Monday, August 29, 2011

NL 2010 Playoff Series - Spencer v. Torto

The Marlins breach past Spence and into the 2010 NL World Series
Last weekend played host to West Bend's popular Germanfest and the slightly less popular Rob Deer Super Summer Softball Slam.  Perhaps most importantly though, West Bend hosted Spencer and I rolling out our 1st round 2010 NL PTP playoff series (Marlins vs. Astros).  A hard fought series all the way, we rolled thru 6 games on Friday afternoon and evening, before succumbing to the call of the beer tent at Germanfest, a mere 4 blocks away.  6 games was not enough to decide the series, so an early riser Game 7 was played in a winner-take-all situation.  Here's how it went down:

Game 1: C.Carpenter @ C.Billingsley
Spencer made the decision to have Carpenter be his first starter, rather than rolling with his top ace, Josh Johnson in Game 1.  This choice ultimately allowed for the Marlins to gain the early series lead, as Billingsley pitched a strong 8 innings, yielding only 3 runs.  A 3-3 tie in the 4th, it stayed that way until the 8th, when Spencer desparate to break the tie, pulled Carp for a lead off pinch hitter.  A tie-breaking run was not produced, and Tim Stauffer entered the game to pitch the bottom of the 8th.  Stauffer got beat around for 3 runs, culminated on a Josh Thole double and a 1-run Chase Utley CLUTCH situation single.  Romo came in for the Marlins to get the shakey, but scoreless save.
WP - C.Billingsley; LP - T.Stauffer; Save - S.Romo
Torto wins 6-3 (leads series 1-0)

Game 2: J.Johnson @ R.A.Dickey
Now with his ace on the hill, Spence needed to steal back my momentum and get the series back to Houston with a split.  Johnson did just that, and delivered a strong performance. Conversely, R.A.Dickey had absolutely no movement on his knuckler, and served up BP for the Astros, giving up 7 earned runs in 2 innings.  Spencer cruised to the win, with Johnson going the distance in a dominant 9 K performance.
WP - J.Johnson (CG); LP - R.A.Dickey
Spencer wins 10-2 (series tied 1-1)

Game 3: W.Rodriguez @ B.Myers
The series went back to Minute Maid Park at a draw, with me tossing my only lefty starter at Spence's platoon-less lineup.  A back and forth game, tied 5-5 in the bottom of the 8th.  Spencer took the lead off reliever Mike Adams, with a Pudge single, followed by a J-Rollins triple, and then a series of walks that ended in Derek Lee taking ball 4 to make the lead 7-5.  Johnny Venters rolled through the heart of my order with 3 Ks after plunking Heyward, and grabbing the save.
WP - T.Saito; LP - M.Adams; Save - J.Venters
Spencer wins 7-5 (takes series lead 2-1)

Game 4: J.Garland @ D.Lowe
Now fully feeling the pressure to not go down 3-1, I needed a strong performace from my saavy vet #4 starter, Jon Garland.  He delivered 8 strong innings of 3-run ball, and held on to a 3-3 tie, until a Chase Utley RBI double broke the tie.  The Marlins broke the game wide open in the 9th, shelling Tim Stauffer again for 5 runs, closing the door on any chance of a comeback.
WP- J.Garland; LP - D.Lowe
Torto wins 9-3 (ties series 2-2)

Game 5: C.Billingsley @ C.Carpenter
The last game in Houston featured the two #1 starters again, and again Billingsley had the upper hand over Carpenter.  Billingley scattered 8 hits and a walk over 7+, yielding 3 runs.  Carpenter yielded 3 runs thru 5 innings before getting touched up for 3 runs in the 6th (including a bases loaded walk) to permanently give the Marlins the lead.  Mike Stanton, quiet all series, cracked a solo shot in this one as well, providing a reminder of his league leading power.
WP - C.Billingsley; LP - C.Carpenter; Save - S.Romo
Torto wins 6-3 (takes series lead 3-2)

Game 6: J.Johnson @ R.A.Dickey
The series returned to Miami, and the Marlins had their hopes riding on the Dickey knuckler to take the series in 6.  Robert Alan Dickey had Josh Johnson beat thru the 6th, with a 3-2 lead, but when he yielded the mound to Matt Belisle due to fatigue, the Astros took advantage. Playing for their lives,  Houston made Belisle give up the tying run in the 7th on a Andres Torres RBI triple, and then picked up 2 more insurance runs in the 8th on a Belisle throwing error.  After this, the Marlins went quietly into the night, apparently content to try their luck in a game 7.  Likewise, playing the final innings of this game by reading charts by the light of Spencer's cell phone on my back patio, it was time to beer up in downtown WB, and play Game 7 in the morning.
WP - J.Johnson; LP - M.Belisle; Save - Heath Bell
Spencer wins 5-3 (ties series 3-3)

Game 7: B.Myers @ W.Rodriguez
I woke early for this one, and a groggy, half asleep Nick wished me well and reminded me to not let one 'Randy Rodriguez' lose this game for me.  7 AM rolled around, and Spencer rolled off my back porch like a hobo out of a box car (he decided to sleep outside) to play the final game of the series.  While I believe Spencer inadvertently took this scoresheet with him when he packed up - I think I can recall the gist of this game.  Nick's advice was well taken, as I had stud Daniel Hudson waiting in the wings.  'Randy' gave up 3 runs in 3 innings, and that was all I could suffer.  Down 3-0, Daniel Hudson entered the game.  Meanwhile, Brett Meyers only managed to no-hit my lineup for 5 straight innings.  D-Hud preserved the 3-run deficit until the 6th, when Meyers got figured out (or maybe started tipping his pitches).  Walks and singles, followed by a Dexter Fowler base clearing triple forced Myers out of the game, and made it 6-3 Marlins.  Spence mustered one run off Hudson, before Sergio Romo slammed the door for the series winning save.
Most of the 11,000 Marlin fans in attendance cheered politely, before returning to their various retirement communities.  The remainder of fans were deported back to Cuba later that evening, the result of a carefully planned sting operation put on by US Department of Immigration and Naturalization.
WP - D.Hudon; LP - B.Myers; Save - S.Romo
Torto wins 6-4 (Wins Round 1 series 4-3)

It was definitely a hard fought series, back and forth, with very little margin for error.  Hats off to Nick who 'kept it real' by charting 6 of the 7 games for us, despite being bored for much of our series.  Very few HRs, and only 3 errors throughout.  Good stuff - now its time to relax with the Marlin Mermaids until our World Series opponent is determined...


  1. Great series boys - a real classic.
    Congrats to both of you on a solid NL season.

  2. dudes, it was an awesome series. Nip/Tuck the entire way. I made a couple managerial gaffes which, I think, cost me the series. That, and the 12-pack of beer, Bailey licking me, Jax being a snob, and Jessie rambling about Erica Weidrich's facebook post also threw me off.

    Great job Torto. Good luck vs. Fish! ZING TO NICK!!!


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