Sunday, May 20, 2018

Phillips Lost for Season (1994 Braves)


Every time the Atlanta Braves start to roll over everyone or start looking like the team to beat, they always suffer some unfortunate snag in the plan... Once again, fate has turned towards its ugly side as Tony Phillips fractured his ankle during Atlanta's game against the New York Mets on July 22nd.

The Braves now have a decision to look for a replacement or rely on Ron Gant to take over for him. Gant is more than capable of filling in for Phillips, but doesn't bring the lead-off aspect that Phillips did.

Phillips hit at a .297 clip with 16 home runs, 48 RBI and 83 runs scored. Phillips was the Atlanta Braves' lead-off man, while the team will juggle the lineup to see who will play in that spot of the lineup.

Phillips had an unbelievable .449 on-base percentage & .938 OPS for the season, while he might have been one of the front-runners for this season's N.L. Most Valuable Player Award, along with teammate Dave Justice.

Gant has had limited play this season, starting the season on the disabled list, while losing his left field job due to the emergence of Ryan Klesko. Gant's numbers have improved mightily after a sluggish start, batting .281 with 9 HR, 29 RBI (.912 OPS) in 135 at-bats (50 games) this season.

The Atlanta Braves (63-28) currently lead the N.L. West by 16.5 games over the Houston Astros.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Game #300 (2 Months Later)


For everyone following the 2018 MLB Projection Season that I have been conducting, they would know that I started rolling for this project on March 12th. I rolled my first 100 games in two weeks, but have slowed down the last 6 weeks with 200 more under the belt.

Game #300 would take place on April 22nd of the schedule between the visiting San Francisco Giants (13-7) and the Los Angeles Angels (15-7), a good ol' California Interleague series. 

The game would be all one-sided as the Giants couldn't pull off the sweep in the 3rd game (of this 3-game series), as they got shutout 9-0 by the Angels' Parker Bridwell; Bridwell would allow only 4 hits, while walking 4 with 8 strikeouts. 

Mike Trout went 2-for-4, with a HR & double, BB, 3 RBI & 3 runs, while Ian Kinsler reached base safely four times (which included a RBI double, single & two walks) while scoring three times, and Justin Upton smacked two RBI doubles that combined for 3 RBI. For Trout it was his 10th HR of the season, and only trails the Yankees' Didi Gregorius (11 HR) in the A.L. & MLB home run race.

The Angels ended their 3-game losing streak, which was proceeded by a 11-game winning streak... the longest winning streak in my season, so far. The Giants, meanwhile, are still playing pretty good baseball, winning 5 of their last 7 games. 

Shohei Ohtani Series Update: 3-for-8, BB & 2 RBI (all singles) at the plate, while pitching lousy in Game 2 of the series (L, 3 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 3 K & 1 BB).

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Jordan Rules! Montgomery pitches No-no!

The Blue Jays had no answer for Montgomery.
I am closing in on 300 games in two months, with my latest series of my 2018 MLB Projections Season, between the visiting Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Yankees.

The series opener would be a 4-1 victory with CC Sabathia getting a strong win on his return from the disabled list; Sabathia allowed only 2 hits & one run in 7 innings of work, with 5 K's... Sabathia's bid for a no-hitter was broken up by Devon Travis with one out during the top of the 6th.

Fast forward to the next night, the Toronto Blue Jays once again are having a difficult time putting the barrel on the ball. The Yankees scored quickly once again with a Aaron Judge two-run first-inning homer, the previous night he hit a solo home run in the opening frame of that game as well. Didi Gregorius would hit a solo HR in the 4th, while Giancarlo Stanton added a two-run double in the 8th.

Jordan Montgomery would go on to pitch a no-hitter, but would not come out with a shut-out, as he allowed a 4th inning run. Curtis Granderson led off the 4th by drawing a walk, he would advance to second on a wild pitch, while advancing to third on a ground out (for the 1st out) & then would score on a Teoscar Hernandez ground out to deep short.

