Sunday, January 4, 2015

Clutch Cards Defeat Brewers in '82 Series Replay

ST. LOUIS -- Even 30-plus years later, the Brewers still couldn't get the best of their nemesis, the St. Louis Cardinals.

Behind their aces -- Joaquin Andujar and Bruce Sutter -- the Cards defeated the Brew Crew 3-0 in Game 7 of an APBA Baseball Game World Series replay that matched the real thing, where St. Louis out-dueled the Brewers four games to three in Milwaukee's only trip to the fall classic.

I was hoping the Brewers could reverse the outcome, after piling up 106 wins in my regular season replay. But it was not to be ...

The Cardinals jumped to 2-0 lead by edging the Brewers in the first two games, and had the Brewers playing catch-up the rest of the series. Sutter, the NL's top reliever, earned a save in all four Cardinals victories. Clutch hitting throughout the lineup keyed the Cardinals offense.

Game 1 -- Cards win 3-2, take series lead

George Hendrick drove in a pair of runs in the first inning, and Darrell Porter scored from second base on an error in the sixth to put the Cards ahead 3-2 in their opening game win. Bob Forsch earned the win, pitching 8-plus innings before yielding to Sutter.

Pete Vuckovich took the loss, though matching Forsch almost pitch for pitch. The Brewers scored first, after Paul Molitor led off the game with a single and scored on a double by AL MVP Robin Yount. Fellow all-star Cecil Cooper drove in the tying run with a double in the sixth inning, after a leadoff walk by Yount.

Porter, the former Brewers backstop, lead off the bottom of the sixth with a double. He scored after leftfielder Ben Oglivie bobbled then dropped a fly ball by Lonnie Smith. Forsch and Sutter then did the rest.

Game 2 -- Cards win 3-1, lead series 2-0

But for a ninth-inning solo home run by Oglivie, the Brewers mustered little offense versus Cards starter John Stuper. Once again, the Cards got off to a fast start, with leadoff hitters Tommy Herr and Ken Oberkfell getting on base with a pair of singles, then scoring on sacrifice flyouts by Keith Hernandez and George Hendrick. Hernandez scored an insurance run in the eighth, hitting a single then scoring on a triple by Porter.

After Oglivie's home run, Sutter closed the door on any further comeback by striking out Gorman Thomas and Ted Simmons. Don Sutton took the loss.

Game 3 -- Brewers rally for 8-7 win

It seemed grim for the Brewers as the Cardinals dinged starter Mike Caldwell for six runs in the fourth inning, including a two-run homer by Hendrick and and a two-out, bases-loaded double by Herr to put the Cards ahead 6-2. Andujar was cruising with a 7-2 lead when the Brewers scored three in the bottom of the seventh. After Molitor drove in one with a single, Yount smacked a two-out double to drive in two more. Doug Bair retired Cooper to end the threat and maintain the Cards' 7-5 lead.

Bair, however, surrendered a leadoff walk to Oglivie. After Sutter came on to retire Thomas, designated hitter Don Money and Simmons hit back-to-back home runs to put the Brewers ahead 8-7.

In the top of the ninth, Brewers reliever Jamie Easterly allowed Hendrick to reach first on a single. That prompted a call to the bullpen, and Rollie Fingers. (Note: Unlike in real life, Fingers rallied miraculously from a season-ending injury to pitch in the Series!) Fingers came on to retire the side, including striking out David Green to end the game and get the Brewers back on track. (Note: Green platooned throughout the series. He had been traded to St. Louis two years earlier in the deal that brought the Brewers Simmons, Vuckovich and Fingers!). Easterly got the win in relief, Sutter took the loss.

Game 4 --  Brewers rally again, win 3-2 and even the series

Gorman Thomas hit a solo home run off Doug Bair in the bottom of the eighth inning to break a 2-2 tie and even the series at two games apiece. Easterly once again picked up the win in relief, with another save by Fingers.

Both starters -- Moose Haas for the Brewers and Dave LaPoint for the Cards -- gave way to the bullpens after allowing a pair of runs. (Note: LaPoint also had been traded to the Cards from the Brewers in the Fingers deal ... )

Game 5 -- Vuckovich pounded as Cards regain series lead with 8-3 win

Pete Vuckovich took his second loss of the series as he allowed five runs over three-plus innings; the Cards went on to win 8-3. Lonnie Smith went 3-for-4 in the leadoff spot, scoring two runs and driving in another; Porter had a double and a home run, scoring two runs; and McGee added a two-run triple. Forsch got his second win of the series, with another save from Sutter.

Thomas hit his second home run in two games, and Yount added a two-run home run in the seventh that cut the lead to 5-3. But the Cards added three runs in the eighth and ninth to put them one win away from the championship.

