by Scott Fennessy
The Cubs only got to face the Cardinals in a one game series due to schedule cutting to meet my season limit of 140 games. That is disappointing as they are really in a free fall, and the Reds team they now face features a returning Harry Steinfeldt, who with Jim Seymour and James Sebring are really hitting right now. Also light hitting Tommy Corcoran is hitting the ball for the first time all year.
We are now at the time of year where in real baseball teams would be experimenting with their September “call ups”. In APBA you don’t have to worry about that, but I use this time for teams out of the race to give more time for players that don’t get a lot of playing time, so when you see Reds pitcher John Vowinkel facing the Cubs Ed Reulbach (pictured above) in today’s game don’t think too much of it. The Giants concluded a pounding of the Braves in a series which they did not send Irv Young or any of their good starters and sent all D pitchers to the mound. I try very hard to be even handed in this as I don’t want to question myself after the season ends if I “gave everyone an equal chance at the World Series”.
In reality both leagues have come down to two team races. In the NL the Pirates have faded badly and are now 12 games out, and are the only team besides the Cubs and Giants not yet eliminated. In the AL it’s a slightly different story, as only the sorry Browns are officially eliminated but the Senators are only a day or two from elimination. The other teams are just treading water until their day. The only exception to this is the Indians. A team mired in mediocrity until August, their superstar Napoleon Lajoie barely hitting .260 and pitching holding the fort down until the hitters came around have seen drastic improvements on offense and are now just two games behind the struggling and injury prone White Sox. This is the closest anyone gotten to them all year.
Both teams come up empty in the first inning, but the Cubs start the scoring in this one, with an Art Hofman single. Moving to second and scoring on Joe Tinker’s single. Vowinkel does stop the damage, but has looked a little shaky for certain, but the inning ends with the Cubs on top 1-0.
Nothing else happens until Hofman gets a one out single in the 4th. It’s great to see him finally come through after a very difficult year. Hofman then notches his 14th steal of the year and scores on a Johnny Evers single. Again Vowiknel calms down, but I don’t see him going much further in this game the way he looks so far. The Reds go down quietly as Reulbach continues to roll and the score is 2-0 Cubs.
The Cubs offense comes through again with another run as Frank Chance gets a one out single and moved to second on a ground out scored on Evers second RBI single of the day. Tinker ends the inning, but the Cubs keep chipping away, and have really been hitting the ball all day. The score is now 3-0 Cubs as the bottom of the inning closes.
The Cubs finally explode in the 7th. It looked like Vowinkel was going to make it out of the inning as he racked up two quick outs, but Billy Maloney, who has a small hit streak going gets a single and steals second. Jim Casey hits a routine grounder for what should have ended the inning, but first baseman Joe Kelley missed the throw and it rolls pretty far away, allowing Maloney to score and Casey moves to second. Frank Schulte, who has a 5 game hit streak going also, rips a solid single up the middle and Casey scores with “Wildfire” taking second on the throw. Chance finally ends Vowinkel’s day with an RBI single. Tom Walker comes in and finishes the inning and the Cubs now have a 6-0 lead.
Fritz Odwell, who leads all of baseball with 18 homers gets a 1-1 fastball and rips it hard down the line. The relay from Evers is good, but Fritz slides in under the tag and the Reds end Reulbach’s consecutive batters retired streak at 16. Seymour then lifts a sac fly to break the shutout, but Reulbach gets the final two hitters to keep the game in hand 6-1.
The Cubs get an insurance run in the top of the 8th when Evers gets a walk to open the frame and Tinker’s single puts runners on first and third. Tinker then steals second. John O’Neill, subbing for the injured Johnny Kling then gets a single that scores two more, and moves to second on a wild pitch by Walker. O’Neill suddenly takes off for third on the next pitch by Walker and catcher Ed Phelps fires off a beauty to Steinfeldt at third, and he’s out! But unfortunately the Reds have seen this many times this year; and sure enough Steinfeldt is hurt and will have to leave the game. He has reinjured the ankle that has sidelined him for about 20 games this year. It’s a shame as he was finally starting to hit. Reulbach grounds out to end the inning but the score is now a lopsided 8-1 margin.
The Reds seem fired up in the bottom of the inning and Joe Kelley rips a double into the left field gap to start things off. Kelley takes third on a single by Phelps after a nifty diving stop from Chance. He threw to Reulbach covering first from his knees. Unfortunately Reulbach drops the ball after being spiked by Phelps. Ed’s in a lot of pain and will not finish the ballgame. “Big Jeff” Pfeffer comes in and gets the final two outs and the score is unchanged.
Nothing else happened in an uneventful ninth inning and the Cubs get the important win that keeps them tied with the Giants atop the NL. For the Reds, Seymour and Sebring continue to hit, and Odwell keeps up the surprise power hitting, but Steinfeldt will miss another 5 days and Miller Huggins will move into second as Al Bridwell moves over to cover for Harry.
For the Cubs the last few days have reminded me of their early season hitting and speed display with the Cubs getting 5 as a team, including Maloney’s 61st of the year. Struggling Art Hofman and Joe Tinker each got two hits, and Reulbach looked amazing. Allowing just two hits and one run in 7.2 innings while striking out 6 en route to his 23rd win of the season. There is a down side though, as he will miss his next turn in the rotation with Herb Briggs moving into the rotation. Thankfully it will only be the one start though. Also glad to see Jeff Pfeffer look strong in his 1 plus inning of work.
The Cubs face the Reds tomorrow in a double header while the Giants face the Dodgers in another twin billing. I think they have had 4 double headers in the last week, and this is the third against the horrid Dodgers.