The 1977 regular season is behind us but we’ve got a whole mess of Baseball left to play. This season was defined by the Central divisions in both leagues with high drama unfolding between the Expos and Cubs for the final NL Wild Card spot, and the battle for the AL Central between the White Sox and Royals being things we’ll talk about for a long time.
- Friday, starting at 3:30pm PDT: Cubs .vs. Reds, Red Sox .vs. Royals
- Sunday, starting at 3:30pm PDT: Game 1 of Phillies .vs. Winner of Cubs/Reds, Game 1 of Dodgers .vs Pirates
- Tuesday: Game 1 of Yankees .vs. Winner of Red Sox / Royals, Game 1 of Astros .vs. White Sox
As always the Divergent League Baseball calendar is your friend.
The American League
The Royals and White Sox now both set their sights on different opponents: The two non-human-controlled teams in the Postseason, the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees, having won the AL East, await the winner of KC and Boston.
Kansas City ranked first in team batting average, hits, double, AND triples, saw star batting performances from Amos Otis, Rod Carew, and George Brett. Dennis Leonard was similarly stellar this season on the mound with 4 shutouts, 181 strikeouts, and 7 complete games all tops in the American League.
The White Sox saw Oscar Gamble and Lamar Johnson emerged as an offensive powerhouses, each slugging over 30 home runs, 100 RBIs, and batting over 300. Johnson is out with a broken hand and expected to miss 2 weeks. Dave Frost led the Sox starting pitchers with 14 wins. The White Sox face the Astros in the the ALDS, with Game 1 being broadcast this Sunday.
Houston, the other CPU team in the Postseason, won AL West by 5 games and were led by a Cy Young performance from Mark Lemongello, whose 23 wins led the Majors. The Trio of Watson, Cedeno, and Johnson each batted over 300, leading the small-ball ‘Stros offensively.
The Yankees, who won 101 games, decisively won the East by 13 games. Don Gullet and Dock Ellis lead the Yanks pitching, with Reggie Jackson batting .329 and Jeff Burroughs team-leading 34 dingers. Look for future Yankee manager Lou Piniella in Right field.
The National League
The NL sends the Dodgers, Pirates, and Phillies to the NLDS, with the Cubs and Reds battling in the Wild Card.
Bill Buckner emerged as the unlikely hero for the Cubbies in their battle first against the Pirates for the NL Central, and then with the Expos for the Wild Card. Bobby Bonds had an MVP-caliber season, socking 32 dingers, 108 RBIs, and swiping 42 bases for the men from Wrigley. Bruce Sutter, the Cubs closer, was as lights-out as it gets, holding a 2.18 ERA over 45 saved games.
The Reds flirted with the NL Central, but but squared into the Wild Card by 2 games over the Cubs. The Reds are the best Contact team in baseball, and feature an Hall of Fame lineup of Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, George Foster, and Joe Morgan. Foster, who bashed 24 homers for the Reds, suffered a broken arm in June and will miss the Wild Card game but could come back in the Divisional Series.
Pittsburgh won the battle for the NL Central with a league-leading , the most competitive division in the league. Staff aces John Candelaria won a best-in-the-bigs 21 games and an absurd 1.76 ERA in 245 innings of work, with Frank Tanana striking out 196 batters winning 16 games and sporting a 2.12 ERA. Rich “Goose” Gossage was strong out of the bullpen for the Bucs, gathering 49 saves and holding down a 1.40 ERA. Big Bill Robinson busted 35 dingers for the Pirates,
The Phillies were far and away the best team in baseball, winning 116 games. Jim Rice, Greg Luzinkski, and Mike Schmidt each hit 40+ home runs and over 120 RBIs each. Steve Carlton led a killer staff, with 16 wins, 200 strikeouts, and a 2.36 ERA. Ron Reed snagged 49 saves for the Phils.
The Dodgers, always in the hunt but thus far unable to win the big one in Divergent League, crushed the NL West, winning the division by 15 games behind strong hitting of Dusty Baker, Phil Lovins, and Reggie Smith. Don Sutton had a typically HOF-caliber performance, going 13-5 with a 2.52 ERA. Burt Hooton also delivered big on the mound for LA, winning a team-leading 16 games. The Dodgers enter the postseason without slugger Reggie Smith and his 34 homers, as he tore his achilles and won’t make it back for this year.
Join us today starting at 3:30pm PDT for some Divergent League Postseason Baseball on twitch.tv/extrafuture