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Old 02-17-2020, 07:01 PM   #1061
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July Pitchers of the Month (1976)

Veteran right-hander Reece Vaughan has put together a pretty impressive career, including back-to-back 19 win seasons in 1969 and 1970, but with few accolades to show for it, outside of 3 All-Star squad picks and 1 championship ring (with Jacksonville in 1973). But he has now won the Pitcher of the Month honors 8 times in his career, including this just completed month in the SJL.
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In the MGL, the honors go to the Brewers Sadahige Kawasaki who had a nearly perfect month and in spite of having an uninspiring win-loss record has certainly gotten himself into the Pitcher of the Year conversation at this stage of the season.
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Old 02-17-2020, 07:07 PM   #1062
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July Rookies of the Month (1976)

Danny Eide of the Houston Cavaliers doesn't profile as a future star in the WPK but the 25-year old starting pitcher had a nice July to take SJL Rookie of the Month honors.
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And Obandomania continues in L.A. as Eduardo Obando, right now likely the front-runner for MGL Pitcher of the Year, earns Rookie of the Month honors for the third time this season.
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Old 02-22-2020, 08:03 AM   #1063
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Week 17, August 1-7, 1976

Brewers record: 6-1 (week), 72-35, 1st place, MGL (season).

August 1-2, versus Phoenix: 12-2, 5-4.

The Brewers win game 2 of 3 against the Speed Devils in Denver in blowout fashion. RodRod went 4 for 5, scoring twice and driving in 2 and hit his 2nd HR of the season. Cheol-han Lee (12-1, 3.47) pitched one of his better starts of the season, giving up just 2 runs (1 earned) on 6 hits over 7 1/3rd. And Josh Schaeffer went 3 for 5, scoring 2 runs and hitting his 3rd triple in the victory.

The Brewers complete the sweep of Phoenix with a narrow win in game 3. Steve Green (10-5, 2.56) battled with some early lack of sharpness but got the win, allowing 4 runs (3 earned) on 10 hits over 7 innings pitched. Jason Gottula and Tim Shore were perfect in relief, Shore getting his 14th save. Brett Taranto hit his 23rd double of 1976 and Joe McPhillips hit his 7th HR.

August 3-5, at Brooklyn: 7-1, 6-0, 2-3.

The Brooklyn Aces were the pre-season favorites to win the MGL and are clearly one of the most talented teams in the WPK. And yet, once again this season they seem to be under-achieving.
In game 1 of this 3-game set the visitors got a win off of one of the twin aces of the Aces, Chris Justice, who after getting off to another strong start this season has now fallen to 10-10. The Brewers meanwhile got another great pitching performance from Sekien Hamasaki (11-3, 2.86). Hamasaki lasted 7 innings, giving up 1 run on just 5 hits. The offense was led by Bobby Erbakan, who went 3 for 5 with 3 runs scored and 2 RBI and also stole 2 bases to get to 6 on the season. Brett Taranto also chipped in with a 2 for 5, 3 RBI game and hit his 10th triple.

In game 2, Matt Helm (8-2, 2.80) shut down the Aces offense, with a little help from Ben Flynn, who is finally starting to get some good results out of the 'pen. Helm lasted 7 1/3rd, giving up 8 hits. Joe McPhillips went 3 for 5 with 1 run scored in the game and threw out a runner at home plate to preserve the shutout. And Zacarias Martell went 2 for 3, hitting his 16th double and driving in 3 runs.

It took a walk-off sac fly but Brooklyn managed to avoid the sweep by winning game 3, 3-2. Erik Sloan was great for Denver, allowing no runs on just 1 hit (and 3 walks) over his 7 innings pitched. Jason Gottula (2-3, 1.88) took the loss in relief. It was also his first blown save of 1976. Zacarias Martell went 2 for 3 in the loss.

August 6-7, versus San Francisco: 10-5, 9-5.

