Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Kid Gleason: How He Beat Ruth From The Mound To The Plate

A lot you out there know how Babe Ruth switched from pitching to the outfield, or from great pitcher to positioned player.

And sometimes, Ruth is thought to be the fist to do that.

Actually, he is not.

Kid Gleason, a pitcher in the late 1880s and early 1890s did the switch from the mound to second sacker in 1895. The good old Philadelphia Philles could only imagine his hidden talent!

Gleason is probably most remembered for being the managed of the ill-fated 1919 Chicago Black Sox. Incidenlty, that season also marked Babe Ruth's first real permanent shift towards the outfield from the mound. It had been teased the previous season when, in just 95 games played, but of those only 20 on the mound. Ruth would lead the league in homeruns that year with 11. In 1919, Ruth played 130 games, but just 17 of them were on the mound. For the second straight season, The Bambino lead the league in 4 baggers with 29. Ruth would pitch just 5 more games in the next 16 seasons.

Although he stay on the mound was not that long, Gleason racked up 138 wins (Ruth won 94) before the switch. And unlike Ruth, he never returned to the mound.

In 1890, his 38 wins was second in the National LEague. And he did lead the league in saves that year, albeit with only 2.

At the time of his switch, Kid Gleason was just a .240 hitter, which is a lot worse than it looks. Remember, it was the dead ball era where everyone swung for singles.

After the switch, his batting went up a little, .265 the rest of his career.

But his fielding got better as his career went on.

He led the American League in errors in 1901, as he made 64 as a member of the Tigers. He would finish in the top ten in errors ten times and lead the league 4 times. And it was twice leading the AL and twice leading the NL.

But Kid also was among the leaders in putouts as a second basemen. Nine times he was in the top 10 in putouts as a second basemen, and three times the outright leader. Amazingly, in 1892, Kid Gleason was the National League leader in putouts among pitchers

Ten times Gleason was among the leader in assists as well. And again, he lead the league three times. He was also the 4th in the NL in assists as a pitcher in 1890.

Was Kid a bad fielder as a pitcher? Well, he was 4th in the National League in errors in 1893.

But 8 straight years from 1898 to 1905, he was among the league leader in range factor per game as a second basemen, and even lead the league in 1899.

As a pitcher, Gleason was 5th in range factor per nine innings in 1892. He was second in range factor per game that year.


References

Nemec, David et all. 20th Century Baseball Chronicle: A Year-by-year History of Major League Baseball. Collector's Edition. Lincolnwood, Ill: Publications International, 1993. Print.

Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 31 Oct. 2012.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

McLain: How He Didn't Pitch So Bad In Game 1!

Well, Detroit got swept!

But I was kinda pulling for a St Louis- Detroit World Seres.

Because game 1 of the 1968 World Series is one of my all time favourite games to watch. Gibson's 17 strikeouts.

Now the losing pitcher in that game was Denny McLain. McLain 31-6 / 1.96 / 280.

But there was the matter of Big Bob Gibson. He somehow managed to lose 9 games, but won 22 and posted an ERA of 1.12, lowest in the NL. Luis Tiant led the AL with 1.67, McLain's being good enough for 4th place among hurlers.

So the two were set the square off in game 1 of the 1968 World Series between The Detroit Tigers and The St. Louis Cardinals. McLain, it should be noted, wore numer 17. How appropriate!

Gibson started off fast in the top of the 1st. Dick McAuliffe struck out. Mickey Stanley singled, but was caught stealing. Al Kaline then became Gibson's second K. A message to McLain: Top that.

McLain couldn't in the bottom of the 1st.

Lou Brock grounded out to Stanley, who playing shortstop instead of centerfield! Mickey had played just 9 games at shortstop that season but was inserted in the lineup for more offence. Stanley got 2 hits on the day. Curt Flood and Roger Maris both flied out to Kaline in right.

But Gibson was just warming up. In the top of the 2nd, Norm Cash fanned, Willie Horton looked at strike three. Jim Northrup also whiffed. 5 strikeouts in two innings for Gibson.

After Orlando Cepeda flied out to Northrup in center to open the bottom of the second, Tim McCarver hit a tremendous triple to centerfield. McLain didn't give in. After getting ahead 2-1, Mike Shannon fanned on a high fastball. Then Stan Javier went to 3-2 before McLain got him to take a high one for strike three!

That's what I love about baseball: Pitcher gets himself into a jam, then goes into "god" mode. That's a term in video games, where your character you control touches an item (or uses a cheat) to 'power up" and you can't be touched.

What McLain just did.

However, it's Gibson who is the real god.

Or maybe it's god desguised as Bob Gibson!

Bill Freehan fanned to open the third inning. Don Wert singled for the Tigers' second hit off Gibson. Then it was McLain's turn to bat. McLain led the AL in sacrific bunts (SH) that season with 16. And he got 13 more the next season for the loop leader again.

And yes, there is one out. But go with the percentages among pitchers batting. McLain's average was just .162 in the regular season. And he hadn't faced Bob Gibson in any of those games.

Opponent's Batting Average off Bob Gibson in 1968? .184!

As he tried to bunt on and 0-2 pitch (which I admit is dumb) McLain fouled it back for strike 3.

McAuliffe grounded out to Cepeda at first, who made the putout himself.

Del Maxvill drew a walk off McLain to lead off the bottom of the frame. McLain never found the strike zone in that encounter. Then Gibson showed McLain how it's done in a World Series by taking a ball and then sac bunting Max to second.

Lou Brock was the hitter. He fouled the first pitch off and cracked his bat. McLain missed with his next pitch, but then, 1-1, Brock grounded to McLain, who makes a great play. No, the grounder wasn't tough.

But Mclain looked at second first to see if Maxvill was running. It amazes me how many times I see a pitcher just pick up the ball in situations like that and throw to first.

Maxvill took a few strides towards third. McLain fired to second to Stanley and they nailed him. Stan Man is looking good at shortstop!

With Flood up, you just know what Brock is going to do. Pitchout, Brock stays. Next pitch, Brock goes. Ball 2, anyways.

And when catcher Bill Freehan's throw goes into centerfield, Brock is on third with two outs. So much for McLain's nice play on Maxvill.

But Curt Flood, the fleet centerfielder, tried to bunt for a hit and fouled it off. Then McLain fires a fastball that Flood misses, 2-2.

Ball 3.

Flood pops up to Stanley.

The 4th starts out with Stanley flying out to Roger Maris in right. Kaline again strikes out, this time looking. Cash flies out to Northrup.

The wheels came off the chariot for McLain in the bottom of the 4th.

Maris walks on four pitches, Cepeada, ahead in the count at one point 2-0 and then 3-1, pops out to Cash at first. But then, McCarver walks. Mike Shannon, the third basemen, singles to left, after McLain almost hit him with the second pitch. It should be noted, McLain did get ahead 1-2 and forced Shannon to foul off a pitch to stay alive. But Denny missed the next pitch, and then Shannon hit his single.

Maris scored, and when Willie Horton, in left, overran the ball, McCarver made it to third and Shannon made it to second. They both scored as Javier singled to left. It was suddenly 3-0. And then Javier stole second with Maxvill up.

McLain, shaken a bit, got Maxvill to fly out to Horton. Gibson then fanned for McLain's third K.

Horton led off the top of the 5th by popping out to Javier at second. Northrup was then out on a liner to Del at short. Freehan drew Gibson's only walk of the afternoon. Wert then looked at strike three, Gibby's ninth K!

McLain got Brock to ground out to Wert at third to start the bottom of the frame. Flood popped out to second. Maris prolonged the inning by reaching on Cash's error, the ball going right through Norm's legs. Cepeda ended the inning by flying out to Horton in left, who was actually forced to make a nice play.

That actually ended McLain's night as Tommy Matchick pich hit for him to lead off the top of the 6th. Although he grounded out, McAuliffe singled to right. After Gibson notched his 10th K of the day on Stanley, Al Kaline got hit first World Series hit, a double to left. McAuliffe had to hold at this. Norm Cash then became Gibby's 11th K.

It was the closest the Tigers would come to scoring, as they managed just one more hit the rest of the way. Gibson, of course, finished with 17 strikeouts, a shutout, just 5 hits and 1 walk against.

McLain's numbers for the game don't seem so bad:

5IP, 3(2 Earned)R, 3H, 3BB, 3K.

So it was a game of threes for McLain, although only 2 of the runs he permitted were earned.

And continuing on this games of threes, the Tigers made 3 errors behind McLain, and the Cardinals stole a total of 3 bases, but only 2 off McLain.

The Tigers ended up giving up 6 total hits (3 x 2) and 4 runs total. They weren't gonna beat Gibson with mistakes like that.

I should give them some credit, because after McLain left, the kept Brock off the bases. I mean, when a guy hits a homerun, like Lou did in the 7th off Pat Dobson, he can't steal a base, can he?


McLain returned to the hill in game 4. This time he was shelled, and the Tigers scored just 1 run off Gibson. But in game 6, with the Tigers facing elimination, Denny beat the Cards 13-1,

McLain gave up 9 hits in the game, but was just 1 out away from a shutout, when Julian Javier's single scored Roger Maris. Maxvill struck out to end the game, and Detroit went on to win game 7 behind Mickey Lolich's third W of the Series.

Perhaps it was fitting, 34 years later, when this blogger ran into Jon Warden at an oldtimers game, I asked him how they came back from 3-1 down against the Cards to win.

"We had Lolich and McLain, didn't we?"

I liked the McLain part!


References

MLBClassics, and NBC. "1968 World Series, Game 1: Tigers @ Cardinals." YouTube, uploaded by MLBClassics, 04 Oct. 2010. Web. 30 Oct. 2012. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gR7mFvbd1XM>. NBC broadcast which aired October 2nd, 1968.

Neft, David S., Richard M. Cohen, and Michael L. Neft. The Sports Encyclopedia: Baseball, 1992. 12th ed. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992. Print.

Thorn, John, and Pete Palmer. Total Baseball. Vers. 1994. Portland, OR: Creative Multimedia Corp., 1994. Computer software. CD-ROM.

World Series Of 1968. Dir. Dick Winik. Perf. Curty Gowdy, Bob Gibson and Mickey Lolich. Major League Baseball Promotion Corp., 1968. DVD. Narrated by Curt Gowdy.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sal Maglie's Three Moments For Others In October

Although I was born far to late to see Sal Maglie pitch, it's hard to ignore all the baseball history he was a part of.

