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Tournament of Champions, Round 2: day 6

today's main discussion (kyle lohse, anyone?) is directly below. the tournament slate includes 5, count 'em 5, games today ---- the only day in the entire tournament that we'll have a schedule this large. chris carpenter goes for both the 2004 and 2005 squads, pete alexander pitches for the '28s, and both the benes brothers are in action. there are also a couple of old cigarette-pack baseball cards on exhibit.

if you just want the box scores, click below; the full summaries are after the jump.

Game 3, 1928 v 1968
Game 5, 1888 v 2004
Game 4, 1985 v 1996
Game 4, 1885 v 2000
Game 5, 1943 v 2005

Game 3
(series tied, 1 game each)

summary by lboros

The '68 Cards got almost everything they wanted in the first couple games. Brock's been on base 6 times in 11 trips to the plate, Cepeda has 5 RBIs and a slugging pct over 1.000, and Gibson has a complete-game win . . . . and yet they find themselves only tied. The '28s, by contrast, are very happy with the tie; they've had two so-so pitching performances and just 5 hits in 26 at-bats from their 3-4-5 hitters.

The venue changes in Game 3 from Sportsman's Park to Busch Stadium II; Grover Cleveland (aka Pete) Alexander takes the mound for the '28s, and Sim-Schoendienst comes under some pressure from the sim-marketing department to oppose him with Steve Carlton, creating a matchup of 300-game winners. But on a staff as dominant as that of the 1968 Cardinals, Carlton wasn't particularly impressive. He got off to a good start and even made the All-Star team (the first of his 9 selections). But he faded badly in the second half, posting a 3.46 ERA --- which, in the Year of the Pitcher, was a terrible mark. In 3 of his last 10 starts, Carlton failed to get out of the 4th inning; he ended up with a 2.99 ERA, slightly worse than league average. In the World Series that year he got dropped from the rotation and was relegated to mop-up duty, throwing 4 innings in the Cards' two blowout losses (Games 2 and 6).

So no start for lefty today; no pitching pairing for the ages. Instead Sim-Red gives the ball to Ray Washburn, who set career bests in almost everything in 1968: innings (215), wins (14), ERA (2.26), and strikeouts (124). He capped the regular season with a no-hitter vs the Giants on September 18, the very day after the Giants' Gaylord Perry no-hit the Cardinals. Washburn went on to win Game 3 of the World Series before getting the snot beat out of him in Game 6.

The rest of the lineups:

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

Curt Flood initiates the scoring in the bottom of the first with a solo homer to left, but the '28s erase that lead in short order in the top of the 2d: Bottomley singles, Hafey walks, Harper singles, and Wilson bloops a double that Brock has difficulty corralling. All 3 men come around to score, and Wilson taps the plate a couple batters later to make it 4-1. But Alexander isn't fooling anybody today; Shannon doubles leading off the home half of the second, and Javier launches one into the bleachers to make it 4-3. Guess the wind must be blowing out.

Washburn settles down to retire 9 men in a row, but with 2 outs in the 5th a pitch gets away from him and nails Frisch on the knee. The next one nails Bottomley right on the barrel of the bat; it goes way out to right field, a two-run shot to extend the visitors' lead back out ot 3. The '68s get one back in the bottom half on a double by Brock and a single by Flood. Washburn holds them in check for another 2 innings, and it's still a 6-4 game as Schoendienst's boys come to bat in the 7th.

Dick Simpson pinch-hits for Washburn leading off the frame and rips a single, bringing the tying run to the plate for the top of the order. It hasn't been easy for Ol' Pete today; he's 41 years old and laboring for every out. But Frisch leaves him in, and he gets the dangerous Brock and Flood on force outs. Maris rips a line-drive single to right with 2 out, bringing up Orlando Cepeda as the potential go-ahead run. A year removed from his MVP season of 1967, the Baby Bull had a miserable year in 1968, posting career lows in batting, OBP, slugging, homers, and RBIs. It was mostly a late-season collapse; from August 1 forward he hit just .223 / .266 / .345, before rebounding in the Series with 2 homers and 6 RBI. Here, with a chance to pull his team closer or put it ahead, Cepeda takes a tentative at-bat; Alexander gets ahead and then puts him away with strike 3 on the corner, catching Cha-Cha with the bat on his shoulder. End of rally.

