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Old 11-07-2019, 12:33 AM   #121
The_Myth
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July 15, 1985

A few trades: The Cubs send SP Chuck Rainey to Baltimore for prospects Joe Kucharski and Ken Dixon, while Texas sends reliever Rick Camp to Minnesota for prospects Gary Menssen and Chris Calvert.

Speaking of the Cubs, Iím going back and forth with their GM Dan Kacala, who seems to be cagey about Lee Smith. If he canít get one of my young, established pros, he wants Kelly Downs and at least one of Mike Diaz, Chris James, Mike LaValliere, Mike Maddux, or Jeff Stone. Iíve become fine with dealing Downs (of course), as I donít see him contributing highly to my rotation until at least 1987, but I do need a starter in return, as that kind of depth is necessary right now. So Kacala says he can send me Scott McGregor (age 31, 118.2 IP, 5.16 ERA, 54 K, 33 BB). Not the best option, but he can be a long man, and he is a free agent next year (a type-B at that).

Iím going to sit on it, while still talking with Kacala about options. If thereís a way to, say, trade James and Mike Maddux, or Diaz and one of James or Maddux, Iíd rather do that and not take McGregor. It really isnít a bad deal, but Iíd rather come out winning, obviously.

Wait, another phone call, and heíd take Don Carman and Mike Maddux (or Mike Diaz) for Smith alone. Hmmm. I like Carman a lot, even if heís having a bad year up here (15.1 IP, 7.04 ERA, 12 K, 6 BB). I really think Carman can blossom into a lights-out end-game reliever. For two months of Lee Smith? Ack.

Iím going to sleep on this all.

July 16, 1985

The All-Star Game is today in Minneapolis, and the early morning news is Milwaukeeís Ben Oglivie has decided to retire. Heís hitting .115 this season, so he thinks itís time.

But the bigger news Ö WHY DID I SLEEP ON THIS? The Cubs have just negotiated a contract extension with Lee Smith. Thatís why Kacala was cagey in the first place, and damn, his Carman plus Maddux offer was his final swing before locking up the deal. Itís a two-year extension starting in 1986, paying him $580K per season.

Maybe my balking with him made Kacala realize there wasnít much on the market for Smith this season, so he decided to extend and hope his value is worth more in two years. I donít even know if I agree with my logic here, but whatever. This means Smith isnít so valuable to me (I already have Donnie Moore and Larry Andersen locked up through Ď86). Alright then.

I check in with Houston over Mike Scott, another free-agent-to-be, and theyíre willing to do Scott Sanderson, Jeff Stone, and Mike Maddux. Feels like too much. Scott would replace Sanderson in the rotation, but it doesnít really address my bullpen issue. I could also just hope Downs works in the rotation Ö no, I canít. Not now.

I could also have Kent Tekulve for just one guy like Chris James or Rick Schu. But Tekulve has only one pitch at this point, using his submarine style to deceive. On the fence.

Now I check in with the Red Sox about Tony Armas, a free-agent-to-be who has 17 HR and 56 RBI and could make a great bench bat down the stretch. That said, heís a righty, and I could really use a lefty bat. But, well, Armas would take literally a nobody prospect. Thatís great news.

On the lefty side, there are few decent power bats available. Clint Hurdle (a backup catcher in Chicago) is available. Terry Kennedy can come to me from San Diego for Mike Diaz and Jeff Stone. I suppose I can do the two-month catcher ringer, but Iím getting cold feet on that one, too.

Finally, I could do Thad Bosley from Pittsburgh for, say, Jeff Stone. Thatís acceptable, and Bosley is having a solid year and would immediately become my fourth outfielder. This is my fallback.


All-Star Game: Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome - American League 2, National League 1

A classic that goes 12 innings. Kevin Gross pitches a 1-2-3 third inning, striking out Lance Parrish of Detroit. The AL scores in the fourth against Joe Hesketh of Montreal (ha), then Charles Hudson throws a perfect fifth inning. The NL ties it up in the sixth with a Tom Foley homer, then we go on the see-saw. Finally, in the 12th, Bryn Smith of Montreal (haha) surrenders a walk-off home run from Don Mattingly. A great game.

July 17, 1985

An update from Reading: Blaise Ilsley against the Nashua Pirates: 9 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 9 K, 1 BB. Thereís my guy.

Full season Blaise: 143.2 IP, 11-4, 2.76 ERA, 154 K, 36 BB, 4.6 WAR

Meantime, weíre halfway through the season. Time for grades:

Catcher
  • Darren Daulton - 259 PA, .190/.332/.362, 6 2B, 3 3B, 8 HR, 25 RBI, 35 R, 51 K, 44 BB, 11 SB, 6 CS, +0.1 ZR, 1.118 EFF, 29.5 CS%, 1.2 WAR / C
  • Tommy Thompson - 95 PA, .272/.333/.383, 4 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 4 R, 15 K, 8 BB / +1.7 ZR, 1.052 EFF, 44.4 CS%, 0.3 WAR / C

Daultonís offense has been an issue, but he is getting on base (rather impressive how his OBP is in solid range despite the poor average), and much of the poor play was in April (.070 average). Thompson has been a good backup.

Infielder
  • Mike Schmidt - 354 PA, .350/.424/.605, 16 2B, 3 3B, 19 HR, 76 RBI, 56 R, 41 K, 42 BB, +3.2 ZR, 1.052 EFF, 4.4 WAR / A+
  • Juan Samuel - 369 PA, .225/.263/.375, 11 2B, 7 3B, 9 HR, 53 RBI, 59 R, 60 K, 14 BB, 37 SB, 6 CS, -4.3 ZR, .953 EFF, 0.8 WAR / D
  • Paul Molitor - 365 PA, .283/.355/.388, 22 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 35 RBI, 48 R, 58 K, 36 BB, 20 SB, 9 CS, -0.3 ZR, .998 EFF, 2.1 WAR / B
  • UL Washington - 313 PA, .279/.329/.383, 12 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 32 RBI, 45 R, 55 K, 22 BB, 17 SB, 7 CS, +3.2 ZR, 1.028 EFF, 1.9 WAR / B
  • Dave Concepcion - 37 PA, .344/.432/.406, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 3 R, 5 K, 5 BB, +0.1 ZR, .981 EFF, 0.3 WAR / B+

Schmidt is still on an MVP pace, while Molitor picked it up in June and July. Washington has been good. Samuel obviously is struggling this year, but Iím sticking with him. Concepcion has been a nice change of pace and veteran presence.

Outfielder
  • Von Hayes - 397 PA, .333/.383/.428, 26 2B, 1 3B, 14 HR, 51 RBI, 59 R, 32 K, 32 BB, 21 SB, 13 CS, -4.5 ZR, .999 EFF, 3.1 WAR / A-
  • Billy Sample - 42 PA, .316/.381/.395, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 4 R, 1 K, 4 BB, -1.4 ZR, .931 EFF, 0.0 WAR / B+
  • Jeff Stone - 62 PA, .231/.355/.385, 2 2B, 3 3B, 6 RBI, 7 R, 8 K, 9 BB, 4 SB, 1 CS, -0.7 ZR, .996 EFF, 0.3 WAR
  • Bruce Fields - 39 PA, .324/.361/.382, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 6 R, 7 K, 2 BB, 5 SB, 2 CS, 0.0 ZR, .996 EFF, 0.1 WAR
  • Dave Stegman - 248 PA, .239/.341/.383, 8 2B, 5 3B, 4 HR, 33 RBI, 28 R, 53 K, 33 BB, +2.2 ZR, 1.005 EFF, 1.4 WAR / B-
  • Bill Lyons - 70 PA, .180/.275/.262, 2 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 10 R, 14 K, 8 BB, 6 SB, 0 CS, -0.4 ZR, 1.005 EFF, 0.1 WAR / D+
  • Glenn Wilson - 301 PA, .292/.336/.498, 16 2B, 1 3B, 13 HR, 50 RBI, 40 R, 34 K, 18 BB, 5 SB, 0 CS, -1.2 ZR, .994 EFF, 1.9 WAR / B+
  • Mike Diaz - 86 PA, .225/.259/.287, 2 2B, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 7 R, 11 K, 3 BB, +1.1 ZR, .994 EFF, -0.1 WAR / D

Still happy with my starters, and my bench has been OK. Diaz is a letdown, while Lyons is just a filler player. Stone has been great in AAA Portland (306 PA, .365/.408/.539, 31 XBH), but thereís still no place to put him in Philly.

Starting Pitcher
  • Steve Carlton - 97 IP, 7-3, 2.60 ERA, 3.24 FIP, 70 K, 35 BB, 2.3 WAR / A-
  • John Denny - 117 IP, 9-6, 2.85 ERA, 3.01 FIP, 63 K, 28 BB, 3.2 WAR / A-
  • Kevin Gross - 128 IP, 11-2, 1.62 ERA, 2.93 FIP, 81 K, 23 BB, 3.7 WAR / A+
  • Charles Hudson - 117.2 IP, 10-1, 1.61 ERA, 2.49 FIP, 70 K, 21 BB, 4.1 WAR / A+
  • Scott Sanderson - 116.1 IP, 9-5, 2.79 ERA, 3.04 FIP, 75 K, 31 BB, 3.1 WAR / A-
  • Kelly Downs - 10.2 IP, 0-2, 9.28 ERA, 7.04 FIP, 6 K, 6 BB, -0.2 WAR / D-

The rotation has outperformed expectation. Really great. But depth remains an issue, as we see with Downs.