And to some, his contributions to each of his three most memorable moments has been forgotten

In 1951, he was a key member of the Giants team, that came back to win the pennant.

On August 5 of that year, he got the save in a Giant 8-4 win over the Cardinals that pushed New York's record to 59-47.

Alas. they were 9 1/2 games back of the Brooklyn (who suddenly in 2015 is THE place to play sports. Who would've thought we'd be saying that after 1957?) even with the win.

Worse still, the Giants lost their next four games to fall 13 games back of the Dodgers. And there was only 48 games to go for the Dodgers, 44 to go for the Giants.

But Maglie would not let them lose. The very next day, Maglie beat the Phillies, 3-2, to stop the slide and begin the roll.

The Giants won their next 4 games for good measure, and Maglie kept the ball rolling and made it 6 straight wins by beating Don Newcombe, 2-1. The Giants were 9.5 games back with 38 games to go. Maglie himself had tossed a fine 4 hitter and upped his record on the season to 17-5.

The Giants continued to roll, and the streak went to 16 games in a row won. The lead of Brooklyn, was down to just 6 games.

And there was still 27 games to go.

The Giants finally lost to Pittsburgh on August 29th, but when Maglie beat the Boston Braves on September 5th (second game of a doubleheader), the lead was 5 1/2 games, althouth the Giants were running out of time.

Maglie beat Ralph Branca (Hey, not like it's the last time they'd meet this season!) and the Dodgers, 2-1 on September 9th to again drop the Dodgers lead to 5.5 games. But now there were only 16 left in the season.

But The Barber's record was now 20-5.

Maglie would make it 21 with a win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on September 16. Again it was the second game of a doubleheader. The lead was now down to 4.5 games, but there was only 9 games to go.

But another win over Boston by Maglie on September 23 gave the right-hander 22 wins, and dropped the Dodgers' lead to 3 games with 6 left.

They would finally catch the Dodgers on the second last game of the season, when Maglie (now 23-6) beat Warren Spahn (himself 22-14) 3-0 on a fine 5 hit shutout of the Braves, 3-0.

The Dodgers and Giants both won game number 154 to set up a best of three playoffs.

The Giants then put the Dodgers on the brink with a big win in the first game, 3-1. But the Dodgers stayed alive with an easy win, 10-0 in the second act.

So it was all down to game number 157. October 3, 1951.

And Maglie was on the hill.

Maglie gave up a run in the top of the first when Sal's arch enemy, Jackie Robinson, singled home a run.

And the Giants stayed down as Don Newcombe continued his strong pitching (20-9 so far, plus a 1.90 ERA in his last 19.2 innings) and held the Giants scoreless through 6 innings.

Bobby Thompson's sacrifice fly tied the game, but rookie (really?) Willie Mays (Say, "HEY!") hit into a double play.

With runners on the corners, Robinson, who always loved situations like this, and relishing the chance to get even with Maglie (who frequently knocked Jackie down at the plate), coaxed a wild pitch from Sal.

Sal had no choice. He walked Robinson intentionally.

But Andy Pafko singled, scoring a run and moving Robinson to third. Jackie came home with the 4th Giants run on Billy Cox's single.

The other Thompson, Hank, pinch-hit for Maglie in the bottom of the 8th. But the Giants couldn't do a thing with Big Don.

But what does it matter, we all know what happened in the bottom of the 9th.

Indeed, after scoring a run of Newcombe, the Giants had runners on second and third with only one out.

But they were two outs away from losing the pennant when Bobby Thompson hit THE 3 run home run.

And...THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT.

But they wouldn't have without Sal.

But they failed to win the World Series, which was won by the Yankees. It was Joe DiMaggio's goodbye and Mickey Mantle's hello.

Maglie started game 4, but lost it 6-2. DiMaggio hit his last homerun ever off Sal.

Three years later the Giants DID win the World Series.

Maglie started game 1 of that Series. But in the top of the first, Vic Wertz of the opposing Giants, tripled of the Giants righthander to score two.

The Giants answered with 2 in the bottom of the 3rd, the second run scoring on a single by Hank Thompson.

The game stayed tied for a long time, and Maglie was having all sorts of troubles with Wertz.

In the 4th, Vic singled to lead off the inning and was stranded at second.

In the 6th, Wertz again lead of the inning with a single, and made it all the way to third before again being stranded.

Maglie survived both, and got through the 7th in order.

But in the top of the 8th, Larry Doby walked. Al Rosen singled. Maglie was through for the day, because Wertz, 3-3 was coming to the plate.

And the Giants were in a World Series of trouble!

Don Little, a lefthander, came in to pitch.

Wertz launched one towards centerfield...

Where Mays chased after it

But the ball is way back, back...

...It is caught by Willie Mays!

Dolby advanced to third on the catch.

I feel compelled to say what happened next.

Hank Majeski, who was a right hander, came in to pinch hit for Dave Philley, who was a switch-hitter, and Marv Grisson came in to pitch.

But as Leo Durocher took the ball from Liddle, Don said, "Well, I got my man!"

Actually, Don, MAYS got your man.

Anways, Majeski, never made it to the first pitch from Marv.

Dale  Mitchell (He's here, too?) a left-hander, came in to actually take the plate appearance. Grissom walked him.

Now the bases were loaded.

Then, still another pinch-hitter, and again a left hander, Dave Pope, batted for George Strickland and fanned.

Jim Hegan then flied out.

Anyways, the Giants eventually won the game in the bottom of the 10th, but not before Wertz hit another double, to fall a homerun short of the cycle. So Mays robbed him of hitting for the cycle in his first World Series game.

Wertz left for a pinch runner.

In the bottom of the frame, Mays walked, stole second, and Hank Thompson was walked intentionally. Dusty Rhodes, as we all know, won the game with a homerun.

Now we are in 1956, and it's game 5.

Not only was Maglie 13-5 since joining the Dodgers, pitching for the first time on May 24th, he was also 6-1 in his last 8 games with a 1.89 ERA, plus a no-hitter on September 25 against Philadelphia.

And Sal had won game 1 of the World Series with a 10 strikeout performance.

In game 5, the Yankees couldn't touch him for 3 innings. Then with 2 out in bottom of the 4th. Mickey Mantle, the 1956 triple crown winner, and AL MVP, hit a homerun off him that was fair by a few feet. It was the first hit off Maglie. Duke Snider then robbed Yogi Berra of a double and the Dodgers were out of the inning.

In the bottom of the 5th, Enos Slaughter walked, the first walk of Maglie. Billy Martin then tried to bunt, but Maglie fielded the ball cleanly, and tossed to Pee Wee Reese at second.

The throw was a little high, but Reese, the shortstop, made a fine catch to force Slaughter. Gil McDougald then rocketed a drive that is going to left center and is a sure double as Martin takes off.

But Reece, jumps up, snares it, comes down, and stops the ball which has come out of his glove, and fires to first to double up Martin.

Andy Carey started the Yankees sixth with a single, which was hit above Maglie's head to center field. Maglie's opponent on the hill that day, Don Larsen, receives an ovation for his pitching performance up till that point (more on that later) and lays down a sacrifice that advances Carey to second.

Hank Bauer's single scored Carey, and when Joe Collins singled, the Yankees, with only one out, had men on first and third.

And Mantle back up.

Mantle had also homered in the opening game of this best of seven tilt, but the Yankees had scored just three runs to the Dodgers six in that game. Here, Mickey had a chance, with one swing of the bat, to put the Yankees up by 5!

With the count 1-1, Mantle, the switch-hitter batting left, hits a scorcher down the first base line. Gil Hodges, at first, make the putout unassisted, then fires the ball home to Roy Campanella, the catcher.

Bauer is trapped, and a rundown ensues, which ends as Hodges, Campanella and Jackie Robinson made him a dead duck. Jackie himself applied the putout.

In the bottom of the 7th, Yogi Berra popped out foul to Robinson. Slaughter flied out to Sandy Amoros in left.

But Billy Martin hit a ball no one could stop for the sixth (and final) hit off Maglie. McDougald then drew Maglie's second and final walk of the game when Sal missed with all four pitches.

Two on, two outs, and Carey at bat.

Sal decided to keep him honest with a pitch so inside that Carey asks Babe Pinelli for a call. Perhaps he'd been nicked by The Barber? Pinelli has the final saying in this matter: The ball did not hit Carey!

In any event, Carey ends up hitting it sharply to Jim Gilliam, the shortstop, who fires to Reece to get Gil McDougald at second.

The Dodgers didn't have to worry about making another fielding play that game.

Maglie is in a slump, strikeout-wise. Sal hasn't whiffed a batter since he fanned Collins for the second out of the 4th inning. After which, Mickey hit the homerun that has broken a 0-0 tie. It is now 2-0 for New York. His other strikeout has been Billy Martin in the bottom of the 2nd to end the inning.

To be fair, Don Larsen hasn't fanned anyone since he k'd Maglie to end the 6th. But Maglie made him earn it: It took Don seven pitches (3 missed swings, 2 fouls, and 2 balls) to do it. Larsen has struck out 6 Dodgers in 8 innings, but only (Maglie, of course) since the top of the 4th.

That is all about to change as Larsen gets a standing ovation as he comes to the plate.

And fans.

Bauer comes to the plate.

And fans.

Collins, with Mantle on deck, comes to the plate.

And fans.

In the top of the ninth, Carl Furillo flies out to Bauer in right field on the sixth pitch. Campanella grounds out to Billy Martin, the second basemen. Then, Dale Mitchell is sent up to bat for Maglie.

And fans on a 1-2 pitch for Larsen's seventh strikeout of the game and 2-0 Yankees win. Don needed just 97 pitches to get that!

The Yankees are now up 3-2 in the 1956 World Series, which they will win in 7 as Maglie never returns to the hill for the Dodgers in this Series.

Now for what you have all been wondering about all this time:

Don Larsen just became the only man, as of game 2 of the 2012 World Series, to toss a perfect game in the Fall Classic! Sal Maglie, meanwhile, had to be content with a fine 5-hitter. Only once before has a World Series game had such few hits between two teams over nine innings.