The Brewers return home to Denver to take on the 4th place San Francisco Velocity.
In game 1, Bobby Erbakan helps lead the offense to the win, as he goes 3 for 5 with a run scored and 2 RBI and hits his 10th double of the season. Sadahige Kawasaki (9-5, 2.19) was not at his best- giving up 5 runs (4 earned) on 9 hits over 8 innings- but he gets the win.

And the week is book-ended with another Cheol-han Lee (13-1, 3.63) victory. In many ways this season is Cheol-han's worst statistically, but he keeps racking up the wins in spite of that. He gives up 5 runs on 8 hits over 6 1/3rd innings in this one, but the offense lifts him to victory. Rich White was the biggest hero, going 3 for 4 with 4 RBI. Josh Schaeffer set things up in the lead-off slot with 2 for 4, 1 walk, 3 runs scored game and also stole his 17th base (with 8 ties CS).

Notes from around the WPK: The El Paso Dawgs (67-40) lead in the SJL is down to 3 1/2 over the recently hot Columbus Whalers (63-43). Milwaukee (61-46) has also been playing well lately and stays in 3rd place, 6 games out.
The Brewers great first week of August has them leading the MGL by 7 games over L.A. (65-42) and by 13 over the fading Brooklyn Aces (59-48).
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Old 02-22-2020, 01:33 PM   #1064
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BirdWatcher View Post
In game 2, Matt Helm (8-2, 2.80) shut down the Aces offense, with a little help from Ben Flynn, who is finally starting to get some good results out of the 'pen. Helm lasted 7 1/3rd, giving up 8 hits. Joe McPhillips went 3 for 5 with 1 run scored in the game and threw out a runner at home plate to preserve the shutout. And Zacarias Martell went 2 for 3, hitting his 16th double and driving in 3 runs.
My boy Helm is putting together a tasty campaign! Sidenote: Dean Martin played the character Matt Helm in at least four movies - of which, the Silencers, is the best of the bunch. IMHO; YMMV.
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Old 02-22-2020, 03:29 PM   #1065
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Quote:
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My boy Helm is putting together a tasty campaign! Sidenote: Dean Martin played the character Matt Helm in at least four movies - of which, the Silencers, is the best of the bunch. IMHO; YMMV.
Yes, on a staff that is perhaps the best in the game, Helm just keeps quietly putting up solid seasons. He doesn't have great stamina and he is quite injury prone, but fortunately his injuries always tend to be short-term and not serious.
I imagine eventually his luck will run out but for now he is a great captain for the team and a valuable back-end-of-the-rotation arm.

I had no idea these books were that old. I'll have to see if this movie is available to stream on Netflix or Amazon prime.
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Old 02-22-2020, 07:37 PM   #1066
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Sting third baseman Villatoro hits for cycle!

Alex Villatoro of the Charlotte Sting is finally getting a chance to start at third base for a full season in the big leagues in 1976 and he is taking full advantage of the opportunity.
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The former second round pick (1971) of the Brooklyn Aces has bounced around a bit, having been traded by the Aces to Portland mid-season 1972 only to be released by the Wild Things in May of 1973. Charlotte wisely took a chance on him and signed him to a minor league contract shortly after that and while it has taken some time for the move to pay off, the 26-year old late bloomer has come into his own and is now one of the better hitters in the league.

In the midst of a hot-streak that has lifted him into third in batting average in the MGL and gotten him into the upper echelon of WAR scores thus far, Villatoro had a great game recently as he hit for the cycle against Detroit.
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Old 02-22-2020, 08:15 PM   #1067
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Week 18, August 8-14, 1976

Brewers record: 3-3 (week), 75-38, 1st place, MGL (season).

August 8, versus San Francisco: 1-2.

The Velocity score a pair of runs in the first inning and hold on to make that enough to win the third game in the series and avoid being swept. Tough loss for Steve Green (10-6, 2.42), who gave up 2 runs (unearned) on 7 hits over his 7 innings pitched. Zacarias Martell hit his 17th double of the season and scored the lone Brewer run.

August 9-11, versus Oklahoma City: 3-0, 2-3, 7-3.