Relief Pitcher
  • Bill Campbell - 41.1 IP, 2-3, 20 SV, 3.27 ERA, 2.99 FIP, 25 K, 8 BB, 1.1 WAR / B+
  • Larry Andersen - 33.2 IP, 2-1, 2 SV, 9 HLD, 4.01 ERA, 2.19 FIP, 23 K, 5 BB, 1.1 WAR / B-
  • Donnie Moore - 33.1 IP, 4-2, 1 SV, 8 HLD, 4.32 ERA, 1.86 FIP, 33 K, 9 BB, 1.1 WAR / C+
  • Tug McGraw - 21.1 IP, 1-0, 1 HLD, 7.59 ERA, 4.88 FIP, 10 K, 20 BB, -0.1 WAR / D
  • Kenneth Walker - 20.1 IP, 2 SV, 6.64 ERA, 5.91 FIP, 16 K, 10 BB, -0.4 WAR / D
  • Don Carman - 15.1 IP, 0-2, 1 SV, 2 HLD, 7.04 ERA, 5.56 FIP, 12 K, 6 BB, -0.2 WAR / D+
  • Paul Assenmacher - 11 IP, 0-1, 2.45 ERA, 4.45 FIP, 8 K, 7 BB, 0.0 WAR / C
  • Todd Worrell - 10 IP, 1-2, 9.00 ERA, 5.72 FIP, 6 K, 5 BB, -0.2 WAR / D+
  • Chuck Cary - 2.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.19 FIP, 5 K, 1 BB, 0.1 WAR / B+
  • John Machin - 0.1 IP, 135.00 ERA, 51.20 FIP, 0 K, 1 BB, -0.2 WAR / F

Need an upgrade here. Andersen and Moore have looked better than the numbers show, as the defense behind them has been an issue (not much I can do at this point). But finding good relief after them has been an issue. Maybe Cary sticks. Maybe Carman rebounds. Answers have to come soon.

More meetings with the team about trade targets. To us, the two most prominent are Terry Kennedy and Kent Tekulve (the latter is 38, so thereís no assurance heís coming back for 1986). Both are Type-A free agents (which means a possible first-round pick in the 1987 draft), so thatís a plus.

July 18, 1985

The issue with Tekulve is heís all grounders now (61.7 percent rate) with nearly as many walks (11) as strikeouts (13). Am I risking too much on my defense? Anyway, Terry Kennedy remains a target offensively.

Starting a four-game set with Cincinnati, and finally, Davey Concepcion may get his chance to play in front of his old home crowd. I keep going back and forth with the trade talk, so letís get a game in.


Game 1985-87: Riverfront Stadium - Phillies 1, Reds 0 / 57-30

John Denny is outstanding (8 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 4 K, 2 BB), and our one run comes off a UL Washington single. Juan Samuel collects three hits.

July 19, 1985

Debating whether or not to send Mike Diaz and Mike Maddux to San Diego for Terry Kennedy. Iíd have Kennedy for two months and change, while Diaz probably doesnít have a future here. And Maddux? Still no way of knowing. Iím leaning toward it, but I need a few days. Maybe San Diego comes down a bit.

Meanwhile, Paul Assenmacher is off the IL and will spend the next few days in Portland. Weíll bring him back when we come home to face Houston.

Game 1985-88: Riverfront Stadium - Phillies 9, Reds 8 / 58-30

Maybe the best win of the season. Scott Sanderson doesnít pitch very well (2 IP, 6 ER, 7 H, 0 K, 1 BB), and we get down 7-1. But Billy Sample (substituted into the game early for some reason) smacks a two-run home run, and a few more runs make it 7-5. Then, down 8-5 in the sixth, Paul Molitor slams a three-run homer to tie it. We stay on the 8-8 seesaw for a while, then in the top of the ninth, Mike Schmidt hits a sac fly to score Molitor and take the lead. Bullpen is outstanding. Big stuff. The kind of game a playoff team wins.

July 20, 1985

Steve Carlton is off the IL and will start tonight against Cincinnati.

Game 1985-89: Riverfront Stadium - POSTPONED

Rainout. Shoot! Hopefully we get at least one tomorrow.

July 21, 1985

Bad news in Houston: The Astrosí clubhouse is in shambles. Might be time to take advantage - gonna keep tabs on Mike Scott, for sure.

Game 1985-89: Riverfront Stadium - Reds 2, Phillies 0 / 58-31

Agh. Nothing happening here. The Reds team up to allow just four hits. Steve Carlton pitches well (7 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 4 K, 0 BB) in his first game back.

Game 1985-90: Riverfront Stadium: - Phillies 4, Reds 2 / 59-31

A good three of four in Cincinnati. Charles Hudson (7.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 4 K, 1 BB) is his usual outstanding self, while Donnie Moore closes the eighth. Chuck Cary gives up a two-run homer in the ninth, further frustrating me. Offensively, Mike Schmidt drives in two, while he, Von Hayes and Paul Molitor each have two hits.

Sadly, Dave Concepcion doesnít get into any games, but he did get a wonderful ovation before the game, as the Reds gifted him a Broyhill living room set.

Gary Carter of those Expos wins NL Player of the Week honors; that damn team remains just two behind us.

1. Detroit Tigers - 60-30
2. Montreal Expos - 58-34
3. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES - 59-31
4. Toronto Blue Jays - 56-37
5. Los Angeles Dodgers - 52-39

All the top teams took three of four in the abbreviated week.

Last edited by The_Myth; 11-08-2019 at 12:04 AM.
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Old 11-08-2019, 12:02 AM   #122
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July 22, 1985

Blaise Ilsley update from Sunday in New Britain: 8 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, 5 K, 5 BB. How the runs scored: walk, single, double play groundout; single, walk, walk, single; triple, groundout. He ended the game with two 1-2-3 frames. Sounds about right for where he is right now, as his ERA moves to 2.82.

Meanwhile, and also in Reading, Luis Polonia is having a good olí time (138 PA, .381/.428/.492, 11 XBH, 14 K, 11 B, 17 SB, 9 CS, 1.6 WAR). Iím likely keeping him here through the season, starting him in 1986 at AAA Portland if all continues this well. Heís certainly on track to be in the majors by late Ď86, good timing considering Dave Stegman is a free agent after next year (a likely option pickup year).

Looking into relievers once again, and Iím hung up on Kent Tekulve. I realized that my top groundball pitchers (higher than 55 percent GO%) (Larry Andersen, Steve Carlton, Kevin Gross) havenít actually had bad seasons, and for some of them, the FIPs are higher than the actual ERAs. Donnie Moore, who has a big disparity between ERA (4.04) and FIP (1.80) has had the smallest grounder rate on the team (44.1%). It seems his issue is more luck than anything.

But also, Tekulve has struggled since June 1 (25 IP, 5 K, 9 BB). I know strikeouts arenít his game, but not walking hitters is his game, and he really canít let up that many. Essentially, Tekulve was great in April, good in May, average in June and not very good in July. Can I bank on him having a great two months?

As for Mike Scott, we canít get him unless we surrender Scott Sanderson, which feels like a defeat considering we donít need to upgrade the rotation. Or I can get Houston closer Dave Smith, who would cost Mike Maddux and Steve Jeltz (as one option). Smith has a 3.12 FIP with 23 K and 12 BB in 41.1 IP. He has struck out more hitters in July but had his worst outing in July.

Then thereís Bert Blyleven, whoís given up 20 home runs this season. He feels like a problem in the bullpen, meaning Iíd have to move someone else back there for two months. The most likely guy to move is Kevin Gross, who has good stuff and doesnít allow many homers, but do I want to move maybe my best starter to the bullpen? Feels like Iím forcing it there.

Sigh. Houstonís in town next three days. I have no idea what Iím going to do. Meantime:
  • RP Paul Assenmacher activated to MLB Philadelphia
  • RP Kenneth Walker demoted to AAA Portland


Game 1985-91: Veterans Stadium - Astros 13, Phillies 12 / 59-32

This game sucks. We go up 7-1, then the Astros tie it 8-8. Then we go up 12-9. Then we lose it 13-12. Awful pitching from Kevin Gross (4.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 H), Don Carman (2.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 H), and Larry Andersen (0.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 H). Rupper Jones smacks two homers against us, and on a night when Mike Schmidt hits one out, and Juan Samuel collects five hits. This canít happen again.

And, of course, weíre now just one up on Montreal.

July 23, 1985

Game 1985-92: Veterans Stadium - Phillies 3, Astros 2 / 60-32

Phew. A two-out single by John Denny, and ensuing error, gives us 2-1 lead. Itís tied in the ninth when Billy Sample walks with the bases loaded to win it. Lots of talk about Mike Scott, who pitches in maybe his last game as a ĎStro. Who knows.

The Mariners trade prospects John Duncan and Michael Wishnevski to Kansas City for RP Gary Lavelle. Weird trade, as both Seattle and Kansas City are just a game back in the AL West (itís a bad, bad division).