References

Anderson, Dave.  "The Giants' 37-7 Finish." Pennant Races: Baseball At Its Best. New York: Doubleday, 1994. Print, pp. 210-254.

Golenbock, Peter. Dynasty: The New York Yankees, 1949-1964. Lincolnwood, IL: Contemporary, 2000. Print, pp. 263-267.

Baseball's Greatest Moments. Prod. Major League Baseball Home Video. Perf. Warner Fusselle. Major League Baseball , 1991. Videocassette. Narrated by Warner Fusselle.

Neft, David S., Richard M. Cohen, and Michael L. Neft. The Sports Encyclopedia: Baseball, 1992. 12th ed. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992. Print.

Neft, David S., and Richard M. Cohen. The World Series: Complete Play-by-play of Every Game, 1903-1989. 4th ed. New York: St. Martin's, 1990. Print, pp. 262.

Nemec, David et all. 20th Century Baseball Chronicle: A Year-by-year History of Major League Baseball. Collector's Edition. Lincolnwood, Ill: Publications International, 1993. Print.

Paper, Lewis J. Perfect: Don Larsen's Miraculous World Series Game And The Men Who Made It Happen. New York, NY: New American Library, 2009. Print.

Seaver, Tom, and Martin Appel. Great Moments in Baseball. New York, NY: Carol Pub. Group, 1992. Print.

Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 27 Oct. 2012.

World Series Of 1956. Dir. Lew Fonseca. Prod. Chicago Film Studios and Major League Baseball. Perf. New York Yankees, Brooklyn Dodgers, Lew Fonseca. Major League Baseball Productions, 1956. DVD. Narrated by Lew Fonseca.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

1992 World Series Game 6


VS.


So the Jays' second crack at immortality has David Cone returning for a matchup against Steve Avery.

Cone was trying to atone for his short outing (4.1 IP) in game two where he gave up four runs (3 earned).

Candy Maldonado was in left, Dave Winfield was in right, with Joe Carter one first for John Olerud. Sans Avery, there is no lineup changes for the Braves.

Devon White led off the first with a single, stole, second and made it to third on Alomar grounder.

Joe Carter then did what he did best. He got ahead in the count, 3-1, then hit a fly to Justice that White tagged on.

Justice only got a piece of the ball and then dropped it, which by the way is still an RBI. Better still Winfield walked on four straight pitches. The Braves big three were being exposed, here. 4 BBs in game 4, 4 in game 5, and already one here in game 6.

Anyway, Avery beared down and got Candy Maldonado to hit to Jeff Blauser to force Winfield. Then Kelly Gruber makes it 1 for 31 (.033) since game 2 of the 1992 ALCS by grounding to Blauser as well, to force Candy out at second.

Cone took the hill and quickly got Nixon on a grounder to Manuel Lee. Deion Sanders grounded out to Carter at first, making the play unassisted.

Terry Pendleton continued his hot hitting by getting his third hit in six at bats to prolong the agony. Cone then got Dave Justice to pop up to Lee.

Pat Borders was officially out of his slump (0 for his last 2) with a single to start the second for the Jays. Borders was now at .471 batting average (8-17).

But Lee flew out to Justice in right. Cone, batting 1.000 (2-2) saw his average drop all the way to .667 by hitting the ball to Lemke for a 4-5-3 double play. And I was just beginning to think Cone could hit in the American League!

Sid Bream greeted Cones return to the mound in the bottom of the second by walking after falling behind 0-2, taking three balls, fouling off two more, then looking at ball four. Blauser, still dangerous despite just hitting just .158 (3-19), singles to left. Damon Berryhill flies to White in center, but Bream tagged and made it to third. Mark Lemke also flew out to White, but this time, no one advanced. When Avery fanned, the inning was over.

Avery then took the hill in the third and absolutly owned White, fanning him on three pitches. But Alomar singled, and then showed Avery what would have happened anyway had he remained on the hill in the 9th inning of game 3: he stole second. Carter's groundout moved Alomar to third. But Winfield flied out to Justice. Oh yeah, he caught this one.

After Nixon grounded to Lee, Sanders continued his Cone ownage with a double (8-14 lifetime, now). Sanders was now hitting .571 lifetime against Cone.

Sanders wasn't through against Cone, as he stole third. Then he scored on Pendleton sacrifice to White. Justice made it to a full count, and looked at a third strike!

Maldonado, just 1-14 so far in this Series led off the 4th with a blast that sailed out to left and out of here for homerun. I remember pumping my fist and saying, "Way to go Maldonado!"

The Jays weren't finished, Gruber made it 1-32 (Can it keep going on?) with a grounder to Blauser, but Pat Borders doubled to left, upping his average in the Series to .500 again (9-18). After Lee fanned, Cone walked. White then lashed a single to left, upping his average to .261 (6-23). But Borders tried to score and Sanders nailed him at the plate. Jays are sure leaving a lotta men on base, eh?

Cone, though needed just 7 pitches to get rid of Bream, Blauser and Berryhill in the bottom of the frame. But Blauser hit the ball deep in the hole at second, were Alomar made an unbelivable dive, stopped it, and threw Jeff out at first on a one hopper! Berryhill (1-16 since his game 1 homerun) then fanned for the third K of the game by Cone.

Pete Smith took over on the hill in the top of the 5th for Atlanta. This was his first appearance in World Series ever, having gone 3.2 inning in his only appearance in the NLCS (2.45 ERA in that outing, but an impressive 7-0 with a 2.05 ERA in the regular season).

Quickly, he got Alomar to ground out, but then Carter hit a over Pendleton's head.

Smith settled down and got Winfield to line to Nixon in left center. Maldonado ended the inning by grounding out the Blauser.

For those keeping track, the Jays have left 6 men on base, 4 of them in scoring position. This game could have been a blowout by now!

In the bottom of the 5th, Mark Lemke drew Cone's second walk, and Bobby Cox let Pete Smith hit for himself. With the count 1-1, he tried a bunt but it went foul. Cone then tried once, twice to pick off Lemke. Smith bunted four for Cone's 4th strikeout. Nixon pops up behind Gruber but Lee snags it for the second out, but Sanders singles Lemke to third.

Sanders now has an average of .600 against Cone (9-15). The two will never face each other again on the diamond. I'm sure Cone doesn't mind that one bit!

Sanders then steals second, with Cone never bothering to try and pick him off. Pendleton goes 3-1, before Cone gets him to foul the next pitch off. Then he goes with the devastating slider that just drops and Terry gets a piece off.

But Borders gets all of it. K number 5 for Cone.

To be fair, the Braves have left 5 men on base so far. 3 in scoring position.

Smith starts the 6th by getting Gruber to fly out and then Borders to pop up.

Lee, the last out of the 5th game and mired in an .067 (1-15) slump, hits a single. Pete then forces him at second. 8 men left on base.

Justice is out on a liner to Winfield, but Bream coaxes Cone's 3rd walk on the night. Blauser goes to 2-2, fouls off two pitches, and then goes down swinging for Cone's 6th K. Berryhill flied out to White in short center.

After White flied out to start the 7th inning, Alomar got his second hit of the game, making his average a little better. He was 2-18 entering this game, but now 4-21 with that hit.

Alomar was forced at second by Carter however, and then Winfield popped out to Nixon. Winfield is starting to slump as his average is now just .200 (4-20) in this 1992 World Series.

And he still does not have an extra base hit in this Series. He had none in 1981.

And 8 men left on base for the Jays in 7 innings. Something needs to be done.

And despite the hit by Alomar, Smith needed just 8 pitches to get rid of the Jays.

Cone's night is over. It's a big improvement over his game 2 outing:

6IP, 1 (Earned)R, 4H, 3BB, 6K, 2SBA Pitching

0-2, 1BB, Batting

Here's his game 2 outing

4 1/3, 4R (3 Earned), 5H, 5BB, 2K, 4SBA Pitching

2-2, 1RBI, 0BB Batting

Lemke leads of the bottom half of the 7th against Todd Stottlemyre, who I am surprised is pitching after that near disaster in the 9th inning the previous game.

Todd fans him, however. And that's no easy task, as Lemke, despite what his stats say .222 (4-18) at this point, has been hitting the ball well this Series.

For you World Series buffs, here's something interesting about Mark: In the 1991 World Series, game 4, he tripled and scored the winning run to tie the Series at 2. Then in the next game, he hit two more triples to put Atlanta up 3-2 with a 14-5 win. Lemke, I believe, is the only player ever to hit 3 total triples in 2 games of a World Series. Two back to back games, I should say. But don't read that wrong, he hit 3 triples, not 6. Overall, Lemke .417 in that 1991 Series.

So here's a guy who knows how to get it done.

But so it Todd Stottlemyre, who fans him. Borders drops the ball, however, and has to throw him out at first. Boy, even when you strike them out they cause problems!

Jeff Treadway, who hit just .222 in the regular season, but .667 (2-3) in the NLCS, bats for Smith and grounds out to Alomar, a play not as hard as the play he made of Blauser in the 4th, but a little trouble.

Nixon ends the euphoria by lashing a single to left.

Now the Jays had to A) Deal with Nixon on the bases and B) Deal with Sanders at bat.

One solution: David Wells

Cox sends up Ron Gant to pinch hit. Lefty vs righty.

Boomer holds Nixon close, then with the count 1-2, Nixon takes off and Borders guns him out!

Another step towards MVP honours, Pat! I stand Pat with Borders behind the plate or at the plate in the postseason.

And I would say the same thing, relative to on the mound, with Mike Stanton, who takes over in the top of the 8th.

Here are his number, NLCS and World Series combined to this point:

8GP, 7.2IP, 1(Unearned)R 3H, 3BB, 6K, 0.00 ERA.

Guess John Olerud won't be coming in the game anytime soon.

Coming off a great performance in game 5, the odds of the Jays scoring just went down. Thank god, no DH. The Braves will have to pinch hit for him, eventually.

Maldonado, despite his homerun, is only 2-16 (That's a buck twenty-five) greets Stanton with a single, however, and the Jays are on the move again.

But is it to even third or past it?

Gruber, I guess deciding a hit is out of the question, does the next best thing, SH (Sac Bunt, the H is for hit). Gruber is still 1-33 in the Series.

But Maldonado is 90 feet from...third.

But Borders is up.

Stanton does the hands-down smartest play in the Series.

