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Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates, Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, PA
September 17, 1989


Introduction

The Chicago Cubs were the surprise team of 1989. After win totals of 77, 70, 76, and 77 from 1985 - 1988, the Cubs entered play on September 17th with 84 wins and a 5-1/2 game lead in the NL East. Their opponent on this day, the Pittsburgh Pirates entered play in fifth place with a record of 67-80 (plus two ties).

The pitching matchup for this Sunday day game, the rubber game of the three-game series, was Doug Drabek (12-11) vs. Mike Bielecki (16-6).

First Inning
The Cubs threatened in the top of the first inning. A one-out double by Ryne Sandberg and a groundout to the right side by Dwight Smith put a runner on third base. But Drabek bore down and struck out Mark Grace to end the threat.

The Pirates' leadoff hitter was a 25-year-old outfielder who had shown some promise in his four-year career to that point, Barry Bonds. Bonds hit a deep fly ball off of Bielecki, but he hit it to the deepest part of the park, where it was caught by Cubs center fielder Jerome Walton. The next batter, Jay Bell, singled to center field. But he could get no farther than first base.

Second Inning
A two-out single by Shawon Dunston was wasted in the Cubs' half of the second inning.

For the Pirates, R.J. Reynolds hit a leadoff double and went to third base as Gary Redus grounded out for the first out of the inning. But neither Mike LaValliere nor Jose Lind could bring Reynolds home and the game remained scoreless.

Third Inning
The pitching duel continued in the third inning, which saw three strikeouts and only one baserunner, Jay Bell had a two-out infield single for the Pirates, his second hit of the day.

Fourth Inning
In the top of the fourth inning, Dwight Smith led off with a single but was quickly eliminated when Mark Grace hit into a double play. Marvell Wynne struck out and the game moved to the bottom of the fourth inning.

Finally, one of the offenses broke through.

Bobby Bonilla and Reynolds singled, putting runners on the corners with nobody out. Redus hit a ground ball to Vance Law at third base. Law got Reynolds at second base but Redus beat the relay and Bonilla scored the game's first run. Mike LaValliere walked and Jose Lind slipped a ground ball up the middle with Redus scoring from second base.

That brought up pitcher Doug Drabek. Rather than have him try to bunt the runners into scoring position for Bonds, Drabek swung away. And while he hit a line drive, he hit it right to Shawon Dunston who caught it and stepped on second base for the inning-ending double play.

But the Pirates had the 2-0 lead. Would it be enough?

Fifth - Sixth Innings
For the next two innings, it looked like the Pirates' lead would hold as Drabek put the Cubs down 1-2-3 in both the fifth and sixth innings. But the Pirates were unable to build on their lead, with their only baserunner being Jay Bell, who singled for the third time in the game, in the fifth inning.

Seventh Inning
Finally, the Cubs showed some life in the top of the seventh. Mark Grace hit a one-out double and Marvell Wynne followed with an infield single, putting runners on first and third with only one out. Vance Law, however, hit a ground ball to Jay Bell at short. Bell stepped on second and threw to first to complete the 6-3 double play and the Pirates lead remained at 2-0.

The Pirates were unable, however, to build upon that lead in the bottom of the seventh inning and Les Lancaster finished up a perfect 2-inning relief stint with his second straight 1-2-3 inning.

Eighth Inning
Shawon Dunston grounded out to lead off the top of the eighth inning. Trying something to jump-start the offense, the Cubs turned to pinch hitter Lloyd McClendon. The best baseball player in the history of my college alma mater (Valparaiso University) singled. But a force play and a pop-out later and Doug Drabek had eight shutout innings in the book.

The bottom of the eighth inning saw a new battery for the Cubs, pitcher Scott Sanderson (Gary Varsho pinch hit for Lancaster following McClendon's single) and catcher ... Lloyd McClendon. I did not remember that Lloyd McClendon played 50 games at catcher in his major-league career (including 17 starts)!

The Cubs finally retired Jay Bell but Andy Van Slyke walked and Bobby Bonilla singled. Sanderson settled down, however, and retired R.J. Reynolds (strikeout) and Gary Redus (fly out to right field) and the Pirates had to be content with a 2-0 lead going into the ninth inning.

Ninth Inning
The 1989 season to date had been magical for the Cubs and they seemed well-positioned for another comeback here in the ninth with their 2-3-4 hitters due.

