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Old 06-11-2019, 06:33 PM   #41
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Game 111, Wednesday August 10, 1977 ~

At Arlington

Rangers 9, Royals 4

WP: Doyle Alexander (11-5, 3.63); LP: Marty Pattin (5-4, 4.66)

We got an up-close look at the reasons why the Texas Rangers will most likely win the AL West in this 1977 SIM.

The Rangers have a deep starting rotation, an even deeper bullpen, and a lineup of pesky hitters who know how to get on base and score.

Texas scored one or two runs in every inning except the second and the sixth. They didn’t bat in the ninth. Five different Rangers hitters had at least two hits. They drew seven walks as a team. Ron Fairly, who the Rangers recently acquired in a trade with Toronto, hit his first HR for Texas, his 15th of the season overall.

Doyle Alexander wasn’t overpowering. He gave up four runs on seven hits and three walks in just over five innings. But the Royals twice left the bases loaded against him, and another time left runners at second and third.


Game 112, Thursday August 11, 1977 ~

At Arlington

Royals 10, Rangers 8

WP: Mark Littell (5-2, 5.96); LP: Adrian Devine (7-6, 2.73)

Hal McRae swatted an oppo-field 2-run home run in the top of the ninth inning to snap an 8-8 tie, and Mark Littell survived a terrifying bottom of the ninth to give us a 1-1 split in Arlington.

The Rangers built an early 5-2 lead on the flaming-hot bat of Ron Fairly, who hit a 2-run homer in the second inning, and then a a 2-run triple in the third off starter Jim Colborn. The Royals quickly tied it with a three-run fourth inning, then took an 8-5 lead with a three-run seventh. Al Cowens played a key role in both of those rallies, with an RBI double in the fourth and a leadoff triple in the seventh.

Colborn shook off his early struggles and held Texas scoreless for four consecutive innings as KC tied the game, then took the lead. But I left him in too long. The Rangers jumped all over Colborn in the bottom of the eighth. Greg Jemison, a speedy young outfielder recently called up from AAA to fill in for an injured Juan Beniquez, ripped a two-run double to tie the game 8-8.

In the bottom of the ninth, with two runners on and two out, the Rangers sent in Roy Howell (.378, 16 HR, 78 RBIs) to pinch hit against a wobbly Littell. But Howell tapped a harmless groundout to second. Whew!

We leave Texas as we came, still 8.5 games out. Now it’s on to Toronto, Boston and Cleveland. All three teams have struggled this season, but anything can happen against our pitching.

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Old 06-11-2019, 06:39 PM   #42
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Game 113, Friday August 12, 1977 ~

At Toronto

Royals 5, Blue Jays 0

WP: Dennis Leonard (12-4, 2.60); LP: Dave Lemanczyk (6-15, 5.52)

With the Royals’ infield turning four double plays behind him, Dennis Leonard pitched an easy 5-hit shutout against the Blue Jays, who lost their eighth straight game.

KC had triples in three straight innings from Frank White, George Brett and Darrell Porter, who went 4-for-5 raising his season average to .295.

NOTE: After the game, we called up LHP Andy Hassler from AAA Omaha. He was 1-0 with a 2.42 ERA there in three rehab starts and 22 innings pitched. We’ve been without Hassler since early April when he went down with injury after throwing just 10 pitches in his first start.
We sent down the young and wildly inconsistent Rich Gale. He was 1-3 with 1 save and a 4.47 ERA in the majors. In 46.1 IP, Gale had walked 41 and struck out 44.

Marty Pattin will move from the starting rotation to the bullpen. We hope that will bring some consistency to what has been a diabolically unreliable pen.


Game 114, Saturday August 13, 1977 ~

At Toronto

Royals 3, Blue Jays 2

WP: Paul Splittorff (9-9, 4.22); LP: Jim Clancy (0-2, 8.71); Sv: Mark Littell (13, 5.72)

Toronto got an astonishingly good outing from young prospect Jim Clancy. The 21-year old whippersnapper was called up from AAA despite only posting a 6-8 record with a 6.71 ERA at that level. In fact, Clancy walked 98 batters and struck out 77 — in the minors!

He entered this game with a movement rating of 8 (on a 1-20 scale) and a control rating of only 3. But he pitched seven strong innings, allowing 3 runs on 7 hits with 5 walks and 4 strikeouts.

Fred Patek, starting in place of a resting Kiko Garcia, scored on a George Brett sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh to break a 2-2 tie. Brett also collected his 21st HR of the season earlier in the game.

Mark Littell got the two-inning save. In the eighth inning, he allowed a single and two walks to load the bases, but got out of the jam with back-to-back strikeouts. In the ninth, he walked another Blue Jays hitter, but got out of it on a game-ending double play started by Patek.

