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Tournament of Champions, Round 2: day 4

today's main discussion is about the astros. as for the tourney, two walkoff wins in today's action; read all about it after the jump, or just check out the box scores right here.

Game 3, 1888 v 2004
Game 3, 1943 v 2005
Game 2, 1928 v 1968

Game 2
(1968 leads, 1-0)

summary by lboros

Today's 1928 starting pitcher, Bill Sherdel, is a little-known giant of Cardinal history. At the close of the '28 season, he was in a dead heat with yesterday's starter (Jesse Haines) for 1st place on the all-time franchise list for wins --- 140 Ws apiece. Sherdel had 112 losses at that point in time, Haines 109; they had both thrown about 2100 innings in their careers. About the only differences between them were that a) Sherdel was 4 years younger than Haines, and b) Sherdel pitched out of the bullpen more often; nearly half of his 465 career appearances for the Cardinals came out of the bullpen. In 1928 he made 11 relief appearances, finished 10 games, and recorded 5 saves, leading the league in that category for the second straight year. He made four World Series appearances, all of them starts vs the Murderer's Row-era New York Yankees; he posted a 3.26 ERA in those 4 starts but went 0-4 nonetheless. He died, ironically enough, a couple weeks after the 1968 World Series ended.

Here are the lineups for Game 2:

1968 1928
Lou Brock, lf Taylor Douthit, cf
Curt Flood, cf Andy High, 3b
Roger Maris, rf Frank Frisch, 2b
Orlando Cepeda, 1b Jim Bottomley, 1b
Mike Shannon, 3b Chick Hafey, lf
Tim McCarver, c George Harper, rf
Julian Javier, 2b Jimmie Wilson, c
Dal Maxvill, ss Rabbit Maranville, ss
Nelson Briles, p Bill Sherdel, p

Sherdel's first trip through the Cardinal lineup is almost perfect --- only a walk to Roger Maris mars the scorecard. 1968 starter Nelson Briles is nearly as good, allowing only two hits --- but each one comes on the heels of a fielding error (one by Cepeda, the other by Brock), and each sets up a run. Orlando Cepeda breaks up Sherdel's no-no in the 4th with an RBI double, scoring Flood (on base ahead of him with a walk). Shannon reaches on an error, and McCarver and Javier follow with RBI hits to propel El Birdos to a 3-2 lead; the '28s tally once in the bottom of the frame, and through 4 innings the score is knotted at 3s.

Brock gets involved in the proceedings in the 5th, leading off with a double, moving to 3d on Flood's groundout, and charging home when a Sherdel pitch squirts away from Wilson at the plate. Briles protects the 4-3 lead for an inning, but in the bottom of the 6th he tires against the bottom of the '28 order. Wilson walks, Maranville singles to center, and Ernie Orsatti (pinch-hitting for Sherdel) takes ball four to load `em up. Then McCarver mishandles a pitch, allowing the tying run to score, and Douthit puts his team in front with a resounding triple that chases Briles from the game. Ron Willis comes on to strand the runner, but the `28s are back out in front 6-4.

Again Lou Brock starts the comeback. With one out in the 7th he triples off Hal Haid (his 4th extra-base hit in two games), and Flood singles him home to make it 6-5. That's still the score when Shannon leads off the next inning against Syl Johnson --- but not for long. The Moonman blasts one outta here, a solo shot that ties the score at 6-6. Schoendienst calls in rookie Wayne Granger to protect the tie, and the youngster nearly blows it: one-out singles to Roettger and Douthit put runners on the corners, but Granger pops High up and gets Frisch on a fly to right field to keep the run off the board. In the top of the 9th Brock draws a walk with one out and steals second; then he takes third on a shallow fly to center, outrunning Douthit's throw. A walk to Maris brings Cepeda to the plate with a chance to put his team ahead 2-0 in the series, but he flies out to left; still 6-6.

Dick Hughes comes on in the bottom of the 9th. One year after his out-of-nowhere 16-win season in 1967 as a 29-year-old rookie, Hughes moved to the pen in 1968. He notched 4 saves and had a 1.031 WHIP, but Hughes' 3.52 ERA was bad by 1968 standards --- an ERA+ of just 82, or 18 percent worse than average. His first assignment is to pitch to Jim Bottomley, hitless so far in the series (0 for 8). Until now. He gets the barrel on Hughes' first pitch and drives it a long, long way to right field --- over the screen in right and onto the roof. It's a walkoff home run and a series-evening win for the '28 Cards.


