Saturday, July 19, 2008

World Series Game 6: '77-LA 3, '06-DET 2 (14 INN)

Game 6 would prove to be a very dramatic game. Detroit had Nate Robinson on the mound once again looking to face LA ace Don Sutton again.

Detroit struck first in the top 2nd inning, when Monroe Doubled and scored on a Casey Fielder’s Choice. Meanwhile, Robertson held LA to just 2 hits in 4 innings of shutout ball. But, in the bottom 5th inning, Ron Cey Walked and scored on a Steve Yeager Double – to even the score 1-1. In the next inning, LA scored again on a solo shot from Davey Lopes to take a 2-1 lead after 6 innings of play. Detroit was having difficulty against Sutton, who was on fire giving up that 1 run on just 2 hits thru 7 innings of play. In the 8th inning, with 1 out, Sutton gave up 3 straight Walks to Infante, Guillen, and Ordonez to load the bases. Sutton actually gave up 7 Walks and 2 hits for the game. But, his night was done. LA sent in Mike Garman with a 2-1 lead, but Detroit had the based loaded and 1 out here in the 8th inning. Infante would eventually score on a SAC fly from Inge. LA did get out of that jam, but Garman blew the Save and Detroit evened the score at 2-2. It stayed that way, as we headed into the bottom of the 9th inning. Steve Garvey and Dusty Baker both Walked to lead off the inning against Detroit closer Todd Jones. With 2 men on and no outs, LA was in command with Reggie Smith and Ron Cey coming to the plate. But, Detroit and Jones had other plans. Smith hit a shallow flyout and Cey hit into a DP to end the treat. That was a wasted Championship opportunity there – and the LA crowd was stunned as we headed into Xtra Innings.
Garman and Jones were still pitching for their respective clubs. Garman got LA thru the 10th and 11th innings – and Jones did the same for Detroit, even though LA did strand another runner on Third Base in the 10th inning. The 12th inning would have Charlie Hough coming in for LA and Zack Miner in for Detroit. The LA crowd held their collective breath with each pitch from Hough – because he began the 12 inning with a HBP to Casey and a Walk to Polanco – and was now facing 2 men on with no outs and the top of the order set to come up for Detroit. The crowd clearly wanted Hough out of the game. But, the LA manager was sticking with his veteran, and the old knuckleballer settled down to get 3 quick outs on 3 weak swings from Granderson, Infante, and Guillen. After that scare, Hough would go on retire the side in the 13th inning – and Lewallyn then came in for LA to give up only 1 other hit to Casey in the 14th inning. Meanwhile, Miner pitched perfect ball in the 12th and 13th innings for Detroit. In the bottom 14 inning, Steve Garvey started the inning with a Fly Out to Left Field. Dusty Baker then Singled and Reggie Smith Walked. Miner was now looking at 2 men on and 1 out – with Ron Cey at the plate. Cey hit a Fielder’s Choice that moved Baker to Third Base and Smith was forced out at Second Base – leaving Cey on First Base. With First and Third occupied – and 2 outs – Rick Monday, one of the weaker LA hitters, smacked a Single off Miner into Right Field to score Baker and the winning run – and to seal the KOD3 Championship victory for the 1977 LA Dodgers.

LA wins 3-2 in 14 innings of play. Davey Lopes, who went 1-for-5 and an HR, took the Game MVP. But, I may have given the Game MVP to Rick Monday, who had the game-winning hit – or to Don Sutton who held Detroit to 2 hits. Of course, 7 Walks did not help his cause.

This was a classic series between 2 solid clubs in LA and Detroit – and between 2 respected managers George Bseirani and Tom Davis. LA took the series on solid pitching, solid defense and scrappy hits. Their powerful lineup only produced 3 HR’s – one each from Cey, Hale, and Lopes. Credit must be given to Detroit and their pitching staff, as they held off the mighty LA lineup and kept their team close in most every game.

There will be a KOD3 Championship Bash at Tommy Lasorda’s house…..anyone up for some pasta ??

