Wednesday, January 30, 2019

KOD28 - NLCS - Bucs win NL Pennant as Amazin's take them to the brink

With both division winners bounced from the post season the Mets and Bucs found themselves as two unlikely foes for the NLCS.  New York made it’s way to the LCS via the Wild Card route, whereas Pittsburgh knocked off the NL West champ Dodgers in 4.  Games 1 and 2 would be played in PNC Park, a beautiful venue just across the river from the downtown area.  Take a quick 5 minute stroll across the Roberto Clemente Bridge and you are standing right next to the outfield gates.

Koosman vs Burnett
Mets 3, Pirates 1

Mets manager Raylesberg had an easy choice for his game 1 starter:  Jerry Koosman.  “Kooz” compiled a 4-0 World series record over his 20 year career, so post season heroics were nothing new to him.  New York’s lefty was efficient and stingy yielding just 6 hits and 1 run over 7.2 innings.  Ron Taylor and Tug McGraw combined to get the final 4 outs to send the Amazin’s to victory.  Lenny Dykstra (3-5) and Kevin McReynolds (HR) supplied 5 of New York’s 7 knocks.
METS lead series 1-0

Seaver vs Locke
Pirates 2, Mets 1 (13 inn)

The Metsies just couldn’t find a way to get a run for Tom Terrific, who pitched 8 innings of
shutout ball (2 hits).  Kudos for Pittsburgh’s Locke, who went toe to toe with the future HOF’er by not allowing a run either.  The real excitement occurred in the 13th inning where the full emotional roller coaster of the post season was felt.  First in the top of the 13th HoJo hit a 1-2 pitch into the Allegheny River to silence the partisan Pirate crowd.  They didn’t stay silent for long when Gary Redus led off the bottom of the inning with a walk off or reliever Ray Sadecki.  On a botched pick off attempts Redus moved up 90 feet to 2nd.  Sadecki, who’s throwing error allowed Redus to get to second doubled down on bad by throwing away Barry Bonds’ comebacker to put runners on the corners.  Manager Raylesberg had seen enough and came to the mound and brought in enigmatic fireballer Nolan Ryan in hopes of a strikeout.  Ryan was wild as Lloyd McClendon worked the count full.  On a 100 mph heater that was right down Grant Street, McClendon lined one into left to score Redus to tie the game.  Ryan walked Bobby Bo to load the bases before striking Morton out.  “Spanky” LaValliere lofted one deep to center that was far enough to allow Bonds to stroll home for the winning run.
Series tied 1-1

The series headed to the Big Apple for games 3, 4 & 5 and would be played in Shea Stadium, which is sometimes better known as “The Big Blue Toilet in Flushing”.  Shea, which opened in 1964 was a wind tunnel masquerading itself as one of the first multi-purpose stadiums.  It was home to the Mets from 1964-2008 and the NFL’s Jets from 1964-1983.  If it was 70 degrees outside it felt like 45 degrees inside.  Bring your earplugs, because at least 10 planes from nearby Laguardia Airport will be taking off during the game each hour.

C.Morton vs McAndrew
Pirates 9, Mets 3

All 9 of Pittsburgh’s runs were yielded by Met starter Jim McAndrew, who would have been better suited pitching behind an L-Screen than on a professional mound.  Pittsburgh’s Barry Bonds (3-4, 3 RBI, 3 Runs) was the chief victimizer of McAndrew.  The young / skinny version of Barry could really swing that lumber.  He wasn’t alone as his teammates banged out 14 total hits.  Bobby Bo and Jose Lind also chipped in 3 hits as the Bucs took the series lead.
PIRATES lead series 2-1


Rodriguez vs Gentry
Pirates 7, Mets 4

When New York gets poor pitching they get poor results.  Typically New York gets amazing pitching, but that was not to be the case for the 2nd straight game as starter Gary Gentry fooled no one and was yanked after 5.2 innings of work.  The Keystone Combo of Jay Bell (3-5, 2RBI) and Jose Lind (3-5, 2RBI) beat the Metsies with both their bats and their gloves today.  Bell went deep off Gentry in the 3rd.  1st baseman Gary Varsho did the same the following frame.  Pittsburgh now has a commanding lead.
PIRATES lead series 3-1