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Game 3
(1888 leads, 2 games to 0)

summary by Zubin

In games 1 and 2 the Browns both outpitched and outhit the Cardinals. It wasn't exactly a surprise to see a pitcher as good as Silver King blank the 2004 squad in Game 1, but Game 2 might well be described as a shock. The Browns won despite not getting a dominant performance from anyone. Arlie Latham swiped three bases to receive player of the game honors, but he was caught stealing once (in the third) and made an error that almost allowed the Cardinals to break the game open in the fifth. But Sim-Comiskey managed his pitchers very well, cobbling together a very good performance with three innings by Chamberlain and two each by Knouff, Delvin and Hudson.

Despite the 2-0 Browns lead, I still favor the Cardinals in the series. The next three games will be played at Busch Stadium, which in general is cozier than Sportsman's Park. The Cardinals' right-handed power (Pujols and Rolen) should especially benefit from the dimensions (330, 372, 402 in Busch versus 351, 376, 422 in Sportsman's park). Walker and Edmonds won't have the short porch in right-field (354 right-center power alley and 309 down the line), but they'll have a much easier target in center.

The lineups don't change much for Game 3. "Honest Jack" Boyle spells Jocko Milligan at catcher, and 1888 Silver King makes his sixth postseason start for the ol'timers. Jeff Suppan takes the hill for the young'uns.

1888 2004
Arlie Latham, 3b Edgar Renteria, ss
Yank Robinson, 2b Larry Walker, rf
Tip O'Neill, lf Albert Pujols, 1b
Charlie Comiskey, 1b Jim Edmonds, cf
Tommy McCarthy, cf Scott Rolen, 3b
Harry Lyons, rf Reggie Sanders, lf
Jack Boyle, c Tony Womack, 2b
Bill White, ss Mike Matheny, c
Silver King, p Jeff Suppan, p

Arlie Latham steps to the plate to start things off. Suppan delivers and Arlie drives one deep to left. Way back, at the track . . . . gone. Arlie gets his team on the boards with an uncharacteristic display of power. Browns lead 1-0. After a flyout by Yank Robinson, the slugging continues. Tip O'Neill doubles and steals third. Comiskey grounds out but Tommy McCarthy singles to left to drive Tip in. It is now 2-0 Browns. After a steal by McCarthy, The light-hitting Harry Lyons steps in. Lyons drives the ball down the left field line. If it stays fair, it's trouble. And it is... fair. Browns take a quick 4-0 lead. Boyle then pops out to end the top of the first.

In the bottom of the first, 2004 goes in order. They do again in the second and the third. Finally in the fourth LaRussa's squad gets its first baserunner on a one-out walk to Larry Walker. The next batter is Pujols. He grounds one to the hole at short. Bill White can't make the play but Arlie Latham ranges far to his left to grab the ball. He motions as if to throw, but the ball pops out of his hand and Pujols is safe at first. And for that effort, the official scorer charges him with an error. Jim Edmonds then comes to the plate. He skies one high in the air and the infield fly rule is called. Latham makes the catch and there are two outs. Scott Rolen then comes to the plate. He skies one to left. Tip O'Neill is under it but then loses the ball in the lights. The ball falls to the ground and Larry Walker rounds third and scores. Runners are now at the corners for Sanders. He swings and pops the ball to shallow right center. Tommy McCarthy trots over for the easy grab. The inning is over but the Cardinals score one run off a walk and two errors. The Browns still lead 4-1, and Silver King still has a no hitter.

In the top of the fifth, Yank Robinson draws a leadoff walk. O'Neill singles and runners are at the corners for Comiskey, who drives one deep to right center. Walker hauls it in at the wall, but Robinson tags up and scores easily. Tommy McCarthy then draws a walk and Suppan departs in favor of Cal Eldred, who comes on to pitch to Harry Lyons. The light-hitting right fielder already hurt the Cardinals today. Will he do it again? Lyons swings and grounds one up the middle past the diving Renteria and Womack. Tip O'Neill scores and it's 6-1 Browns. Boyle is now up. He has a chance to bread the game wide open. He swings and grounds one straight at Renteria. Edgar then tosses the ball to Tony Womack and the relay to first is in plenty of time to get Jack Boyle. Inning over.

