August 15, 2014

The first SP78 game played after the big opening weekend of games at site AZ14 in Gilbert, Arizona saw the Reds score three runs in the first inning – one on a George Foster RBI single, two on a Johnny Bench home run – and hold on to defeat the Braves 3-2 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. Fred Norman (11-9) went seven innings for the win, allowing a 2-run HR to Dale Murphy in the fifth to make the game a close one, and Doug Bair came on to work the final two innings to record his 17th save. Pete Rose went 4-for-5 to lead all batters, while backup catcher Biff Pocoroba went 3-for-4 to lead the Braves. Atlanta rookie Larry McWilliams allowed all three Cincinnati runs and took the loss.  (Game #1389,  8/1/78)

Bowa First to Reach 200-Hit Mark

With a base hit in his third at-bat in the August 27th Phillies-Dodgers match-up at Dodger Stadium, Phils shortstop Larry Bowa became the first SP78 player this season to record his 200th hit. The hit came in the fifth inning off LA starter Burt Hooton, a bloop single to right that boosted Bowa’s season batting average to .357, currently third best in the National League.

It was the first 200-hit season of Bowa’s career, besting the 192 he collected during the actual 1978 campaign, when he batted .296, was chosen to play in the All-Star Game, and was third in MVP voting for the senior circuit. With 32 games remaining on Philadelphia’s schedule, Bowa has an outside chance at the team record of 254, established by outfielder Lefty O’Doul in 1929.

“Good lord, what is that, two hits a game, every game, for the rest of the season?” asked an incredulous Bowa. “I’ll never do it.”

The next closest SP78 player to 200 hits in the NL is six-time hit king Pete Rose of the Reds, with 189. In the AL, Rod Carew of the Twins has the lead with 177, with Indians third baseman Buddy Bell close behind at 176.

TWISP Notes #78

July 13, 2022

• Rangers outfielder Johnny Grubb hit his second grand slam of the season—and third of his career—in the third inning of the August 26th Texas-KC game at Arlington Stadium. The clout came at the expense of Royals starter Rich Gale, and lifted the Rangers to a 4-3 win.

• The Dodgers placed starting pitcher Doug Rau on the 15-day disabled list yesterday, retroactive to August 20th. Rau suffered a shoulder injury while pitching in the second inning of the August 19th game against the Mets. With no pitchers available in AAA, the Dodgers will shift to a 4-man starting rotation, and will call up outfielder Myron White from Albuquerque of the Pacific Coast League to serve as a pinch-hitter, and a backup outfielder during the absence of a Dusty Baker.

• The Padres have also converted to a 4-man starting rotation, returning John D’Acquisto to the bullpen, switching Bob Shirley into a spot-starter role, and keeping Gaylord Perry, Randy Jones, Bob Owchinko, and Eric Rasmussen as their starting quartet.

• Cardinals rookie speedster Todd Benefiel stole second, third, and home in the the eighth inning of the Cards’ 12-3 rout of the Braves yesterday, becoming the tenth SP78 player this season to steal home, and just the second this year to steal three bases in one inning. Mike Edwards of the A’s was the first, doing so July 27th against the White Sox.

• Roger Moret made his pitching debut for the Rangers on August 26th, allowing just two runs on six hits over six innings to earn the win in a 4-3 victory over the Royals. During the 1978 season (his last in the majors), Moret went 0-1 in seven appearances, earning one save while posting a 4.91 ERA.

• Braves reliever Dave Campbell, who’s had his share of run-ins with opposing batters this season, has been suspended by the National League office for ten games, after involving himself in another beanball incident, on August 26th. For more on this story, click here.

• The second game of the Expos-Giants doubleheader at Candlestick Park on August 27th will be Game #1700 of the SP78 Replay season.

• Phillies veteran Jim Kaat, currently 8-4 with a 2.94 ERA in 20 appearances as a starter and reliever, will be moved from the bullpen to the starting rotation for the September stretch run, while Randy Lerch (10-8, 3.04) will shift to a relief role, joining Tug McGraw as the second southpaw in the pen.

• Boston’s win on August 26th—a rain-shortened 3-0 shutout of the Angels at Fenway Park—snapped their 8-game losing streak, and was their first victory since 2017.

• Indians pitcher Wayne Garland, recently called up from the Portland Beavers of the PCL, will make his first appearance with the parent club on August 27th, against the White Sox at Comiskey Park. Garland had six starts in 1978, all in April, before missing the rest of the season following surgery for a torn rotator cuff.

• There are just five calendar days and 57 games remaining for the month of August.

Hey Fans! August 29th is Half-Price Tuesday at Candlestick Park!

Campbell Suspended 10 Games for HBP

Braves pitcher Dave Campbell, who was ejected from Saturday’s game after purposely throwing a pitch at the head of Cardinals batter Todd Benefiel, has been suspended by the National League office, effective immediately. The suspension will cost Campbell and the Braves ten games, and the pitcher will not be eligible to return to action until September 6th, when the Braves meet the Padres in Atlanta.

It was Campbell’s fourth hit batter of the season, and his third in the past week. The three most recent HBPs were all administered to Cardinal batters, presumably as retribution for a 13-2 shellacking the Cards handed the Braves on August 20th, as well as for Benefiel’s steal of second off Campbell in the eighth inning of the same game, with St Louis holding a comfortable 11-2 lead at the time of the theft.

Campbell, who’s already been suspended once during the SP78 campaign for a beanball incident, joins White Sox starter Ross Baumgarten as the only two SP78 pitchers this season to lose playing time for hitting a batter. On July 29th, Baumgarten was suspended five games for striking A’s batter Mike Edwards on the helmet with an intentional inside pitch, resulting in an injury and four missed games for Edwards.

The NL office was notified today that neither Campbell nor Braves management will appeal the suspension.

Saturday Tripleheader on NBC

It’s a Saturday full of SP78 baseball on NBC today, as the A’s take on the division-leading Yankees at Yankee Stadium, the Mariners meet the red-hot Orioles in Baltimore, and the Twins battle it out with the Blue Jays in Toronto.

Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek will be in New York for the opening game, while Charlie Jones and Wes Parker will call the action from Baltimore, and Dick Enberg and Hank Aaron will wrap up the broadcast tripleheader tonight at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto.

It will also be the first time in SP78 history that a trio of games will have start times spread out over an entire day: one in the morning, one in the evening, and one at night. The evening Twins-Jays contest will wrap up the slate of games for August 26th.