Ron Willis relieves Washburn and yields a leadoff double to Hafey, which sets up an insurance run for the 1928s. The '68s get it right back in the bottom half of the frame on a two-out RBI hit by Dal Maxvill, which finally chases Alexander from the game. Ol' Pete's final line ain't very pretty --- 7.2 innings, 11 hits, 5 runs --- but he's in line for the W nonetheless. Hal Haid comes on to finish off the inning, and he heads out for the 9th with an extra cushion, courtesy of Bottomley's 2-out, 2-run double off Dick Hughes --- the second straight day he has victimized that particular pitcher. After starting the series 0 for 8, Bottomley is 4 for his last 6 with a double, two homers, and 5 RBI.

Brock, Flood, and Maris go in order in the 9th, and that ends it. The 1928s are ahead 2 games to 1. It's where they need to be --- they can still win the series without having to beat Gibson, who pitches tomorrow.


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Game 5
(1888 leads, 3 games to 1)

summary by Zubin

Ironically, I was a believer in 2004 until yesterday. The Cardinals did win, but only by feasting off the Browns' bullpen. And that underscores 2004's problem: through 4 games they have only scored 2 runs off the 1888 starters. Since it's pretty well a given that Silver King will go 9 innings today and for Game 7 ( if needed), the Cardinals need something close to a shutout in two of three games to win. Unfortunately, the 2004 Cardinals don't have a pitcher who can throw a complete game shutout. Good luck Tony, Albert, Jimmy, Scotty and Larry... you need it.

Tonight's matchup pits Silver King v. Chris Carpenter, who is the closest thing to a shutdown pitcher the Cardinals have. The rest of the lineups:

1888 2004
Arlie Latham, 3b Tony Womack, 2b
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
Jocko Milligan, c Edgar Renteria, ss
Bill White, ss Mike Matheny, c
Silver King, p Chris Carpenter, p

As usual, a huge crowd files in to Busch Stadium, but there is something different about tonight. The fans are a bit ruder, and the sea of red normally visible at pre-game Bush seems drab. After the normal pre-game pomp, the Cardinals take the field and Arlie Latham steps into the batter's box. He strokes a single to left center and strange cheers can be heard from the crowd. As the Cardinals' players peer up at the stands, they finally notice what is different: The "sea of red" has been replaced by a sea of maroon and brown. There are reports that many 2004 fans, sensing imminent defeat, sold their tickets to Browns fans visiting from the 19th century. It's an ominous sign for the 2004 club.

Carpenter works around the Latham single, but his counterpart, Silver King pitches a perfect first. In the 2nd the Browns get their leadoff man on again, this time in the form of Charlie Comiskey. And the Browns are intent on making something happen: Commey steals second, advances to third on a grounder to the right side, and is sac flied home by Harry Lyons. As so the Browns score a run without the aid of a hit to make it 1-0.

They get a hit the next inning --- a long one off the bat of Yank Robinson. He digs in with one on and two out in the 3rd and scorches a Carpenter offering deep to left. Going, going . . . . gone. The rare display of power from the Browns' 2nd baseman puts his team up by 3. And Carpenter's troubles continue in the 4th. McCarthy singles to start the inning, swipes second, and scores on Lyons' single to make it 4-0. Then McCarthy steals 2d and is driven in on a single by Jocko Milligan. Whatever momentum the Cards gained from their thrilling, unlikely Game 4 comeback is gone; they're right back where they were yesterday, down 5-0 and facing extinction.

In the bottom of the 5th they finally get one back as Sanders singles, gives the Browns a taste of their own medicine by swiping second, and scores when Matheny singles to left center. There's still only one out, and the Cards are down to their last 14 outs, but Sim Tony send Carpenter up to bunt instead of pinch-hitting. The sacrifice is good, moving Matheny into scoring position, but Womack can't get him home; he pops out to shallow right center. Inning over.

The move to let Carpenter bat for himself seems all the more perplexing in the next half-inning, as he immediately runs into trouble. A single, double, and error scores one run and leaves runners on the corners for Jocko Milligan. He bounces into a double play, but another run scores. It's now 7-1 Browns, and the Cards need another miracle. Could it happen again? Rolen singles in the 7th and Sanders crushes a Silver King fastball into the left-field upper deck to put the Cardinals in slam-range. Renteria keeps the inning going with a single, but Matheny, Mabry, and Womack go in order. In the 8th Pujols doubles with one out, but Edmonds and Rolen fail to get the ball out of the infield. And when the Browns score in the 9th against Ray King, the writing is on the wall.