Ryne Sandberg kept hope alive with a single to left field. Dwight Smith struck out but Mark Grace's second hit of the game put the tying run on base with only one out. Marvell Wynne flew out to left field, however, and the Cubs were down to their final out.

Third baseman Vance Law was due up, but off the bench came "The Hawk", Andre Dawson, two years removed from his 1987 MVP award and 21 years away from being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Injuries had limited Dawson to only 106 of the Cubs first 148 games, but he had gone 2-for-5 with a home run and two RBI the previous day. Could the Hawk come through again?

Alas, he could not. Drabek struck out Dawson to finish off the complete-game shutout for his 13th win of the season.

Game Summary

The star of the game, obviously, was Doug Drabek, who pitched a complete game, allowing eight hits, no walks, and getting seven strikeouts. Jay Bell led all batters with three hits - although none figured in the scoring. The other offensive stars of the game were Bobby Bonilla and R.J. Reynolds, who had two hits apiece, including one each in the Pirates' two-run fourth inning.

For the 1989 Cubs, this day's 2-0 loss ended up being mostly a blip. It was the Cubs' second straight loss and after winning the next day, they lost two more - for a total of four losses in five games, seeing their lead in the NL East slip to three games. They rebounded, however, to win their next four games and close the season winning 7 of their final 9 games, winning the NL East by six games.

The 1989 Pirates, meanwhile, finished in fifth place with a record of 74-88. But the Pirates were not down for long. In 1990, the Pirates improved their record by 18 games, winning the NL East for the first of three consecutive seasons. The 1990 season was the first MVP season in Barry Bonds's career and was also the finest season of Doug Drabek's career, as he won 22 games and the Cy Young award.

Details of the game are shown below. First, I show Player won-lost records for all of the players who participated in the game. Baseball Player won-lost records are constructed so that the players on the winning team earn two pWins and one pLoss in the game while the players on the losing team earn one pWin and two pLosses. I also show expected wins and losses, eWins and eLosses, which are context-neutral. Full play by play details of the game are shown below the won-lost tables. My Player won-lost records are described in more detail in this article and throughout my website.

Retrosheet Box Score and Play-by-Play


Runs by Inning

 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Final
Chicago Cubs0000000000
Pittsburgh Pirates00020000x2


Player Won-Lost Records by Player: Summary

Basic Player Won-Lost Records
(sorted by net pWins)
pWins pLosses Net pWins eWins eLosses Net eWins
 
Chicago Cubs
Lloyd McClendon0.040.00
0.04
0.040.010.03
Les Lancaster0.030.00
0.03
0.080.000.08
Scott Sanderson0.020.02
-0.00
0.060.08-0.01
Dwight Smith Sr.0.170.19
-0.01
0.130.080.05
Ryne Sandberg0.140.15
-0.01
0.160.130.02
Curtis Wilkerson0.000.04
-0.04
0.000.02-0.02
Rick Wrona0.000.04
-0.04
0.000.05-0.04
Mike Bielecki0.260.32
-0.06
0.230.190.05
Andre Dawson0.000.06
-0.06
0.000.02-0.02
Gary Varsho0.020.09
-0.07
0.020.04-0.02
Shawon Dunston0.030.12
-0.09
0.070.09-0.02
Jerome Walton0.050.17
-0.12
0.060.15-0.09
Marvell Wynne0.090.23
-0.14
0.040.10-0.05
Mark Grace0.120.29
-0.17
0.120.13-0.01
Vance Law0.040.29
-0.25
0.040.16-0.12
Team Totals12
-1
1.061.24-0.18
   
   
Pittsburgh Pirates
Doug Drabek0.780.29
0.49
0.450.280.17
Jay Bell0.290.07
0.22
0.210.080.13
R.J. Reynolds0.220.03
0.19
0.120.060.06
Andy Van Slyke0.200.09
0.11
0.130.100.03
Bobby Bonilla0.120.05
0.06
0.110.090.02
Jose Lind0.140.13
0.01
0.070.12-0.05
Albert Hall0.000.00
-0.00
0.000.01-0.01
Gary Redus0.120.12
-0.00
0.100.11-0.01
Barry Bonds0.040.07
-0.02
0.020.11-0.09
Mike LaValliere0.080.14
-0.05
0.030.11-0.08
Team Totals21
1
1.241.060.18


Player Won-Lost Records by Player: Detail

Player Won-Lost Records: Batting
(sorted by net pWins)
pWins pLosses Net pWins eWins eLosses Net eWins
 