The Brewers then host the fifth place Diamond Kings.
In the first game, Sekien Hamasaki (12-3, 2.68) and the bullpen combine to shut out Oklahoma City. Hamasaki went 6 2/3rds, giving up 4 hits, striking out 5 while walking just 1. Tim Shore pitched the 9th for his 15th save. Andrew Kennedy went 2 for 2, hitting his 18th double, and drove in 2 runs.

The Diamond Kings and Brewers battled to a 2-2 tie after 9 innings and then the visitors scored in the top of the 11th and their star closer Ben Bakeman easily retired the Brewers to close out the win. Tough luck for Erik Sloan, who gave up just 2 runs on 7 hits over 8 innings without getting a decision. Walter Hackler (2-1, 3.44) took the loss. Joe Willemse went 3 for 5 in the loss.

Matt Helm (9-2, 2.88) gets another win, lasting 6 innings and giving up 3 runs on 5 hits. Ben Flynn pitches the final 3 innings for the save, his 5th, and sees his ERA improve to 4.76. Brad Tesh went 3 for 4 with 2 runs and 2 RBI to lead the offense. And both Andrew Kennedy and RodRod went 3 for 5 and each hit a double, for Andrew it was his 19th, and for RodRod it was number 20.

August 14, at Charlotte: 10-5(game 1), 0-4(game 2).

After a scheduled day off on Thursday the Brewers get an unscheduled day off Friday when the first game of three against Charlotte gets postponed due to rain.
In the first game of the makeup double header, the Brewers get a big game from Joe McPhillips (who is quietly moving himself back into MVP contention), who went 3 for 4 with 2 runs scored and 4 RBI and hit his 8th homer of the season, which helped propel them to a road win. Joe also swiped his 19th base of the season. Sadahige Kawasaki (10-5, 2.27) got the win, allowing 3 runs on 7 hits over 7 innings pitched. John Weaver pitched the final 2 innings for his 2nd save and has a fine 2.31 ERA. Brad Tesh had another good game, going 3 for 5 and Bobby Erbakan hit his 5th HR, going 2 for 4 and scoring 3 runs.

Nick McDermott, the Sting starter in the night-cap of the double-header, hasn't had a great season, coming into the game with a 2-4 record and a 4.71 ERA. But he was spectacular against the Brewers in this one and gets the complete game, 7-hit shutout. Cheol-han Lee (13-2, 3.62) took the loss, working 8 innings, giving up 4 runs (3 earned) on 6 hits. Joe McPhillips picked up his 20th stolen base, and that was pretty much it for offensive highlights for our Brewers.

Notes from around the league:
El Paso (70-43) is clinging to a 2 1/2 game over Columbus (67-45) and are 4 games ahead of the red-hot Milwaukee Cadets (66-47).
Even with a less impressive week, the Brewers hold a 7 game lead over L.A. (68-45) while the slumping Brooklyn Aces (62-51) in third place are sitting 13 games off the pace.
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Old 02-23-2020, 01:17 PM   #1068
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Jesus Hernandez joins 300 HR club!

The Los Angeles Spinners great third baseman, Jesus Hernandez, on his way to the WPK Hall of Fame in Dubuque, Iowa, hit his 300th career homer yesterday.
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This makes him just the 4th WPK player to reach this mark (the others: Nate Bennett- 381, Jesus Casiano- 311, Jamison Bash- 307). Interestingly, he is the third third-baseman to reach 300 HR's.
In a season in which home runs are at historical lows, the 35-year old Hernandez leads all of the WPK with 14 bombs.
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Old 02-27-2020, 11:17 PM   #1069
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Week 19, August 15-21, 1976

Brewers record: 4-3 (week), 79-41, 1st place, MGL (season)

August 15, at Charlotte: 3-8.

The Brewers drop the third of three against the Sting to lose the series. Steve Green (10-7, 2.65) takes the loss, allowing 5 runs on 6 hits over his 7 innings pitched. Rich White hit his 3rd HR of the season, a 3-run shot in the 3rd inning. And the Joe's- Willemse and McPhillips- each went 2 for 4 in the game. Willemse hit his 10th double and McPhillips his 19th.