Reggie Sanders starts the 9th with a pop up to left. Two outs left. Renteria hits one to the exact same spot; it should be the second out of the inning, but O'Neill loses it in the lights and Renteria reaches. Matheny keeps the inning going with a single to left-center, and Lankford comes in to pinch hit and singles to make it 8-4. The Cardinals are back in slam range and need one more baserunner to give themselves a chance. Womack steps in; he swings and hits it to Latham, who steps on third for a force. Larry Walker comes to the plate as the Cardinals' last hope. Silver King winds and delivers; Walker swings and hits the ball a ton to center. Tommy McCarthy races back to the track. He's under it; he makes the grab. That is the ball game, an 8-4 Brownie victory.

Silver King goes the distance again, his third complete-game win in the series. In 27 innings he gives up just 14 hits and 5 runs, leading the small-ball 1888 Browns to a monumental upset over the 2004 Cardinals. Yank Robinson is the hitting star of the series, going 8 for 21. The Browns now go on to the sweet 16.


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Game 4
(1996 leads, 2 games to 1)

summary by cardsfanunion

Surprising stat of this series so far: Sim-Tony has outrun Sim-Whitey. The '96 team leads in the stolen base category, 8-5.

Trying to even the series, Sim-Whitey will go with Game 1 starter John Tudor on three days' rest, just as he did during the postseason in 1985. Sim-Tony, unlike the '96 version of TLR, opts for young fireballer Alan Benes, instead of Andy Benes on three days' rest. '96 Cards fans remember Benes the Younger's gutsy start in Game 6 of the NLCS in Atlanta. Most were left to wonder what might have been had LaRussa opted for Alan in Game 5, rather than Stottlemyre on short rest.

Royce Clayton's in the lineup today at shortstop, leading off --- highlighting one of the true weaknesses of the '96 squad. Sim-Whitey rewards Darrell Porter with a start in Game 4 after his huge 2-run homer to tie Game 3. Lineups are as follows:

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

Benes retires the '85 squad in order to start the game. In the bottom of the first, Tudor looks shaky: After retiring Clayton on a flyout, he yields a long fly to Lankford that pushes Coleman to the wall for the catch. On the next pitch, Gant lines a laser shot over the left-centerfield wall to give the '96 Cards another early lead. It's Gant's second homer of the series to go with 5 RBI; the streaky Gant seems locked in, good news for the '96 Birds.

In the top of the second, Clark leads off with a single to right. Van Slyke hits a screamer, but right at Mabry for out number 1. Benes gets Pendleton to fish at a breaking ball out of the zone for strike three, and with two outs here comes the man: Darrell Porter. He drives one deep into left-center that figures to tie the game, but the ball drops at the track and bounces over the wall for a ground-rule double. Bad break for the '85 squad, as even Clark could have scored with two outs on that one. Up in the booth, Shannon says of Clark, "That guy has deceptive speed." To which Buck responds: "You mean he's even slower than he looks?" With runners on second and third, TLR elects to put young Ozzie on and pitch to Tudor, who flies out with the bases loaded to end the threat.

Tudor and Benes settle in after the top of the second, and neither team threatens until the fifth. Only two men reach base in the interim, and one of them, Clayton (aboard via a leadoff single in the third), is erased as he's caught stealing. Darrell Porter is looking more like the 1982 version, the one that won the MVP of the World Series. He leads off the top of the fifth for the '85 Cards, and Benes coaxes a popout to retire his eighth straight batter. Young Ozzie breaks the string with a double to center and advances to third on Tudor's ground out to Alicea. With two out and a man on third, Coleman comes through with a solid double to right to plate the Wizard. MVP McGee follows with a single, and Coleman scores without a throw. By the time Benes strikes out Herr to end the inning, the '85 Birds have a 2-1 lead.

In the top of the sixth, Clark leads off with his second bloop single of the game. Van Slyke doubles to left center, and Clark comes all the way around to score to give the '85 Birds a 3-1 lead. After Pendleton lines out to his 3B counterpart Gaetti, Porter draws a walk. Sim-Whitey then orders a daring double steal, with Van Slyke taking third and Porter chugging into second; they're both safe.

Sim-Tony draws the infield in. So far in this series, the move has worked 80% of the time --- but not this time, as Smith singles sharply to left, plating Van Slyke. With runners on the corners, Sim-Tony leaves the infield back (for reasons escaping comprehension), and Tudor plates Porter on a weak grounder to second. Young Ozzie moves to second, and scores moments later on Coleman's sharp single through the hole to right. That makes it 6-1, and the wheels have come off for Benes.