World Series Game 5: '77-LA 5, '06-DET 0

Game 5 had LA turning to Doug Rau (4-1 with 1.52) to stop the bleeding and Detroit went with Bonderman again – who was looking for redemption for Game 1.

This game was decided in the very 1st inning, when Davey Lopes led off the game with a Single and then scored on a Steve Garvey Double. LA struck again in the top 2nd inning, when Ted Martinez Singled and scored on a Steve Yeager Single. Still not done, LA struck again in the top 3rd inning, when LA scored 3 more runs off 5 Singles and a Walk. LA led 5-0 after 3 innings of play and really got after Bonderman, who only lasted 2.2 innings and gave up all 5 runs. Maroth came in for Bonderman and cooled LA off in the 4th inning. However, in the top 5th inning, Dusty Baker Walked and scored on a Reggie Smith Double – who eventually scored on a SAC fly from Hale. With those 2 runs, LA now led 7-0 after 5 innings of play – and that is where the score stayed. Maroth did not allow another run, but Detroit could not find any weakness at all in Rau’s game, as he mowed down the mighty Detroit lineup. LA took Game 5 with a final score of 7-0 and a series lead of 3 games to 2 heading back to LA – and that Dodger Blue sky.

Doug Rau has pitched like a Cy Young candidate all season long – and this game was no different. He pitched a complete game shutout and gave up only 4 hits – and finished the game with 2 dramatic K’s in the 9th inning, as fatigue was clearly setting in with a high pitch-count. The Detroit manager was quoted as saying that he was glad that he did not have to face him again. The Commissioner, Marc Weiss, was quoted as saying that Rau has been a “statistical anomaly” all season. The Game MVP went to Hale who went 1-for-3 and had 3 RBI’s….but I believe the Game MVP should have went to Rau, who improved to 5-1 and actually lowered his ERA to a league-leading 1.32. It is my feeling that both Rau and Roger Clemens of Houston (who also posted an identical 1.32 ERA) should share the NL Cy Young award – but a deciding factor could be that LA made the playoffs and Houston did not. A case for the NL Cy Young award could also be made for LA’s Burt Hooton, who went 5-0 and posted a 1.75 ERA, and SF’s Juan Marichal, who went 7-2 with a 1.79 ERA. The NL Cy Young voting should be close and interesting

World Series Game 4: '06-DET 10, '77-LA 4

Game 4 had LA turning to Tommy John (7-1 with 2.38) while Detroit sent in Kenny Rogers (5-4 with 4.09). It would appear that Detroit was taking a “gamble” on Kenny Rogers, who was facing an LA “ace”.

LA opened the game in the top 1st inning, when Steve Garvey reached base on an error from Carlos Guillen and eventually scored on a Dusty Baker Single. LA would score again in the top 3rd inning, when Lopes led off with a Walk and scored on a Baker SAC fly. Detroit scored a run of their own in the bottom 3rd inning, when Sean Casey hit a solo shot – and Detroit cut the LA lead 2-1. In the top 4th inning, LA went back to work. Reggie Smith reached base on another Guillen error and scored on a Bill Russell Fielder’s Choice – and Dave Lopes, who Singled, scored on a Garvey Single, and LA expanded their lead to 4-1. In the bottom 4th inning, Guillen Walked and scored on a Triple by Ordonez. Ordonez then went on to score on a Inge SAC fly – and Detroit closed the gap to 4-3 after 4 innings of play. Both pitchers were a little shaky, and Detroit compounded their problems by committing 4 errors (3 of them by Guillen) – but both pitchers then settled down. John went on to pitch shutout ball for the 5th, 6th, and 7th innings. Rodgers pitched shutout ball for the 5th and 6th innings but was then replaced by Rodney who also pitched scoreless ball for the 7th and 8th innings. Heading into the bottom 8th inning and still behind 4-3, Detroit got another wake up call. Granderson hit a 2-run blast with Rodriguez on base. Then, John surrendered 3 Singles to Infante, Ordonez, and Thames and 3 Doubles to Inge, Monroe, and Rodriguez (who came to bat a second time that inning), and Detroit ripped open the game with 7 runs off John in that 8th inning. Detroit led 10-4 going into the top 9th inning – and Todd Jones came in to shut the door on LA. Detroit won the game 10-4 and evened up the series at 2 games a piece. The Game MVP went to Curtis Granderson who broke the game open with his 2-run HR in the 8th inning. The pitching domination that LA had in Games 1 and 2 was now gone. Detroit was here to play – and they were not going down that easy. LA saw their hopes of a Championship slowly fading with another game set to be played in Detroit.