August 16-18, versus Baltimore: 4-7, 8-7, 5-4.

Returning to Centennial Stadium to take on the 8th place Lords, the Brewers lose again when the visitors plate 3 runs in the 10th inning to break a 4-4 tie. Sekien Hamsaki got the start for Denver and allowed 4 runs on 8 hits over 7 innings. Jason Gottula (2-4, 2.67) took the loss, giving up 3 runs while recording just a single out. Joe McPhillips had a 2 for 4, 3 RBI day, hitting his 5th triple, and Bobby Erbakan contributed a 3 for 5 performance, scoring twice and hitting his 13th double.

The Brewers bounce back in game 2, narrowly holding off a late surge by the Lords, to claim a one-run victory. Erik Sloan (10-6, 2.81) got the win, in spite of giving up 7 runs on 9 hits in 6 2/3rds innings pitched. The bullpen was great, with Eric Marino getting his 8th hold and Tim Shore his 16th save. Nice game for RodRod at the plate, as he collected 3 hits in 5 at-bats, scoring twice and driving in 3 runs and hitting his 21st double of 1976.

And the home-town heroes get a series victory in a tight contest in the rubber match. Young outfielder Jon Williams led the way offensively, going 3 for 4 with 3 RBI (from the lead-off slot!), hitting the 2nd HR of his fledgling big league career. (He doesn't look like a future star, but I'm really liking this kid so far.) Starter Matt Helm (10-2, 2.96) picks up another win, giving up 3 runs on 9 hits in his 6 innings. Jason Gottula pitched 2 good innings for his 11th hold and Tim Shore got save #17.

August 19-21, at Detroit: 3-5, 7-0, 4-2.

Heading back out on the road again, the Brewers start with 3 games in Detroit against the last place (but always pesky) Falcons.

And they drop the first game behind Sadahige Kawasaki (10-6, 2.40). Kawasaki allowed 4 runs on 8 hits over 7 innings. Both Zacarias Martell and Joe McPhillips went 3 for 4 in the loss. Martell hit his 19th double while McPhillips hit a pair of two-baggers to get to 23 on the season.

The Brewers claim the middle game of the series easily as veteran ace Cheol-han Lee seems to be settling into a nice second half groove. Cheol-han (14-2, 3.41) went the distance, giving up just 6 hits in shutting out Detroit. Brett Taranto went 2 for 4 in the lead-off slot, scoring twice and hitting his 6th HR of the season.

And the Brewers get another series victory by scoring three runs in the final two innings of game 3. Steve Green doesn't get a decision in the start but pitched well, allowing just 1 run on 7 hits in 6 innings. 23-year old John Weaver (4-1, 2.40) pitches 2 innings and picks up the win. Jason Gottula gets the final out and earns his 12th save. The first three hitters in the lineup- Brett Taranto, Rich White, and Bobby Erbakan- each had 2 hits apiece to provide the bulk of the offense. White hit his 23rd double and Erbakan his 1st triple of the season.

Notes from around the league:
The El Paso Dawgs (75-45) cling to a 2 1/2 game lead over the reigning champs, Columbus (72-47). The Milwaukee Cadets (69-51) remain in third place, 6 games back.
The Brewers stretch their lead over L.A. (73-47) slightly to 6 games. The Brooklyn Aces (69-51) are playing great currently, having won 8 in a row, and are now 10 games back in third.
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Old 02-28-2020, 11:11 PM   #1070
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Wiederkehr slapped with 2-game suspension

Looks like one of our budding superstars might be a bit fiery.
(For the record, Wiederkehr falls into the personality class of sparkplug. Not a bad guy, but high energy for sure.)
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Old 02-29-2020, 11:53 AM   #1071
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Week 20, August 22-28, 1976

Brewers record: 4-2 (week), 83-43, 1st place, MGL (season).

August 22-24, at Portland: 1-2, 6-4, 7-1.