Marcus Stroman (6.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 K & 2 BB) would get the loss, as the Toronto Blue Jays fall to 6-15 for the season, while they are 0-6 against the Yankees this season. Two more games remain in the series, the Jays' bats better heat up as they only logged a total of 2 hits in 2 games. They were outscored in the opening series of the season by the score of 28-8, while being out-hit 39-19... which was also a four-game series.

The Yankees' Montgomery joins the Detroit Tigers' Francisco Liriano as the only pitchers to pitch no-hitters during the 2018 MLB Projection Season; Liriano no-hit the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 1st (3rd game of the series), he struck out 6 while walking 4 batters in his effort, as the Tigers won 2-0.



Friday, May 11, 2018

From Quick Game to Long Game

Marwin Gonzalez has been on-base machine against the White Sox.
So for everyone that has ever played the lovely game of APBA Baseball, and for those that have been playing it for a very long time, all know the 'joys' of quick games suddenly transforming into longer or long games.

When playing a massive season project, such as I am with the 2018 MLB Projections Season, we (the rollers) are usually rooting for a quick one, and there is nothing more frustrating than pitchers duels suddenly turning into "we never want to leave the park"baseball.

Case in point, it's April 21st on my MLB Schedule between the Houston Astros and Chicago White Sox, the series is in Chicago. The Astros won Game 1 (the previous night) easily behind great pitching by (who else?) Justin Verlander (8 IP, 5 H, 1 R & 9 K). Game 2 (April 21st) featured a lop-sided pitching match-up between Houston's Dallas Keuchel (Grade B-Y) and  Chicago's Reynaldo Lopez (Grade D-Z).

Reynaldo would actually hold his own, going 5 scoreless innings (3 hits allowed), which is great for him because he can be promoted to a Grade C... the bad news is that he got injured on the last out of that inning covering first base & will now miss the next 8 games.

The first 6 innings there was no scoring by either team, the next three innings would be teeter-top madness, and you all know exactly what I mean, if you played this game long enough you will see the wackiest things unfold.

The Houston Astros struck first with an RBI double by Yuri Gurriel during the top of the 7th, the White Sox answered back with a two-run homer by rookie Daniel Palka, who by the end of the game, had one heck of a rookie debut.

Down 2-1, top of the 8th -- The White Sox relievers Juan Minaya and Gregory Infante would team-up to give up 5 runs, the capper being a Grand Slam by Carlos Correa (off of Infante)... So Game over, Astros' bullpen closes the game out, right? RIGHT?!?!

Nope.

Brad Peacock came back in to pitch the 8th, after two quick outs in the 7th. He would walk two batters & leave men on 1st & 2nd for Welington Castillo. Castillo's card has a lot of pop, and I believe his HR rate for this Projections Season is even better than his 2017 rate at this point, so Houston calls on Will Harris (Grade B-XYZ, but bumped up to A-XYZ for 1st batter) to face him, hoping for a double-play... nope, three-run home run & the White Sox are now only down by a single run. The White Sox would follow that with back-to-back-to-back doubles by Matt Davidson, Daniel Palka & Tim Anderson (Palka and Anderson with ribbies) to take a 7-6 lead after 8 innings.

White Sox call on their closer Joakim Soria, but a two-base, one-out error by Daniel Palka in left opened up another scoring threat, with Jose Altuve capitalizing on the opportunity two batters later.

The 10th & 11th Innings would be silent, until the 12th.

Top of the 12th, Marwin Gonzalez and George Springer each hit two-run home runs (both off of Luis Avilan) to give the Astros a 11-7 lead...

Once again, the White Sox don't go away quietly, the Astros' closer in a non-save situation (4 runs up), would allow a lead-off HR to Avisail Garcia. Garcia's home run was followed by two quick outs in Jose Abreu (Fly-out) and Welington Castillo (pop-out). With one more out to get, Matt Davidson and Daniel Palka would hit back-to-back home runs, to make it once again, a one-run game. Houston calls on Hector Rondon & he closes the door on Tim Anderson & the White Sox.

