May 3, 1994

In the first of two SP78 games played today at ESC8, Joe Niekro and the Astros carried a slim 4-3 lead against the Pirates into the eighth, but then the roof caved in as the host Bucs scored eight times in the inning—including three on a bases-clearing double by Dave Parker and one a bases-loaded walk to Phil Garner—to crush Houston 11-4. Joe Sambito and Rich Williams were responsible for seven of the frame’s eight runs, with Sambito (3-2) credited with the loss. The Pirates had just ten hits in the game, with six of those coming in the pivotal eighth, and one in the fourth on Willie Stargell’s 14th home run of the year. Pittsburgh starter Jerry Reuss went eight innings for the win, his first of the season, while Dave Hamilton wrapped things up with one inning of perfect relief. Houston outfielders Jose Cruz and Denny Walling collided in the third while chasing a line drive off the bat of Frank Taveras; the ball dropped for a double, and both fielders dropped with injuries, forcing them from the game.  (Game #726,  6/8/78)

Major League Baseball

Pitcher Injury Chart Adjusted

In 2004, after 24 years of playing my SP78 season, I finally got tired of following the mandates of the Statis Pro Player Injury Chart, which ridiculously did not allow for injuries to pitchers, and put together a chart of my own which did permit such occurrences. After poring over all 26 team-issued media guides from 1978, I made note of every pitcher injury suffered the previous year, and how long each pitcher had been out of action, and put together a table made up of eight ‘levels’, with each level featuring six different injury scenarios from the guides. An 8-sided dice roll determined the ‘severity of injury’ level, while a 6-sided dice roll determined injury type.

KC - Al Hrabosky yellingMy system was purely random, however, and all results were dependent on the whims of the dice. Royals reliever Al Hrabosky, known as ‘The Mad Hungarian’, was the first pitcher stricken, when he suffered an entrapped nerve in his shoulder while pitching against the Brewers on July 13th. He was placed on the 30-day disabled list the following day, and was due to return to action on August 14th.

What I failed to remember was that Statis Pro player injuries were based on number of games played during the 1978 season, and not an arbitrary toss of the dice. When Boston’s Dennis Eckersley was lost for 45 days at the end of July, basically ending his season, I saw he still had 21 starts remaining, based on his true 1978 start total. It was then that I realized my mistake; what I needed to do was to make a pitcher’s ‘games lost to injury’ relative to the number of appearances he’d made during the 1978 season. For example, a pitcher who had 40 starts in ’78, and pitched every fourth day of the 162-game season, should not miss any games due to injury (40 x 4 = 160), while a reliever who appeared in just five games might miss any number of games up to my self-imposed limit, the 60-day disabled list.

So while retaining the same 8-level injury system, I now have each level broken down by total number of appearances in 1978, a much more logical method when compared to what I’d created previously. And to mess with the SP78 universe once again, several pitchers who were still on various disabled lists found their stays adjusted accordingly: Mike Krukow moved from the 30-day to the 21-day DL, Steve Renko from the 21-day to the 15-day, and in the biggest jump, the aforementioned Eckersley from the 45-day DL to just five days missed. Unfortunately for Chisox spot starter Jack Kucek, his relatively short visit to the 15-day disabled list was re-calculated to 45 days, thus possibly ending his season about two months early.

As for Hrabosky, according to the new system, he should never have been placed on the 30-day DL, and instead just missed the remainder of that particular game (based on his 58 relief appearances that year). But since he’s scheduled to return to the Royals lineup in just a few days, I’ll leave him right where he his until then. And for those of you who are interested, below is the actual updated pitching chart; click on it to get a better view.

Pitcher Injury Chart

Palmer Tops McNally For O’s Games Pitched Lead

Jim Palmer became Baltimore’s all-time leader BAL - Palmer portraitin games pitched yesterday when he appeared in his 413th game as an Oriole, passing former teammate Dave McNally, in a 6-5 loss to the Yankees at Memorial Stadium. For Palmer, the landmark occasion was dampened by yet another sub-par performance on the mound, a three-inning stint where he allowed four runs on six hits (and served up three walks and a hit-by-pitch as well), resulting in his ninth loss of the year. His SP78 record now stands at 9-9, a stark contrast to the 21-12 mark he finished with at the conclusion of the actual ’78 campaign.

“I can’t figure it out,” said Palmer, addressing the local Baltimore media after the game. “I have a pitcher PB rating of 2-8, yet I can’t seem to catch a break this season. And I didn’t even face Guidry tonight! Who knows, maybe I need to give up this whole ‘pancakes for breakfast’ business, and stick with sugar cereal instead.”

McNally, a 3-time All-Star, played for the O’s from 1962 to 1974, compiling a won-lost record of 181-113 before finishing his career with the Expos in 1975. He and Palmer were members of the last major league squad to boast four 20-game winners in one season, in 1971, a starting rotation that also included Mike Cuellar and Pat Dobson.

Torrez Baffles Brewers With 2-Hit, 16-0 Win

Right now, Mike Torrez may not be having the best season of his career, but last night, in front of a near-sellout crowd at Fenway Park, he most certainly experienced his best game.

BOS - Mike Torrez poseTorrez, in his first year in a Red Sox uniform, completely shut down the vaunted Milwaukee power-hitting attack, allowing just two singles to Robin Yount in the fourth and ninth innings, as the Bosox cruised to a 16-0 whitewash of the Brewers in the opening game of their 4-game set at Boston. It was the 12th shutout of Torrez’ career and his first of the season, improving his current won-lost record to 8-9.

To read a full recap of the game, and to see game notes and make comments, click here.

Stat Night

Stat Night - photo
Just another evening spent working on statistics at the living room table, where for the past several months I’ve been compiling stats for every SP78 game played in June: as the photo above shows, I’m currently at work on Game #777, a June 12th match-up between the Mets and Padres at San Diego Stadium. From here, I have just 235 scoresheets to pore over before I wrap-up the month, and can begin adding the numbers to the blog site.

And after that, I’ll make some minor additions to every team’s July statistics (which are, for the most part, already completed), and when I factor in the current August stats, I’ll be caught up with the season’s stats for the first time since I finished playing the last of the April games back in 1988. Thank heavens I have no social life, or I’d never have time to get any of this done.