At Riverfront Stadium in Portland, the Brewers fail to muster much offense in the first of three games against the seventh place Wild Things. Portland starter Michael Esco holds the Brewers to 1 run on 4 hits in his 7 innings pitched and improves to 6-3 with a 2.30 ERA. Tough loss for Sekien Hamasaki (12-4, 2.82), who gives up just 2 runs on 6 hits in 7 innings pitched. Bobby Erbakan hits his 6th homer of the year to give the Brewers their lone run.

Shortstop Rich White led the Brewers to victory in game 2, going 2 for 4 with a run scored and 3 driven in, hitting his 24th double and 6th triple. Erik Sloan (11-6, 2.86) got the win, having given up 4 runs (3 earned) on 5 hits over 6 2/3rd innings. Ben Flynn pitched the final 2 1/3rd for his 6th save.

In the rubber match, the Captain, Matt Helm (11-2, 2.85), had perhaps his best start of 1976. Helm lasted 8 innings, giving up just 1 run on 5 hits. Professional hitter Andrew Kennedy went 4 for 5 in the win, collecting his 24th double of the season. Brett Taranto went 2 for 5 and drove in 3 runs to raise his team high RBI total to 77. Taranto hit his 25th double in the game.

August 26-28, versus Los Angeles: 1-4, 6-3, 7-6.

The Los Angeles Spinners have been chasing the Brewers for some time, and have been playing very well and gradually closing the gap in the standings. The Brewers, meanwhile, are trying to avoid a repeat of 1975, when they led the MGL much of the way only to see the Spinners overtake them and earn the pennant.
In other words, for a late August series, they don't much bigger than this.

The Spinners draw first blood in game 1, as starter Jason Wilson, who doesn't have the stuff he did in his earlier days but possesses great control and savvy at age 37, stifled the Brewers offense on 3 hits over 7 innings. Sadahige Kawasaki (10-7, 2.40) takes the loss, having given up 3 runs (2 earned) on 10 hits over 7 innings. Kawasaki was not sharp and was lucky to not give up more runs than he did. Andrew Kennedy (.356/.388/.440) was 2 for 4 in the loss.

The Brewers erase a 3-0 deficit by scoring 6 runs in the bottom of the 8th in game 2 to get the home win. Kerry Krieg had shutdown the Brewers up to that point but the offense broke through for 4 runs against Krieg and 2 more that were charged to reliever Shouta Hori. Cheol-han Lee continued his fine second half of the season but didn't get a decision in this one, lasting 7 innings and giving up just 2 runs on 4 hits. Eric Marino (3-2, 2.43) gets the win in relief and Jason Gottula picks up his 13th save. The big hit for the Brewers was a 2-out, 3-run triple off the bat of Brett Taranto, his 12th triple of 1976. Outfield Val Guzman, recently called back up from AAA when Brad Tesh was put on the 10-day IL (suffering from conjunctivitis), went 2 for 4 at the plate. (The current sentiment in the Brewers front office is that Guzman and Jon Williams will likely be the 4th and 5th outfielders on the 1977 roster.)

And in game 3, it was Brett Taranto (.337/.382/.490) to the rescue again. In a back-and-forth game, Taranto helped give the Brewers an early lead with a run-scoring single in the 1st, hit a 3-run HR in the 7th that put them back on top after the Spinners had tied the game 3-3, and then hit a crucial 2-out single in the bottom of the 9th that put Joe McPhillips into scoring position and set up the game-winning single off the bat of Rich White to give the Brewers the victory in the game and the series. The home run was Taranto 7th of the season and he also picked up his 15th stolen base and 10th error. Steve Green got a no-decision in spite of a solid start. Green lasted 6 2/3rds, giving up 3 runs (2 earned) on 8 hits. Tim Shore (2-3, 2.93) got the win in relief. Bobby Erbakan (.305/.356/.419) went 3 for 5 and hit his 15th double. And RodRod (.290/.315/.372) contributed with his 4th HR of the season.

