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The eyes of the baseball world were intently tuned into game 4 of the NLDS between the Los Angeles Dodgers and St.
Instead, viewers were captivated by the golden locks of Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw who is regarded by many to be hands down the best pitcher in the game.
Some analysts have even gone as far as to lobby for Kershaw being the National League MVP this season despite missing the entire month of April and only participating every fifth day.
Greg Maddux did it three seasons in a row but won four straight Cy Young Awards during that time, rivaling Kershaw but not outdoing him in the ERA department. Out of the 27 games he managed to start, he won an astounding 21 of them, making him only the second pitcher in MLB history to accomplish that feat (of course we all remember the great Fred Goldsmith first accomplishing this back in 1880). And finally, he is only the second pitcher in the illustrious history of the Dodgers to strikeout 200+ hitters in five straight seasons (matching the legendary Sandy Koufax).
Kershaw has been the epitome of an ace for the Dodgers ever since he entered the majors, prompting the swimming-in-cash franchise to throw $215 million over seven years this offseason. I would have to say that game 4 was the biggest start of Kershaw’s career up this point considering the circumstances. This year, he struggled again in game 1, unraveling in the seventh inning en route to giving up eight earned runs in a Dodgers loss. No matter how much greatness a pitcher showcases throughout his career in the regular season, their legacy (I hate that word but it applies here) is elevated through postseason excellence. Andy Pettitte could always be relied on during the postseason when the Yankees needed him most, thus making him one of the most revered big game pitchers ever (ignore me for being a homer). I bet John Lackey could sit at home all season until October and still go out there and throw at least six scoreless innings. In a contrasting opinion to Buck, Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci, I thought Kershaw appeared tentative in the early going against the top of the Cardinals order. I know he struck out the side in the first inning despite this (because he is really freaking good) but it wasn’t in the cleanest fashion.
As the game progressed, Kershaw seemed to settle in and find a happy place that only he can reach.
After two flukey hits to lead off the seventh inning, Kershaw was just beginning to exceed the 100 pitch plateau, leaving manager Don Mattingly with an interesting decision to make. Cardinals’ lefty Matt Adams was due up next with runners on first and second and nobody out. So Mattingly stuck with his guy, but with one menacing swat from Matt Adams, everything unraveled for Kershaw and the Dodgers once again. The million dollar question everyone will be asking during the upcoming months: would you want Clayton Kershaw on the mound with your team facing elimination? However, game 4 showed me that Kershaw is capable of flushing away the critics and throwing a quality game when his team needs it. Yes, I realize he gave up the game-winning home run and will take the loss, but I would not put this loss on him entirely.
The problem with the Dodgers in game 4 was their missed chances offensively (with runners in scoring position especially), not Clayton Kershaw. The doubters regarding Kershaw in a big game setting may start to get louder after another forgettable postseason showing.
An upstart Philadelphia ballclub, leading the National League by 6.5 games with less than two weeks to play in the regular season, collapses under the exhausted weight of a two-man rotationa€”leading to manager Gene Mauch's first career heartbreak. On September 20, 1964, a betting man would have gladly put his house on the Philadelphia Phillies winning the National League pennant. What was expected to be a celebration to the end of a three-year journey from the extreme depths of the NL basement to the World Series would, instead, become one of baseballa€™s most shocking plunges from assured triumph. After last winning the NL pennant in 1950, the Phillies gradually deteriorated through the next decade, their off-field antics affecting their on-field play.
Succeeding him was 34-year-old Gene Mauch, a utility player who bounced in and out of the majors before bringing a fiery personality to his new calling as manager. Bunning confirmed his status as the new Phillie ace on Fathera€™s Day, when the father of six threw the first perfect game in modern-day NL history at New York against the Mets. While the Phillies coasted through the summer, their contenders dealt with various issues that kept them out of total focus. One of Devinea€™s last trades would later convince Busch, in hindsight, that he had made a mistake in firing him.
Stunned and in shock, the Phillies suddenly found themselves in third place to two teams riding winning streaksa€”the first-place Reds with nine straight wins, and second-place St.