Otto Velez smacked his 15th HR of the season for Toronto, which has now lost nine in a row.


Game 115, Sunday August 14, 1977 ~

At Toronto

Blue Jays 2, Royals 1

WP: Jesse Jefferson (7-12, 6.26); LP: Steve Renko (8-7, 3.94); Sv: Pete Vuckovich (8, 5.95)

The fact we averaged only 3 runs per game against the worst-pitching team in baseball is fairly embarrassing. The offense went completely limp in this one, leaving the door open for a team trying to avoid its 10th straight loss.

We scored our only run on a George Brett sac fly in the top of the third. We had runners at second and third with one out later in the same inning, but left them stranded. Blue Jays’ starter Jesse Jefferson locked into a groove after that, and we just couldn’t touch him. Jefferson didn’t allow another hit after the third inning and worked around a couple of two-out walks on his way to a strong eight-inning performance.

Our 1-0 lead held until the bottom of the eighth. Steve Renko had been equally as good as Jefferson up to that point, but an error by Kiko Garcia at SS let the leadoff runner on. That appeared to rattle Renko, who was also tiring a bit by then.

The Jays loaded the bases, tied the game on a fielder’s choice, then took the lead on Milt May’s 2-out RBI single. May was recently traded to the Jays from, you guessed it, Texas.

John Mayberry got a 2-out, pinch-hit double off Vuckovich in the bottom of the ninth, but then Tom Poquette flew out to CF to end it.

Renko allowed 2 runs (0 earned) on 4 hits and 4 walks over 7.2 innings.

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Old 06-11-2019, 06:47 PM   #43
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Game 116, Monday August 15, 1977 ~

At Boston

Red Sox 12, Royals 3

WP: Jim Bibby (4-2, 4.50); LP: Marty Pattin (5-5, 5.15)

Two days after telling Marty Pattin he was being demoted to the bullpen, we had to ask him for a spot start against the Red Sox because the other four starters (including Andy Hassler) were still recovering from recent starts.

No doubt miffed about his pending demotion, Pattin nevertheless went out and demonstrated exactly why he’s being relegated to the pen. He surrendered 5 home runs — 3 of them to Carl Yazsterzymski — and the Sox just blew our doors off. Yaz now has 22 homers and 80 RBI on the season.

Jim Rice homered and tripled, raising his season average to .345 with 30 homers and 115 RBI. He hit a 3-run blast during an 8-run second inning for the BoSox.

I had no choice but to leave Pattin in for as long as I could. He ended up going seven innings, allowing 10 runs on 16 hits. He didn’t walk anyone for a change. He was laying it right in there for them.

With this loss, we fell 10 games behind the Rangers. We’re 20 games OVER .500 in mid August and it still feels like this season is slipping away.


Game 117, Tuesday August 16, 1977 ~

At Boston

Royals 12, Red Sox 7

WP: Jim Colborn (15-5, 4.03); LP: Bill Campbell (3-5, 4.95)

The Royals’ No. 2 through No. 5 hitters — Hal McRae, George Brett, Al Cowens & Darrell Porter — went a combined 14-for-22 with 9 RBI and 9 runs scored as KC pounded out 24 hits and got a measure of payback for the previous day’s shellacking.

None of the 24 hits were home runs, but the Royals did rack up six doubles and a triple, including one of each from McRae who now has 39 doubles and 10 triples on the season.

The Royals pulled away from a 6-6 tie with six runs in the top of the eighth inning.

Fred Lynn went 2-for-5 with 3 RBI for the BoSox. He now is hitting .305 with 24 homers and 93 RBI. If the Red Sox had better pitching, they might be running away with the AL East the way Texas is running away with the West. They can sure mash.

We gain no ground on Texas, which got two more homers from Ron Fairly in a 6-1 win at Milwaukee to win its fourth in a row.

CURRENT RECORD: 69-48 (2nd place, 10 games behind Texas)
REAL-LIFE RECORD: 64-51 (4th place, 2 games behind Minnesota, 1.5 games behind both Texas and Chicago)


Than Yankees and Rangers are still holding steady atop their respective division in the American League … In the National League, the Chicago Cubs found themselves briefly tied with the Mets in the division lead, but have regained their tenuous hold. Baseball experts still wonder when the Pirates are going to get hot and make their big move. They’ve made a lot of trades and are chock-full of talent. That black and gold cobra is going to strike at some point … In the NL West, the Cincinnati Reds are still in control, but it looks like the L.A. Dodgers have stopped napping and are ready to give chase. The SF Giants have withered a bit in the heat of the race, losing 6 in a row to fall back into third place.

Ok. The Royals are off to Cleveland. We are 4-4 on the current road trip and hoping to finish it with a flourish against the Tribe.

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