Intentional walk.

Hey, after three hitters, the Jays are batting 1.00 against Stanton this game!

But Lee does what he did last time against Stanton. The old popup to first in foul territory.

In what will be his last at bat as a Jay, Derek Bell hits for Wells and grounds out.

LOB by the Jays: 10, including 6 in scoring position. I would have gladly offered my service to the Jays as a pinch hitter at this point!

Gant now faces the other "W" pitcher for the Jays, Duan Ward. Appearance number 4 for Ward. 2-0 in 2.1 inning over those three appearances. A pitcher who throws strikes. 5 K's and 0 walks.

But Gant launches one to right, where a 41 year old Dave Winfield is stationed.

Oh, no, White can't exactly come over and help can he? It looks like a triple, and a sure tied game.

Winfield stretches out, tumbles, AND MAKES THE CATCH!

Wow.

The Jays didn't exactly get Winfield for his glove. The Jays didn't exactly get Morris for his regular season pitching.

It was hitting and postseason for Winfield, while Morris it was his postseason pitching.

Neither has turned out this World Series. But Morris gave the Jays 21 wins in the regular season (the first Jay to ever win 20 games in a season) and Winfield might have just saved the Series for the Jays, right there.

Where was I again?

Ward fanned Pendleton after Terry fouled off 2 pitches, but Justice walked. Bream flew out to Maldonado.

And now their was one thought as the Jays entered the ninth inning.

THREE MORE OUTS!

But first the Jays had to bat.

White lined out to Lemke and Alomar lined out to Nixon.

But Carter doubled for his third hit on the day.

Enter Mark Wohlers from the Braves pen.

Come on Dave.

Nope, he grounds on on a chopper to Blauser. 11 LOB, 7 in scoring position

Who better to nail it down then Tom Henke?

Hey, Jays don't have Calvin Schiraldi, now do they?

Oh, no, don't think that.

But Blauser (see I told you he was a tough out) singled. Berryhill got the bunt down right, this time.

Lonnie Smith, whose grand slam ended the hopes of the Jays in game 5 come to back to hit for Lemke.

And then Henke walked him.

What is happening?

Francisco Cabrera come to bat for Wohlers.

Henke gets the count to 2-2, then Cabrera fouls off three pitches.

Then he sends a liner that is over Maldonado's head. Game over.

Wait a minute, Maldonado leaps and SPEARS IT!

Cabrera misses by inches from being the hero of the NLCS and The World Series.

Otis Nixon is all that seperates Toronto from immortality.

He swung and misses at the first pitch.

He took a called strike 2.

One pitch away.

Just like the Red Sox 6 years ago.

Come on Henke, bear down.

At this point everyone remembers the song The Ballard Of Tom Henke, that I still have on tape.

Long after they've turned on the lights in Wrigley Field
Long after The Jays have moved into their dome
They'll be talking about the guy by the name of Henke
Brought the World Series to our home

Perfect prophecy!

Henke fires one...

...and Nixon hits it between Lee and Gruber, Maldonado's throw home is way high.

Blauser has scored, Smith has made it to third, and Nixon to second.

What a disaster!

But wait, Henke gets behind Gant 3-1, then induces the left fielder to fly out to White.

Well, at least the Jays are still alive.

But so are the Braves.

But in the 10th, an unwelcoming sight: Charlie Leibrandt enters the game.

That's the guy who was the winning pitcher in game 7 of the Jays 1985 ALCS loss.

Rafael Belliard also is in the game, at short.

Kelly Gruber, who was actually with the Jays in '85 (for all of 5 games), singles after Maldonado flies out. I knew it, just when we all had given up on him, like in the bottom of the eighth inning of game 3.

Better still, we got The Guy Who Does Hit, Borders up. 2-3 with a walk tonight, 9-19 in the Series so far!

But Borders goes out to left, dropping his average to only .450. Then Pat Tabler comes to the plate for the last time in his career, to hit for Lee.

While he hit just .252 in the regular season, I had actually been quite impressed with him that year. He had batted .320 in his last 9 games in the regular season. And he had helped the with some clutch hits. He got 3 RBIs May 2nd against Milwaukee and 3 more in an 15-11 win over the Tigers. He was 3-4 on May 8th vs The Angels and also 3-5 on the last day of the season vs The Tigers.

He was just 0-1 in th World Series, not having played since game 1, and not playing at all in the ALCS.

He took a good cut, but all he could do is line it back to Leibrandt on a 1-1 count for the third out. 12 men left on base

Alfredo Griffin came in to play shortstop in the bottom of the 10th.

Henke got Pendleton to ground out to Carter, who made the play himself.

But that was the last pitch Henke would ever throw in a Blue Jay uniform.

Jimmy Key, who would also be gone from the Jays after this season, entered the game and enduced a groundout by Justice to Griffin. Then Jimmy covered first as Sid Justice hit a grounder to Carter.

In the top of the 11th, it was Key who was forced to bat for himself.

Quickly he got behind 0-2, as one 1985 ALCS pitcher faced another. Then he worked the count to 2-2, before popping up to Sid Bream in foul territory.

But then White, who became a Jay in 1991, got hit with a pitch with the count 1-2. White rarely walked, so there was no way he was going to get on base, unless Charlie hit him.

Then Roberto Alomar, who also joined the Jays in 1991, and whose motto should be, "I WON'T LET THE JAYS LOSE!", singled White to second.

The man who came over in the Alomar trade from San Diego trade (for Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff), Joe Carter, flied out to Nixon for out number 2.

But Dave Winfield (4-21 so far) on the payoff pitch, doubled to left to score both White and Alomar. 4-2 Jays!

Winfield's first extra base hit in a World Series. Couldn't have come at a better time.

Maybe earlier in the game, perhaps?

Like in the 3rd, 5th, 7th or 9th inning?

Oh, that was then, just like Winfield's 1-22 performance in the 1981 World Series.

It was all behind us.

Surely there was nothing to stand in the Jays way, now!

Maldonado, like Key, fell behind 0-2, worked it to 2-2, then popped uo to Belliard. This was the last Jays batter this game.

And Maldonado's last at bat in a Jays uniform until 1995.

I really missed him. He could have wined and sulked when he was put on the back burner as the season opened. It was supposed to be Derek Bell's turn in left field.

Bell got a hit in four trips to the plate in the opener of '92, then got a hit in his first at bat 2 days later.

And then he cracked his hand, missed 29 games, and lost his spot to The Candy Man.

And did Maldonado come through: 20 homeruns, 66 RBI, 64 Runs Scored in all of 137 games

And in 114 of those games, he batted in the 6th spot or lower.

His fielding might not have been great, but it was no George Bell, either.

And that doesn't include his 2 homeruns and 6 RBIs in the ALCS.

Almost forgot, LOB by Toronto, 13, including 8 in scoring position.

Anyways, it took 2 pitches to feel bad in the bottom of the 11th.

Blauser makes it 3-5 with a clean single to left to start another Brave uprising. Confidence level has got to be at an alltime high when you swing on the first pitch.

And that ups Jeff's average to .250 (6-24) in the Series. But .385 (5-13) in the last three games. These guys just help you win.

Damon Berryhill, who has certainly had his troubles at the plate, hits a double play ball to Griffin on the next pitch!

But the ball takes a bad hop and goes to center field. Blauser makes it all the way to third.

John Smoltz comes into the game. No, not to pitch, but rather to pinch-run for Berryhill.

Belliard gets the tying run into scoring position with a bunt that Key fields.

Brian Hunter, who hit .239 in the regular season, but also 14 homeruns in only 102 games, is sent up to hit for Leibrandt. He hit only .200 in the NLCS and is 1-4 in this Series with an RBI in game 2.

He grounds to Carter, who makes the putout himself as Blauser scores. 4-3 Toronto

The tying run is at this.

Two outs.

Otis Nixon at bat.

Deja vu all over again, as Yogi Berra would say.

Did I mention all this drama in this half inning has taken 6 pitches. Really!

But Jimmy Key, who has thrown all six pitches this inning and only 14 in the game, is done for the night.

Now why, this doesn't make since with Nixon a switch hitter, and Mike Timlin, the new Jays pitcher, a righty.

Timlin, as mentioned, has had a bit of a rough season. 0-2 with a 4.12 ERA. He had started the year on the DL, and didn't throw his first pitch until June 13th. After 13 appearances, his ERA was pretty good, 2.57.

But it rose to 3.91 at the end of July when he was rocked for 4 runs in only 2  innings of work against KC.

Then it rose to 5.06 after giving up 5 earned runs in 3.2 innings his next outing.

Yet, over the course of his last 11 games (17 innings) he posted a tidy 2.65 ERA, and got the save (his only on the season) on the very last day of the regular season.

He was back to his surprsing rookie form of 1991 when he was 11-6 with a 3.16 ERA.

Mike had struggled against Oakland (6.75 ERA in only 1.1 innings), but that last outing against Atlanta was good, wasn't it? a perfect 1-2-3 inning and only 9 pitches.

But Nixon is 2-5 today and 8-26 in the Series for a .308 batting average.

The Jays have a huddle on the mound.

Just as it's ending, Joe Carter, reminds everyone that Nixon might try and bunt.

Timlin goes to work. Nixon fouls off a pitch.

Then, just as Carter had warned, Nixon BUNTS!

Timlin gets it, fires to Carter!

IT IS OVER.

The Toronto Blue Jays win the real World Series of 1992.

So much for Blow Jays, post season pantsies, and all that other nonesence. Toronto is the Champion!

World Champs, eh?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

1992 World Series Game 5


VS.


So Jack Morris was back on the hill for the Jays.

A chance to win his first postseason game in 1992. A chance to redeem himself from game 1, and a chance to put the final nail in the coffin.

But whatever good feeling I had vanished soon enough. With Deion Sanders and Sid Bream back in the lineup, this would be no easy task. John Smoltz was back on the hill after a pretty good, but a little wild, game 2.

And I forgot to remind you that the Jays have won three games in a row after losing game 1, but all of them, by a single run.

Otis Nixon doubled on the left field line past Kelly Gruber to open the game, despite the fact that Gruber was almost on the line. Sanders is a K victim, but Terry Pendleton, who knows how 3-1 Series leads evaporate quickly (He was on the ill-fated 1985 St Louis Cardinals) comes to bat. Nixon steals second as Morris falls behind in the count. Morris then gets it back to 2-2 and watches as Pendleton fouls off three pitches, plus a ball three. Then he doubles pastb John Olerud down the first base line for a double, his first extra base hit of this Series.

