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Tournament of Champions, Round 3: day 9

two rather improbable game 7s today --- and no king/gibson showdown. bah! the summaries follow the jump:

Game 7, 1888 v 1968
Game 7, 1942 v 1982

Game 7
(series tied, 3 games each)

summary by Pujols Shot Ya

This series has gone all the way to seven games. Who woulda thought? Certainly not me. My prediction of a win by 1942 in five games is well in the rear-view mirror now. 1942 battered the '82 pitchers through the first three games, with a team OPS of .896. After six games, though, that team OPS has fallen all the way down to .719 (.279/.348/.413). Team '42 has only scored five runs in the last three games.

While '42 has cooled off, '82 hasn't really picked it up much. In fact, their team OPS after six games (.594) is worse than it was after the first three games (.622). Their stolen-base efficiency isn't impressive (11 out of 17), but they did swipe four bases without getting caught in Game 6. Reviewing the numbers, there's just nothing favoring 1982. I guess that's way they sim the games. . . . .

Staff aces Mort Cooper and Joaquin Andujar face off for the third time this series. Cooper won Game 1, but Andujar won Game 4. If one of these guys can toss a gem today, they can put their team through to the next round and gain personal bragging rights forever. Whitey shifts his lineup again, searching for some combination that can produce more than a few hits in a game. This time he moves Lonnie back to center, starts Iorg again in left, and returns Willie to the bench. Oberkfell gets bumped up to the 2 spot for this game, the 5th player Whitey has tried in that slot in the series. For 1942, Johnny Hopp takes his normal place in the lineup, with Harry Walker returning to the bench.

1982 1942
Lonnie Smith, cf Jimmy Brown, 2b
Ken Oberkfell, 3b Terry Moore, cf
Keith Hernandez, 1b Enos Slaughter, rf
George Hendrick, rf Stan Musial, lf
Darrell Porter, c Walker Cooper, c
Dane Iorg, lf Johnny Hopp, 1b
Tommy Herr, 2b Whitey Kurowski, 3b
Ozzie Smith, ss Marty Marion, ss
Joaquin Andujar, p Mort Cooper, p

Alright, one game at Sportsman's Park to decide it all. Walker Cooper takes the warmup tosses from brother Mort, and the stadium is buzzing. The ump yells to get things started, and after '42 chucks it around the infield, we're underway. Lonnie Smith greets Mort with a screamer to third. Kurowski snares it for the first out though. Oberkfell keeps the ball on the ground, punching it into right for a single. Hernandez follows with a grounder to first, but Hopp turns a nifty 3-6-3 double play to end the inning.

Jimmy Brown starts off the home half of the inning by grounding to first, and Moore gets caught looking at strike three. With two outs, Slaughter takes a big cut and rocks one to straightaway center. Lonnie races back, but there's no way he's catching it. It lands in the stands, at least 430 feet from home. Musial follows the big fly with a single, and then Walker Cooper hits a fly ball that doesn't look like much at first, but it keeps carrying toward the short power alley in right center. Hendrick drifts and drifts and drifts and finally catches it on the warning track. It's 1-0 after one on Slaughter's home run.

Both pitchers face the minimum in the second. In the top of the third, Herr pulls one through the hole into right for a single. Ozzie then works a walk. With nobody out and runners on first and second, Andujar is in his own little world --- and in that world, he's swinging away. He pulls a grounder toward the hole that Kurowski gloves and throws to second for the force out. Now we've got runners at the corners and one out for Lonnie Smith. Just trying to put the ball in play, Skates cuts down his swing and dumps a fly ball in front of Slaughter in right. That scores Herr and ties the game up; more important, it moves the go-ahead run over the 3d with only one out. Oberkfell can't convert the chance, though, flying out to shallow center while Andujar holds at third. With two down now, Hernandez hits a sharp grounder to the left of the second baseman. Brown sprints after it and dives on the lip of the grass. He knocks it down, popping up to make a throw, but he can't quite make the transfer. Hernandez is safe on the infield single, and another run scores. Hendrick ends the frame, but 1982 now leads 2-1.


Mort Cooper starts the bottom of the third by striking out. Brown follows with a single, but never advances as Moore and Slaughter are retired; Slaughter's ball looks like it might be trouble, but it dies plenty short of the wall. The '42 fourth gets off to a promising start when Musial draws a leadoff walk, but Cooper, Hopp and Kurowski barely get the ball out of the infield to end the frame.

Andujar starts off the top of the fifth by swinging wildly at a pitch out of the zone for strike three. Lonnie then plugs the gap in right center for a double. He immediately swipes third, and '82 has a great chance with only one out to get another run. '42 pulls the infield in, and Oberkfell obliges by hitting it right at Johnny Hopp. He holds Lonnie at third and steps on the bag for the second out. Hernandez grounds out to short and '82 leaves what could prove to be a big run on third.