Koosman vs Burnett
Mets 1, Pirates 0

Facing no tomorrow manager Raylesberg gave the ball to Kooz.  In the bottom of the 6th Keith Hernandez’ sac fly scored Len Dykstra to break a scoreless tie.  That one run must have seemed like 10 runs with Kooz throwing darts and allowing just 1 hit through the first 8 innings of play.  With 2 out in the 9th Jeff King singled to keep the game going.  When Ron Taylor was called in to get the final out Pirates manager Bill Schneider answered with a pinch hitter named Andy Van Slyke.  AVS ows righty’s and in one mighty swing took Taylor deep to center field.  Thankfully for the Mets, Shea Stadium is a huge pitcher’s park and that long ball found it’s way into the leather of Len Dykstra to end the game.  New York survived it’s first elimination game of the series.
PIRATES lead series 3-2

The series headed back to PNC.  The Bucs needed just 1 win to clinch, while the Metsies had to stave off 2 more elimination games if they hoped to clinch the pennant.

Seaver vs Locke
Mets 1, Pirates 0

The game 6 story can be summed up in 2 words:  “The Franchise”!  For those of you who didn’t follow baseball between 1967 and 1986 that’s the nickname for arguably the best right handed pitcher of the latter part of the 20th century.  George Thomas Seaver, who is also referred to as “Tom Terrific” was just that in game 6.  With his team needing another virtuoso performance just to stay alive, Seaver threw a tidy 2 hit shutout on a day when he needed to do just that as the Mets would score just once on a Darryl Strawberry RBI single in the top of the 3rd.  The rest of the way it was all about pitching, and nobody can “drop and drive” better than #41, who finished out the game in grand style by fanning Redus and Bonilla to end it.
Series tied 3-3.

Gentry vs Liriano
Pirates 6, Mets 4

Both managers had their respective starting pitchers on short leashes in this winner take all game 7 matchup for the NL Flag.  Met starter Gary Gentry’s leash lasted just one inning, where he gave up 3 runs on 5 hits.  Pirate starter Liriano was gone after giving up 4 runs in 4.1 innings.  This was going to be a battle of which bullpen cracked first.  Sadly for the boys from Flushing it would be their pen that would go up in flames as Jim McAndrew would give up 3 runs in 5 innings of long relief.  The law firm of Watson, Grilli, Wilson and Melancon combined for 4 2/3 scoreless innings to hold the Amazin’s in check and clinch the NL Pennant.  Somehow lost in the shuffle was another 3 hit performance by young Mr. Bonds, who led a balanced Buc attack that plated 6 runs on 10 hits.  Bobby Bonilla (2-4) had a key RBI and remained hot all series.  It is rumored that he will keep victimizing the Mets franchise until the year 2035.
PIRATES win series 4-3

Congratulations to Bill Schneider on piloting the Bucs to the NL pennant.
Special Kudos to Mr. Raylesberg for battling back and taking the Bucs to the precipice.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

KOD28 - ALCS - Twins win pennant in 6 over Brew Crew

The Cinderella journey of the Milwaukee Brewers continues.  After winning 3 straight play in games and the LDS the Brew Crew landed in the ALCS vs a Minnesota Twins team that dispatched the #2 seeded Detroit Tigers in 4.  As impressive as that sounds the Brew crew took the road hardest traveled by having to face the #1 overall seeded Pale Hose, who have some sort of opening round hex going.

Games 1&2 were played in “The Met”…a big ole outdoor multi-purpose stadium that would eventually become a mall and a parking lot.  56 degree temperatures at game time for an October event were optimal for this location and time.

