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Tournament of Champions, Round 3: day 8

today's main post (part 3 of red baron's draft preview) is directly below. today, two tight series reach game 6, with 1982 and 1888 facing elimination. summaries after the jump.

Game 6, 1888 v 1968
Game 6, 1942 v 1982

Game 6
(1968 leads, 3 games to 2)

summary by lboros

Back to Sportsman's Park we go for Game 6. The Browns displayed abysmal fielding in losing both of the previous games played here; friendly environs or no, if they don't catch the ball today they'll be out of the tournament. It's Silver King's day off, and Comiskey has his choice of Icebox Chamberlain and Nat Hudson. Each has started one of the even-numbered games heretofore; Hudson got clobbered in Game ,2, while Chamberlain threw TK scoreless innings in Game 4. So Icebox gets the ball again today for Game 6.

Sim-Schoendienst gives the ball to Ray Washburn, who's emerging as a surprise star of this tournament. He battled Silver King to a draw for 8 innings in Game 3, holding the 1888s to no runs and 3 hits while recording 13 groundouts --- the pitch-to-contact hero of 1968. And he was nearly as effective in his previous start, the clinching Game 6 vs the 1928 team --- 7 innings, 3 hits, 1 run, 12 groundouts. He still doesn't have a win to show for his efforts, though. Maybe today'll be the day.

A couple of personnel changes for the Browns: Bill White returns to the lineup while Ed Herr heads back to the bench, and Jack Boyle makes his first start behind the plate. The rest of the lineups:

1968 1888
Lou Brock, lf Arlie Latham, 3b
Curt Flood, cf Yank Robinson, 2b
Roger Maris, rf Tip O'Neill, lf
Orlando Cepeda, 1b Charlie Comiskey, 1b
Tim McCarver, c Tim McCarthy, rf
Mike Shannon, 3b Harry Lyons, cf
Julian Javier, 2b Bill White, ss
Dal Maxvill, ss Jack Boyle, c
Nelson Briles, p Elton Chamberlain, p

Easy does it for both pitchers in the first inning: 3 up, 3 down in both halves of the frame. Shannon rips a double in the top of the 2d but doesn't advance, and Maxvill leads off the 3d with a walk but gets forced by Washburn, who in turn gets forced by Brock. With 2 outs it's a natural base-stealing opportunity for Lou, who avails himself of the chance --- Boyle's throw is wayyy late, and he's in scoring position for Flood. Curt doesn't try to do too much with an outside pitch, just sticks the bat out and dumps it the other way; it falls for a hit, and Brock scores to give El Birdos an early lead.

Washburn's up to his usual tricks today: Through 5 innings he induces 9 groundball outs. Even more impressive, he doesn't yield a hit; the only man to reach base against him, Ed Herr (pinch-hitting for Chamberlain), gets on via a walk. Ed Knouff replaces Chamberlain in the 4th and is immediately betrayed by Tip O'Neill, who drops Cha-Cha Cepeda's leadoff flyball; a couple of line drives ensue, but the Browns corral both and prevent any damage. After 5 full the scoreboard shows only 2 hits and 1 run, all on the Cardinals' side.

The Browns finally get to Washburn for a hit in the 6th --- 2 of'm, in fact. The first comes off the bat of Boyle, who singles leading off. After a forceout, Latham drives one the other way for a double, to put the tying run at 3d with 1 out and the go-ahead run at 2d base. Sim-Red moves his infielders in as the groundball artist Washburn goes to work on Yank Robinson; Ray gets him to lift the ball into center field, to shallow to bring the run home. With a base open and O'Neill at the plate, Sim-Red orders four wide ones, setting up a confrontation w/ team captain and manager Comiskey. He's a solid run-producer, having finished 4th in the league in homers and 6th in RBI --- but Commey also finished 1st in the league that year in outs, which helps explain why his OPS+ was only 99 (ie, a shade below league average). He hacks at the first sinker Washburn throws him and beats it harmlessly down to 3d; end of rally. The Browns have only 9 outs to work with, the bottom of their order is due up, and it doesn't look too promising for them at the moment.