Game 6 -- Sutton saves the day as Brewers win 8-2 to force Game 7

Don Sutton held the Cardinals to four hits and a pair of runs in the fourth inning as the Brewers pounded the Cardinals for 12 hits in an 8-2 win. Oglivie got the scoring started with a two-run bomb in the first inning, followed by Thomas' third homer of the series in the third. Simmons drove in two more runs in the third inning to chase Cards starter John Stuper. Cooper went 3-for-5 with a double, a run and two RBI.

Game 7 -- Brewers held scoreless in 3-0 series finale

The Brewers could scatter only six hits as they fell 3-0 to the Cardinals. St. Louis starter Joaquin Andujar got the win, with Sutter coming on to close out the eighth and ninth innings. Willie McGee gave the Cards all the runs they would need with a one-out, bases-loaded single to drive in two runs in the fourth inning off losing pitcher Mike Caldwell.

The Brewers made it exciting to the end, with Oglivie leading off the ninth with a double against Sutter. After a flyout by Money to deep left, Edwards hit a sharp single to left. However, Green gunned down Oglivie at the plate. Sutter then ended the threat and the series by striking out Ted Simmons.

How ironic that so much of the series turned on key plays by players who had been dealt between the teams just two years earlier!

... And so ended my long-awaited replay of the Milwaukee Brewers mythic 1982 season!



Friday, January 2, 2015

Brewers Pile Up 106 Wins in 1982 Season Replay

The Brewers raced to a fast start and never let up on the gas as they cruised to a 106-56 record in this 1982 APBA Baseball Game season replay.

As in real life, the Brewers pounded opponents with their hitting and had plenty of pitching -- especially with the late-season addition of Don Sutton -- to assure Milwaukee the AL East Division title. They outscored their opponents 844-630!

The Brew Crew put an exclamation point on their season by finishing with a three-game road sweep of their closest division rivals, the Baltimore Orioles. The sweep included a 15-5 demolition and a ninth-inning come from behind victory.

Trailing 4-2 in their last at bat, second baseman Jim Gantner led off the inning with a single, followed by a home run by catcher Charlie Moore. After a triple by Marshall Edwards, third baseman/leadoff hitter supreme Paul Molitor drove him in with a single. Pete Vuckovich wrapped up his 22nd win with a one, two, three-out bottom of the ninth.

It's no wonder Vuckovich earned the Cy Young Award, going 22-3 with a 2.76 ERA. He pitched 251 innings in 30 starts, with 17 complete games. Mike Caldwell and Moose Haas contributed 16 wins apiece. Sutton compiled a 5-1 record in his six starts after arriving from Houston.

The bullpen was led by Hall-of-Famer Rollie Fingers, who went 7-9 with 29 saves. Jim Slaton added 3 saves along with his 10-5 record; Dwight Bernard also had 3 saves and a 7-2 win/loss tally.

In the replay, all-star shortstop Robin Yount nearly duplicated his MVP stat line -- batting .346, scoring 124 runs, driving in 117, and smacking 54 doubles, 14 triples and 26 home runs! Molitor, The Igniter, lived up to his nickname, batting .343 and scoring 140 runs! His stats included 230 hits, 86 RBI, 29 doubles, 27 home runs and 42 stolen bases.

First baseman Cecil Cooper and left fielder Ben Oglivie anchored the middle of the lineup. Cooper batted .304 in the three spot, scoring 100 runs, and driving in 115 with 42 doubles and 22 home runs. Oglivie led the team in home runs with 45, matching Cooper with 115 RBI and 101 runs scored.

Center fielder Gorman Thomas contributed 93 RBI, with 27 home runs and 37 doubles. The bottom of the order did its share of damage as well. Catcher Ted Simmons batted .258 with 12 home runs and 67 RBI; Gantner batted .331, scoring 61 and driving in 57; and part-time designated hitter Don Money batted .323 with 16 homers and 59 RBI.

As a team, the Brewers batted a stellar .284, with 202 home runs, a .330 on-base percentage and a .453 slugging percentage. Here's a link to all the stats.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the 1982 Brewers World Series squad is my most favorite, having grown up in Milwaukee. It's surprising it took this long to get to a season replay. I've been playing APBA baseball since 1976.

This is the third season replay I've completed this year, the others being the 2008 Brewers playoff team and the 1969 Cubs, who also managed to win more than 100 games in my replay.

In replaying the 1982 Brewers I used the team's actual starting pitching rotation and opponents' starting lineups. I kept pitchers close of their actual innings pitched; and batters close to their actual number of plate appearances. I also mixed in an interleague schedule, with four games against each of the National League squads.The Brewers went 32-16 against the NL.

I'm looking forward to replaying the 1982 World Series against the Cardinals, who defeated the Brewers in three out of four games during the replay. One twist I plan for the Series is including Rollie Fingers, who missed the actual World Series due to injury. What the heck, it's my replay!

Note: As always, here's a link to my Brewers replay stats ...