Parsons vs J.Perry
Twins 10, Brewers 9

As you can tell by the score, pitching was not at a premium tonight.  When the Twins jumped out to a 6-0 lead after 5 innings of play the hometown fans thought the game was in the bag.  That was not to be the case as the post season tested Brew Crew rallied back to tie it with 2 in the 6th and 4 in the 7th.  When the Twins scored 2 in the 7th and 2 in the 8th to go back up by 4 everyone got complacent again.  Another wrong move as the Brew Crew rallied for 3 in the 9th to bring it to 1 on a clutch 2 out 3 run jack by Robin Yount.  When Stan Williams got Ernest Riles to weakly ground out to 3rd the contest was over and the Twins were able to sneak out of the Met with a tenuous win.  In a game where both teams combined for 19 runs on 26 hits the hitting star was Justin Morneau (3-5), who knocked in 6 runs and score 3.  Justin cashed in with a double and two homers, yet still managed to leave 5 men on base.  Imagine knocking in 11 runs in a playoff game?  Absurd, right?  Honorable mention goes to HOF’er Robin Yount (4-5), who knocked in 4.  No need to mention the pitching line, since those numbers were horrid at best.  Jim Perry got the win and Frank Linzy took the loss in relief.
TWINS lead series 1-0

Ryerson vs Kaat
Brewers 1, Twins 0

With a light rain coming down most of the night the pitchers ruled supreme.  After game 1’s track
meet the hurlers regained control of the series as evidenced by this dazzling pitcher’s duel.   Milwaukee put together a combined effort as 3 moundsmen collaborated to blank a Twins lineup that scored 10 runs the night before.  Ryerson started the game, but wound up gassed after 2.1 IP’d.  Swingman Jim Colborn came out of the pen to fire almost 5 innings of shutout ball to get his 6th win.  J.Bell was as close to perfect as you can be over the final 2 frames to notch the save.  The hard luck loser was Jim “Kitty” Kaat, who went the distance and gave up the games lone run on 4 hits.  That one run came in the top of the 4th when Dale Sveum hit a sac fly to score Paul Molitor.  The closest the Twins came to scoring was in the bottom of the 8th when Bartlett tripled with 2 outs only to be stranded by L.Ford who Colburn fanned on 3 pitches.
Series tied 1-1

The series shifted 335 miles south on I-94 from the Twin Cities to Milwaukee tied up at 1 game apiece.  Games 3, 4 & 5 would be played in County Stadium, which was built originally for the Braves, who abandoned the Beer City for Atlanta in 1966.  It stayed largely unused for 3 years until the Pilots snuck out of Seattle and parachuted into Milwaukee as the re-christened Brewers.

Blyleven vs Lonborg
Twins 3, Brewers 2

Milwaukee sent 8 batters to the plate in the bottom of the second, but they were only able to eek out 2 runs.  This would come to haunt them as future HOF’er Bert Blyleven tightened things up and didn’t allow another run.  The “Dutchman” would need stellar relief help from Stan Williams, who actually notched the win, and Ron Perranoski (who got the save).  The Twins rallied back for solo runs in the 6th and 7th to tie the contest.  In the top of the 9th Luis Castillo singled home Castro for what turned out to be the winning run.
TWINS lead series 2-1


Zepp vs Brett
Brewers 4, Twins 1

The Brew Crew evened the series at 2 apiece as veteran lefty Ken Brett (7 IP / 1 ER) shouldered the burden.  J.Bell pitched a perfect 9th to record that all important stat, the save, with his team up by 3.  Every starter in the Milwaukee lineup posted at least 1 hit.
Series tied 2-2

J.Perry vs Parsons
Twins 7, Brewers 1

Veteran hurler Jim Perry was not about to repeat his horrific game 1 performance in an all important pivotal game 5.  Perry scattered 9 hits and allowed just one measly run in 7 innings of magical work.  With the Twinkies hitting cover off the cow hide and scoring 7 runs Perry’s job was made that much easier.  Catcher Joe Mauer (2-5) scored 3 runs and knocked in 3.  L.Ford (3-4) continued his hot hitting.
TWINS lead series 3-2

Failing to take at least 2 games at home put the Brew Crew behind the 8 ball as the series headed back north to the Twin Cities with Minnesota up 3 games to 2 and needing just one win to clinch the pennant.  Milwaukee’s resume already included 3 straight play in elimination games to this point, so the Twins were not about to take game 6 lightly.