Morris gets it back together and fans David Justice and Lonnie Smith flies out. But the Braves have the lead.

Devon White has a fun AB to lead off the game against Smoltz, falling behind 1-2 and battling it back to a full count, fouling off a pitch in the progress, before going down on strikes like he did to lead off game 2. Alomar makes a quick out on a grounder, Carter takes strike three. It had taken Johnny just 13 pitches.

Morris quickly got Bream to fly out. Then Blauser and him have a 9 pitch AB (Pendleton did in the first) before Morris fans him. Damon Berryhill pops to Gruber in foul territory at third.

Smoltz sort of gets his old wildness from game 2 back in the bottom of the frame, however. Dave Winfield flies out, but not before getting the count from 0-2 to 3-2. Then Smoltz throws 3 straight balls to Olerud (.200, 2-10 still) gets it back to 3-2, before giving up a single. To Candy Maldonado, Smoltz throws 2 ball, 2 strikes and then 2 balls.

Smoltz must be a little nervous, eh?

Well, who wouldn't be? It's a World Series, you're facing elimination, it's a different country, who knows?

Smoltz actually tries to pick Olerud off second with the count 1-1 on Gruber. I think I kinda smiled, Olerud with just 1 career stolen base at that point. No threat to steal. But it's a World Series.

Smoltz fired two more strikes to get rid of Gruber. Smoltz must love these situations. Just as Tom Glavine did the day before.

But Pat Borders doubled off the fence in left to score Olerud and send Maldonado to third. The game was tied. Smoltz then got Manuel Lee to line out to end the inning, which took him 27 pitches.

Mark Lemke snapped a 2-15 World Series, thus far, with a single to center to start the Braves third. Nixon hit a ball that Lee got to but was hit so weakly his only option was to first. Lemke advanced still another base as Sanders grounded out to Alomar.

Let's see if Morris likes these situations!

Apparently he did, as he fanned Pendleton for his fourth K and get out of a little jam. But it only took him 13 pitches.

Smoltz again got White to fly out. This was the third straight inning he had retired to leadoff man. But it was the fifth batter John had gone 3-2 on. And again, from 0-2 to 3-2. Alomar drew Smoltz's second walk on, you guessed it, a 3-2 pitch. Smoltz, again, settling into his favourite chair on the hill, got Carter to fly out and Winfield to force Alomar. I guess he just loves playing with the Jays! Or relieving some nervous tension. Soon though, I'd become the nervous one.

Morris, after throwing Justice a ball to lead off the top of the fourth, threw one too high and Justice hit it off the facing of the second deck in left for his first extra base hit of the Series. The Braves are back on top 2-1.

While Morris quickly gets Smith and Bream to fly out, Blauser keeps the inning alive with a single to snap a 2-16 Series with a single.

There's a thing about guys like Blauser. They're small, but they got some power. You can never take them lightly, even with two outs and the bases empty. They make you pay when you least suspect it. So you first thought is, hold them to a single, and make sure there are two outs. Then see if they try to steal.

Which Blauser does, and Borders, for just the second time this series, throws him out! Well, at least they only got one run.

The bottom of the frame is like the bottom of the second all over again. Olerud, suddenly red hot in games 4 and 5, singles. Maldonado again goes 3-2, and again walks. Since one of CBS's Sean McDonough's favourite saying is, "The payoff pitch..." (when the count is 3-2, because the next pitch will, "pay-off" one way or another), he must really be getting tired of saying that.

Smoltz has made him say that 7 times so far tonight, while Morris has done that twice.

And we're in the bottom of the 4th.

Anways, Gruber is out on a flyball that takes Sanders to the fence in left. But up comes Borders, who is now hitting .462 (6-13) in the Series.

Conference time among infielders (no manager) plus the battery on the mound. Who can blame them?

Ball 1.

Ball 2.

Ball 3.

What was the point of the conference on the mound? Avoid 3-2 counts?

Smoltz would kill for one now. But he comes back with pitch that Borders can only foul off. His thinking about Olerud on second again, and tries to pick him off. No dice.

Smoltz goes back to work on the incandecent Borders. He throws him a great pitch, a slider that breaks really down and really left. Borders reaches for it and gets the last 1/3 of the bat on it and hits it past Smoltz and just past a diving Lemke. Olerud, despite being slow, easily beats the throw from Nixon, 2-2.

When you're hot, you're hot!

After throwing Lee still another ball, Smoltz bears down and gets him to force Maldonado at second.

White ends the inning by striking out. Smoltz needed 25 more pitches to get through that. But he now has 4 strikeouts. Oh, and 3 walks in the last 3 innings.

Morris starts the fifth with his 5th strikeout (Berryhill). Then Lemke grounds out to Alomar.

But Otis Nixon singles to center, steals second on the first pitch to Deion, then scores as Sanders singles to shallow center. Pendleton doubles to right, just like he did in the first. 3-2 Atlanta.

The ball is touched by a fan and Sanders has to go back to third. At this point, it looks live the roof is caving in on Morris again.

Dave Justice, who homered in his last at bat, is walked intentionally. That brings up Lonnie Smith, who has 3 career grand slams to his name.

Smith is hitting 1-10 in this Series, and Morris gets him to foul off the first pitch. After a ball, Smith fouls off another, and another. Then Morris fires a high fastball on the outer edge of the plate. Oh no.

Smith sends the ball deep to right, Carter goes back, back...

But the ball ends up in the Braves bullpen.

Suddenly, this close game has been blown open, 7-2, on a grand slam.

That's it for Morris. The booing is off the charts as Cito comes out. I honesty believe some of the booing is for Cito, but most is for Morris, who now sports a 1992 World Series ERA of 8.44.

David Wells hops in from the bullpen, where he pitched most of the year. Despite a high ERA (5.40), and a 7-9 W-L record, he has pitched well against the Braves this postseason.

But now he's in for mop up duty. He gets Bream to fly out. Finally the inning is over: 5 runs, 4 hits, 0 errors, 0 men left on base

Smoltz gets Alomar and Carter on flies in the bottom of the 5th. But then Dave Winfield gets the 5th hit off Smotlz. Olerud falls behind 0-2, works it back to 3-2, fouls off a pitch, then flies out to left. 17 pitches for Smoltz. I think he's learning.

Olerud then takes Blauser's popup in foul territory to start the top of the 6th. Then Damon Berryhill snaps a 0-13 streak dating back to his game 1 3-run homerun, with a single. But Lemke flies out and Nixon lines out.

Smoltz, seemingly settling down now, gets Madonado and Gruber to fly out. Borders, now a .500 hitter (7-14), grounds out. That's Smoltz's first 1-2-3 inning since the first. In that inning he needed 13 pitches. Here, he needed only 11, but his pitch count is up to 109 if you can believe it.

And we're only through 6.

The top of the 7th sees the Jays bring in Mike Timlin, who hadn't pitched at all in the World Series so far. Actually, his performance against Oakland (6.75 ERA in 1 2/3 innings) tells you why.

Anyways, Sanders greets him with a liner to center that White catches. Pendleton hits a 5 foot grounder that Borders himself tags him with for the second out. Justice hits it deep in the whole at second, where Alomar, as always, makes the play. A play that many others at second wouldn't make!

Smoltz starts his half of the second by getting behind Lee 2-0, and after getting a called strike, he misses the next 2 pitches. Walk number 4.

Even with a 7-2, you've gotta be careful in any game of a World Series, where everyone's lives are at stake, seemingly. No retreat, no surrender.

And if you're Bobby Cox, you've got to look at the facts, while Smoltz has pitched well, and this game is all but wrapped up, you don't want to give the Jays any life.

And you also will need Smoltz in the event of the Series goes to 7 games.

Tonight Smoltz has thrown over 100 pitches (114) and 48 of them have been balls. John has had just 2 1-2-3 innings, and this 7th isn't going to be one. You've walked 4 and have come close to walking 5 more. Plus there are still 3 innings to go.

With that. Bobby Cox trots out to the hill and takes the ball from Smoltz.

As mentioned, it's been a good outing 6IP, 2(Earned)R, 5H, 4BB, 4K, 1LOB. But Smoltz is going to need some rest, and at the rate he's going, 150 pitches isn't out of the question tonight.

In comes Mike Stanton, the hard throwing left. Another reason he's here: White and Alomar are switch hitters. Guess who is the first two batters he's facing?

And I'm surprised Stanton hasn't come in to start this inning, since Lee is also a switch hitter.

Stanton was a middle reliever, who at this point had finished 57 of the 166 games he has entered. Of those games he's finished, 24 of them have been saves.

In the postseason this year, he's pitched 5 times against Pittsburgh in the NLCS (4.1 IP, 1 (Unearned)R, 2H, 2BB, 5K)

In the Word Series, he has pitched twice, but just 1/3 of an inning in game 2 and the 4 intentional balls vs Sprague in the 9th inning of game 3.

Lee might not be well remembered, but I sure do remember him. He generally batted low in the lineup, yet usually came up with 35-45 RBIs, while playing some slick D. Still Jays fans are quite ready to embrace him, after the moody, yet excellent, Tony Fernandez left.

Stanton proves to be just the tonic the Braves need at this point. White forces Lee after Mike gets ahead of him 1-2. Then Alomar ends the suspence by hitting into a 6-4-3 double play on the very first pitch.

As the game moves into the seventh, the Jays bring in Mark Eichhorn.

Eichhorn was one of my favourite Jays, largely becasue he had this wicked sidearm delivery. Like suddenly coming around the corner, it was murder on right handers. But lefties hit it well.

Eichhorn has pitched for both these teams before.

After pitching briefly for the Jays in 1982, he spent the next 3 seasons in the minors. Then he stunned the baseball world in 1986.

In those three seasons, he worked on his deliverly, which by 1986 he had mastered. All of this because of a shoulder injury that forced him to throw that way. The Mark Eichhorn of 1986 was different than the Mark Eichhorn of 1982.

But the Jays weren't quite ready to take a chance on him, inviting him to spring training as a non-roster player.

But the Jays were so impressed by him the bought his contract on opening day, April 8.

