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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Sandy Koufax 1965 final games and World Series.

If anything, Los Angeles Dodger lefty ace Sandy Koufax was abused by his manager Walter Alston who started managing the Dodgers in Brooklyn in 1954 and continued into 1976 in LA: 23 seasons, 7 pennants, 4 World Series (WS), including 1955 the only one in Brooklyn when bonus baby Koufax at age 19 pitched 41 innings.

1901 to 2015, SO>=340, sorted by greatest Strikeouts

Rk Player SO Year Age Tm Lg G GS CG SHO GF W L W-L% SV IP H R ER BB ERA FIP ERA+ HR BF AB 2B 3B IBB HBP SH SF GDP SB CS PO BK WP BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ Pit Str
1 Nolan Ryan 383 1973 26 CAL AL 41 39 26 4 2 21 16 .568 1 326.0 238 113 104 162 2.87 2.49 123 18 1355 1172 53 5 2 7 7 7 24 37 10 4 0 15 .203 .302 .303 .605 78
2 Sandy Koufax 382 1965 29 LAD NL 43 41 27 8 2 26 8 .765 2 335.2 216 90 76 71 2.04 1.93 160 26 1297 1205 29 7 4 5 13 3 13 16 4 1 0 11 .179 .227 .280 .507 52
3 Randy Johnson 372 2001 37 ARI NL 35 34 3 2 1 21 6 .778 0 249.2 181 74 69 71 2.49 2.13 188 19 994 890 33 2 2 18 10 5 17 19 15 4 1 8 .203 .274 .309 .583 50 4076 2638
4 Nolan Ryan 367 1974 27 CAL AL 42 41 26 3 1 22 16 .579 0 332.2 221 127 107 202 2.89 2.98 118 18 1392 1165 38 6 3 9 12 4 24 28 21 3 0 9 .190 .313 .279 .592 76
5 Randy Johnson 364 1999 35 ARI NL 35 35 12 2 0 17 9 .654 0 271.2 207 86 75 70 2.48 2.76 184 30 1079 993 28 4 3 9 4 3 14 42 17 5 2 4 .208 .266 .335 .601 55
6 Rube Waddell 349 1904 27 PHA AL 46 46 39 8 0 25 19 .568 0 383.0 307 109 69 91 1.62 1.59 165 5 1496 14 0 8 undef undef undef
7 Bob Feller 348 1946 27 CLE AL 48 42 36 10 5 26 15 .634 4 371.1 277 101 90 153 2.18 2.16 151 11 1512 1331 3 25 0 12 15 11 2 0 3 .208 .291
8 Randy Johnson 347 2000 36 ARI NL 35 35 8 3 0 19 7 .731 0 248.2 202 89 73 76 2.64 2.53 181 23 1001 900 45 2 1 6 14 5 15 26 16 6 2 5 .224 .288 .356 .643 63 4021 2595
9 Nolan Ryan 341 1977 30 CAL AL 37 37 22 4 0 19 16 .543 0 299.0 198 110 92 204 2.77 3.12 141 12 1272 1027 23 3 7 9 22 10 21 43 19 7 3 21 .193 .329 .256 .585 64
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/23/2016.

In 1965 Koufax set the modern record for most strike outs (SO) in a season with 382. That season the Dodgers were locked in a battle for first place with the Giants, led by players who each won the National League MVP award:
Willie Mays: 1954, 1965
Willie McCovey: 1969
Orlando Cepeda: 1967 in his first season with St. Louis; had only 40 plate appearances in 1965.

Mays hit over 50 home runs (HR) in 1965 for the second time in his career.

Koufax started 41 games in 1965, completing 27, and saving two others in relief. 26-8 when no one was killing the win. Here are his final regular season games and the three he pitched in the World Series against the Minnesota Twins.


CumCumEst
TeamLAODRInnHRERBBSOHRSOInnPitHRHR
9/18/1965@CardinalsW1019400160348307114
9/22/1965@Braves(w)763265503235430943BollingJones
9/25/1965CardinalsW20295003120357318140
9/29/1965RedsW50392001130369327121
10/2/1965BravesW31294101131382336128Oliver
10/7/1965@TwinsL154662119039134298
10/11/1965TwinsW70394001100401351122
10/14/1965@TwinsW20293003100411360130

The first game was on one Day of Rest (DR) after Koufax had saved a game 2-0 with one inning of relief against the Cubs in Chicago. The matrix above includes cumulative SO and Innings for the season through the WS. It also has estimated pitch counts using the Tom Tango formula.

It was understood that Koufax would not pitch on Wednesday Oct. 6 because that would conflict with the religious beliefs of Koufax. That was the scheduled date for WS game one. Alston could plan his rotation accordingly.

Games 161 of the scheduled 162 were on Saturday Oct. 2. Entering that day the Dodgers had clinched at least a tie with the Giants who were two games back with two to play. Both teams were at home. The Giants wound up winning their final two games against the Reds to stay alive. The Dodgers had already used their only other two reliable starting pitchers Don Drysdale (23-12) and Claude Osteen (15-15): Drysdale beat the Braves 4-0 Thursday and Osteen lost to the Braves 2-0 Friday. The Dodgers had two more games against the Braves and needed one more win.

Since Alston knew that Koufax would not pitch Wednesday Oct. 6, why not hold him out until the final game on Sunday Oct. 3 and hope that the Giants lose on Saturday? If the Giants win, Koufax pitches in game 162. If Koufax wins the final regular season game, he could then pitch in WS game 2, which he did in real life on four days, on Thursday Oct. 7 on his usual three days rest.

In one sense Alston did Koufax a favor. Drysdale pitched in WS game one and lost, then Koufax lost WS game two. But Osteen, Drysdale and Koufax swept the Twins in LA to lead the WS 3-2. However, Osteen lost game six, setting the stage for the dramatic showdown game for which Koufax is remembered, some say immortalized. Koufax pitched a complete game shutout on two days rest. His accomplishment seemed enhanced by his ethical stand about scheduling.

Would you replace Koufax with Perranoski? Gibson with Schultz? Clemens with Schiraldi? Witt with Moore? Sunday, February 21, 2016

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