Since the first-inning homer to Gant, Tudor has been mesmerizing the '96 Cards with his sidearming repertoire. But in the bottom of the 8th Alicea doubles to lead off the frame, and one out later Clayton drills one over the centerfield wall, getting the '96 Birds within three. Tudor closes out the 8th, then gives way in the ninth to Jeff Lahti. Fans of the '85 squad will remember Todd Worrell as the dominant postseason closer for the Birds, but Lahti led the team's bullpen by committee from April to August. He gets Jordan to ground out to short to start the 9th, but then he beans Gaetti on the knee. Mabry follows with a ground-rule double, and the '96 team has runners at second and third with one out. Pagnozzi grounds to Clark, who boots it, and everyone is safe as Gaetti scores. (Question: Why isn't Mike Jorgensen in there as a defensive replacement?) Now the tying run is aboard, and the winning run's at the plate in the person of Alicea --- who, inexplicably, is allowed to bat for himself. He Ks. Old Willie McGee pinch-hits for Matthews, and Lahti coaxes a ground out to pick up his second save of the series.

It was a well-played game, with no errors committed by either team. The '85 Birds won by clustering five of their 11 baserunners in the sixth, and pressed their advantage with a double steal that inning. The '96 Birds got 10 baserunners, but Tudor was able to scatter nine of those to keep the '96 Cards at bay.

The 1985 squad has all the momentum, as they've tied this series 2-2.


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Game 4
(1885 leads the series, 2 games to 1)

summary by Zubin

Before we get to Game 4, I thought you might like to see some vintage baseball cards of a couple of the Browns' stars. That's Tip O'Neill on the left, Charlie Comiskey on the right:

If you look closely enough, you can see the Comiskey's not wearing a glove --- two bare hands outstretched, waiting for the infielder's throw. Foutz heads out to the mound for his second start of the series, opposite Andy Benes. The rest of the lineups:
1885 2000
Arlie Latham, 3b Fernando Vina, 2b
Bill Gleason, ss Edgar Renteria, ss
Charlie Comiskey, 1b Jim Edmonds, cf
Tip O'Neill, lf Mark McGwire, 1b
Sam Barkley, 2b Ray Lankford, lf
Yank Robinson, rf Fernando Tatis, 3b
Curt Welch, cf J.D. Drew, rf
Doc Bushong, c Mike Matheny, c
Dave Foutz, p Andy Benes, p

After the Browns go in order in the 1st, the Cardinals try to get something started. Renteria reaches first on a single, steals second, and advances to third on J'Ed's ground out. McGwire comes to the plate with a chance to put the Cardinals up early, but Comiskey calls for the IBB for Mac and chooses to face Lankford instead. Playing small ball works out for the Browns, as Lankford fans on 3 straight pitches to end the inning.

That half-inning typifies the game for the Cardinals. They get a man on with less than two outs in every inning through the fifth, but they just can't score --- they leave 7 men on base and are 0 for 6 with men in scoring position. The Browns are only slightly more effective. In the 2d they get two singles, but both runners are nailed stealing; so much for that rally. In the 3d they put two on with two out, but Gleason pops out to end the threat. They finally break through in the 4th, pairing a Comiskey single and a Yank Robinson triple to plate a run.

It's still 1-0 in the 6th when the Cardinal leadoff man, Lankford, rolls one through the right side. Tatis grounds in to a 6-4 fielder's choice and Drew walks, giving Mike Matheny a chance to tie it or put the Cardinals on top. He's already earned his paycheck this game with the two CSs, and he hit the series-clinching walkoff homer vs the 1930 Cards in round 1; can he come up with another big hit? Not today; Foutz jams him and induces a harmless fly to left, which O'Neill puts away. That brings up Benes, who has pitched effectively through 6 innings. The 2000 bullpen has been getting hammered throughout this tournament, but it's getting late and Sim-Tony doesn't want to waste another opportunity against a tough pitcher. So he pulls Benes and sends up Will Clark. The Thrill has been red-hot in this tournament --- in 6 pinch-hitting appearances to date he's 3 for 5 with two doubles, 3 RBI, and a walk. It seems like a sound move, but Will uncharacteristically swings at the first pitch he sees and two hops a ball to 3d for the force.

You can't really blame Sim-Tony for pulling Benes, but it turns out to be a disastrous move. With one out, the bottom of the Browns' order (Welsh, Bushong and Foutz) strings together 3 consecutive doubles against reliever Mike James to make it 3-0. James gets Latham for the second out of the inning, then gets pulled for Heath Slocumb, who promptly makes a bad situation worse. Slocumb beans Bill Gleason and then gives up singles to Comiskey, O'Neill, and Barkley to make the score 6-0 Browns. Gene Stechschulte comes on in relief and the inning (mercifully) ends when Sam Barkley is thrown out stealing.