In the sixth, Pujols finally breaks up the no-hit bid, stroking a two-out groundball past the diving Bill White. Edmonds follows with one up the middle to put runners at the corners. Rolen could put the Cardinals back into the game with a single swing. He two-hops it to Bill White ranging towards his left. Bill steps on the bag to get Edmonds.

The Browns score again in the seventh, and Silver King cruises the rest of the way, yield neither a hit nor a walk. 1888 wins 7-1. Silver King throws his second two-hitter in four days, and the 2004 Cardinals are now on the brink of elimination, down 3 games to 0.


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Game 3
(series tied, 1 game to 1)

summary by lboros

Through 2 games, David Eckstein is 5 for 8 for the 2005 Cardinals, and Albert Pujols is 3 for 8; no other hitter on the team has more than 2 hits. They look to fatten their stats today against a pitcher I never heard of, one Harry Gumbert. The Cardinals got him in 1941 from the Giants, for whom he went 68-61 over a period of years; he went 19-10 for the Cards in 1942-43, dividing his time between the rotation and the 'pen. On the 1943 Cardinals he finished 3d in games started and 4th in wins; he finished his career with 143 wins.

Who knew.

Matt Morris, who goes for the '05s, might be able to stagger to 143 wins before he's through. Anyone remember that he was 11-2 through late July in 2005? Had a 3.12 ERA and a 5:1 k/bb ratio, ranked in the league's top 10 in both wins and ERA, and looked every bit like the ace he had been from 2001 through 2003. Since that point he's been a dreadful pitcher --- 23-34 with a 5.01 ERA, pitching mainly in pitchers' parks. I adore the guy, but he appears to be washed up.

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

Morris looks shaky early on; he gives up two baserunners in the first but wriggles out of the jam, then gets roughed up pretty good in the 2d: the first 4 hitters go single, double, walk, and HBP, which leaves the bases loaded with nobody out and a run already in. The leadoff man, Klein, is at the plate, and Morris (who gave up 5 runs in his lone Round 1 start) doesn't look long for the world. But he induces a grounder to Grud'k; he initiates a 4-6-3 double play, and although a run scores Matty Mo keeps the damage to a minimum. He employs the same trick in the 3d, getting out of a sacks-jammed, one-out situation with another 4-6-3 double play (this one off the bat of Litwhiler). Morris has allowed 8 of the first 16 batters to reach, yet he's still only given up 2 runs.

Gumbert, by contrast, allows just 1 of his 13 batters to reach --- Grudzielanek, who doubles leading off the 3d inning but never advances. Howie Pollet relieves him and adds two more hitless innings; as in Game 1, the 2005 bats are absent. But Morris hangs in there and keeps it close; it's still just 2-0 when he departs after 6, and 2-1 when Edmonds homers with 1 out and the bases empty in the 7th. In the 8th Murry Dickson --- roughed up in Game 2 for 3 runs --- enters the game. He gets the first two men, but Hector Luna doubles to give Eckstein a chance for a game-tying hit. He pops it to center, but Harry the Hat races in to make the catch and the '05s are down to 3 outs.

They're down to 2 outs when Edmonds bats with the tying run aboard (Walker, leadoff base on balls) in the 9th inning. He turns on a Dickson pitch and lofts it deeeep to right . . . . looks like a second straight homer for J'Ed, this one a walkoff job. The drive brings the whole 2005 bench to the top step of the dugout, but it dies at the track and settles in Musial's glove. Edmonds trots back to the bench shaking his head. Having gotten away with a mistake, Dickson pitches too carefully to Sanders and walks him to bring up Abe Nunez, who's just 1 for 8 in the series and 0 for 3 in the game. Dickson fires --- Abe swings, and it's a line drive to right field. Musial comes up throwing, but Walker crosses the plate with the tying run. Sanders moves on over the 3d, and Sim-Southworth motions to the pen --- he wants rookie Red Munger, who led the 1943 Cardinals in games finished, to pitch to Grudzielanek. In 1944 Munger will go 11-3, 1.34 and make the All-Star team; in '47 he'll go 16-5 and make the All-Star team again; and in 1949 he'll make his 3d All-Star team en route to a 15-8 season.

But today? Today he's just a bum. Grudzielanek strokes a Munger pitch to right field, and it falls for a hit. Sanders trots home, and the PlayaHardNines steal a game, 3-2. They put just 8 runners on base in the game, vs the wartime Cardinals' 15 --- doesn't matter. The 2005s go up 2 to 1 in the series.