Lockwood vs Kaat
Twins 4, Brewers 3

The old axiom in sports is that the clincher is the hardest win to get in the series.  That seems obvious
since it’s either a winner take all game or one of the combatants is staring down the end of their season.  In this series the latter scenario was playing out.  The Brew Crew’s epic Cinderella run was about to come to an end if they didn’t dig in and fight like there was no tomorrow.  With ace hurler Jim Kaat staked to a 3-0 lead after 5 innings of play many hometown fans in the Met might have started to celebrate a bit early.  Kaat had yielded just 2 hits until the top of the 6th when Milwaukee got back to back safeties from Rob Deer and Robin Yount putting runners on the corners with 1 out.  Kaat bounced one in the dirt, which rolled away from Mauer allowing Deer to scamper home to break up the shutout.  Kaat was then able to get professional hitter Tom Paciorek to line out to short, which also served to double up Yount at second on what was truly a “bang-bang” play.  Kaat fired up another blank in the 7th and headed out to the bump to do the same in the 8th when with one out Molitor singled and Rob Deer doubled him home to make it 3-2.  After the normally sure handed Morneau botched a slow roller at first off of Yount’s bat, Stan Williams was called in from the pen to put out the fire.  With one out and Jim Gantner at the plate manager Dan Holm called for the suicide squeeze play.  Deer broke hard from 3rd.  Gantner put down a perfect bunt, which Mauer flipped to first and the game was tied.  A deafening silence loomed large over the Met.  A 3 run lead just 2 innings ago had evaporated into a tie game.  Neither team scored in their next AB’s as the game headed into the home half of the 9th.  J.Bell was brought on to pitch for the Brewers.  His first pitch was grounded to 3rd, where defensive replacement Riles booted it then rushed a throw he should have eaten.  That landed “Little” Louie Castillo on 2nd with nobody out.  Then on an 0-1 pitch Jason Bartlett lined a single past the outstretched arms of Gantner (at 2nd) to send Castillo home for the game winner and the series clincher.
TWINS win series 4-2.

Congrats to Twins manager Chris Kaufman on taking the AL pennant!
Congrats to Brewers manager Dan Holm on his magnificent Cinderella run in the post season.

Friday, January 11, 2019


The New York Mets shocked the baseball world, or at least the KOD world, coming back from a 2-0 deficit to win 3 straight and advance to play the winner of the Pittsburgh- Los Angeles series. The series featured an absolute CLASSIC in Game 1 as the Mets and Cubs played for TWENTY INNINGS, perhaps the longest game in KOD history - with the Cubs finally winning it. Down 2-0 and back home at Shea Stadium, the momentum in the Series changed on a terrific pitching performance by Tom Terrific himself to put the Mets back in the Series and on the road to victory.
Lots of fun and a great battle of managing wits with Cubs skipper Kurt Schaden

GAME 1 at Wrigley Field CUBS  6 METS  5  20 Innings


It was a game for the ages as the two teams played for 6 hours and 44 minutes in game time and well over an hour in real time! What looked like a laugher for the Cubs turned out to be anything but. Chicago jumped out to a 5-1 lead after 5 innings as they pummeled Mets starter Gary Gentry. Geovany Soto (9) and Aramis Ramirez (7) each hit 2 run HRs to put the Cubs ahead. With Cubs ace Ferguson Jenkins on the mound things looked pretty good for the Cubbies but the Mets spoiled the party as they scored 2 in the 7th and 2 in the 8th to tie the game. Kevin McReynolds, having a great season, singled in two in the 7th and in the 8th a solo HR by Howard Johnson (5) and a RBI grounder by Keith Hernandez tied the score. But the game had only begun!

