Amazing Game 1s kick off Diamondmind postseason
National League Division Series
Cincinnati Reds (NL West Wild Card Winner, 84-77) at New York Mets (NL East Division Winner, 115-45)
Game 1 – Shea Stadium
Doc Gooden (31-3) faced off against Danny Jackson (17-9) in game one at Shea Stadium. Gooden pitched wonderfully and behind solo HRs from Greg Jefferies and Keith Hernandez the Mets took a 3-1 lead into the 9th inning. Randy Myers was ready in the bullpen, but Gooden looked strong retiring first Chris Sabo and then Bo Diaz on groundouts. Nick Esasky homered to cut the lead to 3-2, but it was just the 7th hit of the game for the Reds and Gooden still looked strong. Lloyd McClendon then hit a 1-2 pitch off the end of the bat and blooped the ball just over the reach of Kevin Elster. Still reluctant to go to the bullpen, Gooden stayed in the game. Herm Winningham pinch-ran for McClendon and promptly took advantage of Gooden’s high leck kick by stealing 2nd base. After getting ahead of Barry Larkin 1-2, Larkin worked the count full. Larkin then connected and hit the ball over the centerfield fence to give the Reds a 4-3 lead.
Gooden still remained in the game since he was due up in the bottom of the 9th and not wanting to use Myers for just one out, I kept him in. However, after a Julio Franco single, Gooden clearly had nothing left. Gooden was pulled for Randy Myers who then struck out Kal Daniels on three pitches. In my desire to see Gooden get a complete game win, I selfishly kept him in and now felt like I did after Mike Scoscia hit that 2-run HR off him in the 1988 NLCS with Myers warming up in the pen.
As the Mets took their turn AB in the bottom of the 9th, I had very little hope of a comeback. John Franco came on to save the game for the Reds and quickly struck out Gary Carter for the first out. Tempted to pinch-hit for Kevin Elster I allowed him to hit and he singled through the left side. Wally Backman pinch-ran for Elster, who had collected three hits on the day. On Franco’s first pitch to pinch-hitter Mark Carreon (remember Franco is a lefty and the Mets had very few RH bats to come off the bench) Backman took off. Bo Diaz threw a bullet and Barry Larkin, still smarting from his 2-run homer in the top of the inning, was waiting with the ball to tag out Backman. Down to their final out, Carreon fell behind 0-2. After 2 straight balls he proceeded to foul off 4 straight pitches to stay alive. Franco then missed with his next 2 pitches to walk Carreon. Mookie Wilson strode to the plate as the winning run. Franco had not allowed a HR in 32.2 IP on the road this season. Wilson had not hit a walk-off HR in his career and only had 9 on the season. Wilson connected on a 2-1 pitch and drove the ball to left. Daniels ran back…back…back and watched the ball travel into the leftfield bullpen. The Mets take Game 1 in miraculous fashion and I am redeemed for my stupid managing.
American League Division Series
Toronto Blue Jays (AL East Wild Card Winner, 91-71) at Minnesota Twins (AL West Division Winner, 96-66)
Game 1 – Metrodome
The Blue Jays Mike Scott (7-2 with TOR, 14-10 overall) took on Frank Viola (21-8) in the Metrodome for Game 1 of the Blue Jays-Twins series. Gary Gaetti’s HR in the 2nd started things for the Twins as they scored 2 more runs in the third thanks to RBI hits by Kirby Puckett and Kent Hrbek. Viola was masterful as he allowed just 4 hits and only one run in his 8 innings while striking out 8 and walking none. For the Jays, Mike Scott settled in well after allowing 3 runs in the first 3 innings and threw a complete game allowing 6 hits while striking out 11. Jeff Reardon came on to get the save in the top of the 9th as the Twins took Game 1, 3-1.
American League Division Series
Kansas City Royals (AL West Wild Card Winner, 88-73) at Milwaukee Brewers (AL East Division Winner, 103-59)
Game 1 – Milwaukee County Stadium
In Milwaukee 20-game winner Teddy Higuera (21-3) took on Mark Gubicza (19-11) in the Royals-Brewers Game 1. Higuera was masterful throwing a 7-hit shutout as the Brewers won 3-0. Gubicza went the distance as well, but allowed 11 hits and single runs in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th innings. Rob Deer was the only Brewer not to collect a hit, as Dale Sveum had 3 to lead the Brewers, while Ed Hearn collected 3 hits for the Royals in the loss. Darryl Hamilton, Robin Yount and B.J. Surhoff drove in runs for the Brewers.
