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Tournament of Champions, Round 3: day 4

all four series in this round have gotten off to 2-0 starts, with the 1942, 1946, 1968, and 2006 teams out in front. today anthony reyes pitches for the 2006s, while steve carlton makes his first appearance of the tournament with a start against the 1946s.

Game 3, 1885 v 2006
Game 3, 1946 v 1967

Game 3
(2006 leads, 2 game to 0)

summary by Zubin

In the first two games, 2006 dominated the 1885s by outhitting them .286 to .222. Yadier Molina is probably the unsung hero of the series so far. He is just 2 for 8, but he hit a key double on Wednesday and he has practically eliminated the Brown's running game.

If 1885 is going to get back into the series, they have a great chance today as they face Anthony Reyes (5.06 era / 88 era+). If there's a saving grace, it's that Reyes will be pitching in Busch III, a park that has been generally hostile to homers in its short life. The 2006s will catch another small break in the pitching pairing, as the cumulative wear of a 7-game set with the 2000s and the first 2 games of this series have worn down Caruthers and Foutz. So the Browns will start their #3, George Washington "Jumbo" McGinnis (3.38 era/ 97 era+). I don't have much information on the guy; he was the Browns' ace in their first three years of existence, starting 130 of the 285 games the Browns played from 1882-84. I have read that he broke in as a catcher, and the card shown below supports that, but I couldn't find a record of him catching at Baseball-Reference. I do find it somewhat humorous (or telling) that he was called "Jumbo"; he's listed at 5' 10" and 197 lbs.

The lineups for today are presented below. I elected to start John Rodriguez in left and Aaron Miles at second. I realize that in real-life P-Dub would have probably gotten the start, but given J-Rod's high OBP and the Browns' all-right-handed pitching staff, I thought the selection made sense.

1885 2006
Arlie Latham, 3b David Eckstein, ss
Bill Gleason, ss Chris Duncan, rf
Tip O'Neill, lf Albert Pujols, 1b
Sam Barkley, 2b Jim Edmonds, cf
Charlie Comiskey, 1b Scott Rolen, 3b
Curt Welch, cf John Rodriguez, lf
Yank Robinson, rf Aaron MIles, 2b
Doc Bushong, c Yadier Molina, c
Jumbo McGinnis, p Anthony Reyes, p

A-Rey uses the four-seamer from the get-go, and it nets him some nice results in the 1st: He gets Latham on a fly to center, Gleason on a grounder, and Tip O'Neill on a deep fly to left. When the Cardinals bat in the bottom half, McGinnis tries to follow suit with pitches high in the zone. He gets Eck to pop out ot center on a high hard one and then tries the same pitch on the next batter. Bad idea. One swing later, Young Dunc puts the Cardinals up 1-0. But McGinnis doesn't learn his lesson. After a single by Albert, he throws one up in the zone to Edmonds, who smacks a double to center; he gets another pitch up to Rolen, who also doubles. It's 3-0 Cardinals, and the runs ought to serve their rookie right-hander well.

Jumbo settles in after the 1st, pitching around a double in the 2nd and getting the Cardinals in order in the 4th. But Reyes continues to have his way with the Browns, allowing no hits and just 2 walks in 4 innings. In the bottom of the 4th, Jumbo starts by getting Miles on strikes. Sim-Comiskey, realizing that Jumbo only averaged about 3.0 ip per game, pulls the Browns' starter for Caruthers. Bob gets Molina and looks to faces Reyes, but Sim-Tony also realizes that his starter averaged few inning per game and pinch-hits with Spiezio. Spiez reaches on the IF single and advances on a botched pickoff before Eck grounds to 1st to end the inning.

Jeff Weaver comes on in relief and picks up where A-rey left off, retiring six Brownies in a row through the top of the sixth. Things start to get a little awkward in the Cardinal dugout; with a no-hitter just 9 outs away, nobody wants to say the wrong thing and jinx the effort. Still leading 3-0, they get their leadoff man aboard in the bottom of the sixth as J-Rod lines one into right. Miles follows with another hit to center, and Ya'Mo' brings them both home with a double. Weaver, batting for himself -- why not have a pitcher bat for himself when he has a no-hitter and a 5-0 lead?--flies to right. Eck then grounds to short for what should be out number 2, but Gleason botches the play and Molina chugs around to 3d to put runners at the corners for Chris Duncan. Exhausted and exasperated, Caruthers challenges the young OFer, who hits the ball well enough for a sac fly to plate the Cardinals 6th run of the afternoon.

Bill Gleason finally breaks up the no-hit bid in the 7th with a single to center. After an out and an exchange of runners on a 4-6 FC, Comiskey singles to put a runner in scoring position. But Yank Robinson, who has already homered twice in the tourney, grounds to short to end the frame. After the Cardinals go in order in the 7th, the Browns mount a threat in the 8th against Josh Kinney (who's on in relief of Jeff Weaver). Welch and Bushong start the inning with back-to-back singles. Caruthers has a chance to help his own cause but pops out to left. Latham also hits into an out, but this one is on the ground and to the right side. The Cardinals get the sure out at 2nd and concede the run; it's 6-1.

. Unfortunately for the Browns, they can't mount a serious threat in the 9th and the Cardinals take Game 3 by a final of 6-1. The loss is devastating to the Browns. Not only do they lose to a very hittable Reyes-Weaver combo, but by bringing Caruthers on in relief they have delayed their ace's next start to game 5, and then only if Dave Foutz can win against Mark Mulder tomorrow. As for 2006, they have confounded the experts to take a 3-0 series lead. Chris Duncan is named their star of Game 3, but again Yadiler Molina is an unsung hero: He hit a key double and, with the help of the 2006 pitchers, has eliminated 1885's running game.

Game 3, 1885 v 2006

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Game 3
(1946 leads, 2 game to 0)

summary by Brock 20

The 1946 Cardinals jumped to a 2-0 nothing lead in the series, and frankly I was shocked. The team of Brock, Gibson, Cepeda, Carlton, Maris, and Flood was being dismantled before my very eyes! Granted, the other team has Schoendiest, Slaughter, and Musial, but the games weren't very close. The 1967 team played sloppy, squandering opportunities in the first game and digging themselves too big of a hole in the second.

The pitching was not to blame. Aside from the disastrous outing by the rookie Hughes, who gave up 8 runs in three innings of work, the pitching staff surrendered only 3 runs in eighteen innings, good for a 1.50 ERA. Their 14/9 strikeout to walk ratio is mediocre, but the majority of that falls upon the shoulders of Al Jackson and his four-walk effort in the second game. A team WHIP of 1.43 shows that they are allowing almost a base runner and half an inning. But again, subtract out Hughes' performance, and the team has a sub-1.00 WHIP as a club.

How have the Hall of Famers stacked up against each other? Brock, to my chagrin, has been mediocre, reaching base in four out of eleven plate appearances. His game-changing speed has only been a factor twice: once on the first AB of the series, when he parlayed a miscue by Walker in the outfield into two bases, and a meaningless stolen base with the team down half a dozen runs.

Cepeda has faired slightly better, reaching base in five of his eleven plate appearances. He's driven in only one run, but he's only had two ABs with runners in scoring position: In one he doubled, and in the other he was intentionally walked.

It's not a matter of finding fault with our '67 Champions. The outcomes of these games have been decided by great performances by the 1946's Hall of Fame crew. They are absolutely raking and taking advantage of every scoring opportunity. Both Slaughter and Schoendienst are five for eleven, like Cepeda; but Musial, hitting third, has reached in seven of eleven trips. His six hits lead all batters. Slaughter's timely hitting has resulted in a series-leading five RBI.

The hitting of the 1946 team extends beyond the big three. Combined, the team has a .404 OBP, compared to the 1967's team OBP of .329. If we look only at the 1-4 hitters, the difference is even more telling, with the heart of the older timers order going off at a.455 OBP clip compared to the dismal .340 clip of El Birdos. Fans of the '67s expect better from Brock, Flood, Maris, and Cepeda. If this series is going to last more than the minimum four games, they are going to have to hit.

For the third game, Sim Red calls upon the twenty-two year old Steve Carlton. In his Cardinal Encyclopedia, Mike Eisenbath writes of Carlton: "He was still just Steve to most fans when he was with the Cardinals. He didn't achieve his greatest fame, fortune and most of his strikeouts and victories until after he was traded in anger --- not wisdom --- to the Phillies." The kid that the hometown team's hopes rest on today is more potential than Hall of Famer, 1967's version of Rick Ankiel perhaps. A few years later, Carlton would be unceremoniously dumped by Auggie Busch after a salary dispute. The Cardinals would enter one of their hinter periods, a rest bit between epochs; Carlton would go on to Philadelphia, the Hall of Fame, and the record books as one of the greatest lefthanders to play the game.