Meanwhile, the price tag for Kent Tekulve has come down, as I could get him one-for-one for 1B Francisco Melendez. But heís 21 and playing well in AAA. So I start chatting with Pittsburgh GM Dennis Rodriguez; turns out I can do Tekulve for two smaller-level prospects via a short list he faxes me. My highlights: LF Jim Olander and 2B Dave Kennard. Neither player is in my plans going forward, so Iím feeling good about it. This has suddenly become a low-risk move (and I could still upgrade pitching more if I felt so inclined).

The team meets. We decide to go one more day with this as our deal, because first, we want to go back to Houston. And there, GM Ron Moeller isnít budging from a bigger deal, so we decide to sleep on what we have and pull the trigger tomorrow.

July 24, 1985

Game 1985-93: Veterans Stadium - Astros 2, Phillies 1 / 60-33

Not great. We get just six hits in this one, as Bob Knepper shuts us down for eight frames. The bullpen pitches just fine this time around. At least Montreal loses.

Before turning back to Kent Tekulve, we check back in with San Diego. Turns out the price for Terry Kennedy is a bit higher now (no longer will it take just Mike Diaz and Mike Maddux). We decide to wait it out.

Meantime, Boston will still do a throw-in (20-year-old on the bench in Bend) for Tony Armas, who has just a .298 OBP but a .234 ISO. We decide to do this deal now.

TRADE

To Philadelphia Phillies:

CF Tony Armas (85 percent of his contract)

To Boston Red Sox:

3B Jose Hurtado

Corresponding moves:
  • C Tommy Thompson demoted to AAA Portland
  • SP Steve Witt placed on waivers

Demoting Thompson is a temporary move, as I hope to deal Mike Diaz. And my 40-man was full. Alright. Weíll see how this goes.

Finally, we go back to the Piratesí Dennis Rodriguez. Olander and Kennard work, and I get the Buccos to eat 85 percent of Tekulveís salary ($425K). That means we lose just $32K in the deal and gain a back-end reliever. Bill Giles signs off on it.

TRADE

To Philadelphia Phillies:

RP Kent Tekulve (15 percent of his contract)

To Pittsburgh Pirates:

LF Jim Olander
2B Dave Kennard

Tekulve needs a day to travel and get his physical. With that, we wait for John Machin to come off the IL so we can waive him off the 40-man.

In the meantime, Milwaukee trades prospects LaVel Freeman and Larry Jackson to Kansas City for Joe Beckwith. Looks like the Royals have decided being one game out isnít enough to buy. Yikes.

July 25, 1985

Big four-game set ahead with Atlanta. Still working the phones, hoping Terry Kennedyís price comes down. Tony Armas makes his Phillies debut straight away, while Mike Diaz starts for Darren Daulton.


Game 1985-94: Veterans Stadium - Phillies 5, Braves 4 (10) / 61-33

This couldíve been crushing. We go up 4-2 thanks to some dandy pitching by Steve Carlton (6.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 6 K, 1 BB) and Don Carman (1.2 IP, 1 H, 3 K). Then Bill Campbell gives up a two-run, game-tying, ninth-inning homer from Claudell Washington. Luckily, in the 10th, we load the bases with nobody out, and Davey Concepcion makes his mark on the season with a game-winning single. Kent Tekulve canít get here fast enough.

Amazingly, Campbellís blown save ends a streak of 23-straight saves. I honestly didnít realize he was pitching that well.

And over in Chicago, Bert Blyleven of the Orioles recorded his 200th career win. He has a 3.05 ERA with 30 strikeouts and five walks in five July starts. Iím keeping tabs on him.

July 26, 1985

Transaction time:
  • RP John Machin placed on waivers
  • RP Chuck Cary demoted to AAA Portland
  • RP Kent Tekulve added to MLB Philadelphia

Howser wants Tekulve closing games, pushing Bill Campbell to a setup role with Larry Andersen. Fine with me.

More Royals trades! They send Hal McRae and prospect Patrick Britt to the White Sox for prospects Ken Williams, Rusty Tillman and Scott Meier. And they push Alan Knicely to the Expos for Jeffrey LaMarr and Fred Blair. Kniceley gives the ĎSpos some bench depth.

This all makes me look at the Royals, to see if they want to sell me anything. I call up GM Javy Ortiz, and heís willing to give me Mike Easler for Mike Diaz and a lesser prospect. Easler, 34, is a left-handed left fielder and first baseman having a heck of an offensive year (316 PA, .301/.358/.538, 15 HR, 49 RBI, 54 K, 27 BB). Heíd be the lefty bat I crave, but two issues: He expects a starting role that I canít give him (unless I move Von Hayes to center field, which would hurt my defense) and heís under contract through 1986. I donít want multi-year players here.

Nothing on their pitching staff really piques my interest (at this point I can use a long-man type). I canít see it with the Royals.

Game 1985-95: Veterans Stadium - POSTPONED

Dang. Another doubleheader.

July 27, 1985

The Royals continue the tank, shipping Tom Hume to Cincinnati for prospect Joel Smith. I looked at Hume, whoís a free agent after this year, but his walk rate (3.9 per nine) wasnít exactly inspiring.

Game 1985-95: Veterans Stadium - Braves 6, Phillies 2 / 61-34

Luis Aguayo. Come on. The guy hits a two-run, game-breaking home run against the otherwise invincible Charles Hudson. On top of that, Kent Tekulve allows a run in his first appearance with us. A lousy game. It feels as if when we win, weíre getting lucky, and when we lose, itís plainly obvious we deserve it. Trying to do what I can to keep us above water, but I canít help but think a shoeís about to drop.

Meanwhile, look who doesnít stop losing and is now up a half-game over us.

We need this second game.

Game 1985-96: Veterans Stadium - Braves 2, Phillies 1 / 61-35

Damnit. Five hits, and three against a guy with an ERA over 7.50. Wastes a Kevin Gross start (7.1 IP, 1 ER, 7 H, 8 K, 2 BB). We are a full game behind Montreal.

July 28, 1985

The Cubs trade Jorge Orta to Milwaukee for prospects Bruce Kison and Robert Simonson.

Nothing new on Terry Kennedy. We might use the off day tomorrow to make decisions on any possible deals left on the table.

Dick Howser messes with the lineup today, putting Juan Samuel in the six spot, pushing Glenn Wilson to the seven and moving UL Washington to second in the order.

Game 1985-97: Veterans Stadium - Phillies 5, Braves 0 / 62-35

John Denny steps up, hurling 8.1 shutout innings and scattering seven hits. Dave Stegman homers, and the top of the order (Hayes, Washington, Molitor) go 6-for-11. Montreal, of course, wins again.

In other news, Dusty Baker of Minnesota collects hit No. 2,000.

And over in Reading, Blaise Ilsley: 8.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 10 K, 2 BB. He wins but is removed in the ninth after hurting his elbow. Oh boy.

I get a call before the night ends: Ilsley seems to be OK - just sore.

New power rankings:

1. Montreal Expos - 64-35
2. Detroit Tigers - 65-32
3. Toronto Blue Jays - 62-38
4. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES - 62-35
5. Los Angeles Dodgers - 56-42

Would be nice if the Expos had a bad stretch, right?
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Old 11-08-2019, 02:36 PM   #123
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Old 11-13-2019, 12:15 AM   #124
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July 29, 1985

Alright. Time to go over the trade targets one more time, with what it would take, most likely:

Long Man / Fifth Starter
  • SP - Bert Blyleven (BAL) - Kelly Downs + Jeff Stone/Chris James
  • SP - Scott McGregor (CHC) - Woodrow Broussard
  • SP - Joe Niekro (HOU) - Mike LaValliere
  • SP - Frank Tanana (CLE) - Kelly Downs + Jeff Stone/Chris James

Left-Handed Bench Bat
  • C - Terry Kennedy (SD) - Mike Diaz + Jeff Stone/Mike LaValliere
  • OF - Thad Bosley (PIT) - Mike LaValliere
  • OF - Dave Parker (NYY) - Woodrow Broussard
  • OF - Terry Puhl (HOU) - Mike Diaz
  • OF - Pete Rose (CIN) - Woodrow Broussard

Of the long man options (though, letís be honest, I might be OK without one by this point), Niekro makes the most sense, though losing LaValliere for him straight away would be tough. And of the bench bat options, Parker (who is barely getting playing time in New York) is interesting, as is Puhl (.280/.338/.410, 25 XBH, 12 SB). The former is more power than anything, while the latter would provide contact and speed and could spell a slumping Glenn Wilson.

As for Kennedy, Iím not sure if two months of him is worth Diaz and one of Stone or LaValliere. I understand why San Diego wants that kind of haul, but if Iím going to deal multiple prospects, it has to be for a game-changing two-month rental or a long-term piece.

Of course, I run the risk of messing with value heading into 1986. Right now these players are close to major league ready, or are major league ready:
  • C - Mike LaValliere
  • 2B - Steve Kiefer
  • 3B - Rick Schu
  • SS - Steve Jeltz
  • LF/RF - Jeff Stone
  • LF/3B - Chris James
  • CF - Randy Salava

And next year, Iím losing just three MLB bench spots. Daulton remains my guy at catcher, while I donít see a clear future for Schu and at least one of Stone or James in Veterans Stadium. Trading Kennedy for Diaz and, say, Stone, might be a good idea. Or maybe I can get a slightly younger prospect along with Kennedy to make up for losing two prospects?