World Series Game 3: '06-DET 11, '77-LA 3

Game 3 showcased Rick Rhoden (5-2 with 3.54) of LA facing Justin Verlander (1-4 with 5.28) of Detroit. Detroit was looking for answers – and boy did they find them in this game.

Detroit opened up the game in the bottom 2nd inning, where they scored 5 runs on 4 hits and 2 Walks. Thames led off the inning with a Single, Rodriguez then Walked and Casey smacked a Double to score Thames – all with no outs. Ganderson scored Rodriguez on a Fielder’s Choice – and moved Casey to Third, who eventually scored himself on a Single from Infante. Then, Carlos Guillen Walked and Craig Monroe went on to Single as well. After the dust settled, Detroit had a rousing 5-0 lead. The fireworks for Detroit did not end there. In the bottom 3rd inning, Rhoden was rocked again by Detroit for 2 more runs when Rodriguez Singled and scored on a Single from Infante – and Granderson (who Walked) scored on a SAC fly from Guillen. Detroit quickly led 7-0 and now had LA looking for answers. None came for LA, as Justin Verlander pitched a masterpiece by going the distance giving up 6 hits and 3 runs, which only 2 were earned. LA got 2 of their runs in the 4th inning when Baker Singled and scored for LA, and then Yeager reached base on an Inge error and scored on a Garvey Double. LA would score their 3rd and final run of the game in the 9 inning, when Hale smacked a solo shot. As for Detroit, they scored again the 6th inning, when Infante reach base on an error from Bill Russell and scored on an Ordonez Fielder’s Choice. Detroit would also score a run in the 7th inning off a solo shot from Monroe and another 2 runs in the 8th inning when Monroe Tripled Inge Home and then scored on a Thames Fielder’s Choice. Rhoden lasted all of 5 innings and was rocked for 8 runs – then Hough came in and was roughed up for 3 more runs. No surprise real there. Detroit easily took Game 3 with a final score of 11-3 – and were now looking to even things up heading into Game 4. Craig Monroe took the Game MVP by going 3-for-5, scoring 2 runs, and getting 3 RBI’s

World Series Game 2: '77-LA 5, '06-DET 3

Game 2 had Nate Robinson (2-5 with 3.59) on the mound for Detroit squaring off against Burt Hooton (4-0 with 1.53) of LA. And, this figured to be another pitching duel.

Detroit was hoping to wake their bats up – and they struck in the top 1st inning when Infante Singled and scored on a Carlos Guillen Double – and Detroit jumped to a quick 1-0 lead. Detroit struck again in the 3rd inning, when Granderson Doubled and scored on a SAC fly from Ordonez. Hooton had now surrendered 5 hits and Detroit led 2-0, while Robertson held LA scoreless thru 3 innings of play. In the bottom 4th inning, Ron Cey led off with a Walk and Oates followed with a Single. Dusty Baker then Doubled them both in to score. Baker would then score himself on a Reggie Smith Single – and just like that, LA took the lead 3-2 after 4 innings. Hooton had settled down, but gave up another run in the top 6th inning when Inge Doubled and scored on a Casey Single – to even the score 3-3. Detroit was keeping pace with LA. But, in the bottom 6th inning, Cey led off with solo shot to deep left field. Oates then Singled and eventually scored on a Smith SAC fly. With those 2 quick runs, LA led again 5-3 after 6 innings of play – and both Robertson and Hooton were done after 6 full innings each. The fate of this game rested in the bullpen for each club. Joel Zumaya came in for Detroit and Charlie Hough – and all the drama he brings to the table – came in for LA. This was considered a risky move by LA considering Hough’s reputation for blowing leads. But, it paid off for LA, as Hough surrendered only 1 hit in 3 innings for the Save and for the Game MVP. Zumaya also did his job and held LA scoreless too – but Detroit could not muster any offense, and LA took Game 2 with a final score of 5-3 and now had a 2-0 Series lead going into Detroit. LA felt pretty confident now, and Detroit was left looking for some answers as they were heading back home.