Notes from around the league: It looks like it should be an exciting finish in the SJL this year, as the El Paso Dawgs (78-48) now have just a 1/2 game lead over Columbus (77-48). Milwaukee (72-54) remains in third, 6 games back.
The Brewers, with the series win over L.A., extend their lead to 7 games over the Spinners (76-50) and hold a 10 game advantage over the recently hot Brooklyn Aces (73-53.)
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Old 02-29-2020, 01:49 PM   #1072
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Season ends for Seattle's Taylor Mannarino

In the midst of a frustrating season, Seattle starting pitcher Taylor Mannarino is sidelined for the rest of the 1976 campaign with a partially torn UCL. The oft-injured right-handed veteran won 16 games for the Alligators in 1975 but ends 1976 with a 2-13 mark, in spite of deserving better, as his 94 FIP- would indicate. Seattle is mired in 10th place in the SJL and the loss of Mannarino just adds injury to insult.
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Having earlier lost star second baseman Mike Robinette to a torn labrum injury and starting pitcher Ross Welch due to a torn back muscle, the Alligators are probably secretly just hoping for the end of the season to come as quickly as possible as they play out the string.
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Old 02-29-2020, 07:17 PM   #1073
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August Batters of the Month (1976)

The Washington Night Train right fielder D.J. Harrington earned his first All-Star appearance earlier this season (although how he wasn't named an AS in his 6.2 WAR 1972 season is hard to figure) and now he has been named the SJL Batter of the Month for August. At age 29, the speedy and strong-armed Harrington should have many good seasons ahead of him still and with his quiet consistency and durability he brings great value to his club.
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Cody Kane, the 30-year old left fielder of the Portland Wild Things is one of the great leaders of the game. Though diminutive in stature (5'8", 170 lbs) he stands tall in the WPK, has been a great hitter since the age of 19, has a career slash line of .304/.350/.491 with 265 career HR's and more career walks than strikeouts (450/428). He is on pace to win his first batting title, with a significant lead over his nearest competitor (Denver's Brett Taranto) and is no pace for the best WAR season of his career.
On the other hand, Kane is not very fast and although he has a strong arm he is only an average fielder at best. And while he has never played in fewer than 126 games, and in seven of his big league seasons played in at least 150 games, he profiles as fragile and as he ages this might catch up with him.
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Old 02-29-2020, 07:30 PM   #1074
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August Pitchers of the Month (1976)

The Columbus Whalers rotation has been the home of probably the greatest left-handed starting pitcher in WPK early history in the person of Jake Harris. Jim Norris is no Jake Harris, but at age 25 he is looking like a pretty fair successor as the lefty ace of the team. Norris is durable, has good stamina, a plus cutter and a plus plus change-up, and quite good control which might still get even better. He's the real deal, and the SJL's Pitcher of the Month for August. He should be in the running for even more honors at the end of the season.
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Another left-hander took the honors in the MGL: Edgar Lira of the Oklahoma City Diamond Kings. At age 27, this is the first year he has been in the starting rotation, and he's done a fair job. He has two good pitches (sinker, slider) and two poor pitches. He has a reputation for selfishness, though he seems likable enough. To boil it down, nice August, not much reason to expect greatness from him in the future.
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Old 02-29-2020, 07:49 PM   #1075
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August Rookies of the Month (1976)

Kyle Newsom was the first overall pick in the 1972 draft out of Venice High School in L.A. He was considered the #5 prospect in the WPK entering the 1973 season but has seen his stock fall gradually since then. He was still at #29 to begin this season, but at this point there are questions about his ability to develop a strong enough third pitch to start. But he's doing a good job in the bullpen this season and has 19 saves so perhaps he has finally arrived, even if he never cracks the rotation.
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The L.A. Spinners are generally an aging team, but they have also shown a good knack for developing some quality youngsters the past few seasons. One of the best is their slick-fielding 23-year old shortstop Pat Mercado who has thus far proven to be even a bit better hitter than expected. He profiles as durable, is considered very humble while also incredibly smart and has great raw foot speed, though he isn't great at turning that into success on the base paths.
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Old 02-29-2020, 08:41 PM   #1076
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September call-ups

So, it's the time of year again, as we enter the final month of the WPK regular season and teams can increase their active roster up to as many as 40 players.