The American League pennant race was not as crazy, but no less nail-biting, as that of the NL. In New York, Yankee manager Ralph Houk had been kicked upstairs to the general manager spot to make way for his successor in the loveable Yogi Berra. This latter understanding would be no more painful for Berra than on a hot August afternoon in Chicago, after the Yankees were swept by the front-running White Sox. Events of the seasona€™s final six weeks brought the familiar gap-toothed smile back to Yogia€™s face. The 1964 World Series was represented by two teams that showed big league baseball at the crossroads: The power-laden, good ola€™ white boy winning tradition of the New York Yankees against the aggressive, multi-ethnic speed and strength of the St.
The two most revered Yankeesa€”Mickey Mantle and pitcher Whitey Forda€”were barely intact after each performed the last great campaign of their careers. The Yankees had heard about Bob Gibson, but they were about to discover him up close and personal. For sheer, surprising drama, the days after the World Series were about as exciting as the Series itself.
The Fall of the Yankee Empire After decades at the top, the New York Yankees are brought down by a combination of old age, nagging injuries and arrogance. The Sandman Cometh After years of wildness and frustration, the Los Angeles Dodgers' Sandy Koufax becomes an ace for the ages. Welcome to My Strike Zone In a decade where baseball as a tradition is turning stale with America's emerging counter-culturism, major league owners see its biggest problem to be, of all things, an overabundance of offense in the game.
The San Francisco Giants and New York Mets take a record seven hours and 23 minutes to decide a 23-inning game on May 31 at Shea Stadium, won by the Giants 8-6a€”and that was the nightcap to a doubleheader that starts shortly after high noon and finishes shortly before midnight. Chicago Cub second baseman Ken Hubbs, the 1962 National League Rookie of the Year, dies on February 13 when the small plane hea€™s piloting crashes in inclement weather near Provo, Utah. Cincinnati Red manager Fred Hutchinson loses his prolonged battle with cancer and dies on November 12 in Bradenton, Florida. The Giants become the first major league team to field a Japanese ballplayer, Masanori Murakami. Houstona€™s Ken Johnson, a good pitcher with a bad team, is growing tired of being labeled hard-luck.
For the tenth and last time of his career, Mickey Mantle will homer from both sides of the plate in the same game, August 12 in a 7-3 New York Yankee win over the Chicago White Sox.
Luis Aparicio of the Baltimore Orioles leads the American League in stolen bases for a record ninth consecutive season, nabbing a career high 57. Yankee starting pitcher Mel Stottlemyre does more than impress on the mound in his first two months of major league action late in the season. Opponents muscle up to smack 132 home runs in Kansas City, an AL record hit against one team in their own ballpark. Ken Harrelson, who in the future will break away briefly from baseball to try a career with the PGA, is the first player in major league history to wear batting gloves.
Shea Stadium, New York Between the Amazing Mets, Joe Namatha€™s Jets and the Beatles, Shea Stadium will become the place to be for New York entertainment during the 1960s. Costing $25 million, Shea Stadium is built on the site of the 1939 Worlda€™s Fair, and from 1974-75 will accommodate the Yankees while Yankee Stadium goes through extensive renovations. As shown in the example above, move your mouse over any hyperlink with a dotted underline to instantly see more information on the topic at hand. The Royals will play 20 Interleague contests over eight series, four at home and four on the road. The home Interleague schedule also includes visits from the Cincinnati Reds (May 19-20), Milwaukee Brewers (June 17-18) and Pittsburgh Pirates (July 20-22). The Royals will have three holiday home games in 2015, hosting the Boston Red Sox on Father’s Day (June 21) and the Minnesota Twins on both July 4 and Labor Day (September 7).
The Cardinals will open interleague play with a three-game series at Cleveland (May 12-14), before hosting Detroit during a brief three-game home stand (May 15-17).