I call Jesus Gallardo in San Diego and ask him to send me a list of untouchable prospects, but itís a long list. Sheesh. I donít think Kennedy is going to happen.

I talk to Houston GM Ron Moeller, and heís willing to move me Puhl and Niekro for Kelly Downs. That isnít bad. I keep pitching depth while also getting a lefty hitter. Yes I move on from Downs, but Iíd rather have the veteran back there down the stretch, and next season there really isnít yet room for Downs.

But I donít know. I think Iíd rather just grab a bat, so Diaz for Puhl feels right. Of course, that means Tommy Thompson returns, and someone has to head out. That someone might be Don Carman, just for the month, putting my bullpen back at six. But then Iíd let Dick Howser ride the starting rotation. All risk, but I think this is what Iíll do.

Of course, I still have the prospect bottleneck problem heading into 1986, but you know what, Iíll worry about it after October. I have a division to win.

I call Bill Giles. Itís a go.

TRADE

To Houston Astros:

C/1B/LF/RF Mike Diaz

To Philadelphia Phillies:

RF Terry Puhl

Giles loves the move, and the fans are responding well. They know weíre going for it.
  • RF Terry Puhl added to MLB Philadelphia
  • RP Don Carman demoted to AAA Portland
  • C Tommy Thompson promoted to MLB Philadelphia
  • RP Rodger Cole demoted to AA Reading

July 30, 1985

Trade news:

Baltimore sends SP Doyle Alexander to the White Sox for 2B Vance Law and prospect John Cangelosi. Chicago is two games back in the AL West.

Cleveland makes two trades. The Indians send prospect Kevin Romine to Boston for CF Karl Pagel, then they ship 2B Tony Bernazard and prospect Milton Harper to Atlanta for LF Brad Komminsk and prospect Mike Nipper. Just to note, Cleveland is 21 games back and has yet to deal Frank Tanana, Rick Sutcliffe, or Mike Caldwell.

Toronto GM Terry Hetzel calls me up and wants Don Carman. He offers a decent prospect in closer Tom Winter. If I was to trade Carman, that wouldnít be good enough (not that Iím looking to trade him anyway).

Before the next series - three at Pittsburgh - some promotions.
  • 1B Pat Adams promoted to AAA Portland
  • LF/1B Willie Darkis demoted to AA Reading
  • RP Joe Boever promoted to AA Reading
  • RP Walter Nesbitt demoted to A Clearwater
  • 2B/SS Keith Miller promoted to AA Reading
  • 2B Billy Bates promoted to A Clearwater
  • 1B Anthony Buglione promoted to A Peninsula
  • RF Tom Eccleston promoted to A Spartanburg
  • SP Steve Gasser promoted to A Spartanburg

Thatíll do it until September callups, of which weíll have a few.


Game 1985-98: Three Rivers Stadium: Pirates 2, Phillies 1 / 62-36

Weíve stopped hitting. Three hits from Von Hayes, but nobody could get the big one. Mike Schmidt has been cold lately, and is down to .331. And now weíre 2.5 in back of Montreal.

July 31, 1985

Trade deadline day. Houston sends Joe Niekro and prospect Louie Meadows to Oakland for RF Mike Davis. Not sure about this deal between near-last-place teams, but whatever.

More phone calls today: Kansas City would send me RP prospect Mark Walberg for Don Carman, and San Diego would send me LF prospect Joe Lansford for him. No to both. I just donít feel like giving up Carman now; time to ride with what I have.

As for the game, Steve Carlton is on the hill, while Terry Puhl gets his first start as a Phillie.

Game 1985-99: Three Rivers Stadium: Pirates 3, Phillies 1 / 62-37

Seriously. Five freaking hits in this game. Mike Schmidt continues to struggle. And the Expos win again to make it a 3.5-game gap. Weíre losing it now.

Meanwhile in Portland, Curt Young suffers a ruptured tendon and will miss the rest of the season. He canít seem to get over the hump.

Aug. 1, 1985

Hereís where my guys stand on the National League leaderboards:

Hitters

Batting Average
4. Mike Schmidt - .329

Home Runs
T3. Mike Schmidt - 20

Runs Batted In
1. Mike Schmidt - 86

[B]On-Base Percentage[/B
]2. Mike Schmidt - .406
7. Von Hayes - .379

Slugging Percentage
1. Mike Schmidt - .562
5. Von Hayes - .505

WAR
3. Mike Schmidt - 4.4

Hits
1. Von Hayes - 132

Runs
T3. Von Hayes - 68
6. Juan Samuel - 64
7. Mike Schmidt - 63

Doubles
3. Von Hayes - 26

Total Bases
2. Von Hayes - 206
3. Mike Schmidt - 200

Stolen Bases
T2. Juan Samuel - 50

Walks
T5. Darren Daulton - 51

Isolated Power
4. Mike Schmidt - .233

Pitching

Earned Run Average
4. Charles Hudson - 1.79
5. Kevin Gross - 1.87

Wins
T6. John Denny - 11
T6. Kevin Gross - 11

Saves
3. Bill Campbell - 22
T6. Kent Tekulve - 19

Walks / 9 IP
2. Charles Hudson - 1.6
6. Kevin Gross - 1.7

WHIP
3. Kevin Gross - 0.93
5. Charles Hudson - 0.96

Fielding Independent Pitching
6. Charles Hudson - 2.66

Holds
1. Larry Andersen - 9
2. Donnie Moore - 8

As you can see, Mike Schmidt is no longer tops in most offensive categories, as Tim Raines has leaped ahead in more than a few and may just be the MVP favorite now. His teammate Bryn Smith is probably the Cy Young leader at this point. Those Expos, man. Maybe itís just their year.

Game 1985-100: Three Rivers Stadium - Pirates 6, Phillies 3 / 62-38

Swept in Pittsburgh. Charles Hudson allows three in the seventh (a home run by Russ McGinnis, who had one in his career before this, is the big blow) to give the Pirates the win. Mike Schmidt hits a homer, but oh well. Expos are now up four.

Meanwhile, while traveling to St. Louis, Dave Concepcionís agent tells me theyíd love to talk extension. Read the room, Davey.
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Old 11-16-2019, 12:45 AM   #125
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Aug. 2, 1985

We arrive in St. Louis for four. Iím not exactly sure what else we can do but hope the offense turns this around soon. And hope that Montreal hits a skid soon, too.


Game 1985-101: Busch Stadium - Phillies 2, Cardinals 0 / 63-38

Shoot. Kevin Gross starts this one but leaves in the third with an injury. Weíre not quite sure whatís wrong at this point, and thatís a problem.

At least the bullpen picks it up, with Tug McGraw turning in a heroic 3.1 scoreless innings (at this point, if Dick feels it, Iím just agreeing), followed by Bill Campbell and Kent Tekulve. Offensively, Mike Schmidt strikes a big two-run homer in the sixth. We need his bat right now. The Expos lose, so the deficit is now three.

Aug. 3, 1985

Early morning phone call from Chris Thomas. He has Blaise Ilsleyís latest line in Reading: 9 IP, 2 ER, 10 H, 9 K, 3 BB. Impressive, though he still needs seasoning. Heís 6-0 with a 2.73 ERA in AA.

Game 1985-102: Busch Stadium - Phillies 8, Cardinals 6 / 64-38

A wild one. St. Louis goes up 3-1. We score one in the seventh, then four in the eighth - a Mike Schmidt RBI double and Juan Samuel three-run home run - to grab a 6-3 lead. Then John Denny gives back that three-run lead. But we get two more in the ninth (Terry Puhl and Paul Molitor with big hits) to seize the win. Weíre still three behind Montreal.

Aug. 4, 1985

Weíre still a few days from Kevin Grossí spot in the rotation, but weíll need a pitcher. If itís not Gross, the aligned pitcher in Portland is Joe Johnson (161 IP, 4.14 ERA, 84, 33 BB). We could do worse. I could possibly start Mike Maddux, as well (142 IP, 4.31 ERA, 82 K, 63 BB), but Iíd rather go with Johnson.

Oh, in Reading, the aligned starter is Blaise Ilsley. Heh. I could ...

Speaking of draftees:
  • SS Gregg Jefferies promoted to A Peninsula
  • SS Ken Kraft demoted to R Bend

Letís get Jefferies (121 PA, .291/.388/.495, 10 XBH, 7 K, 17 BB, 13 SB, 2 CS) moving.

Game 1985-103: Busch Stadium - Cardinals 1, Phillies 0 / 64-39

We need to hit. We just need to. It seems when Mike Schmidt isnít hitting, weíre not winning. Joaquin Andujar throws 120 pitches and just keeps us off balance and hitting into poor outs. Scott Sanderson (8 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 5 K, 3 BB) was good, the only blemish being an RBI double from - get this - Andujar. It kills. And naturally, Montreal wins to go back up four.

The power rankings:

1. Montreal Expos - 69-36
2. Toronto Blue Jays - 67-40
2. Detroit Tigers - 68-36
4. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES - 64-39
5. Los Angeles Dodgers - 60-44

Another great battle happening in the AL East between those two heavyweights. Otherwise the Dodgers (up six) are starting to run away with the NL West once again, while Seattle has overtaken first in a terrible AL West. Theyíre 52-53 (or 17 games back in our division), with five teams within four games. It peeves me that Texas, like us, is four back of first place, but theyíre 47-56.