Andujar gives up his second walk of the game to Brown in the bottom of the fifth with two outs, but Moore leaves him there. Andujar mows right through Slaughter, Musial, and Cooper in the bottom of the sixth; he's appears to be getting stronger as the game goes on. Since the first-inning homer, he's only given up a single and two walks; aside from Slaughter, nobody's getting very good looks against him.

He bats in the top of the 7th with a 2-1 lead and a man on base --- Ozzie, who starts off the inning with a single. Andujar's swinging for the fences again, and again he gets the fences confused with Kurowski's glove . . . he grounds to third for another force at second. Lonnie strikes out and with two outs, Oberkfell hits a little bloop into right. Brown races out to get it; he gets there in time to make a running play, but the ball bounces of his glove and everyone's safe. The scorer gives Oberkfell a hit. Hernandez comes up in a huge spot --- runners on the corners, and '82 desperately needing some insurance. He can't take advantage, though, grounding out to short for the third out.

In the bottom of the seventh, Andujar again cuts through the '42 batters in order: Hopp grounds out, Kurowski strikes out, and Marion pops up to his counterpart, the Wizard. 1942 only has six outs left to avert a collapse of historic proportions. Sim-Southworth seems to be feeling the pressure: He loses it when Hendrick walks in the top of the 8th on what looks like a pretty good pitch. It's Cooper's fourth walk of the game, and Sim-Southworth has already been mouthing off about the umpire's zone. Now he sprints out of the dugout towards the ump, who runs him before Southworth even gets to home plate. The two scream at each other for a few good minutes. Afterward, the ump refuses to clean off the plate from where Southworth kicked dirt on it, so Walker Cooper takes the brush and does it himself. Sim-Whitey --- who has been known to get himself run from Game 7 in real life --- stares down at his shoes.

After everyone gets settled down, Porter strikes out for the first out of the inning. Dane Iorg follows with a blast into left center, but he just missed it --- Moore tracks it down for the second out, and Herr grounds out to end the frame.

Harry Walker pinch-hits for Cooper leading off the bottom of the eighth. Great outing for Cooper --- eight innings of two-run baseball --- but he's gonna need some help to avert a loss. He won't get it from Walker, who just barely gets a piece of one and it rolls out in front of home plate. Porter grabs it and tosses to first for out #1. Brown chases strike three out of the zone for the second out, and Moore hits a weak groundout to second base to end the eighth inning. Andujar has been simply dazzling, giving up three hits through 8. He --- or Sutter --- will have to pass through the heart of the order one last time.

Looks like it will be Andujar --- he bats for himself with 1 out and the bases empty. Joaquin does the right thing by hacking at the first three he sees, then heading back to the dugout to get ready to pitch. With two outs, Lonnie draws a walk and immediately takes off again --- and, again he makes it. That's seven steals in eight tries for him this series; I think that ties Brock's record for most SBs in a single series. An insurance run would be great right now, with Slaughter, Musial and Cooper due up in the bottom of the ninth. Oberkfell is the batter, but he can only deliver a popup; Kurowski catches it. It's 2-1 heading into the bottom of the 9th.

And it all comes down to this. Andujar stares down Slaughter, and Slaughter (who homered in the first, remember) stares right back. With a 1-1 count, Andujar tries to sneak a fastball by on the inner half, and Country smokes it into left for a leadoff single. Musial strolls in, the hottest hitter in this series (.400/.556/.700 if you were curious). Sim-Whitey's got Sutter ready in the pen, but he's sticking with Andujar. On an 0-1 count, Musial ropes one down the line... foul. It was about 6 feet off the line, so close. But now the count is 0-2, and Musial chases Andujar's next pitch up in the zone. He gets a piece of it, but skies it on the infield. Hernandez settles under it for the first out. Walker Cooper comes up next and manages to work the count full, but Andujar gets him to fly out harmlessly to right. There are two outs, and it all comes down to Johnny Hopp. Everyone is on the top step of the '82 dugout, while the '42 players can barely stand to watch. The whole stadium is tense. The home team is on the verge of losing the series after being up three games to none. Andujar starts off Hopp with a couple fastballs away, the first for a strike, the second for a ball. He tries to get him to chase a slider in the dirt, but Hopp doesn't offer at it. With the count 2-1, Andujar comes inside with a fastball that Hopp pops into right-center. It should be easy though, and as Lonnie calls off Hendrick, the infielders start to celebrate. Lonnie squeezes it for the third out, and by the time he gets in to the infield, it's a mob scene.

2-1 is your final score. '82 wins in seven games. Since the series MVP usually comes from the winning side, I've got to give it Andujar. He got roughed up a little in Game 1, but he followed that up with a win in Game 4 --- the one that got his team untracked --- and simply would not be denied in Game 7. In those two games he pitched 17 innings, giving up only three runs on 9 hits. As Emmitt Smith might say, go cranky folks!

Quick note: I want to say thanks to Larry for giving this lurker a chance to do these write-ups. I've enjoyed it immensely. Hopefully I've been able to fare okay against the sky-high standard set on this site daily. Hope you enjoyed it too!


