Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Robbed of a post season MVP Part 2 - NLCS

Earlier this month I honored those players who were robbed of an ALCS MVP because of their teams failings.

The Sully Baseball Series of players who were denied their playoff MVPs continues with the NLCS.

Again, we will be focusing on series that went the distance with a couple of exceptions.
Plus Mike Scott of the 1986 Astros and Jeffrey “Hac Man” Leonard of the 1987 Giants were honored for losing causes.

Let’s get to the honorees!


Phillies defeat Astros 3-2

Puhl batter .526 in the 5 game series, scoring 4 runs and driving in 3, including a 1out single that tied game 4 in the bottom of the 9th.

How close did the Astros get to winning?

The Astros were 6 outs from the pennant with a 2 run lead in game 4 when the Phillies scored 3 in the 8th.

Later in game 4, Puhl tied the game in the 9th and represented the pennant winning run with 1 out but was doubled off of first on a fly ball to right.

In the bottom of the 10th in game 4, the Astros could have won the pennant if they scored three times off of Tug McGraw. They went down in order.

In game 5, the Astros had a 5-2 lead in the 8th with Nolan Ryan on the mound. The Phillies rallied and 5 outs from elimination Del Unser singled and Manny Trillo tripled home 2 runs.

In the bottom of the 8th, the Astros tied the game and had the go ahead run at 8th when Denny Walling grounded out.

In the bottom of the 9th, when a single run would have won the pennant, the Astros went 1-2-3.

In the bottom of the 10th, when 2 runs would have won the pennant, the Astros went 1-2-3.

Who was the Goat?

The Astros Bullpen, specifically Joe Sambito and Ken Forsch, for blowing late leads in games 4 and 5.

Actual MVP: Manny Trillo


Dodgers defeat Expos, 3-2


1-0 record in 2 starts. 0.53 ERA including a complete game shut out in game 2 and 8 innings of 1 run ball in the do or die game 5.

How close did the Expos come to winning?

The Dodgers and Expos were tied going into the 9th inning of the do or die game 5.

With the Dodgers leading 2-1 in the 9th, the Expos put the tying and pennant winning runs aboard before right fielder Jerry White grounded out.

Who was the Goat?

Steve Rogers let up Rick Monday’s pennant winning home run in the 9th, but Rogers also pitched a complete game victory in game 3.

Andre Dawson, Rodney Scott and Chris Speier all had terrible series offensively and along with Warren Cromartie were hitless in game 5.

Actual MVP: Burt Hooton


Padres defeat Cubs, 3-2

Complete game shut out in game 1 with a home run. Pitched with a lead into the 7th of game 5.

How close did the Cubs come to winning?

Took 2-0 lead in the series heading to San Diego.

Tied going into the 9th inning of game 4, up 2-1 in the series.

Up 2-1 in the 7th inning of game 5, 9 outs from the pennant.

Who was the goat?

Lee Smith served up a walk off series tying home run to Steve Garvey to end game 4.

Leon Durham’s key error in the 7th inning of game 5 opened the flood gates of a 4 run Padres rally. The Cubs never recover.

Actual MVP: Steve Garvey


Cardinals defeat Dodgers, 4-2

Batted .333 with 3 homers and 7 RBI. Hit key homers in the heart breaking games 5 and 6.

How close did the Dodgers come to winning?

Actually never got to a potential clinching game for the Dodgers, but the 9th inning losses in games 5 and 6 qualify it for this blog entry.

Who was the goat?

Tom Niedenfuer coughed up a walk off home run to Ozzie Smith of all people and then the series crushing 3 run shot to Jack Clark in game 6.

Actual MVP: Ozzie Smith


Dodgers defeat Mets, 4-3

2.95 ERA in 2 starts. Struck out 20 in 18 1/3 innings. Kept the Mets close against Hershiser in game 1 and threw into the 9th of game 4. Threw 3 innings out of the bullpen in game 7.

How close did the Mets come to winning?

After winning both of Hershiser’s starts, the Mets were 3 outs from taking a 3-1 series lead when Mike Scioscia hit a 2 run game tying shot off of Dwight Gooden.

The Mets couldn’t score in the 9th, 10th or 11th. Trailing by 1 in the 12th, the Mets loaded the bases before Hershiser came in from the bullpen for an unlikely save.

Who was the goat?

Ron Darling, who got bombed out of the second inning of game 7, spoiling what could have been a wonderful winner take all show down.

Actual MVP: Orel Hershiser


Braves defeat Pirates 4-3

1-1 record with a 0.60 ERA in 15 innings. Won game 1 and pitched a complete game letting up one run in the potential game 6 clincher.

How close did the Pirates come to winning?

In the 9th inning of game 6, trailing 1-0 but leading the series 3-2, Andy Van Slyke missed a potential pennant winning homer that hooked foul. He then struck out looking to end the game.

Who was the goat?
Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla combined for a single run batted in… and drove in zero runs in the Pirates 4 losses. The Pirates were shut out in games 2, 6 and 7 at home with their two star sluggers not contributing.

Actual MVP: Steve Avery


Braves defeat Pirates 4-3

Pitched 2 complete game victories. 1 in game 3, the other a potential elimination game 6.

How close did the Pirates come to winning?

The Pirates took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the 9th of game 7 in Atlanta. Terry Pendleton’s double sparked a rally that knocked out starter Doug Drabek. With 2 outs and trailing by 1, little used catcher Francisco Cabrera singled home David Justice and a limpling Sid Bream slid under Mike LaValliere’s tag to win the pennant for Atlanta.

Who was the goat?
Normally reliable Jose Lind booted a key grounder in the 9th inning rally setting up Cabrera’s heroics.