The 2015 schedule has the Cardinals at home for 16 of their 25 July games, hosting the Padres, Mets, Braves, Reds and Rockies during mid-summer series, before embarking on 10-game road trips in both August and September. The 2015 home slate includes several attractive weekend series, with division match-ups against Cincinnati (April 17-19), Pittsburgh (May 1-3 & Sept. Many sports analysts have claimed that possibly the most difficult task in all of athletics is to be a successful baseball pitcher.
Moren is also credited as being the creator of the knuckleball during his brief baseball career (1903-1910).
The younger brother of the more famous knuckler Phil Niekro, Joe was a consummate pitcher in his own right, as his 221 wins over 22 seasons amply demonstrates. Louis, MO, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw reacts in the 7th inning during game four of the 2014 NLDS baseball playoff game against the St. Louis Cardinals Tuesday evening and not just to hear the euphoric low-toned belches of excitement from Mr. He struggled against the Cards last season in the NLCS, losing both of his starts, including the series concluding game 6. Some pitchers are just wired differently and Kershaw had yet to prove that he belonged amongst this elite company in the postseason up to this point.
He was trying to be too perfect with his pitches and was looking to avoid making a mistake rather than getting the hitters out.
After Hanley Ramirez made a beautiful diving stop on a Matt Adams screamer for a double play, Kershaw relaxed. Due to the shakiness of the Dodgers bullpen up to now, the right decision looked to be leaving Kershaw in to face the left-handed swinging Adams. Adams smacked a hanging curveball into the right field bullpen that just outlasted a sprinting Matt Kemp. Louis, MO, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) reacts after giving up a three-run home run to St. Based on his postseason track record, the obvious answer for the number crunchers of the world would be no.
He went out there, gave everything he had for his team on three days rest with people doubting him and threw up a quality start. There are a lot of questions regarding the future of the outfield, the bullpen and what they will choose to do with shortstop Hanley Ramirez who will be a free agent this offseason.
Chances are, however, that he will have another chance at redemption next October after the Dodgers break the bank to improve their roster during the winter. Unbelievable to watch in the regular season but there is something lacking once October rolls around.
With 12 games left to their regular season, the Phillies held a 6.5-game lead over both the St. Just ask Eddie Sawyer, the skipper of the 1950 team who was fired in 1952, then brought back in 1958.
Mauch cleaned house, starting a youth movement that resulted, in his first full year piloting in 1961, with a horrendous 47-107That painful year included a major league record 23-game losing streak. Jim Bunning, feeling unappreciated in Detroit, was traded to the Phillies and showed the Tigers how much value they lost by producing the first of three straight years winning 19 games. Complementing Bunning in the rotation was 26-year-old lefty Chris Short, whose year-by-year growth would continue in 1964 with a 17-9 record and outstanding 2.20 earned run average. Cincinnati manager Fred Hutchinson took several leaves of absence to fight a growing cancer, while San Francisco skipper Al Dark nearly created a mutinyThe non-white players wanted to boycott, but Willie Mays cooled everyone down; Dark said he was misquoted. Lou Brock, a speedy outfielder with some pop, had been rushed to the majors by the Chicago Cubs and mistaken for a big-time slugger. Louis, Brock was told by manager Johnny Keanea€”whose own job was rumored to be on the linea€”to stop swinging for the fences; just get on base and steal at will.
But the Phillie rotation presented a problem for Gene Mauch; Art Mahaffey and Ray Culp both had sore arms, and hea€™d lost faith in a third starter, Dennis Bennett. Along with Brock, the outfield included Curt Flood, whose league-leading 211 hits punctuated a .311 batting average. It was an attempted reinvention of the Yankee Way, to liven up the cold, corporate persona of the four-time defending AL champs to compete with the wildly popular (yet still totally awful) Mets across town. At the back of the team bus sat utility infielder Phil Linz, so upset about his limited playing time that he started jamming Mary Had a Little Lamb on his harmonica.
The Yankees went on a winning rampage, fueled by the late-season additions of called-up starter Mel Stottlemyre (9-3, 2.06 ERA in 13 appearances)a€”and starter-turned-closer Pedro Ramos (one win, eight savesa€”and no walksa€”over 22 innings), who slaved with decidedly losing teams for ten years. They got past him in Game Two, scoring four runs off him through eight innings, before running away 8-3 on an ineffective Cardinal bullpen. Cardinal manager Johnny Keane, having endured public rumors of being replaced in midseason, stuck it to owner Gussie Buscha€”handing him his resignation as he sat down beside him at a post-Series press conference.
Louis Cardinals knew he was damaged goods when they traded him to the Chicago Cubs for Lou Brock. In all, 41 players and 250 baseballs are used in the second game marathon; 22 Mets strike out.
Hubbs had statistically regressed during his sophomore year in 1963, but many believed a bright future still lay ahead of the 22-year-old.
Hutchinsona€™s sixth year managing the Reds, and his 12th overall, was interrupted twice by leaves of absence so he could undergo treatment. The 20-year-old reliever will appear in nine games late in the year, winning his one decision while producing a 1.80 earned run average.
Only 20 times have the total of all other major leaguers to date hit homers from both sides of the plate; future Yankee Mark Teixeira will ultimately break Mantlea€™s mark.
He collects five hits while pitching a two-hit, 7-0 shutout over the Senators in Washington on September 26.
Louis Cardinals score in every inning on September 13 as part of a 15-2 crushing of the Cubs at Chicago. It certainly doesna€™t help the Aa€™s, who are 26-55 at Municipal Stadiuma€”and, overall, 57-105. Opened a week after demolition begins on the Polo Grounds, Shea only helps to accelerate the citya€™s love for the Mets, who despite losing well over 100 games for the third straight year outdraw the Yankeesa€”on their way to their fifth straight AL pennanta€”by 400,000 fans. Louis Cardinals stand for the National Anthem while an American Bald Eagle flys around Busch Stadium before a game against the Cincinnati Reds on Opening Day in St.
The Royals swept three-game series in the last home meetings against Cincinnati (2009), Milwaukee (2012) and Pittsburgh (2006).
The club will be in Detroit on Mother’s Day (May 10) and in New York on Memorial Day (May 25). Louis opens the season in Chicago against the Cubs on Monday, April 6, and plays three games in Chicago and three in Cincinnati before making their 2015 home debut at Busch Stadium on Monday, April 13, when they begin a three-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers. This will be the Cardinals’ first trip to Cleveland since 2009 as well as Detroit’s first visit to St. The team’s final home stand, September 21-27, consists of seven potential pennant race games against Cincinnati and Milwaukee.
Louis will play 43 games at home before the All-Star break next season, which falls on July 13-16, and 38 home games after the break. The ability to throw a ball 90 mph with accuracy, to make it dip, dive, curve or die at the plate is an incredibly unique skill that demands talent, hard work and almost inhuman consistency. It’s such an unquestionably rare skill that very few in the MLB can claim to have employed it with distinction, and this is why knuckleball pitchers have always been such a rare breed. Utilizing an excellent fastball and changeup, Niekro didn’t rely solely on his knuckleball, unlike his brother, and was able to use his entire arsenal of pitches to extend his impressive career.
Working on three days rest, it was a important for him to keep his pitch count and amount of stressful innings down.
Louis Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams (32) in the 7th inning during game four of the 2014 NLDS baseball playoff game at Busch Stadium.
Every Day.Build your own custom daily newsletter with updates on your favorite teams, sent directly to your inbox. And although Johnny Callison was emerging as a mid-season favorite to win the NL Most Valuable Player award, it was rookie Dick Allena€”on his way to setting a NL rookie record for most total basesa€”who had the most potent batWhy no MVP for Allen?
This was music to Brocka€™s ears, and he responded as a born-again playerWhile Brock would go on to collect some 2,700 hits and 900 stolen bases for the Cardinals, Broglio would go 7-19 over what would be his final two-plus major league seasons in Chicago.. Thus, he hatched a scheme that would leave a lot of people scratching their heads for a long time: Using his two best starting pitchersa€”Jim Bunning and Chris Shorta€”as much as possible, often on just two daysa€™ rest.

Next came the Milwaukee Braves, out of the running but nonetheless still dangerous, for four games. And while Ray Sadecki led the Cardinals with 20 wins, the go-to man on the staff clearly became 28-year-old right-hander Bob Gibson. Berra understood what winning as a Yankee was all about, but being manager also meant the discomfort of having to be a disciplinarian upon a group of players who just the year before were his teammates, his equals, his friends.
New York won 30 of its last 40 games, a run which included an 11-game win streak, to leapfrog over the White Sox and the leaguea€™s other serious contender in the Baltimore OriolesThe Oriolesa€™ chances were handicapped in September when they lost Boog Powell, having a great year, for the rest of the campaign..
Louis for Game One, which he lost 9-5; he would be on the shelf for the rest of the Series. Using the a€?If you cana€™t beat him, hire hima€? school of thought, the Yankees fired a speechless Yogi Berraa€”who thought he had brought his team around to be his owna€”and replaced him with Keane. An increased strike zone, further contributing to a downward spiral in attendance, but greatly aiding an already talented batch of pitchers. Gaylord Perry pitches ten scoreless extra innings to pick up the win; years later he would claim that this was the first game in which he threw a major league spitball. A local hero in his hometown of Seattle, Hutchinson will have a cancer research center named after him there, and his image is engraved on the side of every seat at Safeco Field.
He will return to Japan after one more season when contractual problems develop between his Japanese club in Nankai and the Giants. It is the first time an NL team has scored in every frame since 1923; only the Colorado Rockies, in 1999, have since accomplished the feat. Earplugs were often required; the jetliners from nearby LaGuardia Airport were known to buzz the light towersa€”as did the UFO outfielder Bernard Gilkey insists he saw during the climactic scenes of Men in Black.
Louis Cardinals, in a three-game weekend series at home from May 22-24, with a three-game visit to Busch Stadium from June 12-14.
KC’s road Interleague schedule includes trips to Chicago (May 29-31), Milwaukee (June 15-16) and Cincinnati (August 18-19). The club has two 10-game trips, July 27-August 6 with stops in Cleveland, Toronto and Detroit, as well as September 11-20 at Baltimore, Cleveland and Detroit. The club will then host division rival Cincinnati over the weekend (April 17-19) before hitting the road for series in Washington and Milwaukee.
The team has 10 home dates in April, 16 in May, 12 in June, 16 in July, 12 in August and 15 during September. Taking that a step further, there are those even among professional pitchers for whom a special place is held in baseball annals as indisputably elite, masters of a particular style of pitching that has confounded hitters like a brilliant magic trick; they are the knuckleballers. There have been those knucklers who have made the pitch the hallmark of their careers, and in so doing have elevated it to near mythical status. 148 losses and an ERA of 2.38, Cicotte might well have become the most famous knuckleballer in history for all the right reasons, instead of infamy. After injuring his arm in 1910, Moren decided to retire rather than spend anymore time in the minors. Their magic number was six, a number representing the combination of Phillie wins and losses by either the Cardinals or Reds needed to clinch first place. But the seeds were sown and flowered quickly a year later when the Phils jumped to a game above .500. Louis, Cardinal general manager Bing Devine, his authority undermined by 82-year-old a€?special consultanta€? Branch Rickey, was fired at midseason by owner Gussie Busch. It seemed a desperate measure reserved for a team trying to come back from, not leading by, 6.5 games. Mauch desperately tried to fire his players up, but his rants evaporated through an emotionally traumatized unit. The Phillies, suddenly revived back to life, lived up to their end of the bargain by taking both games from Cincinnati; with utter astonishment, the Mets nearly did the samea€”winning the first two of three contests at St. A nine-game win streak by the White Sox to finish the year was too little, too late; the Yankees captured their fifth straight AL pennant by a game over Chicago, two over Baltimore. Mantle hit beautifully, batting .333 with three homersa€”including a ninth-inning walk-off solo shot to win Game Three, 2-1, but his fielding had become a liability.
