Thursday, November 30, 2017

Braves In The Driver's Seat: 1956 NL Replay End Of August Report

The Braves notched the loop's best record in August and saw their lead expand from 2 games to 9 as Brooklyn suffered through a slump that saw them drop 7 in a row and 8 of 9 before righting the ship and closing the gap back to 6. 

Standings through August 31st, 1956:

MIL  82-48  ---  (best August record 20-11, best x-inn record 6-0)
BRK  75-53  6  
STL  72-57  9.5  (worst x-inn record 7-11)
CIN  72-58  10  (best 1-run record 25-15)
PHI  58-69  22.5
CHI  56-76  27
NY  54-74  27  (worst 1-run record 14-22, worst August record 10-19)
PIT  48-82  34

Team Reports (with August record)

MIL (20-11) Just about everything came up roses for the Beertown nine in August. Joe Adcock (42, 87,.287) was hot again like he was at the start of the season, blasting 11 homers in the month, though he drove in only 14. Eddie Mathews (23, 87.272) hit over .300 for the second month in a row, greatly improving over his tepid first half. Warren Spahn (19-9) failed in his bid to win 20 before month's end, as his personal 8-game winning streak came to a halt when he lost to Pittsburgh, but his e.r.a. remains almost half a run better than anyone else in the league. Several players who slumped badly in July were hot in August, such as Del Crandall (21, 65,.234) and even Danny O'Connell, who couldn't buy a hit last month but who hit over .300 this time.  The only Brave who didn't enjoy the late summer was Lew Burdette (15-7) who went 1-4 during the month.

BRK (15-14) Them Bums rolled into the month hitting the cover off the ball, then suddenly went to sleep and lost 7 straight and 8 of 9! They dropped to 9 games back, but regained some of that when they went into Milwaukee and swept two from the Braves. Don Newcombe (20-6) became the league's first 20-game winner and did it in style, tossing a no-hitter on the last day of the month! His victims were the cross-town Giants as the Polo grounds faithful looked on glumly. He won 9-0, fanning 9 and walking 3. It's the only no-no of the year, so far. Handsome Ransom Jackson (4, 33,.291) made his first appearance in the batting leaders since the end of April, following a torrid month. Not so torrid in the second half is Roy Campanella (9, 31,.168) who has been suffering through a horrible second half of either being injured or looking completely lost at the plate when he manages to stay on the field. Nonetheless, Walt Alston likes Campy in there just the same. By the way, does anyone know what ball park that is in the picture?

STL (18-12)  The Cardinals, obnoxiously healthy all year, suddenly went through a crazy avalanche of injuries, but took 11 of 12 from second division foes all the same.  Such lesser lights as Bobby Del Greco, Ray Katt and Rocky Nelson hit like they'd been burning it up all summer instead of riding the lonesome pine. The hot streak moved the Redbirds back into third place a hair ahead of the Reds. Even season-long punching bag Lindy McDaniel (5-6, 7 saves) complained of having been effective. 

CIN (15-15) The Reds drive your Impartial Goddess crazy. They can be explosive, but are woefully inconsistent. They can go wild, such as when Ed Bailey (28, 76,.302) poled 4 home runs against the Cubs at Wrigley on the 15th, but they can also go to sleep and lose games they ought to win. All the work the bullpen put in in July seemed to catch up with them in August. After notching an astounding 15 saves in July, Hersch Freeman only garnered three in August and saw his e.r.a. double, though it is still a stellar 1.37. Tom Acker (12-4, 1 save) got hit around more than usual,too, though he continued to swoop in for wins. Art "Mr. Six Innings" Fowler (14-6, 3.66) is now the top winner on the staff, because of Brooks Lawrence's winless month which saw his log fall off to 13-11 as he has dropped 5 decisions in a row.  The Reds staff failed to notch a complete game all month!

PHI (13-14) The Quakers had a funny month. They beat the bejabbers out of the haughty Dodgers, taking 5 straight from Brooklyn, and none of the games were even close. However, they had trouble beating anyone else. Robin Roberts (9-14, 3.09) and Curt Simmons (11-12, 2.89) pitched very well, but nobody else did. The Phils still have trouble putting runs together, despite the efforts of Richie Ashburn (.273 after a horrible first half) and Stan Lopata (20, 79,.269). Even Del Ennis is up to 15 HR now, after he couldn't buy one for the first two months of the season. However, Elmer Valo (8, 42,.285) has returned to earth after his crazy-good start with the club after being acquired from the American League. 

