July 15, 2016
• With right-hander Nino Espinosa starting on the mound for the Mets on Sunday, the opposing Cardinals will start LH-batting rookie Todd Benefiel at short, after he sat out the past two games so that regular shortstop Garry Templeton could bat against left-handed starters. Benefiel, hitting .438 since his call-up from Springfield, will bat second behind veteran Lou Brock, who for this game will switch to the lead-off spot in hopes of sparking his dismal SP78 batting numbers. For the season, Brock is hitting an uncharacteristic .227 with only seven stolen bases, and in August just .115 with no stolen bases.
• St Louis is currently riding a 4-game winning streak, the longest such streak in the major leagues through Saturday, and a victory over the Mets will cap a sweep of their 3-game weekend series and move the Cards to within one game of fifth-place New York in the NL East.
• My year-long task of re-calculating all June statistics continues, and with work through June 21st finished, only 118 scoresheets (out of 368 total for the month) remain to be tabulated before June’s numbers are complete. The player and team stats will then be added to the site, and June award winners will announced soon thereafter.
• The current SP78 game site at AZ18 in Peoria, Arizona has now hosted 34 games since last December, good for 17th place on the all-time list, and one behind site RB1, which hosted the very first SP78 Replay game in 1980.
• With their top hitter and reliever—George Brett and Al Hrabosky—having returned from their respective disabled lists on Friday and Saturday, the second-place Royals are back to full strength and eager to make a run at the AL West lead. Utility infielder Jerry Terrell, who took over at third base for Brett during his absence, batted .255 with five RBI in fifteen games, while KC relievers were a combined 3-2 with just one save after Hrabosky was injured in mid-July.
• Twins slugger Roy Smalley has hit eight home runs in 12 games during the month of August; he now has 24 round-trippers for the season.
• In Saturday’s doubleheader against the Angels, speedster Julio Cruz of the Mariners moved two steps closer to Ty Cobb’s AL record for stolen bases in a single season, swiping a base in each game of the twinbill to climb to 88, just eight behind Cobb’s long-standing mark of 96, which he established in 1915.
• The second-place Cubs, who are 13 games behind the front-running Phillies in the NL East, received a welcome boost to their starting rotation—and their chance at catching the Phils—when Mike Krukow returned from the 21-day disabled list on August 10th. Krukow, who was 8-7 when he went on the DL on July 20th, started for the Cubs one day after his return, against Montreal, and combined with Bruce Sutter for a 4-0 shutout win at Olympic Stadium.
Fans! Sunday, August 13th is Thrifty’s Halter Top Day
at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto!