October 19, 2017

The Sensational 70s - Monday's Blunder Caps Red Sox Rally



Dodger's centerfielder Rick Monday "Buckneresque" moment in the bottom of the ninth has put Boston on the brink of a World Series title. With the bases loaded, Fred Lynn sent a routine fly ball toward Monday that clanked off his glove giving Boston a walk-off 6-5 Game 4 win (score displayed incorrectly in the above summary) over the 1977 Los Angeles Dodgers. The 1975 Red Sox now hold a commanding 3-1 series lead and could do something their real-life counterparts couldn't do against the Cincinnati Reds - capture a World Series on home soil.

Monday's error was his third of the series. His error in Game 3 led to an unearned run as he misjudged another ball off the bat of Denny Doyle. Doyle came in to count on a two-run homer by Cecil Cooper allowing Boston to get back into that contest.

Another common thread in this game was a second consecutive collapse of the Dodger bullpen. This time, closer Charlie Hough would suffer through a gut-wrenching rally by Boston after he cornered the Red Sox, retiring the first two batters in the ninth. Just as they did twice in Game 3, Boston orchestrated a two-out bloodletting which was capped by Monday's unthinkable miscue.

Dodger shortstop Bill Russell had a terrific game driving in Los Angeles' first 3 runs. Russell roped a couple of doubles and came across to score the Dodgers' fifth run in the ninth which appeared to be the terminal moment of the game. Russell led off the inning with a single, and broke for second on a hit and run dialed up by Dodger skipper Tommy Lasorda. Red Sox centerfielder Fred Lynn corralled the Davey Lopes single and double-clutched his throw back into the infield. It seemed Lynn was caught off guard by the scurrying Russell, and his offering was too later for a play at the plate. Boston was now down 5-3.

The bottom part of the Dodger order has been consistent contributors in the series. Number eight hitter Steve Yeager is batting .500 with 7 hits in 14 ABs. With Russell's 3 hit performance, he is now batting 6-15 in the nine hole. The Dodger offense has really done an effective job driving up pitch counts of the Boston starters and taxing the Red Sox bullpen for the past three games.

Hough was making his second appearance of the series as he had pitched a scoreless ninth in the Dodgers' 3-0 loss in Game 1. He set down Carl Yastrzemski on a pop-up and struck out Carlton Fisk. With Dwight Evans down to his last strike, Hough was unable to finish him off. Evans poked a single to right on a 1-2 count to give Boston a pulse. Sawx manager Darrell Johnson went to the bench and sent Bernie Carbo up to pinch hit for Rico Petrocelli. Petrocelli had just homered in the eighth to bring Boston within one run as the score read 4-3 at that juncture. Carbo delivered with a single to right. Rick Burleson made the score 5-4 with a single to left to bring Evans home and sent Carbo hustling to third. Denny Doyle whacked a floating knuckler to right center for the game-tying RBI. It was Boston's fourth consecutive single and forced Hough to give way to Al Dowling.

Dowling walked Cecil Cooper to load the bases, but it seemed redemption was forthcoming. Fred Lynn stroked a routine fly ball to center that Monday may have lost in the lights. By the time he regained the flight of the ball, he reached out only to see the ball glance off the thumb of his glove and find the grass. It was an incredulous moment at Fenway and quite ironic. Lynn failed to deliver the ball in a timely manner in the top half of the inning to allow an insurance run for Los Angeles. Now, his innocuous fly ball ended up to be the deciding factor in an unforgettable victory.

Dodger starter Doug Rau gave his club seven solid innings surrendering 3 runs on 6 hits leaving with a 4-3 lead. Boston right-handed sluggers Rice, Fisk and Petrocelli took him deep, but Rau was able to limit the damage as all homers were solo shots. After Petrocelli's dinger to start off the eighth, Los Angeles turned to Lance Rautzhan for another scoreless inning to close out the eighth. Rautzhan has pitched 2.2 scoreless innings in the series and has been the one bright spot in an otherwise dismal Dodger relief corps.

The Red Sox bullpen has not been starry either as they have been bailed out by their offense in the last two games. Jim Willoughby picked up his fifth win of the playoffs, but he has not been as effective in the World Series. Willoughby has tossed 3.1 innings, appearing in every game except the series opener, but has given up 6 hits and 4 runs making him the least effective relief arm in this series. In total, Boston relievers have thrown 11.1 innings and have an unsettling 4.86 ERA in the last three games.