Shannon leads off the top of the 7th with a solid single against Jim Devlin, the 3d Brownie pitcher of the day. Javier follows with a towering fly to centerfield that gets over Lyons's head. With the bottom of the order due up, the 3d-base coach (who was it? I can't find this listed; anybody know?) decides to play it aggressive and waves Moonman around with nobody out. The throw beats him home by a mile, so Shannon (listed at 6'3", 195 lbs) crashes hard into Boyle (6'4", 190). It's a brutal collision but Boyle survives it with the ball still in his possession; Shannon's out. But that's hardly the end of the trouble, Maxvill takes a walk to put 2 on with 1 out for Washburn, and now Sim-Red faces a tough call. If he lets Washburn hit, he seriously decreases the Cards' odds of increasing the 1-0 lead; but if he calls in a pinch-hitter, one of his hottest pitchers is out of the game. You can argue this one either way; I woulda left Washburn in there and had him bunt, but Sim-Red goes for broke and calls Dick Simpson in off the bench. He puts the barrel on it but hits it to the deepest part of the park, and Lyons runs underneath it and puts it away; Sim-Red craps out. But Brock picks him up with a single to center; Javier gets a good jump and comes around to score from 2d, and it's 2-0 El Birdos. Comiskey has seen quite enough of Devlin; he brings in Nat Hudson, and Flood greets him with a base knock to left-center that drives in Maxvill. Then Maris singles, and Brock scores; by the time Cepeda lines out to 3d to end the frame El Birdos lead it 4-0 and stand on the cusp of a series win. They can feel it.

Ron Willis comes on in relief of Washburn, and the 4-run cushion suits him; a couple men reach (one on a hit, one on an error) but he's never really in danger and deftly pitches out of the jam without consequence. In the 8th he gets into trouble again --- leadoff hit, an HBP --- but this time it costs him: O'Neill lines one to right-center, driving in the Browns' first run of the game. After Comiskey pops out to left, Sim-Red comes out to get the ball; Wayne Granger comes in to face McCarthy, who pounds a deep flyball to right field. Maris catches it, but Yank Robinson trots home on the SF with another run. The inning ends on a Lyons flyout; it's 4-2, but the Browns are down to their final 3 outs.

Joe Hoerner is assigned to get them. What a year he had in 1968 --- opponents batted .192 against him and slugged only .254, and he gave up just 9 runs all year (only 8 of them earned). But Hoerner blew Game 5 of the '68 Series vs the Tigers, giving up 3 hits and walk without retiring a man when the Cards stood just 8 outs from their 2d straight championship . . . . . The first man up is Bill White, hitless in this game; he grounds out to first. Jack Boyle, who broke up the no-hitter back in the 6th, follows with a base hit to bring the tying run to bat. Nat Hudson, the pitcher, is due up --- and he hits for himself. Why not? Hudson was a very good hitter throughout his career. In 196 at-bats in 1888, he hit .255 --- better than 4 of the Browns' everyday players. There's nobody on the bench who's a better hitter, so Comiskey lets Hudson swing away for himself; sure enough, he grounds one through the hole into left, and the tying runs are on for the top of the order. A double play would end it, but Latham lifts one into short right-center --- placed perfectly between Maris and Flood. Both runners get good reads on the ball as it comes off the bat; Boyle comes around to score the Browns' 3d run, and Hudson motors all the way to 3d and slides in without a play. He's there with only 1 out as the tying run. The crowd's going nuts.

Sim-Red keeps his infield at double-play depth as Yank Robinson comes to the plate. He hits a two-hopper to Maxvill; uh oh, this might be the end. Maxie flips it to Javier, lightning-quick in the pivot; here comes the relay, it's going to be cloooose ---- safe! Robinson just beats the throw and the tying run scores! El Birdos retreat from the top step of the dugout and slump en masse onto the bench; Washburn sprays some tobacco onto the dugout floor. Another win, down the drain. Gibson clenches his jaw and starts thinking about Game 7.

Hoerner departs, and Dick Hughes comes on to get the final out of the inning; we head to extras. The Cards go in order in the 10th; the Browns likewise in the bottom of the frame. El Birdos go 1-2-3 in the 11th; the Brownies put a man on (Hudson, who walks) but immediately lose the runner on a double play. But Sim-Red exhibits some poor managerial skills, bringing in a new pitcher (Mel Nelson) when the pitcher's spot is due up the very next inning. The simulator can't double-switch; that's apparent. He departs for a pinch-hitter in the 12th, in which the Cards get a runner (Brock) to 2d with two outs but strand him. The St. Louis bullpen is short; Willis, Granger, Hoerner, Hughes, and Nelson have all pitched in relief, and there aren't many options left . . . . . so Sim-Red makes a bold call.

In comes Gibson.

This must be the logic: If they save Hoot for Game 7, he'll be matched up against Silver King, neutralizing El Birdos' advantage. But if he comes in now, he's matched up against the eminently hittable Hudson; all Gibson has to do is hold them down for an inning or two, and the Cards are bound to break through. It's a go-for-broke decision, consistent with the one Sim-Red made in the 7th when he pinch-hit for Washburn; if it backfires the 2d-guessers will go crazy, but if it works they'll be singing his praises for decades. He's only a simulator, but he's got an ego . . . . . Gibson makes quick work of the Browns' 2 through 4 hitters in the 12th, but Hudson puts the Cards' 3-4-5 men down in order in the 13th; he has retired 17 of his last 18 men faced. Gibson blows them away again in the bottom half, and Shannon leads off the 14th with a walk --- but nothing doing. He stays put as the next 3 men go in order. Gibson himself ends the inning by striking out.