World Series Game 1: '77-LA 2, '06-DET 0

Welcome to the KOD3 Fall Classic – where the 1977 LA Dodgers will face the 2006 Detroit Tigers…..with the series is set to begin in LA. Both teams are suffering from fatigue, after a long season and playoff run, so it will be interesting to see how each team performs.

Game 1 has pitching ace Jeremy Bonderman (6-2 with 2.54) of Detroit facing LA’s own ace Don Sutton (3-5 with 5.20). Sutton has had his share of knocks this year, but has really come on strong as of late.

Both pitchers came out firing, as both teams were held scoreless thru 4 innings. In the bottom 5th inning, Hale tagged Bonderman with a leadoff Double, which was followed by a Single from Oates – with no outs. Sutton came to the plate and hit into a DP but scored Hale – and the Dodgers led 1-0 after 5 innings of play. In all, Bonderman pitched 5 full innings and surrendered that 1 run on 5 hits – but his night was done. Meanwhile, Sutton held Detroit to just 1 hit thru those same 5 innings. Zack Miner came in for Bonderman – and in the bottom 7 inning, the Dodgers scored another run when Sutton singled home Reggie Smith. Sutton was involved with both LA runs and truly helped his own cause. Sutton went on to pitch a 2-hit complete game shutout and took the Game MVP. Detroit never even made it to Second Base in this game.
LA wins 2-0 to take Game 1.

Friday, July 11, 2008

NLCS: '77 Dodgers finish off '96 Braves in 5

Welcome to the National League Championship Series – with the 1996 Atlanta Braves facing the 1977 LA Dodgers. The Dodgers have won homefield advantage with a coin toss.

Game 1 would showcase John Smoltz (4-5 with 2.76) going for the Braves and facing Don Sutton (2-5 with 5.95) of the Dodgers. The Dodgers were very hesitant to start Sutton due to his rocky season but were willing to back their ace with the series set to begin at home.

This first game would not see much drama as the game was a very lopsided affair. Don Sutton pitched a complete game shutout while surrendering only 5 hits – and took the Game MVP. John Smoltz looked good out the gate as he retired the first 7 batters, but then was rocked during the 3rd inning as the Dodgers had another signature consecutive hit parade that started with a Single
from Davey Lopes and was capped off by a Double from Reggie Smith in
order to run off 5 consecutive hits. In all, the Dodgers scored 5 runs
in that 3rd inning – and they seemed to have a knack for getting consecutive
hits throughout the playoffs. Smoltz settled down for a quick 4th inning,
but the Dodgers struck again in the 5th inning with 3 consecutive Doubles
from Steve Garvey, Dusty Baker, and Reggie Smith and went on to score
3 more runs. It was now 8-0 after 5 innings of play – and Smoltz was
now done for the evening. Clontz came in for the Braves and breezed

through the 6th and 7th innings and actually retired the first 8 batters
he faced. But, with 2 outs in the 8th inning, the Dodgers lit up the
scoreboard again and ran off 8 consecutive hits (all Singles) to score
another 6 runs. The Dodgers took this one 14-0 and pounded out 20 hits.

The problem was that they may have hit themselves out of contention
with this one game.

Game 2 would
have Tom Glavine (4-2) of the Braves face Burt Hooton (4-0) of the Dodgers.