Part of the reason for this could be the fact that Boston is not getting much length from their starting pitching. With the exception of Tiant's 8th inning outing in Game 1, Boston starters are averaging a tad under 5 innings over the last three games. If Boston wants to close the series out, they need an inning-eating performance from Luis Tiant who will oppose Burt Hooten in a rematch of Game 1.



October 14, 2017

The Sensational 70s - Doyle Dents Dodger Bullpen




Denny Doyle ripped a crucial 2 run single with the bases loaded in a four-run eighth as Boston defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-6 to take a 2-1 lead in the Sensational 70s World Series. Cecil Cooper was a very able accomplice to Doyle's heroics as he brought the Red Sox back on even terms on two occasions driving in four runs.

The game got off to an ugly start with a couple of errors leading to 2 unearned runs in the first inning. Rico Petrocelli dropped a Steve Garvey pop up in short left field in the first, and Garvey scored on a Dusty Baker single for the game's first run. It was the first of three errors made in this game by Petrocelli. Roy Cey chipped in with a sacrifice fly to bring Reggie Smith home giving the Dodgers a 2-0 lead. Smith was an offensive catalyst once again with a 4-5 performance and is 7-10 in the last two games with a homer, a double, 2  RBIs and a run scored. In the series, Smith is batting .500 to lead the Dodgers.

Sloppy fielding by the Dodgers helped to quickly erase this lead. Boston took advantage of Rick Monday's iron glove in center as he misplayed a fly ball by Denny Doyle which permitted Doyle to reach second base. Cooper picked up his first two RBIs by pounding a ball over the left field wall to tie the game 2-2. 

The Dodgers put together back - to -back doubles from Steve Yeager and Bill Russell in the second to jump back in front 3-2. Los Angeles good fortune was fleeting once again as Boston again evened things up in the third. Cooper was in on this second uprising as he led off with a single and scored on a RBI single by DH Carl Yastrzemski. Yaz made it back into the starting lineup after sitting on the bench with the first two games being played in Los Angeles and was a factor going 3-4 in his return.

Boston manager Darrell Johnson had a quick hook on this day with Boston starter Rick Wise. Wise had been the Red Sox most reliable playoff starter, but after 7 hits and 3 runs in only 4 innings of work, Johnson turned to the versatile long man, Dick Pole. 

After Pole blanked Los Angeles in the fifth, he ran into trouble in the sixth. Ron Cey swatted a double to kick the inning off and was followed by a single by Rick Monday. With runners on the corners, Pole was lifted, and Diego Segui was called on to put out the fire. Segui had only been used for 1.1 innings in the postseason, but he rewarded Johnson's faith. Boston elected to play for two outs using Segui's forkball and got them after Dodger designated hitter Lee Lacy grounded into a double play. Cey came in to count on the twin killing to make the score 4-3. Segui worked around a Petrocelli error to hold the Dodgers off and then rung up another double play ball in the seventh. Segui was a stabilizing force delivering 2 clean innings for Boston.

Dodger starter Don Sutton relinquished the lead for the third time in the seventh as the duo of Doyle and Cooper struck again.  With two outs, Doyle poked a double to left center. Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda had seen enough and brought in Bobby Castillo, and Cooper greeted him with a RBI single to tie the game 4-4. Sutton's stellar regular season has not carried over to the playoffs. He has yet to figure in a decision despite starting 3 postseason games. In 18.2 innings, he struggled mightily with a 5.79 ERA. Sutton has given up 23 hits, four of those being homers, fired 3 wild pitches and has walked 5 men.

The eighth inning was highlighted by yet another two-out rally by Boston, and an atrocious showing from the Dodger bullpen. Carl Yastrzemski roped a one-out double, and after a wild pitch and a passed ball charged to Steve Yeager, Boston found themselves in front 5-4. Dwight Evans ended Castillo's night with another double with Lasorda yanking him in favor of Mike Garman.Then the roof fell in. Garman walked Petrocelli and plunked Rick Burleson to load the bases. Doyle then slapped an inside curveball to right center to bring in two more runs making the score 7-4. One of those runs would be the game-winner, as the Dodgers mounted a last gasp effort in the ninth only to come up two runs short.

Since blanking the Red Sox for 4 innings in Game 1, the Dodger bullpen has taken a sharp decline. In 7.1 total innings, Los Angeles relievers have given up 12 hits and 5 earned runs for a gaudy 6.34 ERA, but in games 2 and 3 combined, the ERA skyrockets to 14.52. If the Dodgers have any hope of getting back into this series, the bullpen needs to right the ship quickly.

