Now I watched this game. I was going to call it the Buckner game, but there was so much happening in the game and a lot of it not good. Dave Johnson was just lucky his team came back. He could say, I can’t answer any questions, I have to prepare for game seven.
In the top of the 8th, Davey Johnson wanted to get a second inning out of reliever Roger McDowell. McDowell, must have done this some during the regular season as he pitched 128 innings in 75 games. However, McDowell gave up a leadoff single to David Henderson, which started his troubles. Not wanting to get behind by two runs, Henderson’s possible run was important. Naturally Owen sacrificed him to second.
Now a big run on second base John McNamara had to make a tough decision whether to relieve Clemons or not. I will discuss this later as we will see what is happening to Dave Johnson and Roger McDowell. The rookie Mike Greenwell came up. McDowell got an easy strikeout. Now for the problem facing McDowell. Two of the next three hitters were left-handed. The right-handed batter Marty Barrett and was on base every time during the game. Up first was the batting champ Wade Boggs.
Johnson decided to intentionally walk Boggs. Now McDowell had to face Barrett with two men on. It wasn’t an intentional walk, but it looked to me like McDowell didn’t want to give Barrett a hittable pitch. Now Bill Buckner, not as big of a threat as the other two. However, he was known to get his bat on the ball and with the bases loaded a bloop single could score two runs. So, Dave Johnson was forced to bring in Orosco even though the pitcher was due up first. Meanwhile when I watched this game in 1986 I was screaming at the TV for McNamara to pinch hit Baylor for Buckner. He didn’t hear me from El Paso, Texas.
Buckner batter and flew out to right on the first pitch. I didn’t remember him hitting the first pitch as I thought I hollered at the TV for longer than one pitch.
The Mets, however, did tie the game in the bottom of the eighth. Rick Aguilera, who started more than he relieved came in and pitched a solid ninth and only faced three batters, thanks to a double play. In the bottom of the ninth the first two Mets batters got on with Howard Johnson coming to bat. Vin Scully thought that Johnson should bunt the runner over. Johnson was young and wasn’t yet the hitter he would become. He had a lot of potential. I think Johnson thought I have two men who can put the ball on the bat after Johnson, so I have three chances to get the game winning hit. Johnson struck out and Scully flipped out when Mazzilli flew out deep to right. Now he said if Johnson would have bunter successfully he the Mets would have scored on Mazzilli’s fly out. The funny thing was when the inning ended you could still hear Scully discussing the issue when the mikes should have been off.
So, Scully was thinking the Red Sox were going to win and it was all Dave Johnson’s fault. However, I can see why Johnson wanted to hit Howard Johnson. He was a good hitter and he was the hitter Johnson wanted up in that situation. Plus what I said earlier there were two batters who got good wood on the ball falling Johnson. However, it didn’t work out.
Now for Boston and John McNamara. In the seventh after Marth Barrett scored the lead run on a fielder choice, Jim Rice was on second. Rich Gedman then hit a hard single to left. Mookie Wilson then threw out Jim Rice by a big amount. I always blamed Jim Rice’s running. However, when I watched the play this time I blame the third base coach. The ball got to Mookie quickly, who had no problem fielding it. I think the coach was trying to steal a run as there was two runs. However, as fast as the ball got to it and with the smooth fielding, I think the coach should have known Rice had almost no chance and there was a better chance of Dave Henderson getting a hit. He did, but you never know what he would have done if he batted in the seventh.
Now for the pinch hitting for Clemons in the eighth. I always hear how Clemons said he was done and left the game. There was talk about the finger having a blister. I thought it was on the broadcast, but I didn’t hear it discussed when I listened to it the other day. I remembered Clemons taking the mound, then McNamara coming out to the mound and taking Clemons out. Well, that didn’t happen as Greenwell pinch hit for Clemons in the top of the seventh. However, one thing was even though Clemons was pitching well especially in the early pitches, the Mets had a number of long at bats. The other things the network was reporting his pitch count. After 5 innings, he had 99 pitches. They announced how many pitches he had after 6 but I can’t remember the count. However, when he went to the dugout after the seventh Scully said he had 130 pitches. While watching I thought the Mets did a great job keeping at bats alive, and reminded me of the 1998 Yankees in this regard. To me that is what Clemons get out of the game.
Of course now days there would be no way Clemons would have even have pitched the seventh, however pitchers were supposed to be tougher then. My thinking was in addition to the number of pitches I don’t think Clemons was throwing the ball as well in the 5th, (where he gave up two runs), 6th and 7th. My thinking is if Clemons had pitched the 8th and 9th he would have given up at least one run. He might have gotten by with a scoreless 8th, but he wasn’t at his sharpest. I know that Clemons threw a perfect seventh, but that was against the weak part of the line up. Maybe McNamara keeps him in, but the eight was when the pitcher spot came up with a man on base. That might have been the decision maker. I would have been like McNamara figuring get the tired Clemons out of there and possibly getting an insurance run.
One thing people talk about was throwing Schiraldi throwing two innings. However, during the regular season, he threw 51 innings in 25 games so that wouldn’t have been a problem. He also hadn’t thrown since an inning in relief in game 1, so he was fresh. In fact, he might have been too rested as he didn’t look that sharp. One thing that wasn’t mentioned was Schiraldi could and probably should have been relieved in the 10th. Stanley who threw a wild pitch and then a ground out pitch but didn’t give up an earned run in the series. Instead the Mets got three straight hits off him. One thing I remembered in my mind was that all three batters had two strikes on them when they got their hit. That was wrong. One good thing about watching these games is to find out where your mind plays tricks on you.