Aug. 5, 1985

We could really use a win here and an Expos loss. Letís just hope.

Game 1985-104: Busch Stadium - Phillies 3, Cardinals 2 / 65-39

We go up 2-0 (another Mike Schmidt home run, his 23rd), but Steve Carlton lets St. Louis tie it in the seventh. A Glenn Wilson single breaks it back in our favor in the ninth, and Kent Tekulve notches a two-out save. Big win.

And Montreal loses. Big. Back to three. Letís get it to two.

Aug. 6, 1985

We get the worst news. Kevin Gross has a partially torn labrum and will miss the rest of the season.

Damnit.

Here are his final numbers for 1985: 142.1 IP, 11-3, 1.83 ERA, 92 K, 29 BB, 3.7 WAR. He was our best starter throughout the season and now heís done. We can second-guess not going out there and getting another starting pitcher like Mike Scott or Bert Blyleven, but letís be honest, whatís done is done. All hindsight.

Here are our options right now:
  • SP Joe Johnson (AAA) - 161 IP, 8-10, 4.14 ERA, 4.12 FIP, 4.7 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, RATINGS 40/40/50, zero 50+ pitches
  • SP Mike Maddux (AAA) - 142 IP, 12-7, 4.31 ERA, 4.49 FIP, 5.2 K/9, 4.0 BB/9, RATINGS 50/35/45, one 50+ pitch
  • SP Blaise Ilsley (AA) - 56 IP, 6-0, 2.73 ERA, 3.58 FIP, 9.2 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, RATINGS 70/35/40, three 55+ pitches

Alternatively, we can juggle some things around and go with:
  • SP Kelly Downs (AAA) - 150.2 IP, 14-4, 3.76 ERA, 4.65 FIP, 6.0 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, RATINGS 50/40/45, two 50+ pitches

Of all those options, letís be honest, Ilsley is the best bet, though his movement would be an issue, and I donít want to stunt his development. I really do think he needs to be in Reading for the rest of the season. Otherwise, we could go with a four-man rotation. The issue is we wonít have a day off until Aug. 19, and in the middle of that is a doubleheader against St. Louis. We really shouldnít tax the starters that much yet.

Damnit. I do know that we wonít turn to Maddux, so weíre going to sleep on it for a day. Back home to face the Pirates.


Game 1985-105: Veterans Stadium - Pirates 12, Phillies 3 / 65-40

Everything is starting to fall apart, it seems. Charles Hudson, invincible for the first half of the season, gives up four earned in four innings. Donnie Moore has a terrible 1.2 innings (5 ER, 6 H). Eddie Vargas hits two homers. Maybe weíve just run out of steam.

Over in Baltimore, Torontoís Don Sutton and the Oriolesí Bob Tumpane got into a fight after a beaning. Tumpane will miss four games, while Sutton is out for eight.

Aug. 7, 1985

After sleeping on it, Iíve decided risking Ilsleyís development isnít quite worth it yet. As much I want to go guns blazing, my whole mantra this year has been to stay the course with development - no big changes in either direction. Pushing Ilsley this quickly seems to defeat that purpose. Plus, if I canít turn to Joe Johnson now, what good was the trade for? He has to be my guy right now.
  • SP Joe Johnson promoted to MLB Philadelphia

As for a scouting report, heís a 23-year-old sidearmer who relies on deception, plus control, to get guys out. Itís worked this year, as heís walked just 33 batters in 161 innings. He gives up a few too many hits, but if he limits them to singles, heís usually in good shape. Heíll top out at 91-92 with the fastball, but he also throws a working sinker and curveball.

So, here we go. We can really use the offense tonight.

Game 1985-106: Veterans Stadium - Pirates 4, Phillies 3 / 65-41

Johnson pitches well enough, hanging in for seven innings of three-run ball. But the offense canít do enough. No big hits in big moments. Tony Armas (0-for-3) has hit .167 since coming here. Glenn Wilson has been a sieve as of late. Von Hayes comes up lame in big spots. We just canít do it. And it sucks, since Montreal has lost three straight, and we havenít been able to make up ground.

Aug. 8, 1985

Last one against the Pirates until a three-gamer in mid-September. We have six left against Montreal, and about the same to go against each of St. Louis, New York, and Chicago.

Game 1985-107: Veterans Stadium - Pirates 5, Phillies 2 / 65-42

This one hurts, because we tie it in the sixth with three-straight doubles from Terry Puhl, Paul Molitor and Mike Schmidt. But then we give up three in the eighth, thanks in part to a Von Hayes error. Those errors are killing us. And once again, Montreal loses. We couldíve been tied now, but instead we got swept by the Pirates at home. Geez.
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Old 11-16-2019, 07:32 PM   #126
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Losing Gross is obviously going to hurt, but it's surprising to see Hudson starting to fade. Still have a really good record, just need to hang in there. Nice detail as always.
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Old 11-18-2019, 09:49 PM   #127
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Aug. 9, 1985

On July 1, we had a 5.5-game lead on Montreal. We were 51-22 and they were 47-29. Since, weíve gone 14-20, and theyíve gone 22-11. Yeesh.

Anyway, four against St. Louis, including a doubleheader tomorrow for which we may need a fresh pitcher. Weíll see.


Game 1985-108: Veterans Stadium - Cardinals 5, Phillies 3 / 65-43

The spiral continues. Mike Schmidt goes 0-for-3, we get just two doubles and no other extra-base hits, and Scott Sanderson allows five runs in five innings. I suppose this was all bound to happen considering how well we started the season, but this really stinks to watch.

Aug. 10, 1985

Blaise Ilsley pitched last night in Reading: 8 IP, 1 ER, 7 H, 11 K, 0 BB. Iím standing by my decision to let him develop, regardless of how well he pitches going forward.

As for tonight, we decide to call up Kelly Downs to start game two. Depending on how it goes is what weíll do going forward.
  • SP Kelly Downs promoted to MLB Philadelphia
  • SP Joe Johnson demoted to AAA Portland

Game 1985-109: Veterans Stadium - Cardinals 8, Phillies 0 / 65-44

Man. When even the red-hot Carlton struggles (6 IP, 5 ER, 6 H, 0 K, 3 BB), weíre really in trouble. Nothing more to say here.

Game 1985-110: Veterans Stadium - Cardinals 6, Phillies 2 / 65-45

Why did I ever trust Downs? He walks six. I just. Heh. This is sad.

Aug. 11, 1985

Game 1985-111: Veterans Stadium - Phillies 3, Cardinals 2 / 66-45

Mike Schmidt has the day off, because why not, and we finally get one, holding on late. Von Hayes homers (someone finally hits one), while Juan Samuel collects two hits and steals a bag. Charles Hudson pitches well (7 IP, 2 ER, 7 H, 5 K, 2 BB).

New power rankings, and weíre no longer in the top-five:

1. New York Mets - 61-50
2. Montreal Expos -71-41
3. Toronto Blue Jays - 70-43
4. Detroit Tigers - 71-40
5. Boston Red Sox - 61-49

Yes, the Mets, who have won nine of their last 10, are atop the rankings and pushing ahead. Guess who we play next? Convenient, right?
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Old 11-22-2019, 01:52 PM   #128
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Aug. 12, 1985

Take two for Joe Johnson. Letís get this one and get back on the right foot.


Game 1985-112: Shea Stadium - Phillies 10, Mets 8 / 67-45

This didnít have to be a nail-biter. We go up 8-2 in the fifth, but alas, Johnson (4.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 3 K, 2 BB), whose line looks better than reality. Itís 8-5, then 9-7, then Paul Assenmacher pitches a huge eighth inning, then 10-7 after a Mike Schmidt homer, his 24th (and RBI No. 100). Then we give up a run in the ninth. Paul Molitor also homers. Iím getting sick.

Aug. 13, 1985

Clearwater pitcher Wayne Stewart has bone chips and is out for the year.
  • SP Michael Jackson promoted to A Clearwater

Iím going to give Jackson (107.2 IP, 4.43 ERA, 104 K, 53 BB) a few challenge starts in the Florida State League.

Game 1985-113: Shea Stadium - Phillies 7, Mets 2 / 68-45

Alright now! Down 2-1 in the fourth, we break out and score six unanswered. Von Hayes with a big blast (a three-run home run), and Paul Molitor adds four hits to bring his average to .300. John Denny (8 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 4 K, 2 BB) does the job. And Montreal loses, putting us 2.5 back. Still in it, and honestly my frustration a few days ago looks like the rantings of a whining amateur.

Over in Boston, George Brett of the Royals smacks his 2,000th hit. And the Royals win, 12-5.

Aug. 14, 1985

Iíve been thinking a lot about Jeff Stone, who took Philly by storm late last season only to have to spend much of this year back in AAA Portland. We couldíve brought him up at the deadline, instead of getting Terry Puhl, but ultimately we want a part-time, bench bat for the stretch run, and I still donít want to remove Stone from everyday performance.