The Denver Brewers are holding onto a six game lead over L.A. as we begin the month and are looking to reach the post-season again after falling short in 1975.

And most of the players the Brewers add to the active roster on September 1st had already seen some time on the team earlier in the season: relief pitcher Antonio Nieves, infielders Brad Sherman, Nick Ward. They also bring up reliever Brian Murray, who pitched briefly for the Brewers in 1974 but hasn't been back up since. And we will get our first look, at the big league level, at slugging first baseman Mike Lovett.

Antonio Nieves is one of those guys who looks like he should be moderately valuable in a big league bullpen, with plus movement and decent stuff, but poor control. He throws an excellent sinker, a good slider, and an absolutely worthless change-up. His makeup is a real plus. He's a smart, hard-worker, and very well-liked teammate. As an extreme groundball pitcher he should fit in well on the Brewers staff. But he was just pretty good at AAA and in his 5 appearances with the Brewers this year he put up a 12.60 ERA.

Second baseman Brad Sherman might be the best contact hitter in the Brewers organization. In 137 plate appearances with the Brewers earlier this season he had a slash line of .369/.394/.492. At AAA Chester he hit .445/.497/.759. So how is this guy not a starter at the big league level? Well, for one thing, he is an average defensive second baseman at best and there really isn't any other position he can play. Then there is Bobby Erbakan. And Joe Willemse. And Brett Taranto, perhaps, if Mike Lovett pushes him off first base. So what does 1977 hold for Sherman? He really can't be kept down at AAA any longer. It's not the worst problem to have and at least he likely has great trade value. But how do you trade away a guy with 10 contact, 9 gap power, 10 avoid K, 6 HR power, great work ethic, etc.? Oy vey.
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Nick Ward is our defensive specialist utility infielder. He's Joe Willemse without the contact hitting ability. He has no future, but he's a good guy to have around right now.

Brian Murray has a great fastball, a cutter that still has some room for growth, and a decent slider. He has plus stuff that could still develop a bit more. And that's it for the good news. (Well, he's durable, so there's that too.) With average movement at best, poor control, and low stamina, Murray profiles as the weak link in a big league bullpen at best. This is likely his last hurrah in the Brewers organization (he is pushing 27 and out of options.)

And that brings us to Mike Lovett. After a slow start at AAA Chester, Lovett has put up the following slash line in 522 plate appearances: .337/.452/.614. He hit 25 HR's, drove in 104 runs, hit 39 doubles, and put up 5.1 WAR. He's a mediocre defensive first baseman, at best. He's big (6'4", 215 lbs), slow, but has a great eye at the plate and should rake before long. We'll see how he looks against big league pitching this final month of the season, but chances are good that he makes the big league roster in 1977, platooning at first with Brett Taranto, who will also likely get plenty of action at second base with fragile Bobby Erbakan the starter there.
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Old 02-29-2020, 11:55 PM   #1077
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Falcons first to be eliminated in 1976

Now this one puzzles me.
Not that the woeful Detroit Falcons are the first team to be eliminated from post-season contention this year.
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But what has me puzzled is how this is their 12th season without a post-season appearance and how their last post-season was in 1963, two years before the WPK was founded?
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Old 03-01-2020, 02:32 PM   #1078
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Week 21, August 29-September 4, 1976

Brewers record: 3-4 (week), 86-47, 1st place, MGL (season)

August 29-31, at Phoenix: 4-1, 9-1, 1-7.

The Brewers conclude the month of August with a 3-game series in Phoenix.
In game 1, Sekien Hamasaki (13-4, 2.76) pitched another gem, giving up just 1 run on 4 hits over 6 innings. The bullpen is also excellent as Eric Marino pitches 2 innings for his 9th hold and Tim Shore retires the Speed Devils easily in the 9th for his 18th save. Bobby Erbakan went 3 for 4 in the win. Brett Taranto hit his 8th HR of the season and Kirk Patnode hit his first.