Cecil Cooper continued to make a case for World Series MVP as he's hitting a blistering .571 in the Fall Classic. Three of his 8 hits have gone for extra bases smacking a homer, double and a triple. Cooper has also driven in 5 runs. 

Denny Doyle has been a sparkplug at the top of the Red Sox order with four hits in thirteen trips. Like Cooper, Doyle has a hit in all three games scoring three times and knocking in two runs.

Game 4 will see Boston's Reggie Cleveland, a native of Swift Current, Saskatchewan, make his first postseason start. Cleveland served as a spot starter for most of the regular season compiling an 11-6 record with a 3.48 ERA. He will be opposed by Dodger lefty Doug Rau. Rau was 13-7 in the regular season with a dazzling 2.38 ERA, but has only started one game in the postseason. His only outing was a complete game win.against the 1979 Montreal Expos in Game 2 of their NLCS. Rau struck out 8 while only allowing five hits and one walk in the 8-1 victory.

Below the scorecard there are two highlight clips. The first one is the main scoring plays and the second one is the eighth inning single by Doyle as it was omitted from the main highlight reel. Highlights of Game 2 can be found here.




October 08, 2017

The Sensational 70s - Smith Walks Dodgers Off to Tie Series




Dodger right fielder Reggie Smith greeted Red Sox closer Dick Drago with a leadoff solo blast to left in the ninth to give the Dodgers a 5-4 walk-off win, knotting the World Series at one game apiece. The long ball was prominently featured in Game 2. Both of these offensive powerhouses flexed their muscles at Chavez Ravine combining for 5 homers and 29 hits.

After spotting Boston an early 1-0 lead on a RBI single by Jim Rice, Dodger ace Tommy John then settled in after that rough first inning scattering 6 singles over his next 6 innings of work. Los Angeles evened things up on a Rick Monday solo jack in the bottom of the second. 

The Dodgers then picked away adding runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh to take a 4-1 lead.  Steve Garvey drilled a bullet into the bleachers in the fifth and added a RBI single in the sixth to close the book on Boston starter Bill Lee. Lee couldn't really get into a rhythm as he escaped a bases-loaded jam in the third and had traffic on the sacks in every inning except the first.

John gave way to the Dodger bullpen in the eighth after Jim Rice took him deep to center to cut the lead to 4-2. It was the second RBI of the game for Rice and his fifth homer which gave him the lead in both categories for the postseason. Rice has 5 round trippers and 12 RBI to go along with a .400 batting average.

Elias Sosa was the first Los Angeles reliever called upon by skipper Tommy Lasorda. Sosa was the top setup man for Los Angeles in the regular season with a 10-5 record and a 2.59 ERA, but he didn't have it on this outing. He issued a walk to Carlton Fisk,and Dwight Evans then followed with a two-run homer to left to tie the contest up at 4-4. Sosa promptly got the hook without having recorded an out. 

Al Dowling then came on and got Rico Petrocelli on a fly to left but gave up back to back singles to Rick Burleson and pinch-hitter Juan Beniquez. After giving a free pass to Denny Doyle to load the bases, Dowling was yanked, and Lasorda called upon lefty Lance Rautzhan to face Cecil Cooper and Fred Lynn. Cooper went down swinging and Lynn hit a lazy fly into foul ground on the third base side to end the inning.

Red Sox closer Dick Drago retired the Dodgers in order in the bottom half of the eighth, and Boston staged another uprising in the ninth with a two-out double by Dwight Evans. The Dodgers opted to intentionally walk Rico Petrocelli to go after Boston shortstop Rick Burleson. The move paid off as Rautzhan retired him on a grounder to second.

Reggie Smith's game-winning blast was his third dinger of the playoffs and allowed Lance Rautzhan to pick up his third win of the postseason. Rautzhan has become a weapon out of the Dodger bullpen tossing 4.2 scoreless innings. Smith has also had a tremendous postseason batting .458 and is now tied for the team lead in homers with Steve Garvey and Dusty Baker. 

This loss had to have left the Red Sox feeling this was a comeback victory opportunity that they let slip away, squandering two chances in the eighth and ninth to tack on runs.

The series now shifts to Fenway Park for Game 3. The probable pitchers for the games in Boston are featured below the scorecard and game highlights. For a summary of Game 1, click here.