Marwin Gonzalez has been an on-base machine against the White Sox, reaching base 10 times out of 11 plate appearances during the first two games of this series. He went 5-for-5, with a double & 3 RBI during the first game, while he drew 3 walks, 2 hits & 3 RBI (including his 12th Inning two-run HR).

White Sox' rookie Daniel Palka had an impressive MLB debut going 4-for-6, with 2 HR, 2B, 4 RBI & 3 runs.

The Houston Astros improve to 17-5, while the Chicago White Sox fall to 9-12.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

2018 MLB Projections Season Highlights (April 5th)

From time to time, I will post my season highlights so far, I am actually on the April 19th segment of the schedule, but here is some action from a few weeks back.



April 5th
  • The Colorado Rockies are getting the most out of their Grade C & Grade D starting pitchers, and Kyle Freeland (C) was one of those, pitching 5.1 innings, allowing only one earned run; Jonathan Gray pitched a 3-hit, 1 ER (6 inning) performance the day before. Colorado's goal is to get 5-6 strong innings from them, and then go to their stellar bullpen. Three-Run home runs by Nolan Arenado and David Dahl, along with Chris Iannetta's 3rd HR in 4 days certainly helped. Rockies defeat Padres, 8-2.
  • Young Dixon Machado hit lead-off for the Tigers for the first time, and got on base four times, going 3-4, all singles, 2 RBI with a BB. Victor Martinez & Nick Castellanos each homered to help the Tigers edge the White Sox, 7-5. 
  • A big late four-run inning in the 8th helped the Miami Marlins defeat the Phillies, 7-6... highlighted by Justin Bour's two-run HR.
  • Jacob deGrom pitches 7 strong innings for the New York Mets, allowing only 6 hits, 1 walk & two runs, while striking out 12 Nationals. Wilmer Flores & Micheal Conforto each went 2-for-4 with a HR & double, helping the Mets win 4-2.
  • Chris Davis's Grand Slam could not help the Baltimore Orioles topple the Yankees, as the edge the Orioles, 6-5. Aaron Hick's three-run triple, along with home runs by Gary Sanchez & Didi Gregorius. Aroldis Chapman closed the door with his 2nd Save of the season, as the Yankees improve to a undefeated 7-0.
  • A total collapse by the Tampa Bay bullpen (Dan Jennings, now with Milwaukee) in the 8th, allowed the Red Sox to defeat Tampa, 6-4; J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers each hit two-run homers in the 8th.
  • Holy Smoak, Batman! That's Justin Smoak of the Toronto Blue Jays, who went 3-for-6, with 2 three-run homers with a double (6 RBI day), to help Toronto defeat Texas, 10-3. Josh Donaldson also had a big day, going 3-for-5 (all doubles), 4 RBI, BB & 2 runs. 
  • The Chicago Cubs score 10 runs in the 4th inning alone, while the Brewers scored 6 runs earlier in the 2nd inning, as the Cubs outpace the Brew Crew, 11-7. Willson Contreras and Javier Baez each homered. Mike Montgomery pitches 4 innings of no earned runs, taking over for Yu Darvish who got knocked out of the game, allowing 6 ER in only 1.2 innings.
  • The Cincinnati Reds win a 15-9 shootout with the Pittsburgh Pirates, as both teams combined for 27 hits & 7 HR. Scott Schebler (2-for-5, Grand Slam), Eugenio Suarez (2-for-3, HR, SF, BB & 4 RBI), Scooter Gennett (2-for-4, HR, 3 RBI) & Joey Votto (solo HR) all homered for the Reds, while Josh Bell (2-for-5, HR, 3 RBI & 3 runs), David Freese (3-Run HR) & Elias Diaz (solo HR) all homered for the Buccos.
  • The Arizona Diamondbacks were powered by 4 HR in a 7-1 victory over the Cardinals, while Robbie Ray was excellent on the mound, allowing 6 hits & a run to go along with his 10 K in a 8-inning effort. Paul Goldschmidt (2-for-4, 2 HR & 4 RBI), Jake Lamb (2-Run HR) & Chris Owings (2-for-4, HR & 2B) each homered.
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