The Dodgers struck early in
the bottom 1st as Davey Lopes smacked a leadoff Double and eventually scored on a Steve Garvey Sacrifice; however, Glavine was pretty stingy after that and held the Dodgers at bay. Hooton was smokin’ and set the Braves down for the first 5 innings, and the Braves now were held scoreless in the first 14 innings of this LCS. In the 6th inning, the Braves finally came through as Mark Lemke reached base on a Steve Yeager error and would eventually score – and tied the score 1-1 after 6 innings of play. Ron Cey hit his 11th Homerun with a solo shot in the 7th inning – the Dodgers did get the lead back, but that is all they could do against Glavine, who was brilliant in giving up only 6 scattered hits to this Dodger team. In the 8th inning, Lemke reached base and scored on another Yeager error….deja vu. The score was tied at 2-2, but Hooton had not surrendered an earned run. He was then lifted by the Dodgers in the bottom 8th inning to try and muster a run, but Glavine shut the door. The Dodgers put in Charlie Hough in the 9th inning, but that was a mistake. Hough has been known for blowing leads, and this was no different as he surrendered a solo shot to David Justice. With the 3-2 lead, the Braves brought in closer Mark Wohlers for his 11th save – to take Game 2 and even up the series. Glavine took the MVP.

Game 3 would
see Tommy John (6-1) for the Dodgers square off against Greg Maddux
(4-4) for the Braves back in Atlanta.

Both pitchers looked dominant early on, as John retired the side for 2 innings and Maddux retired the side for 3 innings. In the bottom of the 3 inning, the Braves scored a run off back-to-back Singles from Andruw Jones and Troy Blauser –
and took the 1-0 lead. The Dodger bats were ice COLD and the cloud of
Game 1 was overhead. Had the Dodgers hit themselves out of this series
??? In the 4th inning, Bill Russell reached base on an error, which
opened the door for Dusty Baker – who smacked a 2-run blast. With
a 2-1 lead, John went back to work and shut the Braves down and held
them scoreless while giving up only 2 more hits. John went 8 innings

– then Charlie Hough came in for the 9th inning, and every Dodger
fan watching held their collective breath. But, the Dodgers had scored
4 more runs by that time and held a 6-1 lead – as Steve Yeager smacked
a solo shot in the 5th inning, Bill Russell smacked a 2-run blast in
the 7th inning with Yeager (Double) on base, and Yeager scored again
in the 9th inning when he hit another Double.

Tommy John pitched outstanding, but the bat of Yeager earned him the Game MVP as he went 4-for-4 and
scored 3 runs. The Dodger bats came alive and reclaimed homefield advantage and the series lead at 2-1.

Game 4 had the Dodgers going with Rick Rhoden (5-2) and the Braves going with Steve
Avery (3-1). These unassuming pitchers would play a pivotal role in this LCS.

The Braves jumped all over
Rhoden early, as Marquis Grissom lead off the game with a Triple and
Mark Lemke immediately followed with a Single. The Braves then had back-to-back-to-back singles from Ryan Klesko, Javey Lopez, and Jermaine Dye – and theBraves quickly lead 3-0 after 1 inning of play. In the 2 inning, Grissom
Doubled and Fred McGriff Singled - and the Braves now led 4-0
after 2 innings of play. The Braves meant business now and they were
not holding back – but the Dodgers seemed to drop back and let them
run…..for now. Rhoden was rattled after giving up 7 hits in just 2
innings – but he bounced back to retire the side in the 3rd, 4th and
5th inning. Avery was just cruising along, as he gave up 4 weak Singles
after 4 innings and was not pressured at all by the mighty Dodger lineup.
But, in the 5th inning, Yeager Singled, Davey Lopes then Singled Yeager
to Third and Bill Russell Singled Yeager Home. Steve Garvey was up next
and cranked a 3-run blast into the Braves crowd – to even the score
at 4-4. In the 6th inning, Ron Cey hit a solo shot, but the Braves countered
with a Walk by Klesko and a Double by Dye – to even the score again
at 5-5. It was now a dog fight. In the 7 inning, Grissom led off with
a Single and eventually scored off a Single from Chipper Jones, who
was relatively quiet all series. Rhoden was then replaced by Mike Garman,
but the Braves led 6-5 going into the 9th inning, as there was no action
in the 8th inning by either side. Things went from bad to worse for
the Dodgers, as the Braves brought in closer Mark Wohlers to start the
9th inning and shut the door to even the series. But, the Dodgers had
other plans – and they clearly remembered Wohlers from Game 2. Wohlers
began the 9th inning by getting Yeager to K. Lacy PH for Garman and
reached base on a Single. Lopes followed with a Single – and runners
were on First and Third – so Lopes stole Second Base. Russell then
scored Lacy to send the game into Xtra Innings on a Fielder’s Choice
– and Wohlers had blown the Save opportunity. Elias Sosa came in to
hold the Braves for that 9th inning with 2 K’s. With Wohlers still
in the game, Reggie Smith and Ron Cey both hit back-to-back solo shots
in the 10th inning to give the Dodgers an 8-6 lead. The was Cey’s
second HR of the game. But, it was Sosa who earned the Game MVP as he
shut down the Braves in the 9th and 10th innings – facing 7 batters
(on the road) and giving up only a Single.