He pitched, pitched and pitched for the Jays that year, finishing with a 1.72 ERA, 14 wins and 10 saves and taking home The Sporting New Amercian League Player Of The Year award.

He continued his effectiveness, but by 1989 he was a Brave. And the a year later, an Angel.

In the middle of 1992, he was a Jay again. He went 2-0 with the Jays, but had a high ERA, 4.35 and had pitched just once (1 inning) in the postseason (Game 5 of the ALCS).

Eichhorn was on to face Lonnie Smith, who was getting all the clutch hits now for the Braves, and who now had 5 RBIs in the last 3 games.

In the game's best at bat, hands down, Smith fell behind 0-2, fouled off a pitch, took two balls, fouled of four straight pitches, then swung and missed.

Sid Bream was next. The Jays had gone with 10 pitchers on their postseason roster: Morris, David Cone, Juan Guzman, Jimmy Key, Todd Stottlemyre, Wells, Timlin, Eichhorn, Duan Ward and Tom Henke. So Bob MacDonald, another lefty was not available at this point. Although not that great, sure could use another pitcher like him and Al Leiter, who spent the majority of the year in the minors, in a situation like this.

Anyways, Eichhorn got him on a long fly to White. Blauser grounded out like Justice did an inning earlier.

Stanton faces Carter, who is in a big slump (2-17, but also a homerun in game 3) since his game 1 homerun, to start the bottom of the eighth.

Blauser is out of the game as it heads into the bottom of the eighth. Rafael Belliard, an all field and no hit, (.223 BA with 1 homerun in 777 games, at this point). It's his 3rd game of the World Series of 1992 and his 6th game in the postseason overall. Just 1 AB, however.

Carter singles to center for the Jays 6th hit of the night. Then he steals second. But Winfield strikes out for Stanton's first K of the night.

As in game 3, Ed Sprague pinch hits for Olerud.

Mike isn't going to walk him intentionally or unitentionally, however, and jumps ahead 0-2, misses a pitch, then enduces Sprague to fly out to Justice for the second out. Carter tags and makes it to third on the play.

It's been a long time since the Jays have had a runner standing on third. Actually, the last time they had that was in the second inning.

But Maldonado falls behind 0-2 and can only hit it to the hole in short. Pendleton is there, tosses Candy out, and the inning is over.

Todd Stottlemyre takes over on the hill in the top of ninth, and Sprague stays at first for Olerud.

Todd has been wild this year for the Jays. But like Key, just when the roof was about to close on the Stottledome, he found his mark late in the year, going 5-2 in his last 7 games (6 starts), posting a 2.83 ERA and holding batters to .211 batting average. Also, on August 26th, in the game that got him on the right track, he tossed a smooth 1-hitting and beat the White Sox, 9-0.

ALCS-wise, he only pitched once (game 4), but it was a fairly important outing 3.2 IP, 1(Earned)R, 3H, 0BB, 1K as the Jays came back from 6-1 down to win 7-6 in extra innings.

World Series wise, he's pitched a perfect inning in game 1 and 2, and fanned 2 batters.

Make that three as Blauser fans to open the inning, but Lemke, starting to find his stroke, gets his second hit on the night. Nixon sends Lemke to second when he follows suit, and a single by Sanders loads the bases again.

It hasn't been that long since the Braves had the sacks drunk. 4 innings ago, remember?

5th inning all over again?

At least Lonnie Smith isn't up. But it's Pendleton, with Justice and Smith to follow.

Oh, boy, the Braves can put a lock on the game they've already put away.

Stottlemyre is now worried and misses with a pitch. Then Pendleton goes the other way to shallow left. Maldonado is there and makes the putout.

For whatever reason, Lemke decides to try and score on the play and Candy nails him at the plate.

The Jays have escaped this jam by the skin of their teeth. If only they could have done that in the 5th.

The defiant Jays come up for one last try in the bottom of the ninth.

Gruber looks like he's gotten the first walk of Stanton (and first walk since Smotlz game departing one in the top of the 7th) when he gets ahead 3-0. Then he takes two strikes, fouls off two pitches, and sends a long fly to Nixon in center for out one.

After getting a called first strike on Borders (his average is down to .467) it's

Ball 1.

Ball 2.

Ball 3.

After getting another called strike, Borders fouls the next pitch off. Then he grounds out to Pendleton.

Manny Lee is the last Blue Jay batter.

But he makes Mike work as Stanton again misses the first two pitches. What was he doing in the top of the ninth, taking lessons from Smoltz?

Then Mike finds the plate with a pitch. Alas, the next pitch is also a ball, 3-1.

But coming into this inning, Stanton has made 20 pitches in 2 innings. He can afford this.

Lee takes a called strike 2, and then Stanton revives the hopes of everyone who is a Braves fan, by getting Lee to pop out foul to Bream. Game over, brand new Series.

Which now heading back to the Dixieland Fun Park.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

1992 World Series Game 4


VS.


It's a Key game, since after this game it's either 3-1 or 2-2.

And who better to take the hill than Jimmy Key? 5-1 with a 2.08 ERA since getting pulled after just 1.2 IP in that 22-2 August 28 drubbing at the hands of Milwaukee. But all these numbers include just 3 IP in the postseason.

Another reason to pitch Key: The Braves benched the red hot Deion Sanders (.333). In his place, Ron Gant, 0-3 in game 1. Sid Bream, hitting .375, would also sit this one out. Brian Hunter took his place at first.

Tom Glavine was back for his second start on the other hand. But actually, both Key and Glavine will be using the same hand (left) to pitch with. Anyways, Glavine was looking to build on his tremendous stuff in game 1, while Key was just trying to prove he belonged on the mound, at least as a starter (His 3 IP were in relief in game 5 of the ALCS).

So Key was kinda like Glavine from game 1.

Would he pitch like Glavine in game 1? Would Glavine not pitch like Glavine in game 1?

The answer seemed apparent in the first inning. Otis Nixon slashed a single to lead of the game after Key fell behind 2-1 in the count. Uh-oh.

Key threw to first, Nixon got back. After firing strike one to Jeff Blauser, he tried to pick Nixon off again. No dice.

But then Nixon took a leadoff of oh-a-bit-to-much!

Here comes Key with a perfect pickoff move, and John Olerud with a perfect tag. OUUUUUUUUT!

Alright!

But Blauser singled after Key fell behind in the count 3-1. Then, Blauser stole second.

Key had fallen behind 2-1 to Terry Pendleton, then got him to swing and miss a pitch as Blauser swiped second. Pendleton hit a low liner to Manuel Lee at shortstop for the second out.

Lonnie Smith got ahead in the count 3-1, before he grounded out. Key was out of the inning. But can he stay in the game at this rate? Falling behind in batters is like putting a glass of grapefruit drink on a white tablecloth. Bad things are going to happen sooner or later.

Glavine went the full count on Devon White, before he singled. But he quickly beared down and got Alomar to hit into a force play, then have Carter ground out. Alomar stole third, but the inning ended as Winfield grounded out.

Key got the side out in order in the second, fanning Hunter to end the first inning and pick up his first K.

Glavine was once again more than equal to the task. Olerud (now 0-8, taking over for Gruber in the oh-for category) fanned, Candy Maldonado and Kelly Gruber grounded out.

But Key really started to get it into top gear in the top of the third as Damon Berryhill and Mark Lemke fanned (Borders dropped the 3rd strike and had to nail Damon at first). Nixon didn't make it to first as he grounded out to Gruber at third.

Pat Borders led off the 3rd for the Jays. And is this guy hot, .444 at the plate in this Series!

With the count 1-1, Glavine threw him a changeup and Borders hits one to left a la Calton Fisk (See, this only happens to catchers in the World Series!) that is either going to be just fair or foul, but perhaps also short of the wall as well. Well, it hit the foul poul just above the wall! 1-0, Toronto. First RBI and homerun for Pat. It's also his first homerun off a lefty all year!

Devon White doubles one out later and Alomar walks. But then Carter lines into a double play. So much for a big inning!

But Key needs just 7 pitches to retire Blauser (on a strikeout), Pendleton and Smith in the top of the 4th.

Glavine is in more trouble in the bottom of the inning. He can't find the plate in any of the 4 pitches he tosses to Winfield and my boy Olerud gets his first World Series hit. Now, Glavine is in serious trouble.

But Maldonado flies out, none of the runners advancing. Gruber hits into a double play. Hey, Grewbah? You're back to being a goat!

Justice fans to open the 5th, but Gant and Hunter hit the ball well for long loud outs. Key used just 12 more pitches this inning.

Glavine settles down in the bottom of the frame, as Borders and Lee ground out to shortstop and third (Blauser and Pendleton). White flies out to Justice in right. Have the Jays blown their chance to increase the lead?

It's the sixth, where Jack Morris that 1-0 lead in game 1. And then the wheels came off the chariot!

Do I hear an encore?

Damon Berryhill and Mark Lemke make quick outs, but Nixon prolongs the inning with another single. He knows better than to try a steal, as Key challenges him with three pickoff attempts. Jimmy then get Blauser to hit into a force out.

In the Jays half of the inning, Alomar flies out. Carter walks. After Winfield forces Carter, Olerud singles again (on a 1-2 pitch, no less). Winfield making it to third this time.

Glavine K's Maldonado!

Dang!

Key again retired the side in order, including Smith on a strikeout.

In the bottom of the frame, the Jays finally gave Key some breathing room.

Gruber drew the fourth walk off Glavine. Borders and Lee made outs, Lee's grounder getting Gruber to second. This time, Glavine would not escape.

White singled to left, Gruber off with the crack of the bat. Kelly scored on a slide that left the 3rd baseman dirty and dishevelled, looking like the big time loser in a pier six brawl. 2-0 Jays. White got greedy and thought the Braves were throwing home, so he tried for second and was a dead duck!

But Gant lashed a double to left to open the eight. And then Hunter tried to bunt. And he beat it out anyway (perfect bunt, btw) and the tying run was on first.

Berryhill (still without a hit since his game 1 winning homerun. That's 0-10 with 7 K's) also tried to bunt (this time on a hit and run), but popped to Borders.

Lemke was in a slump too, but a tough out in this Series. He lined the ball off Key and then Gruber had to barehanded it to just barely nip Mark at first. Gant scored, 2-1. Jimmy Key's night was over.