The teams matched zeroes for the next ELEVEN INNINGS with the Mets escaping bases loaded jams twice. Finally, in the bottom of the 20th, Ryan Theriot's two out single scored Mark DeRosa with the winning run!

The Mets used seven pitchers and the Cubs six. Bill Hands (5-3), ordinarily a starter, pitched a perfect top of the 20th and got the win. After Jenkins left with one out in the 8th, Bill Bonham came on and despite blowing the save in that frame (2) he went on to pitch five shutout innings. Tom Phoebus and Jack Aker then each pitched 2/3 shutout innings before turning the ball over to Rick Reuschel who pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings. Jenkins walked EIGHT in his 7 1/3 but the relievers walked only four the rest of the way.

For the Mets, Gentry left after 6 and was followed by Ray Sadecki (1 IP), Ron Taylor (2), Tug McGraw (3 perfect innings with 3 Ks), Nolan Ryan (1) and Danny Frisella who pitched a brilliant 5 innings allowing only 1 hit and striking out 8. In the 19th, Jim McAndrew relieved Frisella and after pitching a scoreless 19th gave up the winning run in the 20th to take the loss (3-3)

Both teams exhausted their benches with moves and counter moves. The Mets had 20 hits in the game and left TWENTY FIVE men on base. The Cubs had only 14 hits and 16 LOB. Lenny Dysktra was 3-8 with 2 walks, 2 runs scored and THREE stolen bases. Wally Backman was 3-7 with 2 walks and Darryl Strawberry drew 3 of the 12 walks to Mets batters.  Mookie Wilson entered the game as a pinch hitter in the 7th inning and got up 8 times with 3 hits. The Cubs Mark DeRosa was 0-7 with 4 Ks. Derrek Lee was 1-6 with 3 Ks. No Cubs hitter had more than 2 hits.

As was the case during the regular season, the Mets ran wild against Soto and his defensive replacement Henry Blanco, with four stolen bases in six attempts. The Cubs stole four bases of their own with no CS. Soriano had 2 SBs. Chicago made 3 errors.

GAME 2 at Wrigley Field  CUBS  4 METS 3


The Cubs took a 4-0 lead into the 9th inning before a tiring Milt Pappas gave up three runs before finally closing the door for a complete game win (6-1). The Cubs took a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Derrek Lee it a 2 run HR (13) off Mest starter and loser (3-5) Jerry Koosman. Chicago made it 3-0 in the 7th on an RBI single by Alfonso Soriano and added an insurance run in the 8th when Mark DeRosa hit a solo HR (10) off Mets reliever Ron Herbel.

In the 9th, the Mets suddenly rallied s Dave Magadan hit a 2 run HR (1) and Gary Carter followed with a back to back solo shot (2) to make it 4-3. Pappas stayed in there and retired the side to get the win.  Carter and Magadan each had 2 hits for the Mets.

GAME 3 at Shea Stadium  METS 2 CUBS 0


Facing elimination, Tom Terrific was terrific indeed. The Mets ace pitched a complete game 2 hit shutout, with ZERO walks and THIRTEEEN strikeouts in what may have been his best performance of the season. Seaver got all the support he needed when Kevin McReynolds singled in a run in the 4th. Dave Magadan doubled in a run in the 6th for a big insurance run. The red hot McReynolds was 3-4 and is now batting .294 in the tournament season. Burt Hooton was the hard luck loser for Chicago (5-5) as he pitched a complete game scattering 9 hits.Seaver improved to 4-4 with the win.

GAME 4 at Shea Stadium  METS 6 CUBS 5


Facing elimination for the second day in a row, the Mets jumped out to an early 6-1 lead and held on for the victory to send the series back to Chicago. The New Yorkers jumped all over Cubs starter and loser Fergie Jenkins (3-6) scoring 3 in the second and 3 in the third. Dave Magadan, Howard Johnson and pitcher Jim McAndrew each had RBI doubles in the second. In the third, another double - this one by Strawberry- scored the fourth run and then McReynolds drove in yet another run (36 RBIs) with a single before Howard Johnson drew a bases loaded walk to make it 6-0.