Actual MVP: John Smoltz


Phillies defeat Braves 4-2


Batted .435 with a homer and 4 RBI. Drove in 2 runs in a key game 2 win for the Braves.

How close did the Braves come to winning?

Never got to an clinching game, but they out hit and out pitched the Phillies… but lost 3 one run games including 2 in extra innings.

With a chance to take a 3-1 series lead in game 4, the Braves had a base runner in every inning except the first, yet could only score one run in a 2-1 loss. The Braves put the first two on with nobody out in the 9th but Jeff Blauser could not get a sacrifice bunt down and Ronnie Gant hit into a game ending double play.

Who was the goat?
Relievers Greg McMichael and Mark Wohlers each lost an extra inning game that erased dramatic Braves 9th inning rallies.

Actual MVP: Curt Schilling


Braves defeat Cardinals 4-3

Closed out all 3 Cardinal wins with a 0.00 ERA,1 win and 1 save.

How close did the Cardinals come to winning?

Up 3-2 in the series but trailing 2-0 in the 8th inning of game 6, the Cardinals bring the go ahead run to the plate in the form of former Brave Ron Gant. A wild pitch scored a run putting the tying run in scoring position. Gant, who hit 2 homers in the Cardinals game 3 win, flew out to left to end the threat.

Who was the goat?

Todd Stottlemyre got the start in a potential pennant clinching game 5 at home. He let up 7 runs and was lifted with nobody out in the 2nd inning.

Donovan Osborne was actually worse in game 7, letting up 6 runs in only 2/3 of an inning including a bases clearing triple off the bat of pitcher Tom Glavine.

After going down 3-1 in the series, the Braves won the last 3 games out scoring St. Louis 32-1.

Actual MVP: Javier Lopez

Braves defeat Mets, 4-2

Batted .296 while hitting key home runs in games 4 and 5.

How close did the Mets come to winning?

Never got to a clinching game, but fought back to nearly become the first team to tie a series when down 3-0.

The Mets were 4 outs from elimination in game 4.
The Mets and Braves played 15 innings in game 5. The Braves were 2 outs from winning the pennant when the Mets rallied to win.
The Braves took a 5 run lead in the first of game 6 and lead 7-3 in the 7th inning when the Mets rallied.

The Mets were 5 outs from tying the series when Brian Hunter tied the game in the 8th.
The Mets were then 2 outs from tying the series when Armando Benitez allowed an RBI pinch hit single to Ozzie Guillen to tie the game.

Who was the goat?

Kenny Rogers allowed a lead off double to Gerald Williams in the 11th and then with 1 out and the bases loaded, walked Andruw Jones to clinch the pennant for the Braves.

Actual MVP: Eddie Perez


Marlins defeat Cubs, 4-3

.310 average with 2 homers, including 1 in the game 7 show down.

How close did the Cubs come to winning?

So close you could smell the Billy Goat?
Up 3 games to 2 and leading 3-0 with 1 out and nobody on in the 8th and ace Mark Prior on the mound, the first Cubs pennant since 1945 seemed inevitable.

Juan Pierre doubled and then Luis Castillo fouled one towards left field. Now we all know Steve Bartman did what every other fan on the planet would do… he reached for the ball and Moises Alou couldn’t catch it.

And that ended Bartman’s involvement in the game.
Prior then walked Castillo and threw a wild pitch.
What happened after that was a surrealistic blur. When it was over, the Marlins lead 8-3 and tied the series.

In game 7, with the Marlins leading 3-0, the Cubs tied the game on Kerry Wood’s homer and then took the lead on Moises Alou’s 3rd inning home run. The Cubs took the game 7 lead into the 5th when the Marlins took the lead for good sparked by an RBI double by Pudge Rodriguez.

Who was the goat?

NOT BARTMAN! Did you hear me? Is that clear?
With 1 out and the Cubs still leading in the 8th inning of game 6, shortstop Alex Gonzalez booted what would have been an inning ending double play. The Marlins would score 6 more runs and break the Cubs’ back.

Actual MVP: Pudge Rodriguez.

Cardinals defeat Astros 4-3

Hit .417 with a .958 slugging percentage. Beltran homered 4 times and made several sparkling defensive plays.

How close did the Astros come to winning?

In game 6, up 3 games to 2 in the series but trailing 4-3 in the game, Jeff Bagwell tied the game with a 2 out RBI single. Carlos Beltran stole third and the go ahead potential pennant winning run was 90 feet away but Lance Berkman struck out.

In extra innings, the Astros went 1-2-3 in the 10th, 11th and 12th before the Cardinals won on Jim Edmonds’ homer.

In game 7, the Astros game Roger Clemens an early 2-1 lead but the Cardinals rallied to win the game.

Who was the goat?

Roger Clemens let up a game tying RBI double to Albert Pujols in the 6th and Scott Rolen followed it up with a 2 run homer. The Cardinals never looked back and won the pennant.

Actual MVP: Albert Pujols

Cardinals defeat Mets, 4-3


Batted .304 with 3 homers and 9 RBI

How close did the Mets come to winning?
With game 7 tied 1-1, Carlos Beltran led off the 8th with a walk but was stranded when Delgado and Wright struck out and Green grounded out.

Trailing 3-1 in the 9th, the Mets put together a heart stopping rally, loading the bases with 2 outs for Cardinals killer Carlos Beltran. A single would tie the game and an extra base hit would probably score pinch runner Anderson Hernandez for the pennant. Rookie Adam Wainwright, pitching in the place of injured closer Jason Isringhausen, freezes Beltran with a curveball for a called third strike to end the series.

Who was the goat?

Carlos Beltran… swing the bat!

So there you have the NL players who never got the glory they deserved.

Next up… unsung heroes who could have been World Series MVPS!

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