Erik Sloan (12-6, 2.76) had probably his best start of the season in game 2, giving up 1 run on just 3 hits, striking out 7 and walking 1, while going the distance for the win. Val Guzman had his best game yet as a big leaguer, going 3 for 4 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI and hit his first 2 big league doubles. Zacarias Martell also hit 2 doubles to get to 22 on the season.

But in game 3, Phoenix starter Marty O'Brien basically shut down the Brewers offense to get the win and help his team avoid being swept at home. Matt Helm (11-3, 2.88) got the start for Denver and took the loss but actually was only in the game until two outs were recorded in the bottom of the 2nd as he had to leave with tightness in his back. (And typical Helm, it was just a minor injury that didn't require a visit to the IL.) Zacarias Martell hit his 23rd double and both Josh Schaeffer and Andrew Kennedy went 2 for 4 in the loss.

September 1-3, versus Brooklyn: 4-1, 4-8, 2-3.

Brewers head up to Brooklyn next to take on the under-achieving but very talented Aces. The Aces are second in all of the WPK in run differential behind only the Brewers, but have won six fewer games then their pythagorean expectation. And this has become a yearly thing for them, for reasons hard to fathom.

And in game 1, the Brewers prevailed behind a fine start from Sadahige Kawasaki (11-7, 2.33), who gave up 1 run on 5 hits in going the distance for the win. Nick Ward went 2 for 3 with a run scored.

The Brewers lost game 2 after having taken an early 2-1 lead into the 5th inning. Cheol-han Lee (14-3, 3.63), sailing along early, suddenly imploded and ended up allowing 7 runs on 15 hits in his 6 innings pitched. (Cheol-han had potentially gotten himself into the Pitcher of the Year conversation, but this game likely pulls him back out of that for now.) Joe McPhillips hit his 9th homer in the loss.

And the Aces get the series victory with narrow win in game 3. Steve Green (10-8, 2.66) gets the loss, though his 3 run on 8 hits in 7 innings game wasn't too bad. Andrew Kennedy (.359/.395/.442) and Josh Schaeffer (.283/.434/.355) each went 2 for 3 in the loss.

September 4, at San Francisco: 1-2.

The Brewers start a 3-game series against the Velocity in San Francisco by suffering their 3rd straight loss. The visitors waste another fine start by Sekien Hamasaki (13-5, 2.75). Hamasaki gives up just 2 runs on 9 hits over 7 innings. Joe Willemse (.283/.317/.333) went 2 for 4 in the loss.

Notes from around the league:
Well, I guess we should have known it was too good to last. The Columbus Whalers (82-51), reigning WPK champs, have over-taken our scrappy El Paso Dawgs (80-53) for first place in the SJL and now lead by 2 games. The slumping Milwaukee Cadets (75-58) remain in 3rd but fall to 7 games back.
The Brewers are fortunate that the L.A. Spinners (81-52) haven't been playing better lately, as in spite of a sub-par week for our heroes they still maintain a 5 game lead in the MGL. Brooklyn (77-56) at least moves into single digits in terms of games behind, as they trail by 9 in 3rd place. Three MGL teams have been eliminated: Detroit, Baltimore, and Phoenix.
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Old 03-01-2020, 03:06 PM   #1079
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Lowndes joins 2,000 hit club!

Lazaro Lowndes, the speedy 29-year old center fielder for the Washington Night Train, yesterday became the 7th player in WPK history to collect 2,000 career hits.
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The Venezuelan-born Lowndes, who was the SJL MVP in 1972 and the Kinsella Classic Series MVP the season before that, has spent his entire career with Washington. He is a 5-time All-Star and 4-time Silver Slugger. His 399 stolen bases is the third best career total in the WPK, though he has also been caught trying to steal 268 times, by far the most of any player.

He is showing no signs of slowing down and profiles as a durable player, so he may well have his sights on becoming the first WPK player to 3,000 hits before long.
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Old 03-01-2020, 04:55 PM   #1080
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Bad news x2 for the Portland Wild Things

As if being mathematically eliminated from contention wasn't bad enough, the Portland Wild Things also found out yesterday that their superstar Captain, Cody Kane, is done for the season.

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