McAndrew was starting after pitching in relief in the marathon 20 inning Game 1 and he began to struggle by the 5th inning,turning the ball over to Nolan Ryan at the start of the frame, leading by 6-2. Ryan gave up a run on a Theriot sac fly and it was 6-3 after 5. In the 8th the Cubs rallied and when Geovanny Soto doubled to score 2 it was suddenly 6-5. Then the cat and mouse games began. With the tying run in scoring position, Manager Schaden put the lefty swinging Hoffpauir up to pinch hit for reliever Jack Aker. Manager Raylesberg countered with lefty relief specialist Rich Folkers - who was on the playoff roster for spots like this. Schaden immediately countered with a RH pinch hitter, Reed Johnson, resulting in an intentional walk so that Ron Taylor, a RHP, could get warmed up and come in to face the next batter - righty hitting Ryan Theriot. The moves worked as Taylor retired Theriot to end the threat with the Mets still ahead 6-5.

Tug McGraw relieved Taylor in the 9th and pitched a hitless inning with one walk and two strikeouts as he picked up his 9th save in as many opportunities.

Dave Magadan was 3-3 with 2 doubles. McReynolds was 2-4 with 2 runs and 2 walks. For the Cubs, CF Jim Edmonds was 3-4 with a triple. McReynolds also stole 2 bases.

Ferguson Jenkins started for the Cubs and took the loss (3-6). He left in the 6th with an injury after giving up 10 hits and 6 runs. Nolan Ryan (1-1) got the win in relief with 3 1/3 strong innings with four strikeouts.

GAME 5 at Wrigley Field  METS 12 CUBS 3


With the series now tied, it is winner take all under the lights at Wrigley Field. The matchup is Gary Gentry against Milt Pappas. And the Mets jump out to a 5-0 lead in the third inning. In the 2d, Gary Carter hit a sac fly to make it 1-0 and then Howard Johnson hit his 6th dinger of the year with a man on to give the Mets a 3-0 lead. In the third, McReynolds came through yet again singling in Backman and then Magadan came through with an RBI single to make it 5-0!

Gary Gentry has been in many ways the Mets most consistent starter in KOD28 and he now had a 5 runs lead to work with but he quickly gave back a good portion of the lead in the bottom of the 3rd. The Cubs scored three on an RBI double by Aramis Ramirez, and RBI singles by Edmonds and Lee.

In the 6th the Mets added an insurance run when McReynolds - yes him again - hit a solo HR -his 10th HR of the year.

The Mets broke things wide open in the 7th, scoring 4 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks as Bill Hands, in relief of Pappas, did not have it today. Magadan walked to force in a run, Mackey Sasser pinch hit for Carter with the bases loaded and came though with an RBI single and Howard Johnson singled in two more. The game turned into a rout when the Mets added a run in the 8th on another RBI single by who else but McReynolds and tagged on one more in the 9th when Gentry excecuted a squeeze bunt to score Sasser. Squeezing in the 8th inning of an 11-3 game appeared to upset Cubs skipper Schaden but the Mets have blown a bunch of big leads this season and were doing their best not to do it this time, in their biggest game of the season.

Gentry pitched a complete game victory (6-1, 3.68) allowing only 5 hits and striking out 7. Pappas (6-2, 3.73) lasted only 3 innings and took the loss.  The Mets outhit the Cubs 12-5.

McReynolds, the MVP of the series, was 4-5 with 2 runs scored, a HR and 3 RBIs as he lifted his BA to a club best .314. Other Mets have been hot as well including Dykstra (.287), Backman (.295) and Magadan (.292). HoJo is batting only .166 but has been coming on in recent weeks. The Cubs best hitter this season was Jim Edmonds who batted .318.

The Cubs go home after a great run in KOD 28. Congratulations to Kurt Schaden on a fine season. The Mets now wait to play the winner of the Pirates-Dodgers series with a shot at advancing to the KOD28 Championship Series.