National League Division Series
Chicago Cubs (NL East Wild Card Winner, 86-76) at San Francisco Giants (NL West Division Winner, 96-66)
Game 1 – Candlestick Park
In San Francisco Rick Reuschel (11-7) took on John Tudor (7-3 with CHC, 16-6 overall). Tudor was masterful throwing shutout baseball for the first 8 innings allowing just 4 hits. For the Giants, Rick Reuschel pitched well also going 8 innings before being removed for a PH in the bottom of the 8th. His replacement, Randy Bockus struck out 2 batters between a walk and the Cubs found themselves with 2 outs and a runner on 2nd after a passed ball with John Tudor coming to the plate. Inexplicably, Bockus walked Tudor while Bob Melvin allowed another passed ball on ball four, putting runners on first and third. Mitch Webster then hit a slow grounder that Kevin Mitchell couldn’t get to in time as a run scored and walking Tudor had come back to cost the Giants and Bockus. Ryan Sandberg then also walked and on his 4th ball, Bockus unloaded a wild pitch that allowed Tudor to score all the way from 2nd base, as Webster moved the 3rd and Sandberg to 2nd. Still staying with Bockus, Roger Craig saw Mark Grace single up the middle to score 2 more runs, all of this as a result of walking the pitcher with 2 outs.
After Terry Mulholland relieved Bockus the Cubs had a 7-0 lead and with Tudor on the mound, the game was over…Right?? Well, maybe not. Mulholland
got Andre Dawson to fly to left to finally end the inning. In the bottom of the 9th, Brett Butler worked a leadoff walk (Tudor’s first of the day). Robby Thompson then hit a 2-run HR to snap the shutout and put the “What if” game on Roger Craig’s mind that would have cut the lead to 3-2 if Bockus hadn’t of walked Tudor or been taken out right after he had. Tudor struck out Will Clark, then walked PH Chris Speier as he was clearly tiring. Don Zimmer lifted Tudor for Mike Bielecki as the Cubs still had a 7-2 lead with one out and a runner on first. PH Ernest Riles then singled to left. Zimmer again walking to the mound decided to bring in his closer despite it still not being a save situation.
Sensing a bit of panic on the face of Zimmer and the Cubs, the crowd at Candlestick was on it’s feet. Candy Maldanado then worked the Giants third walk of the inning to load the bases. Bob Melvin, who had entered the game in the top of the inning for Kurt Manwaring and allowed 2 passed balls and a wild pitch, strode to the plate hoping to keep the rally going. Melvin quickly fell behind 0-2 but ripped a 2-2 pitch into center for a single that scored Speier and Riles and now amazingly brought the tying run to the plate. Now Randy Bockus and Roger Craig really felt small, as that hit would have won the game if those two hadn’t ruined things in the top of the 9th. Jose Uribe now represented the tying run as the Giants had cut the lead to 7-4 with 2 runners on. I thought about interrupting the game and PH Matt Williams for Uribe, but I made a promise not to interfere in these other games. I am only the manager for the Mets in this postseason…It’s good thing I didn’t interfere for the Giants part, as Uribe ripped a 2-0 pitch down the right field line scoring Maldanado and Melvin while Uribe hustled to third.
Amazingly the Giants now had the TYING run on third. As upset as they were that they SHOULD have already won this game, they now could have a chance to redeem everyone. Once again I thought of interfering with the pitchers spot coming up, but I let the Roger Craig decide whom to send up. Joel Youngblood was the PH for Terry Mulholland. I would have gone with Williams, but maybe Youngblood was a better choice because Williams is prone to the K. Youngblood failed to produce though as he flew out to shallow CF, keeping Uribe on third.
Just as it looked he was going to fail, Gossage got Brett Butler to fly out to left and give the Cubs a 7-6 win.