game going 9.0 innings, allowing just two runs and two walks. The Browns also displayed some error-free if not impressive defense. If King was the hero, Matheny has to be the goat. He was a gaping hole in the 2004 line-up, leaving 3 men on base. Behind the plate he was completely ineffective in stopping the Brown's running game allowing 6 stolen bases on 6 attempts.

I still think the 2004 club has to be favored; they are just too good to be stopped by a team that barely beat 1987.

Today Jason Marquis goes against Elton "Icebox" Chamberlain; the latter was called icebox because he retained his cool on the mound. His opposite number, Marquis, was then viewed not as a hothead (as he later came to be known) but rather as a fiery competitor. It seems like a long time ago, but Marquis showed a ton of promise in 2004: He went undefeated between Memorial Day and Labor Day, winning 11 straight decisions, and finished second on the Cardinal staff in both innings (behind Morris) and ERA (behind Carpenter). The rest of the lineups:

2004 1888
Edgar Renteria, ss Arlie Latham, 3b
Larry Walker, rf Yank Robinson, 2b
Albert Pujols, 1b Tip O'Neill, lf
Jim Edmonds, cf Charlie Comiskey, 1b
Scott Rolen, 3b Tommy McCarthy, cf
Reggie Sanders, lf Harry Lyons, rf
Tony Womack, 2b Jocko Milligan, c
Mike Matheny, c Bill White, ss
Jason Marquis, p Elton Chamberlain, p

The Cardinals try getting something going early today. After consecutive groundouts by Renteria and Walker, Pujols reaches on a Bill White error. J'Ed follows with a grounder past Robinson to put runners at the corners for Scott Rolen. Sco'Ro swings and rolls one into the hole at short. This time White fields it cleanly and tosses to second to end the inning.

Latham leads off the Browns' first by popping the ball just in front of a charging Reggie Sanders in left. He steals second, then tags up as Edmonds camps underneath Robinson's subsequent fly to center. Edmonds makes the catch, Latham races to third . . . . the throw's not in time. He's at third with one out. Tip O'Neill, the Brown's best hitter, shoots the ball over the head of a jumping Rolen. The ball sails down the line and rattles around in the corner; by the time Sanders digs it out, O'Neill's at third. Marquis contains the damage nicely, getting out of it without another run scoring, but the Browns are up 1-0.

With one out in the second, Womack singles and swipes second, and Chamberlain seems to want nothing to do with Matheny, walking him on four straight pitches. Marquis, a decent hitter, steps in, and Comiskey comes over for a quick confab at the mound as the Browns discuss how LaRussa will play this. Will Marquis bunt or swing away? The ump breaks up the discussion and play resumes. Jason shows bunt, then pulls the bat back and takes a hack. The ball shoots on the ground to Yank Robinson; he barehands it to White, who thows it back to Comiskey to complete the 4-6-3 and end the threat.

There is no scoring in the next several innings; Ed Knouff comes on in relief of Chamberlain in the 4th and keeps the shutout alive. But he runs into some trouble in the 5th when Matheny reaches with one out on an error by Latham. Marquis, batting for himself with the Cards only down 1-0, follows with a line-drive single to right center, moving Matheny to 2d. That turns the lineup over and brings up Renteria with two on and only one out. He slaps the ball to the left side; White snares it and flips to Robinson for the force. Larry Walker now steps to the plate. Knouff get a quick first strike on Walker. On the next pitch Renteria dashes for 2d. The pitch is a strike and the throw to second is . . . . not in time. Edgar is safe. Knouff seems bothered by the call and wastes the 0-2 count, losing Walker on four straight balls. That brings Pujols to the plate with the sacks jammed. He watches the first couple of pitches go by. Then he swings and hits the ball hard on the ground down the third base line --- right to Latham. He makes the barehanded grab and steps on 3d for the unassisted putout. The Browns still lead, 1-0 --- and the Cardinals still haven't scored a run in the series. The mighty 2004 bats remain mysteriously silent.

Sound familiar, anyone?

They go in order in the sixth, and the Browns pad their lead in bottom half of the inning, running wild on Matheny and Marquis. Latham walks and steals second. Robinson singles him home and then he steals second. Comiskey drives home Robinson and then steals both second and third. When Lyons singles him home, the Browns lead 4 to 0, and the Cardinals just can't get off the schneid.

It finally happens in the 8th: Rolen whacks a solo homer with 2 outs, and the Cardinals finally have a run. But it's all they will get today: Both teams go quietly in the ninth, and the final is 4-1. The Browns take an unexpected 2-0 lead in the series, heading into tomorrow's off day. The series resumes Friday at Busch Stadium.


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Game 2
(1943 leads, 1 game to 0)

summary by 26th Man

Today's starting pitchers, Max Lanier and Mark Mulder, occupy the same role for their respective teams: 27-year-old lefthanded No. 2s. They had roughly similar counting stats (Lanier with a slight edge in most categories), with one major exception: Lanier allowed an astonishingly low (by modern standards, I suppose) 3 homeruns in his 213.3 innings in 1943. Mulder gave up 19 bombs in his 205 innings, which by today's standards is still fairly decent. I'm not that good at math, but Lanier's ability to keep the ball in the park could account for some of the difference in the two pitchers' ERAs.