Chicago Cubs
Ryne Sandberg0.100.04
0.07
0.110.050.06
Lloyd McClendon0.040.00
0.04
0.030.000.03
Mike Bielecki0.000.03
-0.03
0.000.02-0.02
Curtis Wilkerson0.000.04
-0.04
0.000.02-0.02
Rick Wrona0.000.04
-0.04
0.000.04-0.04
Mark Grace0.110.17
-0.05
0.110.080.04
Shawon Dunston0.010.07
-0.06
0.030.04-0.01
Andre Dawson0.000.06
-0.06
0.000.02-0.02
Gary Varsho0.020.08
-0.07
0.020.04-0.02
Dwight Smith Sr.0.050.15
-0.10
0.040.06-0.01
Jerome Walton0.010.12
-0.11
0.020.10-0.08
Marvell Wynne0.090.21
-0.13
0.040.09-0.04
Vance Law0.000.21
-0.21
0.000.10-0.10
Team Totals0.431.21
-0.78
0.420.67-0.25
   
   
Pittsburgh Pirates
R.J. Reynolds0.220.02
0.20
0.110.040.07
Jay Bell0.070.01
0.06
0.110.030.08
Jose Lind0.110.05
0.06
0.050.050.01
Bobby Bonilla0.070.03
0.04
0.090.060.04
Gary Redus0.090.11
-0.01
0.080.09-0.01
Mike LaValliere0.070.13
-0.05
0.030.09-0.06
Barry Bonds0.000.05
-0.05
0.000.08-0.08
Andy Van Slyke0.010.06
-0.06
0.030.06-0.04
Doug Drabek0.000.08
-0.08
0.000.08-0.08
Team Totals0.650.53
0.12
0.500.58-0.08


Player Won-Lost Records: Baserunning
(sorted by net pWins)
pWins pLosses Net pWins eWins eLosses Net eWins
 
Chicago Cubs
Lloyd McClendon0.000.00
-0.00
0.000.00-0.00
Gary Varsho0.000.00
-0.00
0.000.00-0.00
Shawon Dunston0.000.00
-0.00
0.000.00-0.00
Ryne Sandberg0.010.01
-0.00
0.010.000.01
Dwight Smith Sr.0.000.00
-0.00
0.000.00-0.00
Marvell Wynne0.000.01
-0.01
0.000.00-0.00
Mark Grace0.000.08
-0.08
0.000.03-0.03
Team Totals0.010.11
-0.10
0.020.05-0.03
   
   
Pittsburgh Pirates
Bobby Bonilla0.020.00
0.02
0.010.000.01
Gary Redus0.010.00
0.01
0.010.000.01
Jose Lind0.000.00
-0.00
0.000.00-0.00
Jay Bell0.000.00
-0.00
0.000.00-0.00
Andy Van Slyke0.000.00
-0.00
0.000.01-0.01
R.J. Reynolds0.000.01
-0.01
0.010.01-0.00
Mike LaValliere0.000.01
-0.01
0.000.02-0.02
Team Totals0.040.03
0.00
0.050.09-0.05


Player Won-Lost Records: Pitching
(sorted by net pWins)
pWins pLosses Net pWins eWins eLosses Net eWins
 
Chicago Cubs
Les Lancaster0.030.00
0.03
0.080.000.08
Scott Sanderson0.020.02
-0.00
0.060.08-0.01
Mike Bielecki0.260.29
-0.03
0.230.160.07
Team Totals0.300.31
-0.01
0.420.330.09
   
   
Pittsburgh Pirates
Doug Drabek0.780.21
0.56
0.450.200.25
Team Totals0.780.21
0.56
0.450.200.25


Player Won-Lost Records: Fielding
(sorted by net pWins)
pWins pLosses Net pWins eWins eLosses Net eWins
 
Chicago Cubs
Dwight Smith Sr.0.120.04
0.09
0.090.020.07
Rick Wrona0.000.00
0.00
0.000.000.00
Lloyd McClendon0.000.00
0.00
0.000.000.00
Marvell Wynne0.000.01
-0.01
0.000.00-0.00
Jerome Walton0.040.05
-0.01
0.040.05-0.00
Shawon Dunston0.020.05
-0.04
0.040.05-0.01
Mark Grace0.000.04
-0.04
0.010.02-0.01
Vance Law0.040.08
-0.04
0.040.07-0.03
Ryne Sandberg0.030.11
-0.08
0.030.08-0.05
Team Totals0.260.38
-0.11
0.260.29-0.03
   
