Sunday, April 20, 2014

Dierker's No-hitter Slows Cubs in '69 Replay

Larry Dierker tossed a no-hitter against the Cubs, slowing their momentum on the way to a 32-10 record in this APBA Baseball Game replay of Chicago's epic 1969 campaign.

At one point, Dierker struck out eight batters in a row and 11 total in the Astros' 2-0 win inside the Astrodome on May 16. Doug Rader hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning to account for Houston's offense and handed Ken Holtzman only his second loss of the season.

With a 9-2 loss to the Astros two days later, the Cubs lost their first series of the season.

For Dierker, 1969 was the peak of a steady career as he posted a 20-13 record and earned a spot on the NL All-Star team. However, it was his only 20-win season. He went on to compile a  139-123 record between 1964-1977.

Holtzman quickly rebounded for a pair of wins on the Cubs' western road trip, raising his record to 9-2. The Cubs are 4-4 so far against Houston, Los Angeles and San Diego. While Chicago may have cooled slightly on this trip, the squad's winning percentage remained a robust .762 for the season.

The Cubs' big three -- Holtzman, Fergie Jenkins (7-3) and Bill Hands (7-1) -- continued to lead the way. Ted Abernathy has three wins and four saves out of the bullpen. Overall, the team ERA stands at 2.34.

In addition to the usual stalwarts on offense, rightfielder Jim Hickman has rebounded, raising his average to .250 along with hitting four home runs and driving in 17.

Among the Cubs' starters, leading hitters include Glenn Beckert (.337), Billy Williams (.321) and Randy Hundley (.313); RBI leaders Santo (33), Williams (30) and Hundley (18); and top scorers Don Kessinger (30), Beckert (28) and Santo (23). Santo and Willie Smith continue to lead the team in home runs with six apiece, followed by Williams with five.

Next up for the Cubs is a May 25 doubleheader vs. the Padres, then it's on to Candlestick Park for a pair of games against the Giants.

Some other highlights:

May 11: Hickman goes 3-for-4 with two home runs and five RBI to lead the Cubs to a 10-6 win over the Giants at Wrigley.

May 12: Hickman homered again the next day in a 14-1 victory over the Padres. Beckert went 4-for-4 and Ernie Banks got back on track by going 4-for-5 and scoring three runs.

May 14: Hands tosses a one-hitter in defeating the Padres 3-0. Santo hit a two-run homer for the Cubs.

May 21: Cubs rally for two runs in the seventh and two more in the eighth inning in a 6-4 comeback win over the Dodgers. Williams has a two-run homer and drives in three runs. Willie Davis and Andy Kosco had back-to-back jacks to give the home team the lead in the bottom of the sixth.

May 23: Cubs reliever Jim Colborn allows a pair of walk-off hits to lose two extra-inning games in two days. Ted Sizemore drove in Paul Popovich with a single for a 4-3 Dodgers win in the bottom of the 12th on May 22. The next day, San Diego's Tommy Dean hit one to the wall in the bottom of the 11th inning, bringing John Sipin all the way around from first base for an 8-7 win. At one point, the Padres trailed 7-1 before tying the game in the eighth, no thanks to Cubs reliever Phil Regan, who continues to struggle out of the bullpen.


Note: Here's the link to the Cubs' up-to-date replay stats.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Cubs Win 12 Straight in '69 Replay

Now I really don't know how the Cubs didn't win 100 games or top the Mets for the NL Championship in 1969.

In my APBA Baseball Game replay the Cubs now stand at 24-5, including winning 12 straight games. In that stretch, the Cubs won 18 out of 19 games, sweeping all eight games against the Mets!

The Cubbies continue to rely on incredible pitching and timely hitting to win game after game. Their Big Three -- Fergie Jenkins (5-3), Bill Hands (5-1) and Ken Holtzman (6-1) -- have piled up 16 wins. They have 17 complete games and 4 shutouts.

The team ERA is 2.06.

On the offensive side, the Cubs are getting clutch hits throughout the batting order.

Their top hitters continue to be Billy Williams (.329), Glenn Beckert (.325) and Randy Hundley (.341).  Leadoff man Don Kessinger and cleanup hitter Ron Santo lead the team in runs scored with 19 each, followed by Beckert at 17.

Santo leads the Cubs in runs batted in with 22; Williams is next at 19. Santo and right-fielder Willie Smith are tied with a team-high 4 home runs apiece.

The biggest mystery continues to be the lack of hitting by Jim Hickman, who is at .119 after 42 at-bats. However, he did smack a two-run homer in his last game.

Here are the highlights over the past two weeks:

April 22: Cubs sweep a doubleheader -- 2-1 and 6-5 -- at Forbes Field vs. the Pirates. Hundley wins game one with an RBI-double in the eighth. In game two, the Cubs got a solo home run from Williams and a three-run homer by fill-in catcher Bill Heath.

April 24: Holtzman strikes out 11 in an 8-1 blowout vs. the Cardinals that included home runs by Beckert, Santo, Smith and Hundley.

April 25: Jenkins outpitches Tom Seaver, defeating the Mets 3-1 at Shea Stadium.

April 27: The Cubs pile up 21 runs on 28 hits to sweep a doubleheader against the Mets -- 4-3 and 17-5.

May 2: Holtzman throws a 6-hit shutout against the Mets as Ernie Banks gets his first home run of the season in a 5-0 win.

May 4: Seaver takes another loss vs. the Cubs, this time a 5-0 shutout by Hands.

May 6: Holtzman notches his team-high 6th win of the season with a 1-0 two-hit shutout against the Dodgers at Wrigley Field. In seven starts, the lefty is now 6-1 with an ERA of 1.29.

May 7: The Cubs fall 7-5 in 11 innings as Jenkins is torched for 14 hits. Santo hits a pair of home runs in the loss.

To this point in the season, the Mets have been anything but miraculous vs. the Cubs. And it's not hard to see why. Their pitching hasn't phased the Cubs, and their current lineup remains impotent with the likes of Rod Gaspar, Al Weis and Kevin Collins piling up the outs.

Likewise, one of my favorite players ever -- Amos Otis -- did little for the Mets in his outings against the Cubs. I'm glad he went on to become an all-star, Gold Glove center-fielder -- in 1970 with the Royals.


Note: Here's a link to my ongoing Cubs replay season stats