Notes from the Shadows of Cooperstown: October 9, 2008
The Sweest Sixteen Continues, Cleveland vs. Boston
In the first installment of Gene Carney\'s Sweet 16 match between the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox, the Indians won 2 of the first 3 games. We pick up the action in Cleveland with two of the hardest throwers of their respective generations on the mound, Smokey Joey Wood and Rapid Bob Feller.
GAME FOUR, AT CLEVELAND
Joe Wood, winner of Game One, took on Bob Feller. The Indians gave Feller a lead in the first: Jackson singled, stole, and moved to third when Lajoie beat out his bunt. Belle grounded out for the RBI.
Buckeye Thomasí HR tied it in the 3rd. Feller was sharp, fanning the side in the fifth. But the Sox got to him in the top of the sixth. Williams singled, and Yaz followed with a single, moving Ted to third. After Yaz stole second, Rice grounded a ball up the middle to score two runs. The final Sox run came in the 9th, when Scales tripled and scored on Nomarís sac fly. And that was it, Sox win, 4-1. Series even, two game each.
Joe Wood struggled thru the entire game, with only one 1-2-3 inning. In the 9th, with two out, he gave up hits to Rosen and pinch-hitter Jethroe ó then fanned Rocky Colavito, the potential tying run. It was just his third K; Feller had five, Mesa two.
GAME FIVE, AT CLEVELAND
With the Series even, the Sox sent out Dutch Leonard against the winner of Game Two, Jim Bagby. In the first inning, Thomas singled, moved to second on Williamsí grounder, and when Yaz singled to center, Thomas was tossed out at home by Speaker. As it turned out, that was the closest the Sox came all day to scoring against Bagby. Not that he had an easy time. The Sox loaded the bases in the third with one out, but Bagby fanned Yaz and Rice bounced out. Scales led off the 4th with a triple, but was stranded. Bagby yielded just one hit the rest of the way.
Leonard gave up a first-inning single to Speaker, who was cut down stealing. Spoke was the only runner until the fourth. Jackson singled, stole second and Lajoie bunted him to third. After Speaker walked, Albert Belle cleared the bases with a long double. That was all the Indians needed. But they got more. After Trosky walked, Sam Jethroe, not a power hitter, stroked a three-run HR. Solo HRs later by Julio Franco and Hal Trosky made the final 7-0.
GAME SIX, AT BOSTON
Their backs to the wall, the Sox sent Carl Mays, who pitched well but lost Game Three, against Addie Joss, who had been hit hard in the Opener. The Indians went on top early. In the second, Jethroe singled and stole. Al Rosen walked, and Franco bunted them up. The first run came in when Mays was called for a balk, and another came in on Delgadoís sac fly. The Indians made it 3-0 in the third on a solo HR by Belle.
The Red Sox scraped one run back in their third. Jimmy Collins singled, stole second, and came home on two ground outs. In the Indian fourth, Delgado doubled and Lajoie singled him in. The Sox cut the lead to 4-3 in their fourth. Rice singled, moved to third when Scales doubled, and they both scored on Lynnís hit.
The game turned in the Sox fifth, when Carlton Fisk led off with a home run to tie the game. Joss walked Thomas, who stole second and Williams bunted (!) him to third. Yaz broke the tie with a single and when Jim Rice followed with a double, Joss left the game. Wes Ferrell got Scales, but Fred Lynn connected, making it 8-4. All the Indians could muster the rest of the way was an unearned run and two singles. 8-5 Sox, and we go to Game Seven.
GAME SEVEN, AT BOSTON
All baseball fans live, I think, for close Game Sevens. We love to see pitching duels, or see-saw games, and if it goes to extra innings, even better. This Game Seven was one of those games that was made for the fans.
Stan Coveleski, who won that close Game Four, took the hill for the Indians. He went up against Smoky Joe Wood, winner of Games One and Four, two CGs. Wood was not sharp, giving up hits in the first three innings, but bearing down to strand the runners. Then he settled in, retiring 11 of the next 12.
But Coveleski was even tougher. He retired the first sixteen Sox, Wade Boggs finally drawing a walk in the sixth. After Fisk forced Boggs, Johnny Pesky rolled one into right on the hit-and-run, but Williams grounded out. Scoreless thru six.
Rosen doubled with one gone in the Indian 7th, and with two out, Wood faced Lou Boudreau. Lou had played well in the field, but was benched for Games 5 & 6 after going 0-for-14. But this time he came through with a 2-run HR. The Indians added a run in their ninth when Delgado doubled home Rosen, who walked with two out. Coveleski gave up just two walks, both to Yaz, over the last three innings, and was the winner, with a one-hit, 3-0 victory.
No-hitters are rare in APBA simulations ó sooner or later, you are bound to get a good roll of the dice. When the teams are bulging with stars, a no-no is nearly impossible. Yet, if I had not put on the hit-and-run with Pesky up in the sixth, this could have been one of those games.
The Indians will move on to play the winner of the Aís-Oís series, on deck.