Sensational 70s World Series - Probable Pitchers

Game 3 - Fenway Park 

Regular Season
Rick Wise (15-13), 3.35   vs   Don Sutton (12-8), 3.73 


Game 4 - Fenway Park 

Regular Season
Reggie Cleveland (11-6), 3.48   vs   Doug Rau (13-7), 2.38


Game 5 - Fenway Park 

Regular Season
Luis Tiant (15-9), 3.47   vs   Burt Hooten (15-5), 3.44 

September 04, 2017

All Time Greats - Tiant Tames Tigers




Luis Tiant continued the Red Sox dominance of the Tiger offense allowing only 4 hits in 7.1 innings of work to lead Boston to a 3-0 win and a sweep of their ALDS. Detroit managed to scratch out a meager 15 hits and 5 runs in the series. The Tigers only held the lead for 4 innings in the entire series as their offense ran the gauntlet of potent Red Sox pitching. 

Boston only used 5 pitchers in the series, and all the starters were backed by the shutdown offerings of Dick Radatz who was a huge factor in the ALDS. Before Radatz was called on in the eighth, Tiant mesmerized the Detroit hitters, keeping them off balance while only allowing two runners to reach scoring position. The weak contact by the Detroit offense featured 13 groundouts and 3 pop outs to the catcher.

David Ortiz's sacrifice fly in the third would be the only run support Tiant needed, but Jim Rice and Carlton Fisk added solo homers in the fourth for good measure off Tiger starter Max Scherzer. After only 5 innings, Scherzer gave way to Mike Henneman and John Hillier, and they kept the scoresheet clean. However, Detroit only managed 2 singles in the final 4 innings.

Rice was the offensive star of the series. He bashed three homers to go along with 7 RBI, leading the team in both categories. Boston's 'Fearsome Foursome" of Rice, Boggs, Williams, and Yastrzemski went a combined 19 - 42 with 4 homers, 10 RBI, 4 doubles and 8 walks in the series.

Boston's unsung hero of the ALDS, Dick Radatz, tossed 5 scoreless innings out of the bullpen, picking up a win and a save along the way. He struck out 4 batters and did not allow a hit.

The Red Sox now await the winner of the New York/Cleveland ALDS. That series is currently tied at a game apiece as Cleveland roared back in Game 2 from a 2-0 deficit scoring 5 times in the top of the eighth for a 5-2 victory. The scene now shifts to Progressive Field where the Indians will send Bob Lemon up against the Yankees' Andy Pettitte will duel in a pivotal Game 3.

August 21, 2017

The Sensational 70s - El Tiante Terrifico



Boston's Luis Tiant blanked the high-octane Dodger offense for 8 innings, allowing only three hits and scored the game-winning run to lead the '75 Red Sox to a 3-0 win over the '77 Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 1 of the World Series.

Tiant held the Dodgers hitless until the bottom of the fifth inning when Steve Yeager broke through with a two-out single to center. Bill Russell followed with a double to put runners on second and third bringing Dodger starter Burt Hooten to the plate. With Hooten and Tiant locked in a scoreless pitching duel, Dodger skipper Tommy Lasorda elected to have Hooten hit. Hooten grounded out to first to end the threat, and Lasorda would look back on his decision with angst in the very next inning.

Boston began the sixth with consecutive singles by Luis Tiant and Denny Doyle. Cecil Cooper then ripped a double down the right field line to score Tiant. Hot- hitting Fred Lynn immediately padded the lead with a two-run single. Over his last three games, all of which were Red Sox victories, Lynn has stroked 7 hits in his last 13 trips to the plate with 3 doubles, a triple and 5 RBI to his credit. Lynn now leads the team in postseason batting with a .386 mark. His single would spell the end of the day for Hooten. It has been a tough postseason for Hooten (0-2) who has yet to register a victory after logging 15 wins in the regular season.

Tiant judiciously spread his 87 offerings throughout the Dodger lineup inducing much weak contact and 12 ground outs. The Dodgers pressed him in the sixth as Dave Lopes dropped down a bunt single and promptly swiped second. He moved to third on a Reggie Smith ground out to first. Tiant then tied Steve Garvey in knots, getting him to hit a nubber in front of the plate forcing Lopes to stay at third. After pitching around Dusty Baker to put runners on the corners, he got Ron Cey to fly out harmlessly to right field to end the inning. 

With Boston now gaining home field advantage, they'll try to increase their chances of celebrating a championship on home soil, sending regular season ace Bill Lee to the bump in Game 2. The Dodgers will respond in kind with their staff ace, Tommy John, who faces a critical test in knotting this series before it shifts to Fenway Park. Check here for the series preview and some regular season stats.