That said, heís having a good season: 429 PA, .352/.403/.515, 20 2B, 13 3B, 6 HR, 61 K, 31 BB, 24 SB, 11 CS, -1.6 ZR, .968 EFF, 3.1 WAR. Heís mostly playing right field, and probably not as well as Iíd want, but heís ready for everyday time in the majors. Itís just thereís still no place for him yet.

As comparison, hereís Glenn Wilsonís season: 365 PA, .269/.315/.445, 18 2B, 1 3B, 13 HR, 38 K, 23 BB, 5 SB, 0 CS, -2.2 ZR, .995 EFF, 1.3 WAR. After a hot first half, heís cooled down substantially. What he was offering (power) has also died. This is, in some ways, a make-or-break year for Wilson, and heís not necessarily making it. Unless he surges over the final 50 games, heís bound to finish with a role-player-esque line.

So, then what? Heíll be arbitration eligible in 1986, meaning his salary is about to increase. He may be worth a one-year increase and a last-ditch opportunity, but I also have Stone hanging around, plus potentially other prospects. I could seek a corner outfield bat in free agency, but I donít think my goal for 1986 is to make major upgrades - instead, I want to lean more on youth. I could then wait until midseason or so and package Wilson in a trade for, say, a top-line pitcher or even prospects. That might be the way to go. Still unsure.

Iíd love to see Glenn-bo just take charge over the final 50, achieve something like a .280/.330/.475 line and get to 20 HR. Iíd love to see that WAR hit 2.0. That gives him a real shot for 1986. Otherwise, Iíd rather just let Stone take over for good.

Onto tonightís game in New York. Von Hayes needs a day off; also, Darren Daulton moves up to the three-hole.

Game 1985-114: Shea Stadium - Phillies 9, Mets 5 / 69-45

Nice win. The Mets take a 3-2 lead in the fourth off Scott Sanderson, but we get two right back in the fifth thanks to a Daulton double and Juan Samuel triple. In the eighth we break it wide open with doubles and singles. Daulton (1-for-1, 2 RBI, 4 BB) has a fine day (despite two throwing errors), and Howser is debating keeping him higher in the order for the moment.

Aug. 15, 1985

I get my morning Blaise Ilsley update: 8 IP, 1 ER, 7 H, 5 K, 3 BB. Down to a 2.38 ERA in Reading.

Today, meanwhile, is Steve Carlton against Dwight Gooden. Looking for a huge four-game sweep.

Game 1985-115: Shea Stadium - Phillies 2, Mets 1 / 70-45

Best win of the year, full stop. The boys are charged up.

Dwight Gooden is on point here, giving up just one hit early and striking out half of the batters heís seeing. We get down 1-0 in the second thanks to a Dave Magadan single, and from there itís not looking promising. Then in the eighth, Lefty leads off with a line drive hit into left. With two outs, Paul Molitor produces our best moment of the year thus far: a 394-foot slam to left-center that clears the fence and gives us a 2-1 lead. The guys jump in the dugout. The usually stoic Lefty is pumped.

He goes back out for the eighth and gives up a single, walk, and walk with one out. Then Hubie Brooks grounds one to Molitor, who immediately goes home. One. Tommy Thompson turns it to first. Two. Huge double play ends the threat. And in the ninth, Kent Tekulve walks a batter but subdues the Mets otherwise. A sweep at Shea as we head to Chicago. The Mets are now nine behind us, and weíre just 1.5 in back of Montreal.

The boys fly to Chicago, but I decide to spend the weekend back in Philly, so I hop an Amtrak back home. Over the train ride I start going over coaching assignments for 1986.

For one, my assistant Glenn Goetzís contract is up this year; heís done OK for me, so I plan on retaining him through the end of my contract in 1987. Otherwise, the only other MLB coach up this offseason is pitching coach Juan Casado. Heís done a solid job with this group, and Iíd like to see him work with the young relievers in the system a bit more. I offer him two years and $52K per season, a decent raise.

Chris Thomas was the hitting coach in Reading who was promoted to manager for 1985. The team hasnít been very good, but I like Thomas as a coach. Iím thinking of promoting him to Portland as hitting coach, letting go Dave Charbonneau, who is currently in that role and more or less shepherding a good group of guys. So, my plan is to let go Charbonneau after the season, promote Thomas, and then negotiate an extension.

That, of course, offers Tim Terzic an opportunity to move up to manage Reading. Heís been a star thus far, leading Peninsula to a 88-52 record in 1984, and currently fronting Clearwater with a 78-34 record this season. Heís getting an extension.

Moving down a bit, Rod Acala has done a nice job in two years at Spartanburg (135-116). Heíll likely move up to Clearwater in 1986 and deserves an extension. That said, I hear he wants way more than Iím willing to give him, so this might not work out.

Otherwise, a few offers out there to pitching and hitting coaches, and weíll see where we are in a few weeks.

Aug. 16, 1985

Talk about a quick decision: Terzic took my first offer and is on board in 1986. Heís atop my list, no doubt.

My assistant Goetz wants a lot of money. Buddy, donít get cute ...

For todayís opener against lefty Scott McGregor, Iím going with Tony Armas in center and Dave Concepcion at short. Who knew these guys would play big roles on my team this year?


Game 1985-116: Wrigley Field - Phillies 10, Cubs 6 / 71-45

Big offensive breakout, with Paul Molitor hitting another homer, Mike Schmidt adding his 25th, and Darren Daulton going back-to-back with him, his 11th. Plenty of hits for Armas, Glenn Wilson and Hayes, too. Not as close as it seems, with Donnie Moore giving up a three-run Ryne Sandberg homer with two outs in the ninth.

Aug. 17, 1985

Final offers coming for assistant GM Glenn Goetz and pitching coach Juan Casado. Rod Acala at Spartanburg is really far away from reality, and Iíll have to cut bait there.

An update on Gregg Jefferies, who moved up to A Peninsula two weeks ago, just after turning 18. His line: 56 PA, .400/.446/.500, 5 2B, 4 K, 5 BB, 4 SB, 1 CS, +0.8 ZR, 1.023 EFF, 0.8 WAR. Scouts are seeing tremendous improvement within just the few months heís been playing everyday - for instance, since June 6 his contact grades have gone from 60 to 70, his eye has gone from 45 to 50, and his current grade has gone from 49 to 51 (his potential is squarely 70). Heíll probably earn a spring training invite in 1986 and an opportunity to start in Reading. The likelihood of being in the majors next year? Itís there (late season, if anything).

Today, Joe Johnson is on the hill. Hoping for some offense.

Game 1985-117: Wrigley Field - Cubs 5, Phillies 3 / 71-46

Errors. Errors. Errors. Armas of course drops a ball out in center, and Samuel of course juggles a grounder at second. Those cost all the runs necessary for Chicago to tie, then win, the game, as they score all five between the seventh and eighth. Brutal. Joe Johnson pitches well (7.1 IP, 1 ER, 7 H, 3 K, 1 BB), and Mike Schmidt hits another homer. We need tomorrow. And of course, Montreal takes advantage and is back up 2.5 games.

Tonight, Houstonís Jose Cruz gets his 2,000th hit. Congrats.

Aug. 18, 1985

Assistant GM Glenn Goetz rejects my final offer and wants the same salary as Iím making. Tough to let go of my closest front office mate after this season, but I canít justify him making that much. Iíll be fine with a new assistant. Juan Casado is fine with his offer, though.

Game 1985-118: Wrigley Field - Phillies 4, Cubs 3 (11) / 72-46

My, oh my, a real crazy one. Joe Carter puts Chicago up 1-0 with a homer, but we come right back, as Dave Stegman doubles home Juan Samuel to tie it. It stays that way for a while, until Leon Durham doubles home Carter in the sixth to put them up 2-1. But in the seventh, Dave Stegman notches his biggest hit as a Phillie, a two-run homer to give us a 3-2 lead. That stays until the eighth, when the Cubs single home a tying run against John Denny.

Then, one of the biggest plays of the year: In the ninth, Kent Tekulve loads the bases with one out, and Ryne Sandberg lifts one to left. Von Hayes catches it moving in, then fires a missile to get Dave Martinez at the plate. Incredible play to save the game.

A few innings later, UL Washington cashes in with a go-ahead single that stays. Big win to take the series at Wrigley and put us back within 1.5 games, as Montreal loses to St. Louis. Now we get a much-needed day off before a home series with the Dodgers.

New batch of power rankings:

1. Detroit Tigers - 76-42
2. Los Angeles Dodgers - 71-47
3. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES - 72-46
4. Montreal Expos -74-45
5. Toronto Blue Jays - 73-46

The top-five is restored after a weird one-week invasion from the Red Sox and Mets.
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Old 11-27-2019, 12:54 PM   #129
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Aug. 19, 1985

We get a day off before an eight-game homestand against the Dodgers, Giants and Padres. Then a day off before heading west to once again face the Dodgers, Giants and Padres, with an extra off day in the middle. After the Padres series thereís another off day before a brutal 20-game stretch that includes the whole division. One final off day on Sept. 30 before six to finish: three at Montreal, three at home against Pittsburgh. The season could be decided in Montreal.

The good thing is weíll have roster expansion in September, and I imagine the bulk of talent will come in before that 20-game marathon. Readingís season ends just before that, so weíll simply make those additions then.