Lanier was one of about a dozen players who was lured by big salaries to the Mexican League in 1946. He spent a year and half there, and another two years fighting for reinstatement to major-league baseball (which banned all the defectors). All told he lost nearly four full seasons, finally returning to the Cards in 1949 at the age of 33. If he had pitched all those years for the Cardinals, he'd probably rank in the top 5 on the franchise leaderboard in victories; instead he's tied for 13th place, with 101 wins. Likewise, he'd probably rank among the top 5 in games, starts, innings, strikeouts, and shutouts (he's in the teens in all those categories). Among post-deadball-era Cardinal pitchers, Lanier has the 3d-best career ERA, trailing only John Tudor and Mort Cooper.

Here are the Game 2 lineups:

2005 1943
David Eckstein, ss Lou Klein, 2b
Larry Walker, rf Harry Walker, cf
Albert Pujols, 1b Stan Musial, rf
Jim Edmonds, cf Walker Cooper, c
Reggie Sanders, lf Whitey Kurowski, 3b
Abraham Nunez, 3b Ray Sanders, rf
Mark Grudzielanek, 2b Danny Litwhiler, lf
Yadier Molina, c Marty Marion, ss
Mark Mulder, p Mort Cooper, p

The switching-hitting Abraham "O" Nunez and his .324/ .398/ .392 line against lefties gets the start at third for the 2005 Cardinals, further eroding the relationship between Sim Scotty and Sim Tony. But as Rolen slowly simmers, Nunez makes a Sim Genius of the manager, helping the 2005 Cardinals draw first blood in the second inning of Game 2 by smoking a one-out single to left and scoring on Grudzielanek's frozen-rope double to right. In the 3rd, Eckstein and Walker open with walks. (Interesting-only-to-me aside: the WhatIf sim said "Eckstein takes ball four" while "Walker draws the walk.") A-Pu forces Walker at second while Eckstein moves to third, but Edmonds' whiff fails to get the runner home. Up comes Reggie Sanders, who apparently didn't get the memo re: Lanier's homerun rate. Reggie's 3-run blast down the 309-foot right-field line puts the 2005ers up 4-0.

After a fourth-inning single by Larry Walker nets the 2005s a fifth run, Stan and the gang begin chipping away. Musial draws a one-out walk in the bottom of the fourth, Cooper singles to right, and Kurowski doubles him home. With runners at second and third and one out, 1943 first-sacker Ray Sanders grounds one to third. The runner breaks, and Rolen --- despite his team's 4-run lead --- opts to throw home rather than take the easy out. His throw beats the runner, Molina puts down the tag . . . he's out. Eckstein ends the inning by laying out for a sizzling Danny Litwhiler liner, and 1943 misses a big opportunity to cut into the lead.

They keep at it, bringing another run around in the fifth just by pure hustle. Marion opens the frame with a single, and Lanier follows with a grounder to Nunez; they get Marion at second, but Grudzy can't make the turn in time. The next batter, Klein, grounds to Eckstein this time, but he too legs it out and beats Grudzy's relay throw, preventing the double play. Harry the Hat then redeems his mates' hustle by ripping a double into the right-center gap, scoring Klein and cutting the lead to 5-2. Musial has a chance to make it 5-3, but Mulder bears down and induces an inning-ending grounder to short.

Walker Cooper singles leading off the home half of the 6th. Kurowski and Ray Sanders fail to advance him, but then Mulder leaves a sinker up for Litwhiler, who deposits it into the left-field seats for a 2-run homer that pulls the 1943ers within a run. Seemingly flustered, Mulder walks Marion; Sim Southworth, sensing an opportunity, calls Lanier back and sends up Johnny Hopp, who flies out to right-center to end the threat.

Facing Murry Dickson in the top of the 7th, Team 2K5 regains a little breathing room with consecutive two-out hits by Pujols, Edmonds and Sanders, who drives in his fourth run with a dying quail into left-center. Nunez ends the rally by grounding out; the crowd stretches, and Sim Scott Rolen sneaks a smile. In the bottom half, Edmonds gifts Team 1943 a baserunner by dropping a routine Lou Klein flyball. Down by two runs with nine outs left, Sim Southworth makes what I think is a curious decision and calls for a sacrifice. Harry the Hat botches it, though, by hitting it right back to Mulder, who forces Klein at second. After Musial lines out to second, Walker Cooper singles to center, setting up first and third for Kurowski, who flies to left and ends the threat. Too bad they gave away an out . . . .

Dickson stays on to start the eighth and retires Grudzy and Molina. John Rodriguez pinch hits for Mulder and scorches a double into right-center. Eckstein follows with his third hit of the game, scoring Johnny Rocket and ending Dickson's day. Red Munger takes the mound in relief and promptly uncorks a wild pitch, moving Eckstein to second. The 38-year-old Larry Walker then legs out an infield hit, and Pujols sends a grounder up the middle to score Eckstein. Edmonds pops up to second for the third out with the 2005 squad leading 8-4. If you're scoring at home (and you're Cardinals fans, so of course you are), you'll note that seven of those eight runs are of the two-out variety.

Down to their last three outs, Team 1943 will send up the top of their order in the ninth. Facing Ray King, Klein bloops a double down the right-field line, and Harry the Hat follows with a hard single to center; Klein stops at third with Musial coming up. In comes Jason Isringhausen, who gets The Man to bounce to first as Klein scores to make it 8-5. Izzy then gets Cooper to pop up and whiffs Kurowski on a bad pitch to seal Game 2 for Team 2005.

The series, tied at 1, now heads downtown to the Concrete Doughnut.