Opposite him, Sim Dyer pitches the Merry Magician, diminutive (even by 1946's standards) Murry Dickson. He's coming off his best year, in which he led the National League in winning percentage and amassed fifteen wins. He would win more games in subsequent years, including a twenty-win season in 1951 for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but his ERA (2.88) and WHIP (1.17) would never be lower than they were in 1946.

Dyer makes two other lineup changes. Garagiola gets the day off; Del Rice will catch. And Walker is removed from left in favor of Erv Dusak.

1946 1967
Red Schoendienst, 2b Lou Brock, lf
Terry Moore, cf Curt Flood, cf
Stan Musial, 1b Roger Maris, rf
Whitey Kurowski, 3b Orlando Cepeda, 1b
Enos Slaughter, rf Tim McCarver, c
Erv Dusak, lf Mike Shannon, 3b
Marty Marion, ss Julian Javier, 2b
Del Rice, c Dal Maxvill, ss
Murry Dickson, p Steve Carlton, p

The pitching matchup lives up to expectations through the first four frames. Between them, the two hurlers scatter only five hits. In his four innings Carlton allows only five baserunners, all Hall of Famers: Musial and Slaughter both have a walk and a single, and Red (the manager who broke Carlton in) has a single. It's impressive, but Dickson is even more efficient, allowing only two baserunners, on singles by Flood and Cepeda.

In the fifth, the '46 squad breaks through against Carlton. Del Rice rips a double to left-center leading off the frame. Dickson flies out to Flood for the first out, but then Sim Player Red bloops his own double, this one down the leftfield line, and Rice trots home easily. Moore, who was named to four consecutive All-Star teams before he lost four seasons to the war (1942-45), singles in Sim Player Red, and the '46ers take a 2-0 lead.

El Birdos try to respond in the bottom of the inning. Javier singles with one out, and Maxvill walks. Runners at first and second, one out, the pitcher at-bat, and an 0-3 series deficit only a few innings away --- good time to pinch-hit, no? But Sim Red lets Carlton bat for himself, and he grounds into a 6-4-3 DP to end the inning.

Carlton keeps it close, throwing two more scoreless frames before he departs. His teammates get one back in the bottom of the sixth on a solo blast by Curt Flood that barely clears the wall. Ted Wilks comes on in relief of Dickson in the 7th and sets the side down in order, but in the bottom of the eighth he gives up a leadoff basehit to Dave Ricketts, pinch-hitting for reliever Ron Willis. The ball gets down in right-center, and Ricketts --- though he's anything but a speed demon --- decides to take a chance and try to stretch it into a double, get himself into scoring position with nobody out. Slaughter comes up throwing . . . . he gets him. Not even close. Out by a mile.

Brock and Flood ground out quietly to end the eighth, and Maris and Cepeda go meekly leading off the 9th. But with Wilks in complete command and a single out away from completing the save, Sim-Southworth decides to yank him. In comes Ken Burkhart, who would become a National League umpire after retiring from pitching (he umped from 1957 through 1973). Burkhart won 18 games for the Cards in '45 as a 28-year-old rookie, an obvious war-time fill-in; when the real big-leaguers returned the following year, he got relegated to mop-up duty. But he did throw 100 innings for the '46 Cards, with pretty good results (6-3, 2.88).

He's asked to get one out today, and McCarver is the batter. Burkhart fires, McCarver swings, and the ball's lofted softly into left-center. It's not well hit at all, but the ball drifts away from Moore and lands in front of the charging Musial. McCarver, hustling all the way, slides into second with a double. A simple hit would tie the game now, and a homer would win it and get El Birdos right back into the series. The batter is Shannon, the team's 2nd-best RBI man. Burkart delivers, and Shannon hits a smash to the right side that's headed for the hole. McCarver digs for the third; they're gonna wave him around and try to score him on what promises to be a bang-bang play at the plate. But behind him, Sim Player Red hurls himself headlong at the ball and knocks it down. It rolls toward the right-field line, and Red pops to his feet, barehands the baseball, and flips it to Musial. Shannon chugs down the line, but the ball gets there half a step ahead of him ---- he's out. Sim Player Red takes the potential game-tying hit away from Sim Manager Red's team to seal the win for the 1946s. Final score: 2-1.

The stars of this game are the two starting pitchers. Dickson goes six innings, surrendering only one run one the homer to Flood. He strikes out only one while allowing only six men to reach base. Carlton pitches seven innings and allows eleven men to reach base, striking out three. Carlton may win the career, but this day belongs to the Magician. The 1946 squad is one game away from the sweep.

Game 3, 1946 v 1967