Innings 1 and 8 combined for Key:

1.2IP, 4H, 1(Earned)R, 0BB, 0K, 5.40 ERA + 1SB against and 1CS against

Innings 2 to 7

6IP, 0R, 1H, 0BB, 6K, 0.00ERA + 0SB against and 0CS against

So Duane Ward, who has won 2 straight games (in relief) comes in and fans Nixon on a beauty of a sinker. Borders can't handle it, and Nixon reaches first on the wild pitch! Hunter, the tying run, is now 90 feet away.

Jeff Blauser is up, and you really got to wonder why Sanders and Bream aren't in the game pinch hitting for him. But Blauser has been hitting the ball hard all Series long, despite only hitting just .143 (2-14) with 7 K's.

And he hits this one well, too.

But Olerud makes a fine stop at first and makes the play unassisted. Still 2-1, Jays.

And it stayed that way after 8, as Glavine needed just 10 pitches to mow down Alomar, Carter and Winfield.

Glavine's night is also over. It's not quite the same as the opening act: 8IP, 6H, 2 (Earned)R, 4BB, 2K + 1SB against and 0CS against, compared to 9IP, 1(Earned)R, 4H, 0BB, 6K in game 1.

Here's the probable reason for the increase in walks and hits: It's Amercian League umpire Dan Morrison behind the plate and not Jerry Crawford (game 1), the National League umpire, behind the plate.

Tom Henke comes in and instantly terminates any hope of a Brave comeback. He started by fanning Pendleton, then taking Smith's grounder and tossing to Olerud. Finally, big Tom gets some Justice (suddenly looking less dangerous) to fly out tamely to Maldonaldo. 11 pitches!

The game has taken just 2 hours and 21 minutes to play. And the Jays were now up 3-1!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

1992 World Series Game 3


VS.


I realize for all you nostalgic Jays fans like me, your attitude towards this is, "Get to THE CATCH!"

Okay fine, I'll get there as soon as possible. But first:

1) They solved the problem of the upside down flag with class. US Marines held the Canadian Flag right side up, Mountie Police held US flag rightside up

2) So it was on to the first ever World Series game played outside USA. "World" Series, right?

3) Starters: Juan Guzman 16-5 VS Steve Avery (11-11)

Guzman lets Sanders single and steal second in the first. Other than that, not any problems first 3 innings. Avery gave up a single to Winfield in the second, plus a Borders single in the 3rd, again, other than that, no problems

Alright, on to the forth, were the drama starts:

1) Sanders gets an infield single on which Guzman almost throws away, but Olerud snares

2) Pendleton singles, but Sanders only makes it to second, because Sanders had to hold up to make sure Alomar doesn't reach up and snare it

Okay, was that quick enough? Now...

Justice crushes Guzman's pitch to center. White has a beat on it, but it looks like it's gonna get past him an hit the way, and bounce back past White. A triple? Sure to score both runners.

But White reaches it and makes an unbelievable catch in center. It's White that bounces off the wall, and he lands on his feat and fires the ball into the infield, where Pendleton has run past Sanders at second.

That means he's out automatically, but the Jays don't know that and relay it to Olerud at first. Olerud sees Sanders trying to salvage a base out of this mess and fires to Gruber.

Alright! Sanders is in a rundown. Gruber chases him down and dives, catching him on the heel, Sanders diving back into second as his laces grazing Gruber's glove as he dove.

But second base umpire Bob Davidson misses both somehow. Later he will watch the replay and admit, he missed it (One or both Bob?)

But the bottom line is, no Brave scored on the play, or in the inning as Lonnie Smith fanned.

The Jays did score in their half, as Joe Carter connected on a solo flight with one out. It's his second World Series homerun in three games.

From their this great pitcher's dual continues, as Winfield and Olerud fail to get the ball out of the infield.

What of the Braves? Sid Bream singles to open the 5th, but Guzman fans both Blauser and Berryhill. Then Lemke grounds out.

Gruber, who in the third made it an 0 hits in 23 AB's, going back to game 2 of the ALCS, walked with one out in the bottom of the frame, but Borders fanned and Lee grounded out.

Then in the sixth, Sanders made it three straight innings of Braves getting the leadoff man on, as he doubled to right, then hobbled into second. I think he stubbed his toe!

Pendleton went the other way for a hit to left, with Lee actually making a nice throw to third, too late to get Sanders.

Justice would not be denied this time, as he singled past Olerud, who was playing shallow, to tie the ballgame.

Avery continued to roll, needing just nine pitches for White to fly out, Alomar to strikeout (6 so far for Steve) and Carter to popout.

Two popups and a ground out retired the B's (Blauser and Berryhill) and Lemke grounds out.

Avery, still working on the three hitter, fanned both Winfield and Olerud in the bottom of the 7th. When Candy Maldonado flied out, Avery had used just 16 pitches to get three outs.

The Braves made their move in the top of the eight. With Gruber playing shallow to stop Nixon from making it on a weak hit ball, Nixon drilled the ball through his glove. This would be the only error of the game. With Sanders up, Nixon stole second. Deion then popped out. Pendleton grounded out to Alomar at second, with Nixon taking third.

Dave Justice was back to the plate. And at this point, he's really looking dangerous. He could be ready to go yard.

The Jays were thinking the same thing and walked him intentionally. Now the experienced Lonnie Smith.

Experienced at winning World Series! Been their in 1980 with Philly and won it, been their with St Louis in 1982 and won it. Been their with KC in 1985 and won it, after beating the Jays in the ALCS.

Against the Jays the first go around in '85 he hit .250 with just one RBI. This Series, he hadn't had a hit in three at bats, and had fanned twice tonight,but Smith was 3-4 in game 5 of the 1985 ALCS against the Jays. This is a guy you needed to get ahead, or back in the game.

He came through again, singling to left for a hit. Nixon scored and Maldonado fumbled the ball, but quickly recovered it, nailing Justice out at third.

But the Jays were behind 2-1.

Kelly Gruber (0-23, remember) led off the bottom of the frame. Avery quickly got ahead of him 1-2. Then Gruber fouled off a pitch, took a ball, fouled off a pitch, took a ball (no, you haven't read the same thing twice), then blasted a homerun to left field, about 362 feet! And it was just fair!

"What a way to end the longest postseason drought!", said CBS's Sean McDonough.

Avery again beared down and got the next three Jay out, including White who fanned. Guess it's easier to catch a liner than hit one. Anyways, that's nine K's for Steve!

Guzman's night was over, however, after 8 innings, 115 pitches, 8 hits and 7 K's.

So Duan Ward, game 2 winner, took over.

Bream, as he had done in the 5th, lead off with a single. Brian Hunter came into to run.

Then the Jays pulled off some magic.

Jeff Blauser, with the count 2-2, swung at a low pitch, Hunter took off and was gunned out by catcher Pat Borders. Manuel Lee, after tagging out Hunter, yelled for Borders to get the appeal at first to see if Blauser went around.

He did, double play!

Well, Bobby Cox wasn't going to take this with good grace of course, and slammed a helmet on the field.

Now he probably didn't mean to, but the helmet ended up on the field. That got home ump Joe West's attention. Whirling around to face Cox, he pointed the finger at him. "You did that!"

Cox said something back, "You shut up!", West told him, then ejected him from the game!

Amazingly enough, Jimmy Williams took over for Cox. Williams, the third base coach, was like Cox, and ex-manager of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Alomar, got the ball rolling for the Jays in the bottom of the frame, hitting a single right back through the box. Avery, a lefty, was done for the night at Williams brought in Mark Wohlers, the hard throwing right-hander.

Now I know this looks like a bad decision, but I don't think it is, to be honest with you. Avery throws a lot of curves and changeups, which the catcher has a great problem handling, especially the backup catcher. See Alomar is looking for the steal, and the Braves knew it. So better get someone who can throw so serious heat out there.

Wohlers threw to first, once, twice, thrice. The Braves tried a pitchout, but Alomar made it back. Two more balls and Alomar swiped second.

Another reason to bring in Wohlers is to face Carter and Winfield, two right-handed hitters. Carter, in particular. But now with a 3-0 count on Carter and first base open, the Braves put Carter on.

So it's Winfield, in a situation that is a no-brainer.

Bunt.

But Winfield had sac bunted (SH) just once all year (Aug 30)

But Winfield had only bunted once all year. Could he do it again?

Amazingly, yes. Now granted he got a little too much wood on it, and a little too much towards the pitcher rather than to first, but it was done well enough that Alomar, the winning run was now 90 feet away, with just one out and no double play situation.

Williams then called for Mike Stanton, to set up a lefty vs lefty confrontation with Olerud.

Cito is loving this game and countering fine, as he brought in Ed Sprague to pinch hit. With first base open, the Braves walked him intentionally to load the bases.

Now the Braves made their third pitching change of the inning by bringing in Jeff Reardon, a right-hander, the all time saves leader at this point, to face Candy Madonado, also a right-hander.

Maldonado couldn't have felt to confident, 2-13 lifetime against Reardon, 0-7 so far in the World Series. He's struck out 4 times so far this Series. Tonight he's 0-3 with a K, and GIDP and a harmless flyball.

Reardon, has fanned him 7 times in his career. And I remember that 341st save of his to tie him with Rollie Fingers on the all time saves list. Victim in that (for the Red Sox) June 13th game, the final K? Candy Maldonado. I watched that game on TSN!

So anyways, the outfield is playing in. Curveball, Maldonado misses, curveball, Maldonado misses. Uh-oh, here we go again.

Or do we?

The next pitch is another breaking ball as Candy would later say he expected.

But what he didn't expect it was for the pitch location, which shall we say isn't where you want to put the ball, even if the bases are empty.

Maldonado got under it and lofted it over Nixon's head in center. Had he not been playing shallow, Otis might have caught the ball, but Alomar would have tagged and scored.

As it was, Alomar trotted in, but not before doing his own version of the tomahawk chop!

What a way to bring the World Series north!

But what does it matter?

That catch by White will live on forever!