Boyle grounds out to start the bottom of the 14th, and Hudson steps in --- 1 for 2 with a walk so far in this game. Gibson doesn't take him for granted; he breaks off a slider, but it hangs and Hudson unloads on it. It's got that certain sound; Gibson doesn't even turn to watch it go out. He feels no anger, no rage; only numbness. He's off the field and halfway down the tunnel by the time Hudson leaps into the arms of his jubilant teammates, crowded around home plate to greet him. A walkoff homer --- the second extra-inning, game-winning dinger from a Brownie pitcher in this series --- has sent this baby to Game 7. The Browns will have Silver King on the mound --- and Gibson won't be available.


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Game 6
(1942 leads, 3 games to 2)

summary by Pujols Shot Ya

As Game 6 rolls around, it's kinda crazy to think about where we are now. 1942 was the heavy favorite, and it played out that way early on: they went up three games to none, and it looked like a mismatch. But 1942's bats have gone cold, and while 1982 hasn't been hitting either, they've been able to squeak out two games (how big does that Game 2 blown save by Sutter look now?). Since they're not hitting, you think they would be playing Sim-Whitey ball, but they're not. They've stolen 7 bases but been caught 6 times. Leading the way has been Keith Hernandez. He's been given the green light three times and been caught every time.

After winning Game 5 with only three hits, 1982 goes "on the road", traveling back to 1942 for Game 6 at Sportsman's Park. Sim-Whitey shifts the lineup again, giving Willie McGee the start in the two hole as he tries to jump-start the offense. Tenace gets the nod again at catcher against the lefty. Bob Forsch is on the hill for the '82 squad, looking to extend the series to Game 7. The only change Sim-Southworth makes is getting Harry Walker's bat in the lineup (by shifting Musial to first and Hopp to the bench). Lanier, who pitched seven innings of one-run ball in Game 3, is back on the mound. Let's check the lineups:

1982 1942
Lonnie Smith, lf Jimmy Brown, 2b
Willie McGee, cf Terry Moore, cf
Keith Hernandez, 1b Enos Slaughter, rf
George Hendrick, rf Stan Musial, 1b
Gene Tenace, c Walker Cooper, c
Tom Herr, 2b Harry Walker, lf
Ken Oberkfell, 3b Whitey Kurowski, 3b
Ozzie Smith, ss Marty Marion, ss
Bob Forsch, p Max Lanier, p

Lanier makes quick work of the 1982s in the first, setting down Lonnie Smith, McGee and Hernandez as the crowd is still getting settled in. In the bottom of the frame, Forsch jumps into the deep end with a leadoff walk to Brown. Moore bunts him over to second to give Slaughter and Musial a chance to do some damage. But Slaughter hits a shallow flyout to right and Forsch wants no part of Musial, giving him an intentional pass (The Man is hitting .438/.571/.813 so far this series). Cooper then steps up with two men on and smacks a deep one into left. But the yard is going to hold it; Lonnie makes the catch for the third out.

In the top of the second, Hendrick grounds out to third. Gene Tenace follows with a walk but is erased on Herr's fielder's choice. With two outs, Herr takes off for second and makes it, but Oberkfell strands him there when he grounds out to second. To start the bottom of the second, Harry Walker smashes one into the gap in right-center for a double. Kurowski then flies out to left field. Walker is feeling frisky, so he tags and heads to third. Lonnie Smith seems a little surprised and gets off a weak throw that gets to the third baseman on a couple hops. It's a close play, but the umpire rules him safe, and Walker is on third with one out. Marion hits a weak fly ball to right, and Walker stays put. I guess he lost that frisky feeling. Next the pitcher Lanier pops up to first base and Forsch gets out of the inning with no runs scored.

Both sides go quietly in the third, with just one single for each team (from Lonnie Smith and Enos Slaughter, respectively). In the top of the fourth, the meat of the '82 team goes down in order. Hendrick is now two for 19 in the series and continues to be where offense goes to die. In the bottom half, Walker Cooper (there are too many Walkers and too many Coopers in this series btw) leads off with a double into left. After Harry Walker flies out to right, Kurowski lines a single into left. Cooper freezes on the line drive, though, so he's held at third. The hot-hitting Marion (.444/.500/.611 heading into Game 6) blasts one deep down the left field line. Lonnie catches it at the fence, but it's enough to score Cooper. Forsch gets Lanier to ground to Ozzie to end the frame, but 1942 is on top 1-0.