In a pivotal Game Five, he took a 2-0 lead into the ninth, lost it when Tom Tresh tied it up with a home run, but won it back in the tenth, 5-2, after catcher Tim McCarver hit a three-run shot to give St. Ita€™ll be 30 more years before the next Japanese ballplayer, Hideo Nomo, joins the majors.
The club then returns home for an 11-game home stand – their longest of the season – against Philadelphia (April 27-30), Pittsburgh (May 1-3) and Chicago (May 4-7). Remaining interleague series match-ups will have the Cardinals playing the Royals, Twins, and White Sox at home (June 12-14; June 15-16 and June 30-July 1, respectively) and on the road with series at Kansas City (May 22-24), Minnesota (June 17-18), and Chicago White Sox (July 21-22). Other weekend series of note include Detroit (May 15-17), Los Angeles Dodgers (May 29-31), Kansas City (June 12-14) and Atlanta (July 24-26). The probable starters are Luke Weaver for the Cardinals and Jeremy Hellickson for the Phillies. While there might be those who would disagree with the following selections, I offer my impressions of the top 10 knuckleball pitchers in MLB history. The trailing two teams were mathematically still in it, a nice way of saying your chances were all but nil. So when Devine called and asked the Cubs for Brock in exchange for pitcher Ernie Broglioa€”the winner of 60 games over his previous four seasonsa€”the Cubs jumped at the offer.
Not even Johnny Callisona€™s three home runs could save Philadelphia in its final game against the Braves; Bunning was shelled, 14-8, and the Phillies completed a 0-7 week at home. He insisted on continuing to use Bunning and Short almost exclusively, though the exhausted pair had little left.
Louis before losing the finale (11-5, to Bob Gibson) to give the Cardinals the NL flagThe defending NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers dropped to a sixth-place tie, burdened by weak hitting and a pitching staff that became unreliable once past Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale.
Moved to right field, his mobility was shot and his range decreased, and the fast and forceful Cardinal runners took extra bases at will on the once-feared outfielder. After admitting his role in the scandal, Cicotte and 7 other players were subsequently banned from baseball for life, and their careers were over.
The Phillies had their next seven games at home, were given permission to print World Series tickets, and team ace Jim Bunning was photographed for a Sports Illustrated cover previewing a World Series certain to include the Phillies. The headstrong 22-year-old batted .318 with 29 home runs, 91 runs batted in, and led the league with 13 triples and 125 runs scored.
Showing what little dark side he had in him, Berra stormed back and slapped the harmonica away from Linz.
On two daysa€™ rest, Gibson took the mound for Game Seven and, although the fatigue took some of the edge off his sharpness, he got the job donea€”going the distance and outdueling Mel Stottlemyre, who, also pitching on two daysa€™ rest, didna€™t make it past the fifth inning. The incident made headlinesLinz was fined $200, but made it up and more when a harmonica company asked him to endorse their products for $5,000., and seemed to underscore an evolving, indifferent Yankee attitude to a pennant race seemingly slipping away from them. They cover the spread 51% of the time.Free $60 in Member MLB Picks No Obligation Click HereThe Cardinals head into this matchup with a 64-56 record, including 36-23 on the road.
He has 3 strikeouts over his 4 innings pitched and he has given up 4 hits so far this season.
The bullpen this year has an earned run average of 3.46 and they have given up 301 base hits on the year. Teams are hitting .220 against the bullpen while being struck out 358 times and walking 132 times this season. They have allowed 112 home runs this season and they allow 0.9 homers per nine innings as a staff. He has 119 strikeouts over the 143 innings he's pitched during which he has given up 131 hits.
So far this season the bullpen has an earned run average of 4.44 and they have given up 401 base hits on the year. Teams are hitting .258 against the Phillies bullpen while being struck out 385 times and walking 148 times this season. The Phillies pitchers as a team have surrendered 1,107 base knocks and 545 earned runs so far this season. They have given up 158 home runs this year and they give up 1.3 home runs per nine innings as a staff.

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