CHI (16-14) It was good times in Chicago as the Cubs posted their first winning month and climbed to the dizzy heights of 6th place!  Walt Moryn (22, 79,.271) is a fearsome presence in the Cubs line-up, and has little mercy on National League hurlers. Ernie Banks (19, 72,.267) knows it's me and he never does as well as he should in my replays, but he is still pretty decent. He even improved his defense, making only 1 error all month. Sad Sam Jones (7-10) twice fanned 12 during the month; that's a season high across the entire league.

NY (10-19) Just when the Giants seemed poised to do something at last, they fell on their faces. Willie Mays (24, 65, .272) sucked again in August, and if it weren't for the amazing over-achiever Hank Thompson (22, 73, .279), the Giants might never score at all.  They did get one unbelievable performance during the month, though. On August 5th at the Polo Grounds, Al Worthington (8-14, 4.66) not only went the distance in beating the Cubs; he also cracked a pair of homers--one of them a grand slam--and knocked in 7 runs! Way to go, Al!

PIT (10-18) What to say at this point about the Buccos? Despite placing 4th in the circuit in e.r.a. and 5th in batting average, they lag far behind all of their rivals in runs scored, having plated only 408. Also, they are a distant last in the league in fielding, with 110 errors. One bright spot is hurler Bob Friend (11-12, 2.21) who mowed down enemy batsmen with regularity. "Slugger" Frank Thomas (18, 70, .252) hit just a single round tripper all month. The Pirates stink, and that's all there is to say about them.

PITCHING (league era 3.63)
MIL 2.59 (most sho 22, most cg 56, least runs against 377, least HR 92, least K's 546)
BRK 3.28 
STL 3.65 
PIT 3.71 (least saves 10)
CIN 3.73 (most saves 37, tie least cg 21)
PHI 3.75 
CHI 4.05 (most runs against 607, most K's 724)
NY 4.31 (tie least cg 21,  most HR 123)

BATTING  (league ba .245)
STL .265 (most doubles 222, tie most triples 49, most runs 629)
CIN .256 (most HR 152, least triples 30)
BRK .254 
MIL .246 (least steals 9)
PIT .239 (least runs 408, tie least HR 84)
PHI .234 (least caught stealing 20, most GIDP 111, tie least HR 84)
CHI .233 (tie most triples 49, least doubles 143, least GIDP 77)
NY .227 (most steals 69)

Most errors--PIT 110
Least errros--BRK 62
Most DPs--PHI 126
Least DPs--PIT 91


ERA (127 IP) Spahn-mil 1.65, Burdette-mil 2.03, Newcombe-brk 2.05, Friend-pit 2.21, Dickson-stl 2.36, Craig-brk 2.37, Conley-mil 2.42, Rush-chi 2.56, Simmons-phi 2.89, Crone-mil 2.95

WINS Newcombe-brk 20-6, Spahn-mil 19-9, Conley-mil 16-5, Dickson-stl 15-6, Burdette-mil 15-7, Craig-brk 15-9

SHO Newcombe-brk 8, Spahn-mil 7 

LOSSES Kline-pit 7-16, 3 tied with 14

IP Spahn-mil 251.2, Newcombe-brk 250.1, Dickson-stl 229, Friend-pit 227.2

CG Newcombe-brk 20, Spahn-mil 19, Dickson-stl 17, 3 tied with 13

K'S Jones-chi 171, Spahn-mil 147, Haddix-phi 137, Friend-pit 136, Dickson-stl 129

SAVES Freeman-cin 33, Grissom-ny 25, Bessent-brk 19, Lown-chi 19, R.Miller-phi 15

BA (343 ab) Aaron-mil .323, Boyer-stl .319, Bailey-cin .302, Fondy-chi .292, Klu-cin .292, Jackson-brk 291, Moon-stl .289, Musial-stl .289, Adcock-mil .287, Snider-brk .283

HR Adcock-mil 42, Robinson-cin 32, Snider-brk 31, Bailey-cin 28, Mays-ny 24, Mathews-mil 23

RBI Snider-brk 96, Musial-stl 89, Aaron-mil 87, Adcock-mil 87, Boyer-stl 87, Hodges-brk 87, Mathews-mil 87 

RUNS Robinson-cin 94, Boyer-stl 90, Snider-brk 90, Moon-stl 89, Musial-stl 89

2B Aaron-mil 35, Robinson-cin 35, Jablonski-cin 34, Snider-brk 32, Hodges-brk 30, Lopata-phi 30

3B Bruton-mil 17, Musial-stl 13

STEALS Mays-ny 41, Gilliam-brk 31, Moon-stl 18, White-ny 16

HITS Aaron-mil 170, Boyer-stl 169

GIDP Jablonski-cin 19, Hemus-phi 18, Jones-phi 18, Musial-stl 18

ERRORS Groat-pit 37, Baker-chi 27, Banks-chi 24

See you next time for the Final Report! 99 games to go.

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