This was the game in which the Cardinals turned the tables on the Twins and used a six-run fourth inning to run away and hide early. The Card’s win tied the series at two game a piece after it looked as though the Twins might win in a laugher. This is also the game that made Tom Lawless a star.
Let’s get the Tim McCarver-isms out of the way.
Bottom of the 3rd Inning after the pitcher Greg Mathews grounded out to short on the first pitch of the inning: “that is the first time he has made an out this post season. He is 2-for-2 with two sacrifices.” I’m not sure if this was a slip or just the facts based on the way the sacrifice is revered in baseball. The fact that a sacrifice = an out seems to be lost not just on McCarver, but on many others who enjoy small ball.
Later that same inning after Ozzie Smith scored from third on a Jim Lindeman single (Smith initially reached by walking): “it’s amazing how many walks score, as opposed to guys who have to battle their way on base.” We’ll forget the fact that study after study has indicated that a player who reaches first via single, hit by pitch, catcher’s interference, etc, is no more or less likely to score than a player that was walked (most of that research was probably done since 1987). What bothers me more is that a former major league hitter doesn’t seem to think that it requires all that much skill to draw a walk. There are guys who battle their way on base, and guys who get there by walking apparently.
Alright, now on to Lawless. His home run off of Frank Viola in the fourth inning is infamous in Minnesota, mostly for the way he trotted up the line and flipped his bat. The announcers that day (and others since) love to make a big deal about Lawless’ .080 average that season and the fact that he didn’t hit a single home run the entire regular season. Well, as it turns out, the entire regular season meant 25 at-bats to Lawless, who was on the roster the entire season as a third catcher (Jim Palmer mentioned that early in the game) and didn’t get much playing time. There are plenty of great hitters that have gone numerous stretches of 2-for-25 with no home runs, so it isn’t really that remarkable that Lawless would find the bleachers at some point – even Al Newman and Jason Tyner have gone deep once in their careers. It just so happened for Lawless that the time came in the World Series.
In regards to the bat flip, I can see why it got under the skin of players and fans at the time, but it really wasn’t any worse than what Juan Berenguer did in the ALCS that year. How was Lawless supposed to know how to act after hitting a home run anyways?
The only other item of note from the broadcast of Game 4 was the conversation around George Frazier when he entered the game in the later innings. Paul Molitor implied in his “Inside Pitch” segment that Frazier was known to throw wet pitches. When Frazier struck the mighty Lawless out in the seventh, McCarver quickly chimed in about how the pitch “looked like a wet one” to him. Palmer quickly corrected McCarver, saying that it was actually a hanging breaking ball that caught Lawless looking.
It is also worth mentioning that the Twins showed some life after the Cardinals’ big inning, and looked to be rallying in the top of the fifth until Ozzie Smith and Vince Coleman made back-to-back great defensive plays on balls hit by Gaetti and Brunansky to end the inning with only one run across.
At the rate I am going, I probably won’t finish Game 5 until the holidays.
Born August 30, 1979
He was a starter in the AAA All-Star Game this year.
Born August 30, 1956