   
Pittsburgh Pirates
Andy Van Slyke0.200.02
0.17
0.110.030.08
Jay Bell0.220.05
0.16
0.100.040.06
Barry Bonds0.040.02
0.03
0.020.02-0.01
Mike LaValliere0.010.00
0.00
0.000.000.00
Gary Redus0.020.01
0.00
0.010.01-0.01
Bobby Bonilla0.020.02
0.00
0.010.03-0.02
Albert Hall0.000.00
-0.00
0.000.01-0.01
R.J. Reynolds0.000.00
-0.00
0.000.00-0.00
Jose Lind0.030.08
-0.05
0.020.07-0.06
Team Totals0.530.22
0.31
0.260.230.03




Play-by-Play Summary

Baserunner on _ BaseOuts at _ of PlayTotal pWins byTotal eWins by
Play ResultBatterPitcher1st2nd3rdStartEndOffenseDefenseOffenseDefense
Top of 1st Inning
6/P6MDwaltj001drabd001010.00000.02480.00000.0202
D7/G5sandr001drabd001110.03550.00270.06320.0014
31/G34.2-3smitd003drabd001sandr001120.00080.04130.00200.0118
Kgracm001drabd001sandr001230.00000.04400.00000.0219
Total Runs Scored:0
 
Bottom of 1st Inning
8/F8XDbondb001bielm001010.00000.01910.00000.0210
S8/G6Mbellj001bielm001110.03160.00020.03120.0006
Kvansa001bielm001bellj001120.00050.02780.00030.0211
5/P56Sbonib001bielm001bellj001230.00000.01530.00030.0204
Total Runs Scored:0
 
Baserunner on _ BaseOuts at _ of PlayTotal pWins byTotal eWins by
Play ResultBatterPitcher1st2nd3rdStartEndOffenseDefenseOffenseDefense
Top of 2nd Inning
43/G4wynnm001drabd001010.00000.02830.00000.0219
8/P8Slaw-v001drabd001120.00000.02390.00000.0210
S8/G6Mdunss001drabd001220.01060.00240.03120.0006
63/G6wronr001drabd001dunss001230.00000.02510.00020.0235
Total Runs Scored:0
 
Bottom of 2nd Inning
D8/L78reynr001bielm001000.08740.00000.06870.0000
43/G4.2-3redug001bielm001reynr001010.01800.01850.00240.0121
9/P9Slavam001bielm001reynr001120.02910.12050.00140.0695
8/F89lindj002bielm001reynr001230.00000.04370.00120.0220
Total Runs Scored:0
 
Baserunner on _ BaseOuts at _ of PlayTotal pWins byTotal eWins by
Play ResultBatterPitcher1st2nd3rdStartEndOffenseDefenseOffenseDefense
Top of 3rd Inning
Kbielm001drabd001010.00000.02840.00000.0210
Kwaltj001drabd001120.00000.02420.00000.0210
8/F78XDsandr001drabd001230.00000.01500.00000.0210
Total Runs Scored:0
 
Bottom of 3rd Inning
3/P3Fdrabd001bielm001010.00000.01970.00000.0196
Kbondb001bielm001120.00000.01760.00000.0210
S6/G56bellj001bielm001220.01860.00420.03640.0049
43/G4vansa001bielm001bellj001230.00000.02050.00030.0231
Total Runs Scored:0
 
Baserunner on _ BaseOuts at _ of PlayTotal pWins byTotal eWins by
Play ResultBatterPitcher1st2nd3rdStartEndOffenseDefenseOffenseDefense
Top of 4th Inning
S8/L8Ssmitd003drabd001000.04870.00570.04290.0042
6(1)3/GDP/G6Mgracm001drabd001smitd003020.00000.11310.00020.0571
Kwynnm001drabd001230.00000.01520.00000.0210
Total Runs Scored:0
 
Bottom of 4th Inning
S9/G34bonib001bielm001000.05730.00270.03390.0032
S9/G34.1-3reynr001bielm001bonib001000.14740.00270.05040.0012
54(1)/FO/G5.3-H;B-1redug001bielm001reynr001bonib001010.08170.07970.08150.0442
W.1-2lavam001bielm001redug001110.04740.00030.02720.0003
S8/G4M.2-H;1-2lindj002bielm001lavam001redug001110.12100.01130.06310.0106
6(B)6(2)/LDP/L6Mdrabd001bielm001lindj002lavam001130.00000.05310.00020.0453
Total Runs Scored:2
 