Aug. 20, 1985

The Dodgers come in for three. We avoid Fernando Valenzuela, but we get Orel Hershiser and his 1.72 ERA tonight night. He faces Scott Sanderson (10-9, 3.23 ERA).


Game 1985-119: Veterans Stadium - Dodgers 6, Phillies 5 (11) / 72-47

A heavyweight duel goes the wrong way. It seems every time we score, the Dodgers come right back with their own runs. And when the time comes to get big hits, we go silent. We tie it in the sixth with a couple big doubles (Juan Samuel with the biggest), but thatís the end for our bats. Despite great pitching by our bullpen, Los Angeles has 16 hits, none bigger than the RBI single from Steve Sax to put them ahead in extras.

Aug. 21, 1985

Charles Hudson on the hill tonight, and we can use a big outing.

Game 1985-120: Veterans Stadium - Dodgers 9, Phillies 4 / 72-48

One of those thatíll come back to bite us. Kent Tekulve holds onto the 4-4 tie in the ninth, when he just implodes, giving up five runs. I keep telling myself not getting a fireballer isnít a big deal, but I really hope this isnít a sign that Iím dead wrong. Shame, too, because in this game, Darren Daulton carried us on his back with two giant, game-tying home runs. The Dodgers once again rack up 16 hits. Ugh. And Montreal wins (as they should), going back up 2.5 games. We needed to win two of three here. Needed to.

Aug. 22, 1985

Kelly Downs got hurt last night, which is the universe just cackling at me. I get it. I get it.

As for tonight, Dick Howser turns to Lefty, pushing him up a start so Joe Johnson doesnít have to face this hot Los Angeles lineup. I agree.

Game 1985-121: Veterans Stadium - Dodgers 7, Phillies 6 / 72-49

The most frustrating loss of the season. This we shouldíve won. Weíre up 3-0, then 4-2, then 5-3, 6-4, and then the Dodgers score three in the eighth off Bill Campbell. And itís not as if Campbell has been bad lately. I know the Dodgers can hit, but this really brings me down. This team would wax us in the NLCS. Luckily, Montreal lost again, so weíre just 2.5 back. But we couldíve at least stayed at 1.5 after this series; instead, we canít get one win. Frustrating.

Meanwhile, for levity, Reggie Jackson - who has had just 116 at-bats over the last two seasons - injured himself when trying to install something in his bathroom. Poor Angels.

Aug. 23, 1985

Three against San Francisco begins tonight; we can use a win.


Game 1985-122: Veterans Stadium - Giants 3, Phillies 2 / 72-50

Oh boy. Kent Tekulve blows another one, allowing two runs in the ninth. Shame, because John Denny strikes out 10 in 6.1 innings. Really bad loss.

Aug. 24, 1985

More bad news: Kelly Downs is out seven to eight months with a torn labrum. Damn torn labrums. That has him gone through spring training, at best. Sheesh.

And in Reading, Blaise Ilsley - after a nine-day ordered rest - went 7.2 IP, striking out nine and walking four, giving up four earned runs, in a loss.

Dick Howser is giving Paul Molitor a night off, as heís scuffling. Darren Daulton moves to the three-hole tonight. Man, do we need to turn this around.

Game 1985-123: Veterans Stadium - Phillies 4, Giants 3 / 73-50

Thank goodness. The Giants grab a 3-0 lead in the fourth after a two-run Jeffrey Leonard home run, but Juan Samuel knocks a two-run double in the bottom half, and UL Washington strikes an RBI single to tie it in the sixth. It stays tied until the eighth, when a tailor-made groundout from Terry Puhl is thrown away by catcher Phil Oullette. And despite allowing up two baserunners, Kent Tekulve gets out of it. Exhale. We need more offense.

Aug. 25, 1985

Game 1985-124: Veterans Stadium - Phillies 6, Giants 2 / 74-50

Tommy Thompson has a big day, hitting a three-run home run and driving in four. Tony Armas triples and drives in two, and Paul Molitor is back on board with a 3-for-4 day. And Scott Sanderson goes eight innings, striking out six and walking zippo in a big outing. The Expos lose, as well, putting us 1.5 back once more.

The new rankings:

1. Detroit Tigers - 81-43
2. Toronto Blue Jays - 79-46
3. Los Angeles Dodgers - 76-48
4. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES - 74-50
5. Montreal Expos -76-49

The Blue Jays have a 6-0 week to climb within two of Detroit. Here we go again.
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Old 12-02-2019, 03:59 PM   #130
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Dodgers peaking at the right time. Phils need to beat the teams they should beat. Good year though.
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Old 12-03-2019, 12:30 AM   #131
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Aug. 26, 1985

Charles Hudson is on the hill to start a two-gamer against the Padres, which finishes off the homestand.


Game 1985-125: Veterans Stadium - Phillies 2, Padres 1 / 75-50

Not a lot of offense lately, but in this one we donít need it, as Hudson goes eight and gives up just one run on three hits. Juan Samuelís fourth-inning homer provides the difference.

Aug. 27, 1985

Closer we come to September. Day off tomorrow, but first, we need a win against the Padres. Letís head out West feeling good. Lefty on the bump.

Game 1985-126: Veterans Stadium - Phillies 5, Padres 4 (14) / 76-50

Torturous, but a win nonetheless, and hey, we surpass our win total of 1984. A 4-2 lead evaporates by the sixth inning, as Steve Carlton labors quite a bit (7 IP, 4 ER, 9 H, 2 K, 5 BB). The bullpen, however, is masterful, blanking San Diego for seven innings, with Paul Assenmacher striking out four in his two frames. We also get lucky, as Terry Puhl throws out Carmelo Martinez trying to score in the top of the 14th. We win, meanwhile, with a Puhl walk-off walk. Von Hayes has the best game offensively, going 2-for-4 with three walks and two runs scored. So glad this is over - letís hop on a plane and head to Los Angeles.

We remain 1.5 back of Montreal, and awaiting us are four games with the Dodgers. Pretty important.

Aug. 28, 1985

Tough break for the Orioles: Cal Ripken Jr. is done for the season with a torn back muscle. After starting in every game in 1983, he missed four games last season and is now done at 122 games in 1985. He finishes with a .299/.360/.502 mark; at that pace he wouldíve likely had his best season to date.

The Ripken news made me look over the AL MVP race, and it seems Wade Boggs could get his second-straight honor (.347/.444/.479, 6.7 WAR), but itís more likely the award goes to Jesse Barfield in Toronto (.317/.393/.589, 34 HR, 115 RBI, 8.3 WAR). His teammates George Bell, Rance Mulliniks and Tony Fernandez are also having great seasons.

Aug. 29, 1985

Another Blaise Ilsley report: Bad luck in this one, as he gets a no-decision against the Nashua Pirates: 8 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 11 K, 0 BB. The one run was a home run by Brian Harper. That team also has Jim Olander, whom I dealt for Kent Tekulve. His line in Nashua: 110 PA, .202/.255/.263, 2 HR, 13 RBI, -0.6 WAR. Also in that trade was Dave Kennard, whoís in class-A Prince William: 6 PA, .400/.500/.400, 0.1 WAR.

Four coming against the Dodgers in L.A. Fernando goes first for them, while we counter with John Denny. Iíll take a split, if itís even possible.


Game 1985-127: Dodger Stadium - Dodgers 8, Phillies 3 / 76-51

Feels like one of the games last week in Philly. We get to Fernando just enough, but the Dodgers offense is relentless. Sid Bream hits two homers - heís now at .265/.341/.426, and Iíd kill for a little of that rubbing off on our second-year player, Juan Samuel (.241/.275/.378). And what do you know: Montreal wins and is up 2.5. This series could really kill us.

Aug. 30, 1985

Today we get Orel Hershiser (1.78 ERA). We counter with Joe Johnson. Cool!

Game 1985-128: Dodger Stadium - Dodgers 7, Phillies 2 / 76-52

Dick Howser probably leaves Joe Johnson in a slight too long here (6.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 H, 1 K, 4 BB). We have a 2-0 lead that becomes 2-1, then 2-2, then 2-3, and then a two-run triple from Franklin Stubbs ruins us. And our offense canít do much more. This Dodgers team is thoroughly better in every way, and theyíre playing their best baseball at the right time. Apparently we needed to win more games earlier this year against Atlanta, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh. Weíre three in back of Montreal.

Aug. 31, 1985

We can really use a huge Charles Hudson start, and no bullpen issues, enough offense, and a win. We can really use it.

Game 1985-129: Dodger Stadium - Dodgers 4, Phillies 3 / 76-53

Depressed. We get up 2-0 once again, but then the Dodgers get three off Hudson in the fourth. We tie it in the sixth with a Darren Daulton double, but the Dodgers grab the lead in the seventh with a Pedro Guerrero single. Thatís the end. Another loss to Los Angeles. Weíre still three back somehow.

Sept. 1, 1985

Roster expansion day, and maybe some reinforcements will help. Weíre going to wait until after this final game to call up some folks, but I imagine at least a bench bat, long-man and reliever are coming up right away.

I canít wait to leave Los Angeles.

Game 1985-130: Dodger Stadium - Dodgers 5, Phillies 3 / 76-54

No more words for this one. Up 1-0, then 2-1, then 3-2, and then thatís it. Every game the freaking same. The Dodgers basically let you hang around until the fifth or sixth, wait you out and beat you down. Tom Niedenfuer may have a 1.67 ERA, but I donít believe heís given up a run at all. Rick Honeycutt allows 12 hits and yet none really do much damage. On that end, we canít get the big hit early.

