Sunday, April 17, 2011

10/22/85 Kansas City Royals 6, St Louis Cardinals 1

World Series Game 3
Busch Stadium, St Louis, MO

Game 3 finds the Royals in great danger, behind 2 games starting out, and traveling to the enormous concrete toilet seat formerly known as Busch Stadium (the second). The odds were definitely in favor of the Redbirds, but the Royals executed their “Ace in the hole” (no pun intended…actually, it was intended) of the pitching staff and behind him, the Royals offense returned to life against those odds.

From the moment he stepped on the mound, even if you didn’t know it ahead of time…it was Bret Saberhagen’s game to win and Joaquin Andujar’s game to lose.

I want to expose some of my passionate honesty here…great pitching performances occur throughout the regular season as well as in the postseason…Saberhagen’s line is one thing, but to see him deliver the goods and really get a good look at his pitch profile after so many years…my goodness. He hurled a truly dangerous game, in a manner that was absolutely breathtaking. That’s why this paragraph is in italics, I am still warm after watching this…mostly because some innings I watched TWICE just because they were so fantastic.

What may or may not have been a factor in Saberhagen’s performance this evening: he was anxiously awaiting news of the status of his expectant wife, about to give birth elsewhere, throughout the game. His son Drew would eventually enter the universe on another fateful night during the series, but the stark ABC Sports closeups of Saberhagen in the dugout, featuring his Chicago Heights smile with tobacco-stained teeth and adolescent moustache, revealed a pensive countenance that certainly fueled his composure during the game. He was already a statistical stud in 1985, his second year in MLB with the Royals, with a 20-6 record and a tiny 2.86 ERA for the season. This record was a significant exclaimer for his eventual AL Cy Young award, this complete game was less of a surprise regarding his prowess than it was an exuberant demonstration of what most already knew about Bret: he was that darn good and had the talent to consistent show everybody ‘how it’s done.’ Saberhagen executed a baffling array of pitches and speeds, including a very shocking and more-effective-than-not side-arm delivery…those of you who read my stuff and know my tendencies know how much of a sucker I am for side-arm and submariner pitching!!!

Bret seemed to hit a snag in 1986 (which also seems to be common), yet uncommonly bounced back in a very short order compiling a most impressive 23-6 record with a tinier 2.16 ERA to net his second Cy Young award. Saberhagen still remains the last Royal to throw a no-hitter in 1991 against the Chicago White Sox.

But, I digress…for just a moment…

Saberhagen did his part for the Win (CG, 9IP, 6H, ER, BB, 8K, 132 pitches, 91 strikes), but the Offense did their part to make it a gem. George Brett reaches base 5 times in 5 plate appearances (2-for-2, 2R, 3BB), tying a World Series record most recently held (at that time) by Reggie Jackson in 1981. Buddy Biancalana amazingly went 2-for-5 with an RBI, also 2-for-5 during the game for the Royals: Lonnie Smith and Willie Wilson.

The offensive performance of the evening belonged to the illustrious Frank White, who was 2-for-4 with 2 runs scored and a walloping 3 RBI; most significant of which was his 2-run HR in the top of the 5th with 0 outs…probably the longest if not the most majestic tape measure blast I may have ever seen – the very first HR of the series.

Andujar seemed to be abnormally roused during his 4 innings of work. As this was the “golden age” of modern Baseball (how’s that for a paradoxical statement?), I felt uneasy and unfamiliar with the practice of intentionally walking a batter with 1 out, 1 on, and Frank White on deck (who was .249/.284/.414 for the 85 season)…even if that batter was George Brett…in the top of the 1st inning!! This was baffling to me, but Whitey Herzog knows baseball better than I do, as Andujar was successful in getting White to GIDP, ending the inning.

This was a huge win for the Royals, but they are still in danger…there’s yet another game in St Louis, and they are still behind the Cardinals.

I scored this game on 4/15/11.

Box Score and Play-by-play from Retrosheet

You can (and SHOULD) buy the entire 85 World Series on DVD from Amazon, or whomever.

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