The Browns go on to score again in the 8th, and the Cardinals go hitless in the final 3 innings. It's a 7-0 final score, and the Browns take Game 4 and a commanding 3-1 series lead.


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Game 4
(series tied, 2 games each)

summary by lboros

The 2005s are damn lucky to be tied in this series. They've only hit 2 homers and they're getting outhit by 60 points, .308 to .248. Pujols has just 4 hits in the series, all singles; Larry Walker is just 3 for 17, Reggie Sanders 3 for 16, Nunez and Rolen a combined 3 for 16. On the other side, Marty Marion --- who hit a career-high .280 in 1943 --- is the surprise hitting star, with 8 hits in 12 trips (a .667 average); Musial's 6 for 17 (.353), Klein is 7 for 19 (.368), Walker Cooper 8 for 19 (.421).

Today Sim-Tony sends out Carpenter, who got bombed in Game 1. In the first round against the 2002s, Carp v2005 recovered from a shaky Game 1 outing to throw a gem in Game 5. Sim-Southworth counters with Mort Cooper, author of a shutout in Game 1. The lineup cards, entire:

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
Mort Cooper, p Chris Carpenter, p

You can't stop Marty Marion; you can only hope to contain him. Slats hits safely again in his first at-bat, an RBI single that leaves him 9 for 13 in the series (a .692 average). The 2005s get only 1 baserunner their first trip through the order, a single by Grudzielanek in the 3d; Carpenter forces him for the second out of the inning and stands on first base as the lineup turns over. Then Eckstein and Walker both single, chasing Carp home with the tying run. The trip around the bases doesn't help him; he gives up a leadoff single to Kurowski, narrowly averts disaster on Ray Sanders' long flyball to right, and then gives up the go-ahead run on a two-out RBI double by ---- wait for it --- Marty Marion. He's 10 for 14 now in the series, batting .714.

The '43s get at least one base hit off Carpenter in 6 of the first 7 innings, but to little purpose. They rack up 8 men left on base; Marion has the team's only RBIs. But Cooper keeps the 2005 bats in eclipse; the 3-4-5-6 hitters (Pujols Edmonds Sanders and Nunez) are a combined 0 for 10 through 6 innings. That changes in a hurry in the 7th, though; Sanders hits a leadoff double, Nunez drives him in with a single, and just like that it's 2-2. Carp strands another man in the 8th, then departs for pinch-hitter J-Rod leading off the bottom of the inning --- he singles to right and moves up to 2d on a Walker base on balls, setting up a 2-on, 1-out situation for the 2005 National League MVP. But Albert tops a grounder to short, forcing the runner at 2d; Edmonds follows with a groundball to first, and the hopeful inning is over. Albert and Jimmy are both now 0 for 4.

Hoolie Tavarez comes in to pitch. It's his 4th appearance in the series; he's unscored-upon in the 3 prior outings. Johnny Hopp (pinch-hitting for Cooper) greets him with a base hit, and Klein hits into a forceout at 2d to bring up Harry Walker. Musial's on deck, and King is warm in the bullpen --- but why wait for Musial? Walker's a left-hander, too. Whatever; I guess Sim-Tony knows what he's doing. Tavarez fires, and Walker blasts the ball over Edmonds' head and off the wall. Jimmy tracks it down quickly and hits the cutoff man as Klein round third; Grud'ks relay is in time and on the money, but Klein slides around Molina's tag and gets his hand in there ---- safe. King comes on, a batter late, and retires the side without further damage, but there's already been harm enough; the 2005s trail it 3-2, and there are only 3 outs to go.

But Sanders leads off with a single against Murry Dickson and moves into scoring position on Nunez's bounce out. With Grudzielanek at the plate, Sanders makes a daring call --- he challenges Cooper's rocket arm and attempts to steal third. Good jim, throw not in time; he's there with only 1 out. Sim-Southworth calls the infield in for Gruddy, a good contact hiter. Here's the pitch, Grud'k swings --- it's a one-hopper right to Klein. Sanders has to hold, and it's all up to Molina. Sim-Tony would like to pinch-hit, but with Rodriguez having batted already there aren't any really good options left. Einar Diaz? John Mabry? So Taguchi? Might as well stick w/ Yadi and hope for the best. At least you know he'll put it in play . . . . .

He does, on the first pitch; a routine grounder to 3d. Kurowski gloves it and throws Molina out, and the ball game is over. The '43s win the game 3-2 and now lead the series by the same score.