The Dodgers now had a commanding
3-1 series lead – and were looking to close out the series before
going back to LA.

Game 5 had Doug Rau (4-1 with a stingy 1.35 ERA – 2nd in the league) going for the
Dodgers and he was facing John Smoltz of the Braves – and LA was getting
a second glance at Mr. Smoltz.

The Dodgers struck first in
the top 2nd inning, when Reggie Smith Walked and scored on a Single
by Rau – who helped his cause. In the top 3rd inning, Bill Russell
led off with a Single and that was followed by a 2-run blast from Steve
Garvey. The Dodgers now quickly led 3-0 – while the Braves were held
scoreless through 3 innings and Rau surrendered only 2 hits. That changed
in the bottom 4th inning, when the Braves scored 2 runs with the help
of a Double from Andrew Jones – and cut the Dodger lead 3-2 after
4 innings of play. Smoltz settled down for a smooth 4th and 5th innings
but was jacked by a solo shot from Ron Cey who led off the 6th inning
– and the Dodgers led 4-2 heading into the bottom 7th inning, where
the Braves hit back-to-back Homers from David Justice and Fred McGriff
– off Mike Garman, who relieved Rau – and the Braves evened the
score at 4-4 after 7 innings of play. The Dodgers countered with a solo
shot from Dusty Baker in the 8 inning – off Mike Bielecki, who relieved
Smoltz – and the Dodgers led 5-4 going into the bottom 9th inning
and their closer Elias Sosa was on the mound. Things looked good for
the Dodgers at that point – and the Braves needed to answer back.
Sosa K’d Justice to start the 9th inning – but Mcgriff then Singled.
Sosa settled down and K’d Chipper Jones. With 2 outs and facing elimination,
Javy Lopez stepped to the plate and slapped a Double to score McGriff
and tie the score at 5-5. Ryan Klesko then lined out to end the 9th
inning. We are heading into X-tra Innings folks. The Dodgers and braves
both had a Single in the 10th inning – but no runs. The Dodgers had
a quick exit in the 11 inning, but the Braves got 2 more Singles from
Fred McGriff and Chipper Jones – and Sosa was done for the night.
With limiting pitching left, the Dodgers turned to Lewallyn to stop
the bleeding in that 11th inning. Lopez then hit a blooper to the Catcher
for an easy out – and Klesko ended the inning with groundout. The
score was still tied 5-5. With 2 outs in the top 12th inning, Lee Lacy
Singled off Greg McMicheal – and Bill Russell then Doubled to bring
home Lacy – and the Dodgers had the lead 6-5 going into the bottom
12th inning. Lewallyn, who had only pitched 3.0 innings all season,
was looking sharp for LA – and he retired the side to end the game
and picked up the win. I would have given him the Game MVP for coming
into the game with 2 men on in the bottom of the 11th inning and retiring
all 5 batters he faced to preserve the win – but Steve Garvey, who
was 3-for-6 (and an HR) took those honors.

The Dodger won the series 4-1
– and now look forward to the KOD3 World Series – where they will
face the 2006 Detroit Tigers.

This was a good set for the
Dodgers – and their manager was looking to get that monkey of his
back. Not only did he guide the Dodgers to the World Series, but he
did so having to go through the Braves manager, Marc Weiss.

-contributed by George Bseraini-