Baserunner on _ BaseOuts at _ of PlayTotal pWins byTotal eWins by
Play ResultBatterPitcher1st2nd3rdStartEndOffenseDefenseOffenseDefense
Top of 5th Inning
63/G6Mlaw-v001drabd001010.00000.03400.00000.0223
8/F89Ddunss001drabd001120.00000.02670.00000.0210
Kwronr001drabd001230.00000.01310.00000.0210
Total Runs Scored:0
 
Bottom of 5th Inning
5/P56Sbondb001bielm001010.00000.00980.00000.0193
S8/L8Sbellj001bielm001110.02090.00150.04290.0042
8/F78Dvansa001bielm001bellj001120.00020.01720.00050.0225
8/F8bonib001bielm001bellj001230.00000.01010.00040.0218
Total Runs Scored:0
 
Baserunner on _ BaseOuts at _ of PlayTotal pWins byTotal eWins by
Play ResultBatterPitcher1st2nd3rdStartEndOffenseDefenseOffenseDefense
Top of 6th Inning
43/G4wilkc001drabd001010.00000.03510.00000.0219
8/L8waltj001drabd001120.01240.04760.01700.0394
4/P4Msandr001drabd001230.00000.01490.00000.0201
Total Runs Scored:0
 
Bottom of 6th Inning
43/G34reynr001lancl001010.00000.00930.00000.0219
53/G56redug001lancl001120.00000.00890.00000.0228
3/G3lavam001lancl001230.00000.00530.00000.0223
Total Runs Scored:0
 
Baserunner on _ BaseOuts at _ of PlayTotal pWins byTotal eWins by
Play ResultBatterPitcher1st2nd3rdStartEndOffenseDefenseOffenseDefense
Top of 7th Inning
8/F8Dsmitd003drabd001010.00000.03690.00000.0210
D8/L89gracm001drabd001110.05460.00000.06870.0000
S8/G4M.2-3wynnm001drabd001gracm001110.08620.13510.04410.0540
6(1)3/GDP/G6Mlaw-v001drabd001wynnm001gracm001130.00000.16020.00030.0568
Total Runs Scored:0
 
Bottom of 7th Inning
8/F8lindj002lancl001010.00000.00710.00000.0210
63/G6Mdrabd001lancl001120.00000.00650.00000.0223
43/G34bondb001lancl001230.00000.00380.00000.0219
Total Runs Scored:0
 
Baserunner on _ BaseOuts at _ of PlayTotal pWins byTotal eWins by
Play ResultBatterPitcher1st2nd3rdStartEndOffenseDefenseOffenseDefense
Top of 8th Inning
53/G5dunss001drabd001010.00000.03800.00000.0228
S8/G6Mmccll001drabd001110.03670.00020.03120.0006
64(1)/FO/G6.B-1varsg001drabd001mccll001120.02030.08880.02910.0486
6/P6Mwaltj001drabd001varsg001230.00000.02820.00020.0211
Total Runs Scored:0
 
Bottom of 8th Inning
K23bellj001sands001010.00000.00380.00000.0210
Wvansa001sands001110.00740.00000.02700.0000
S9/L34D.1-2bonib001sands001vansa001110.01720.00720.05790.0228
Kreynr001sands001bonib001vansa001120.00000.00760.00000.0217
9/F9redug001sands001bonib001vansa001230.00000.00800.00050.0229
Total Runs Scored:0
 
Baserunner on _ BaseOuts at _ of PlayTotal pWins byTotal eWins by
Play ResultBatterPitcher1st2nd3rdStartEndOffenseDefenseOffenseDefense
Top of 9th Inning
S7/L56Dsandr001drabd001000.06540.00310.04840.0085
Ksmitd003drabd001sandr001010.00340.06580.00300.0211
S9/G34.1-2gracm001drabd001sandr001110.06150.01430.05200.0010
7/F7wynnm001drabd001gracm001sandr001120.00080.11700.00070.0240
Kdawsa001drabd001gracm001sandr001230.00000.06110.00000.0222
Total Runs Scored:0
 

Traditional Box Score and Play-by-Play

Article last updated: March 24, 2020



All articles are written so that they pull data directly from the most recent version of the Player won-lost database. Hence, any numbers cited within these articles should automatically incorporate the most recent update to Player won-lost records. In some cases, however, the accompanying text may have been written based on previous versions of Player won-lost records. I apologize if this results in non-sensical text in any cases.

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