Deja Blue All Over Again

DR. GROSSINGER’S PRE-GAME

I have a headache and chills that won’t go away. The headache is called McRae, the chills are called Otis, and I did not like my ace pitcher being batted about in his own home. I did not like it not one little bit. Mr. Rooker needs to earn us a split before we go back on the road, and Seamus needs to warm my soup from the hotel kitchen before bringing it up to me…

PITTSBURGH–Should I be gloating? My Royals beat Candelaria in his own yard, rather easily, and after this one it’s easy to believe we were facing tougher competition all year and weren’t even realizing it.

But the Pirates are the ones doing themselves in. Against Splittorff, a guy who gives out hits like kandy korns on Halloween, Pittsburgh gets singles in the 1st from Stennett, Parker and Robinson, but Fernando Gonzalez raps into a quick White-Patek-Mayberry DP, to set the tone for the afternoon.

And that little man McRae is at it again. He singles in the 2nd, then hits a sac fly to put us ahead in the 3rd after Cowens bashes a long gap double to score Otis. Rooker bails himself out of that one with only two K.C. runs in, but completely loes it in the 4th. Patek and White open with doubles, and after Rooker whiffs, Otis smacks another double! Jackson is summoned and immediately hits Cowens, McRae singles in another with two gone and it’s 5-1 us in a Pittsburgh minute.

It’s hard rooting for the Royals surrounded here by black and yellow, and my cheers basically come out like chirps. And since when did Splittorff decide to start pitching? He scatters six singles and one measly run through the first six innings, before Oliver doubles, Dyer singles him in and Taveras grounds into the expected 4-6-4 DP to kill the 7th.

Tekulve tries his luck and does pretty well in the 7th, but when Gossage takes the ball to a) get some work and b) pitch to McRae, Hal the Barbarian cranks one over the wall with his damn eyes closed. Through two games now, McRae has two homers, five RBIs, and triple slash totals of .883/1.000/2.167, for an OPS of 3.167. And the Pirates haven’t hit one fielding chart ball in his direction.

Anyway, Marty Pattin throws an inning and a third of hitless relief after the Bucs get a leadoff Stennett single in the 8th and third DP of the game, this one off Garner’s bat, before Stargell flies out with two aboard to end the game, the second day in a row the Pirates strand the tying run in the on-deck circle.

A change of venue can only help them—and a new handful of dice.

Game 2
ROYALS 100 300 010 – 6 13 0
PIRATES 000 000 100 – 2 10 0

W-Splittorff L-Rooker SV-Pattin HR: McRae GWRBI-McRae

Live Tweetcasts of each game will be here every night at 10:30 p.m. eastern, 7:30 pacific for the remainder of the series, with game reports appearing here on the blog the next morning.

Also, check out my final Funk Zone column on the Strat-O-Matic site.  It’s a brief rundown of what went right and wrong for all the ’77 teams.

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