Starting off the top of the fifth, Tommy Herr bloops a single into left. It wasn't hit hard, but it's only his second hit of the series, so I'm sure he'll take it. Sim-Whitey, still looking to ignite the offense, flashes the steal sign again. Cooper makes a good throw, but Herr just gets in under that tag for his second steal of the game. It's a big play: after the steal, Oberkfell rips one into center, scoring Herr. Ozzie, Bob Forsch and Lonnie Smith go down easily after that, but it's all tied up now, 1-1. 1942 goes in order in the bottom of the fifth, and it looks like we're in for another low-scoring affair.

Starting off the top of the sixth, McGee and Hernandez both ground out. Hendrick draws a two-out walk though, and Tenace follows up with a single into left-center. With runners on the corners, Herr has a chance to be a hero. Instead he hits a harmless fly ball down the left field line to end the inning. It's Lonnie's turn in the seventh --- he comes up with Forsch on 2d, which he reached via a two-out ground-rule double. But Smith wastes the chance, hitting a ground ball to first.

Forsch has only given up four hits through six, but in the top of the seventh he gives up a leadoff single to Kurowski. Whitey gets a great jump with Marion at bat and steals second without a throw. Marion then lines out (where's the bunt!!!!), leaving a runner in scoring position and one out. Sim-Southworth decides to seize the moment and calls on Coaker Triplett (fantastic name) to pinch-hit for Lanier. With Triplett at bat, Kurowski takes off again, and again he makes it without a throw! Forsch never even looked at him once, and Kurowski was halfway to third before he let the ball go. But Forsch is focused on the batter, and he gets Triplett to strike out swinging. The next batter, Brown, rolls one weakly to Ozzie and Forsch dodges a major bullet, stranding Kurowski on third.

Sim-Southworth brings Howie Krist in to pitch the top of the eighth, and he retires the 2-3-4 hitters in order. In the bottom of the frame, Forsch is able to pitch around an Enos Slaughter single without much trouble. We move into the ninth inning with the score tied 1-1, a good old-fashioned pitching duel. Krist comes out for his second inning of work and gets Tenace to ground to third for the first out. Herr shows some patience and draws the walk. Oberkfell follows with a walk of his own. When Ozzie Smith takes the third consecutive one-out walk, you gotta wonder if Krist is starting to crack under the stress. With Forsch due up and the bases loaded, Sim-Whitey calls on Tito Landrum to pinch hit. Great pressure performance by Forsch --- 8 innings, 6 hits, 1 run with his team facing elimination. Landrum is perfect as a pinch-hitter in the series, one for one with two walks. For some reason, Southworth sticks with Krist despite the back-to-back-to-back walks. After throwing two balls, Krist finally gets one over the plate and Tito's ready for it. He smokes it into left, over the head of Harry Walker. It rolls to the wall as the rabbits scamper around the bases. Herr scores. Oberkfell scores. Ozzie's rounding third . . . . he scores too, without a throw! 1982 now lead 4-1 on a killer three-run double from Landrum!

Sim-Southworth finally comes out to get Krist, but he's at least a batter too late. Lon Warneke comes in to get his first work of the series, and he's greeted by Lonnie Smith, who skies one just out of the reach of Enos Slaughter for another double. Landrum scores. Lonnie Smith stays aggressive and steals third with McGee at the plate. With the infield in, Willie grounds to short for the second out; Lonnie holds at third. With two outs, Hernandez smacks one up the middle. Marion has him played that way and dives for it. He knocks it down, but the ball kicks out of his reach and he doesn't have a play anywhere. Hernandez reaches safely, and Lonnie scores. Hernandez then takes off again, and at long last he steals a base successfully. Hendrick grounds out to end the frame, but 1982 has scored five runs on three hits and three walks. They lead 6-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth.

In the last half of the ninth, with a five-run lead, Sim-Whitey chooses Doug Bair to close out the game. Harry Walker goes fishing and strikes out for the first out of the inning. Kurowski follows up with a groundball to Ozzie for the second out. Marion takes a walk to keep the inning alive, and Ray Sanders comes up to hit for Warneke and turns on a Bair fastball, crushing it to deep right-center. It looks good off the bat, but McGee speeds back to make the catch just shy of the warning track for the third out. That's it; that's a winner. 1982 wins 6-1 after a huge ninth inning, and now the series is on to Game 7. That's three in a row now for 1982. Isn't baseball (even sim-baseball) great?