by Scott Fennessy
It’s game two of this series and I have high hopes for today as Mordecai Brown faces John McIntire of the Dodgers. McIntire is one of only two C starters in the game and combined with a horrible defense and an improving but still terrible lineup has one of the worst set of pitching stats in all of baseball. That said, John is actually having a good season at the plate with a .230 average, six doubles and one stolen base. Otherwise John is probably not long for baseball if he continues to pitch like this.
The bums look like they may get a first inning rally started when Jimmy Sheckard, easily the best hitter on the team ripped a deep fly to left field that would have been a homer if Jimmy Slagle had not made a great leaping grab. Instead it’s back to the field as the Cubs come to bat in the bottom of the first.
Billy Maloney has made some adjustments at the plate, and he takes McIntire’s second pitch of the game into the corner in right, and is into third with a stand up triple, his 11th of the year. Johnny Evers then gets a sac fly to Harry Lumley in right and the home team has a 1-0 lead, and the outcome I hoped for looks to be underway. Unfortunately Frank Chance’s single and stolen base are wasted as McIntire grinds out the inning with just one run allowed.
And the latest in a never ending river of lineup changes sees one that has worked very well of late when Charlie Malay comes to the plate with one out and gets a single on Brown’s third pitch and steals second easily. Teams have learned they can run at will on John O’Neill, but Brown looks shaky so far even though it’s early. Malay has been a great surprise, as he does not have a great hitters card, but has been hitting in the .290 range since becoming a starter and provides some much needed speed. Tom Owens, who has been awful all year slips a weak single through the middle and Malay scores to tie the game. Brown, clearly rattled does settle down and ends the inning with no more runs allowed.
McIntire gets a rare perfect inning and the Dodgers come to hit in the top of the third. It is McIntire himself with a double to start the inning. O’Neill comes to the mound to try and settle down a normally solid pitcher, but Harry Gessler (right) draws a walk and the runners move to second and third with only one out on a ground out. Lumley then puts a charge into one, and Maloney is in pretty deep center when he gets this and McIntire scores the lead run. Brown toughens up a bit and ends the inning, but it is going to be a long day from my spot in the press box. In the bottom half of the frame Maloney’s second hit of the day is wasted as McIntire gets the next two hitters to end the inning with the visitors on top 2-1.
The Dodgers continue to pepper away at Brown as Malay gets his second single and steal to start the inning and moved to third on a ground out. He then scores on Hall’s sac fly and suddenly Brooklyn is starting to pull away. The crowd is going eerily quiet at this point.
Nothing happens again until the top of the 8th when the wheels finally fall off the wagon for the struggling Brown. Gessler rips a solid double down the left field line to lead off the inning, and scores on Sheckard’s solid single to center. Lumley then hits a perfect hit and run single to put runners on the corners. After a tough start for Harry, things have started to turn around and he is now nearing the .250 mark. Charlie Batch, another underperformer gets a rare extra base hit with a solid double to right that puts two more in and sends Brown to the showers. It is a mixed reaction for Mordecai as the fans know he has been solid this year, but their frustration at being blown away by the worst team in baseball is duly noted. Jeff Pfeffer comes in to try and stop the rally.
After getting Malay out Owens hits one that Chance cannot handle and runners are on the corners. Pfeffer fools Hall with a 0-2 changeup and he hits what looks like an inning ending double play, but Owens comes in hard and Hall is able to beat the relay on the fielder’s choice, with Batch scoring the 7th run of the day. Lew Ritter gets blown away to end the inning, but this one is clearly over with the Dodgers on top 7-1.
McIntire has been on cruise control all day and gets a scare with one out in the 8th when Pfeffer, whom was brought in because he is a good hitter rips one deep to left center, but this hits high off the wall, and Sheckard plays the carom well and Jeff has to settle for a double. McIntire then gets the next two hitters and the inning is over before it began.
Pfeffer gets a quick first out in the 9th but Gessler gets his second extra base hit of the day with a scorcher down the first base line. Frank Schulte gives pursuit, but he’s in with a triple. After Sheckard, and with the currently red hot Malay, Gessler has been one of the few offensive weapons for the Dodgers this year. Sheckard then gets a sac fly to Maloney in center and one out later the inning ends 8-1 Dodgers.
A now tiring McIntire completes the excellent performance with a scoreless ninth, but the Cubs did make him work as Chance and Slagle draw walks, but this was clearly McIntires best game of his career at this point. The final is in 8-1 Brooklyn in a stunner. Given the way both pitchers worked today you had to wonder who was the A starter and who was the C today?
McIntire allowed just 5 hits today, and after Maloney’s single in the 3rd, retired 11 straight batters through the middle of the game and for a change pitching was the key to a Dodger victory. Unfortunately the Cubs never had a chance and need to hope that the Cardinals can find a way to stop the Giants.
Around the horn: Pitching has been the story around Fen Baseball lately. Cy Young throws his 4th career 1 hitter and beats the Tigers 4-1. Charlie Case out-dueled Tully Sparks as Sparks loses despite throwing a 3 hitter. Is this payback for his perfect game earlier in the season when Irv Young of the Braves lost allowing just 1 run on three hits? In the battle for the basement of the AL the Browns swept the Senators in a double header. “Handsome Harry” Howell throws a three hit shutout. In game two Jack Powell throws a two hit shutout, taking a no hitter into the 7th inning. Had he gotten the no hitter it would have been the third no hitter by a B starter. Powell himself was the first B pitcher to do this in 1901. I believe this is the first time a team has been shut out in a double header for me, and easily the worst effort in a twin bill. And finally congratulations to Braves outfielder Virgin Cannell. After being given a spot start for the struggling “Cozy” Dolan he did so well he finally was given the starting position outright after several good games. In his first game as a “starter” he went 4-4 with an RBI.