Thankfully we remain just three behind Montreal. Thereís still a chance, but if we even make it, weíre getting pounded by the Dodgers in the NLCS. No two ways around it.

Alright, callup time. Hereís our list of immediate promotions:
  • SP Mike Maddux promoted to MLB Philadelphia
  • RP Don Carman promoted to MLB Philadelphia
  • LF/RF Jeff Stone promoted to MLB Philadelphia

Maddux was added to the 40-man, and I removed reliever Rich Gaynor, who heads to waivers. I donít imagine heíll be claimed, but weíll see. These seem obvious to me - it wouldíve been Kelly Downs if not Maddux, Carman is the best and most polished reliever in the bin (apologies to Todd Worrell), and Stone could really provide a change of pace. I might even move Von Hayes back to center field for a few games to get Stone in these contests a bit. Portland is 6.5 out in their division race, so itís likely theyíre just on the wrong side of things now. Fine to call up the best.

I imagine once the Reading season ends (Sept. 6), weíll promote some of those folks to Portland for the final few weeks, bringing up another few players from the 40-man. I donít want a roster any larger than 34-35.

Meanwhile, Peninsulaís season has ended with a poor 59-81 mark. That means a few players head up to Clearwater to get those boys through the postseason (theyíre up 18 on the whole league with an 89-38 record).
  • RP Todd Frohwirth promoted to A Clearwater
  • RP Woodrow Broussard promoted to A Clearwater
  • 1B Ronnie Gideon promoted to A Clearwater
  • SS Gregg Jefferies promoted to A Clearwater

The big one is Jefferies, obviously. Fun lines in both R Bend and A Peninsula:
  • Bend - 26 G, 26 GS, 121 PA, .291/.388/.495, 3 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 20 RBI, 22 R, 7 K, 17 BB, 13 SB, 2 CS, 0.9 WAR
  • Peninsula - 26 G, 26 GS, 121 PA, .391/.421/.564, 8 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 21 RBI, 20 R, 6 K, 8 BB, 8 SB, 1 CS, 1.7 WAR

Same amount of appearances and games in Peninsula, but a better hitter who attacked a lot more. His fielding was rated better, too. Heís very likely starting 1986 in Reading, and to end Ď85 heíll get to help Clearwater win the Florida State League.

New power rankings. Woo-hoo:

1. Toronto Blue Jays - 84-47
2. Detroit Tigers - 84-46
3. Los Angeles Dodgers - 80-50
4. New York Mets - 71-59
5. Montreal Expos -79-51

Weíre 10th. Tenth! Look, I know the Dodgers swept us, but we started the week going 2-0 against San Diego! Whatever. Weíre just five ahead of the Mets now. Gotta win some games this week.

Also, Atlanta (46-84) is eliminated from postseason contention. The Dodgers have a 13.5-game lead. Dag. Also, the Mariners are now up 2.5 in the AL West, playing at a respectable 70-61. Detroit is up 0.5 over Toronto (another fun race here!).
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Old Yesterday, 02:16 PM   #132
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Sept. 2, 1985

Itís Labor Day, and we're behind by three games. Time for Jesus to come by. In August, Donnie Moore (10.1 IP, 7.84 ERA, 7 K, 4 BB) and Paul Assenmacher (9.1 IP, 5.79 ERA, 10 K, 5 BB) struggled most on the mound, and Charles Hudson (47 IP, 4.21 ERA, 26 K, 15 BB) had his roughest month yet.

Among hitters, Dave Stegman (90 PA, .171/.278/.276, 5 XBH, 23 K, 12 BB) was pretty bad, as was Juan Samuel (117 PA, .250/.282/.375, 9 XBH, 16 K, 4 BB), who just hasnít had it all year. Mike Schmidt got going again with seven homers and a .309/.392/.573 line. The offense was somehow, generally good. Apparently.

Anyway, in San Francisco for three. We need this, and interestingly, Dick Howser is batting Juan Samuel second and Terry Puhl sixth. Alright, sir.


Game 1985-131: Candlestick Park - Phillies 8, Giants 6 / 77-54

The kind of offense we need, but boy did we nearly lose it a bunch of times. We go down 2-1 in the first (thanks in part to a triple by 18-year-old rookie Larry Walker), then we grab the lead in the third with a bunch of singles and a sacrifice fly. The Giants tie it immediately, then they grab a 5-3 lead in the fifth off Tug McGraw, who came in for Steve Carlton because he endured a finger blister.

We come right back in the sixth with a big two-run double from Samuel and seize a 6-5 lead with a sac fly in the seventh. In the eighth, however, Bill Campbell allows a Chris Brown game-tying homer. BUT we get going in the ninth: walk, walk, throwing error on a steal attempt to score a run, single by UL Washington to score another run. We win 8-6. Exhale.

And Lefty is day-to-day. Fine. And Montreal loses. Great.

Meanwhile in St. Louis, Willie McGee got to 25 straight games with a hit. Weíll keep an eye.

Sept. 3, 1985

Cleveland (56-79) is out of the postseason race after an 11-1 schelaking by Toronto yesterday.

Jeff Stone starts in right field today against Mike Krukow, whoís hitting eighth (!) in the Giants lineup.

Game 1985-132: Candlestick Park - Phillies 2, Giants 1 (10) / 78-54

A heart-stopper. We lose the 1-0 lead early, but John Denny pitches well (8 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 8 K, 4 BB), the only run scoring after a UL Washington error (he now has 27). Kent Tekulve walks a high-wire and gets through two scoreless despite giving up three hits and three walks. Seriously. The winning run is via a Washington base hit, so I canít fault him too much for the bogey.

Sept. 4, 1985

Game 1985-133: Candlestick Park - Giants 5, Phillies 3 / 78-55

Limping late. Joe Johnson pitches OK in five innings, but not well enough. Donnie Moore gives up a home run right away. Feels like weíve gone weeks without a big Mike Schmidt hit. Luckily weíre still back two (the Expos are playing the Dodgers).

And in other news, Oakland is out of contention with a loss to Baltimore. Theyíre 41-93.

Sept. 5, 1985

Itís an off day. We wonít go over statistical leaders since thereís a month to play, but Mike Schmidtís MVP candidacy still looks good. Iíd love a few big September hits, though, Michael Jack. Giving myself a day off.

Sept. 6, 1985

The last Blaise Ilsley start of 1985 was good (9 IP, 3 ER, 3 H, 6 K, 2 BB). He finishes in Reading with a 2.51 ERA, a 9.6 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9. Heíll get an invitation to 1986 spring training and have an outside chance at making the big club.

Meanwhile, we should mention that the Clearwater Phillies - despite a loss yesterday - are 92-39. Are they the best team in Florida State League history? Well, the Miami Marlins last year went 103-41, so uh, I donít know. But this team is first in just about every category. At the least, they should surpass the 1983 Reading squad that went 96-44 and had Juan Samuel, Jeff Stone, Mike LaValliere, and Darren Daulton.

Time for three against San Diego to close out this West Coast trip. And oh, Mike Schmidt is hitting third with Tony Armas at the cleanup spot. Okay ...


Game 1985-134: Jack Murphy Stadium - Phillies 3, Padres 2 (14) / 79-55

Good lord. Charles Hudson is great (8 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 4 K, 3 BB) and hands over a 2-1 lead thanks to a Terry Puhl single, but then Kent Tekulve gives it right back thanks to a Terry Kennedy home run (he hit .207 in August so Iím not sad at the moment that we didnít get him). Then itís a seesaw. Big pitching from Larry Andersen (3 IP, 1 H, 2 K, 3 BB), and finally in the 14th, a Dave Stegman single gets us our winning run. Thank goodness. Still two back.

Sept. 7, 1985

Leftyís turn against Andy Hawkins (3.20 ERA). Would love a vintage Lefty start. Jeff Stone is out in right field today.

Game 1985-135: Jack Murphy Stadium - Padres 4, Phillies 1 / 79-56

Bland loss. Andy Hawkins throws a complete game, while Steve Carlton does not have a great start (6 IP, 4 ER, 9 H). And weíre back to three behind Montreal. We havenít really made up any ground in a month. And because Montreal beat San Francisco, the Giants are out of the playoff race.

Sept. 8, 1985

Last one out west.

Game 1985-136: Jack Murphy Stadium - Phillies 5, Padres 4 / 80-56

Our 80th win of the season is a good one. Von Hayes is stepping it up (3-for-3, 2 2B, 3 R, 1 BB), while Terry Puhl adds two hits. A decent start from John Denny (6 IP, 3 ER, 3 H, 3 K, 1 BB) and good relief from Bill Campbell and Kent Tekulve (3 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 3 K, 1 BB).

Expos lose. Back down two to Montreal, and theyíre next up.

Oh, the power rankings:

1. Toronto Blue Jays - 88-49
2. Detroit Tigers - 87-49
3. Los Angeles Dodgers - 83-53
4. Milwaukee Brewers - 73-63
5. Montreal Expos -82-54

Toronto is now in front of Detroit. Weíre seventh, which weíll take. Who cares - big three-game series coming up.
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