THIS DAY IN SP78 HISTORY
July 31, 1993

The last full day of the ‘Enjoy It While You Can’ tour with my friend Steve P, where he and I had spent a week exploring Chicago and Milwaukee and attending White Sox, Cubs, and Brewers games at their home parks. After spending a fun afternoon at Wrigley Field watching the Dodgers beat the Cubs 7-2 in 13 innings, and a late lunch at a restaurant called Muskie’s near the ballpark, we took the El back to the downtown area, and later that night played the last of five SP78 games completed during the trip, at site ‘ILL1’ while we listened to classic rock on WCKG. In a match-up at Riverfront Stadium at Cincinnati, Steve managed the Pirates to a 5-2 win over my favorite team, the Reds, with the help of a Dave Parker 3-run home run in the seventh, which snapped a 2-2 tie and made a winner of Jim Rooker (3-6). It was the second win of the three games Steve played on the trip, and it improved his lifetime record against me to 10-13.  (Game #677,  6/4/78)

Major League Baseball

SP78 Will Open August This Weekend

Statis Pro 1978 Replay, about to enter its 35th year of play, will resume its season this Friday, August 1st, with the first NL game of August, a meeting between the Cardinals and Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago. The game will feature a pitching match-up of Silvio Martinez and Cubs rookie Manny Seoane, who will be making just his second start of the year.

The game will also be the first to be played at ‘AZ14′, the new SP78 site established in June of this year in Gilbert, Arizona. The game will be labeled #1386, and though it will be the only SP78 contest to take place that evening, the remainder of the weekend will see at least two more NL games played, if not more.

Local affiliates KSD in St Louis and WGN in Chicago will carry the game on television, while SP78 Radio will offer a national broadcast with Keith Jackson and Al Trautwig calling the action live from Chicago.

August Preliminary Report: Cardinals

St Louis Cardinals
• The Cardinals finished 11-16 in July, and will hope to improve on that mark in August with a revamped lineup, a 4-man starting rotation, and an emphasis on  stealing as many bases as possible.

• Bob Forsch, John Denny, Silvio Martinez, and Rob Dressler will make up the St Louis starting four; former starter John Vuckovich will continue to work from the bullpen for now.

• Veteran Cards outfielder Lou Brock will be permanently stationed in left field for the remainder of the season, with George Hendrick shifting to center, and Jerry Morales and Jerry Mumphrey platooning in right. Tony Scott, who hit .383 as a reserve during July, will fill-in at all three outfield positions at various times throughout August. Continue reading

August Preliminary Report: Giants

San Francisco Giants
• If you’re wondering how the Giants went 20-9 in July, look no further than their pitching: a team ERA of 1.58 for the month! The question is, with an ERA that low, how did they ever lose nine games?

• Surprisingly, a PB 2-5 pitcher was one of the main cogs in that 20-9 run: seven-year veteran Charlie Williams, who went 4-0 in July with a 1.20 ERA. Just one more win will tie him for his career season high, accomplished in 1977.

• Willie McCovey is still three home runs shy of his 500th, and after spending June and July as the Giants’ primary first baseman in hopes he’d connect for those three (after hitting only one over those two months), manager Joe Altobelli has decided to move hot-hitting Mike Ivie back as the team’s daily first baseman. If Ivie stays hot (he’s currently hitting .357 for the year), McCovey may not have a chance to hit #500 until 1979. Continue reading

August Preliminary Report: Padres

San Diego Padres
• After finishing 1977 in fifth place with a 69-93 record, the Padres have turned it around in 1978, keeping pace with the NL West-leading Dodgers all season and possessing the third best won-lost in SP78 at 65-40. San Diego is currently just two games behind LA, and two ahead of third-place San Francisco, by far the tightest divisional race in baseball right now.

• Third baseman Bill Almon was the only SD player to appear in all 29 Padres games last month.

• A surprise on the Padres pitching staff in July was Bob Owchinko, a PB 2-6 southpaw who went 4-0 with a 2.16 ERA, and proved to be the squad’s most reliable starter. Continue reading

August Preliminary Report: Pirates

Pittsburgh Pirates
• Despite leading off the month with two 3-game win streaks, the Pirates finished July with a 10-18 mark; their dismal .234 team batting average was a major contributor to their lack of success.

• With an 0-5 mark for July and a 3-12 record on the year, starting pitcher Don Robinson has been moved to the bullpen in hopes of changing his luck, while spot starter Bruce Kison has taken his spot in the starting rotation.

• Pittsburgh has five players on their current roster who can play third base, but none have an error rating of less than 7. With second baseman Rennie Stennett not playing up to expectations, Phil Garner has been moved from third to second, and Ken Macha (E3) has been called up from Columbus to take over at third. Continue reading