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Game 7
(series tied, 3 games each)

Whatever you think of Sim-Schoendienst's decision to use Gibson in extra innings yesterday, the call deprived all of us of a rare treat --- a Game 7 showdown between Gibson and Silver King. Never mind that both pitchers currently have two losses now in the series; it would have been a great matchup. I'm disappointed.

But in a situation like this, it's nice to have a 300-game winner in your hip pocket; Sim-Red has just such an asset in Steve Carlton, who hasn't pitched a single time in this tournament so far. He wasn't particularly good in 1968 (13-11 record, 97 ERA+), and he faded so badly down the stretch that he didn't get a start in that October's World Series. Against Silver King, he's at a distinct disadvantage --- and to make matters worse, the southpaw will face an entire lineup of right-handed hitters. Here are those batting orders:

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 Jocko Milligan, c
Steve Carlton, p Silver King, p

Without further ado, then: let's get this thing decided. The games's first two hitters, Brock and Flood, both hit singles; unfortunately for El Birdos, Brock gets caught stealing while Flood is at bat; two hits but no rally. In the bottom half Carlton walks O'Neill with two out to bring up Comiskey, who blasts a long fly to centerfield. Flood can't catch up to it; by the time he retrieves it from the turf, O'Neill has scored and it's 1-0 Browns.

The '68s get their leadoff man on base again in the 3d (a single by Maxvill), and again they lose him --- this time when Carlton bunts into a double play. Brock, batting with nobody on and two out, follows with a double that just stays fair down the right-field line; Flood takes a pitch the other way and places one between the outfielders, and Brock zips around to score the tying run. Through 3 innings, El Birdos have 5 hits off of Silver King, and the top of the order is 4 for 4; hmmm.

Carlton, not particularly awed by the circumstances, doesn't give the Browns much: a walk in the 2d, another in the 3d, a scratch hit in the 4th. He comes up in the 5th with a chance to help himself at the plate: Javier and Maxvill open the inning with singles ahead of him, and Sim-Red --- forgiving Carlton's bunt-into-DP back in the 3d --- flashes the sacrifice signal again. But Carlton puts down another lousy bunt, on one hop to Latham, who fires to second in hopes of turning another two-fer ---- but he throws it away. Another Brownie error, the 310th or so committed behind Silver King in this series. Cardinal red flashes 'round the basepaths as ball is tracked down and secured; by the time it returns to the infield Javier has scored, Maxie's at 3d and Carlton is at second with nobody out. Brock laces a single to score Maxvill and move Carlton up to 3d; Lou then steals second, and once again there are 2 men in scoring position and nobody out. My, but Silver King looks weary; this is his 11th start of the tournament. But he finds it within himself to get Flood on a shallow pop to left, then Maris on a one-hopper to first (with the runners holding), and finally Cepeda on a fly ball to left field; no further damage. A heroic job of damage control; the score is still only 3-1, and the Browns are very much in the game.

Latham leads off the next inning with a base hit but, maybe trying to hard to atone for his error, gets caught stealing 2d base; so much for that rally. And with one out in the next inning, Latham makes another boot on a routine grounder by Shannon. It merely puts a man on first, but you know what's coming; it's inevitable. Javier walks; Maxvill hits an RBI single which moves Hoolie to 3d; and Carlton hits into a force, plating run number 5 --- and unearned run number 3. The Browns save one final miscue for the 7th inning, a two-out muff by Yank Robinson that allows Cha-Cha to scoot home with yet another unearned run. Three more errors in the game, and 13 behind Silver King in the series; he has allowed 17 runs in 4 games vs the 1968s, but only 5 of them are earned. What a travesty.

Tip O'Neill drives Carlton from the game with two outs in the 7th, smoking a double that drives in 2 runs and makes it 6-3. Willis comes on to get the last out of the frame, then works around a Shannon error in the bottom of the 8th. We reach the 9th, and once again --- just like yesterday --- Joe Hoerner's on the mound needing only 3 outs to clinch the series for his team. Ed Herr stands in first, pinch-hitting for King; he flies out to Flood. Latham, who looks like he's gonna go down as the goat of Game 7, flies out to Brock in left. It's all up to Yank Robinson, who waits for a strike and draws a walk; that brings the tying run to the on-deck circle and O'Neill to the plate. Hoerner fires, and Tip hits a bouncing ball out to Hoolie at 2d; the throw goes on to first, and the series is finally --- some would say "mercifully" --- over.

There was drama aplenty, but this was not a well-played set; you'd have to say the Browns lost it as much as (if not more than) the Cardinals won it. But what the hell --- that's baseball, right? They can't all be showcases. I'll miss these Browns, especially ol' Silver King; he finishes the tournament 7-4 with a 1.66 ERA and 0.983 WHIP. In 97.2 innings, he allowed only 1 homer.

But we'll get more starts out of Gibson, and that I applaud. He'll pitch against the winner of the 1926 v 1943 series.