My Top 10 Most Exciting World Series Games

Okay, bear in mind it doesn't matter how good the rest of the Series was, but here goes:

10) Game 7, 1962 World Series

Uh oh, it's Ralph Terry again, and again it's game 7. And again it's bottom of the ninth. 1-0 Yankees. Alou singles for O'Dell. Terry bears down and K's the next two batters before Mays doubles to right. Maris makes a great throw to Richardson, who grabs it, turns, and fires a strike to Howard. McCovey, who hit a booming triple earlier is up. Foul ball to right. Then a scorching line drive...

9) Game 1, 1988 World Series

Canseco's grandslam erases a 2-0 Dodgers' lead. By the 9th the Dodgers are one run better but down still, 4-3. 2 outs. But Davis walks against Eckersley, and look whose coming to the plate. GIBBY! Foul ball, foul ball, foul ball, ball, ball, ball. Another 3-2, Gibby swings...

8) Game 7, 1991 World Series

Again, I'm still mad at the Twins for beating the Jays in the 1991 ALCS, so that's why it's so low. In any event, 0-0 bottom of the 10th, bases loaded, pinch hitter Gene Larkin faces Alejandro Pena. First pitch...

7) Game 6, 1993 World Series

Jays up 5-1, but Dykstra brings the Phillies back from the brink with a 3 run dinger in the 7th. The Philadelphia add two more, and survive a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the 8th. But in the ninth, Henderson walked, Molitor singles. Now the 2-2 to Carter...

6) Game 6, 1986 World Series

5-3, Boston, two outs in the bottom of the frame. Scoreboard reads, Congratulations, Boston Red Sox, 1986 World Series Champions. But then Carter and Mitchell single, Knight gets a fluke hit, wild pitch, 5-5. Then Wilson sends a little roller up along first...

5) Game 3, 1992 World Series

White robs Justice of at at least two bases, then the Jays almost get a triple play. Carter homerun, 1-0. Braves come back with single runs in 6th and 8th. Gruber breaks out of the longest postseason slump ever with a longball. Double play gets they Jays out of trouble in the ninth. Bottom of the frame, Alomar single, Carter walk, Winfield bunt, Sprague walk. Reardon comes in...Maldonado loops it over Nixon's head in center!

4) Game 7, 1960 World Series

4-0 Pirates, then the Yankees come back, tie it, go up by three. Then Virdon's grounder hits a pebble, Smith homerun, Pirates up by 2. Mantle with a head fake in the top of the 9th and the game is tied, 9-9, Skowron grounds out, Groat to Mazeroski to end the inning. Maz has no idea what he holds in his hands!

3) Game 1, 1954 World Series

Wertz sends Mays back, back, back...

2) Game 5, 1956 World Series

Larsen is 81-91 lifetime, didn't last two innings in game 2 and is now pitted against Maglie, who tossed a no-no earlier this year. Maglie is pitching a gem, too, until Mantle gets one just fair. Mantle takes one away from Hodges, Carey nails Robinson by a step, Amoros hits one just foul. Finally, Dale Mitchell is up in the ninth with two down, and...STRIKE THREE!

1) Game 6, 1975 World Series

First Boston's up three, then Cincinnati is up three. 8th inning, Carbo smacks a dramatic three run homerun. Extra innings sees Foster guns out Doyle at home, Evans robs Morgan. Finally, in the bottom of the twelfth, up steps Carlton Fisk...

Friday, October 19, 2012

1992 World Series Game 2



VS.


Well, my world stayed down as the Canadian Flag was carried upside down by our southern friends.

David Cone started game two, but I was more excited about my boy John Olerud's first World Series game. Carter in left, Winfield in right.

For the Braves, one of the their more colourful (and controversial) players, Deion Sanders took over in left for Ron Gant. Sanders, of course was with the NFL's at the time.

But the real story for me early on was the Braves' starter, John Smoltz, pitching like a 10 year veteran. But John had only having played half that time.

And he was making quick work of my Jays: White, Carter, Winfield, Olerud (on a beauty breaking ball) and Gruber, all struck out!

Cone made it through the first, no problem. But in the second Dave Justice, walked, watched Sid Bream fly out, and stole second (Yup, taking advantage of Cone's only weakness!). Dave then made it to third when Manny Lee took Jeff Blauser's grounder, threw to third, only to hit Justice in the back. A wild pitch to yesterday's hero, Damon Berryhill, scored Justice. After a walk to Berryhill, Cone got out of the inning, thanks to a double play.

The Jays could do nothing with Smoltz meanwhile. It was getting so bad that Cone, who singled, had gotten the Jays first hit.

After Cone escaped a jam in the bottom of the frame, Alomar tied the game thanks to Smoltz's wildness.

At least that's what I think.

Alomar led off the second with a walk. Robbie made it to second on a wild pitch. A Winfield groundout put Alomar on third.


Finally!

Smoltz's first pitch to my boy, Olerud, isn't handled by Berryhill. The ball bounces 15 feet to Damon's right, Alomar comes charging in...

...Berryhill gets the ball...

...tosses to Smoltz...

...Alomar slides under Smoltz, crosses the plate before the tag...

...this blogger (who was 12 at the time) pumps his fist, 1-1...

...home plate ump Mike Reilly calls him out! Huh? 1-0, still!

The Braves added to the lead in the bottom of the frame as Mark Lemke drove in Bream.

In the top of the 5th, my boy, Olerud pushed Justice way back for a flyball out. Gruber then grounded out.

Something had to be done.

So Cito Gaston trots out of the dugout and complains about this white bandage on Smoltz’s arm.

Hey, so that’s why the Jays have been having all these problems!

Smoltz removes it.

Borders walks.

Lee singles.

Cone makes it 2 for 2 (and becomes the first pitcher since Mickey Lolich in game 2 of the 1968 World Series) with a single to center to cut the lead in half.

White then beats out and infield chopper to score Lee, 2-2!

The fun times don’t last, however.

Deion Sanders, after Otis Nixon struck out, singled off Cone. This continues the two-sports star's mastery on his old National League friend (7 for 13 lifetime at this point). Of course, he stole second. Worse, when Borders’ throw went into center, Sanders was on third. Pendleton walked. First and third.

But not for long as Justice singled Sanders home. 3-2, and Atlanta wasn’t through. Pendleton made it to third on the play. When David Wells (who relived Cone) gave up a single to Brian Hunter, the Braves were back on top by 2!

Wells even walked Jeff Blauser before settling down. Finally getting the Jays out of that inning. Boomer then followed it up with a 1-2-3 6th.

The Jays though, were back on the "Can’t-Solve-Smoltz mode." Guess that bandage wasn’t the only problem!

Borders hit a double in the 7th, and even made it to third on another Smoltz wild pitch. Alas, Maldonado, hitting for Wells, went down on strikes.

After Todd Stottlemyre held the Braves in check in the bottom of the frame, White led off the eight with a fly to fly ball out to center. But then Alomar hit a low Smoltz offering the other way for a double down the left field line.

Carter hit a single, which Alomar had to wait on to make sure it made it out of the infield. Winfield hit a bouncer that made it out of the infield for a single, scoring Alomar and sending Carter to third!

Exit Smoltz, enter Mike Stanton. The big intimidating lefty was in to face Olerud.

Olerud popped out, but Stanton would quickly be replaced by Jeff Reardon.

Reardon, I had watched get a save against the Jays on June 13th of that year. It was career save #341, tying him with Rollie Fingers for the all-time career saves list leader. Two days later against New York, he passed Fingers.

The Braves got him in a one-sided deal on August 30, and Jeff had 27 saves on the season at that time. Reardon also had 354 lifetime saves at the time.

By the time he finished the season, he would have 30 saves on the season and 357 lifetime. He won 3 games for Altanta, as well. He was two saves ahead of Lee Smith, who also passed Fingers and finished that year with 43 saves. Dennis Eckersley, who finished the year with 51 saves, had only 239 career-wise at this point.


What about Rivera, you ask? Mariano Rivera was pitching in the minors for For Lauderdale in 1992, and hadn't reached the majors yet!

But Reardon’s ERA during his tenure with Atlanta was low, 1.15, and in the playoffs, he hadn’t as much given up a hit in 3 innings (3 games) in the NLCS. Hence the name, "The Terminator." Which, by the way, was also Tom Henke's nickname.


I'll have to deal with two closers with the same nickname? This was not going to be easy!

Gruber stepped in with a .500 (6-12) batting average lifetime vs. Reardon.

Reardon threw in inside curve way inside with the count 1-2, Gruber took it.

And was called out on strikes!

After Duane Ward (Brave at one time, traded for Doyle Alexander, who was then traded for Smoltz) pitched a scoreless bottom of the eight, Derek Bell pinch-hit for Lee to lead off the ninth.

After a long plate appearance, Bell drew a walk after fouling off two or Reardon’s 2 strike pitches. Bell appeared to have struck out at one point, but Reilly (Makeup call?) called it a ball.

Next was Ed Sprague, the backup catcher and another pinch hitter (for Ward).

There was something about backup catchers that postseason. Francisco Cabrera had played in only 12 games all year for the Braves, yet knocked in the tying and winning run in game 7 of the NLCS. Oh yeah, it was in the ninth inning, no less. Cabrera’s position? Backup catcher.

Berryhill in game 1, remember, backup catcher!

Ed Sprague had played in just 22 games all year. Backup catcher! See where I’m heading?

Could lightning strike three times in the same place (Yup, Fulton County Stadium)?


Readon’s first pitch was…a batting practice fastball!

Sprague smashed in over Sanders head and into the stands! 5-4 Jays!

So Derek Bell was Sarah Connor and Ed Sprague was Kyle Reese. Or the other way around! In an event, the Jays had stopped the Terminator from putting the Jays down 2-0 in the Series.

But the other Terminator (Guess we gotta call Henke, The T-1000!) was in to say, “Hasta La Vista” to the Braves.

And it would not be without a fight!

Lemke flew out, but Lonnie Smith was hit by a pitch. Ron Gant got into the game and ran for Smith, but Nixon lined out. One out to go!

But Gant again stole second, and Sanders fouled off three two strike pitches before drawing a walk.

Oh no. Terry Pendleton is up.

Pendleton’s batting average with runners in scoring position in the 1992 regular season? .391! Add to that 8 home runs and 86 RBI under those conditions.

First pitch…Pop up in foul territory, Gruber snares it, and adds an explanation mark to this big win.

A mock tomahawk chop!

Series tied 1-1!

Back to my Canadian Flag, which is upright!