Saturday, May 20, 2017

2017 Panthers Report

I could not have been any happier with the outcome of the 2017 BoS Annual Draft for our Boys of Summer APBA Baseball League. Every team had a chance to draft a stud with what was our deepest draft yet.

My Traverse City Panthers were very happy with their results. A few days prior to the draft, we happened to have 2 1st Round draft picks (#6 & #16) and two 2nd Round picks (#22 & #26). Then just before the draft, the Portland Microbrewers and Traverse City produced a huge deal, in which Panthers traded their #6 & #16 overall for Portland's 1st Round (#2 overall, that they acquired from Seattle) & #28 (2nd Round pick).


This trade now gave Panthers, a higher 1st Rd pick & a bundle of 2nd Round picks at #22, #26 & #28. I drafted Red Sox' future star & Baseball's consensus top prospect Andrew Benintendi (more on him, later in post). I knew to make the gamble of moving up from #6 to #2, while trading down #16 to #28, I really had to make it all worth it. I hoped for some solid stuff to fall down in that bundle of 2nd Round picks...

The results could not have been any better. I was shocked to get the Pirates' Tyler Glasnow at #22 overall, Carson Fulmer (White Sox SP) at #26 & when it Hunter Renfroe fell to me at #28 overall -- despite the fact, that I have enough outfielders, I really could not pass him up.

Carson Fulmer (right) plans to make his paw print for the Panthers.

I landed a deal with the Seattle Rainiers, in which I finally acquired an everyday starting catcher in Jonathan Lucroy -- I'm very excited about full seasons to come of Lucroy playing in a offensive launching pad in Arlington. The trade cost me Masahiro Tanaka, but I am not completely sold on Tanaka's arm being alright... the guy I will miss most from the deal, was trading reliever Kelvin Herrera. The good news is a league of just 16 teams, relievers practically grow on trees. In the deal, I also landed Yasmany Tomas & Brad Miller, with a upgrade to a second pick that led to the drafting of Carson Fulmer.

I made little trades prior to the draft, in trading away guys that I was going to release during our roster cuts deadline anyways; I traded 2B/OF-Josh Harrison for the Swatara Eliminators' 7th Round Draft Selection, which would end up being the Pirates' young starter in Chad Kuhl -- while I also made a deal with Portland in trading rehab project Alex Cobb (SP) & outfielder Jarrett Parker, in which I acquired a 9th Round Draft Pick, which I used on a southpaw reliever in Ian Krol.

Scouting on Kuhl reminds me of when I noticed Corey Kluber, under the radar, a gold nugget found in a barrel of gravel. I didn't get Kluber in the inaugural 2013 BoS Draft, but I would acquire him early in that inaugural season, in a deal that still haunts the Portland Microbrewers, my team was going nowhere out of the gates, so I traded both Matt Harrison & Brandon Morrow (who were both Grade B starting pitchers at the time), along with OF-Austin Jackson & a 3rd Round Draft Pick to the Brewers in exchange for Kluber, SP-Nathan Eovaldi & OF/DH-Ryan Raburn... in all fairness, for that time, I thought Portland owner Brad Stark was getting the better deal, I believed in Kluber, but did not expect Harrison & Morrow to never rebound... plus I was taking a more calculated risk with a question mark in Eovaldi (and he has been a huge question mark since) & platoon-beast/full-time starter dud Raburn. In the long run... yes, I won that deal.

During this draft, I knew at the end of the draft I would have to make four additional roster cuts. I had 6 picks left, and I knew I would also have to depart the ending of the draft to make it work in time. So I decided I would just PASS on my last 4 rounds... I kept seeing a few guys that I wanted for my roster, so I would traded a player on my roster for an upcoming pick....

I traded Jorge Polanco away to the Fairgrove Tigers, so I could acquire a 7th Round Pick in Jorge Alfaro, I acquired Alfaro as a defensive upgrade on Tom Murphy. Murphy, recently injured for Colorado & known more for his offense, was now expendable... which led to Murphy being traded the next round to division rival Holland Hitchhikers, in which I acquired their 8th Rd Draft Pick, which I chose Washington reliever Koda Glover... then with my last pick, I needed some future depth at third behind Nick Castellanos, and drafted Atlanta's Rio Ruiz. Polanco will probably come back to haunt me, but I had so much depth at the shortstop & middle infield positions.

Here is the result of my draft in overall order....

  • 1st Round (#2 Overall) - OF - Andrew Benintendi (Boston)
  • 2nd Round (#22 Overall) - SP - Tyler Glasnow (Pittsburgh)
  • 2nd Round (#26 Overall) - P - Carson Fulmer (Chicago-A)
  • 2nd Round (#28 Overall) - OF - Hunter Renfroe (San Diego)
  • 3rd Round (#38 Overall) - SP - Reynaldo Lopez (Chicago-A)
  • 4th Round (#54 Overall) - OF - Albert Almora, Jr. (Chicago-N)
  • 5th Round (#76 Overall) - RP - Michael Lorenzen (Cincinnati)
  • 6th Round (#86 Overall) - RP - Michael Feliz (Houston)
  • 7th Round (#100 Overall) - SP - Chad Kuhl (Pittsburgh)
  • 7th Round (#112 Overall) - C - Jorge Alfaro (Philadelphia)
  • 8th Round (#118 Overall) - 1B - C.J. Cron (Los Angeles-A)
  • 8th Round (#127 Overall) - RP - Koda Glover (Washington)
  • 9th Round (#134 Overall) - 3B - Rio Ruiz (Atlanta)
  • 9th Round (#140 Overall) - RP - Ian Krol (Atlanta)
  • Passed on last 3 Round Picks.
I could not have been more thrilled in my draft results, plus with the amount of players that I acquired in deals, my depth went from nil to excellent... with good players searching for playing time. I feel great about getting C.J. Cron in the 8th Round, he could be a great shipping piece for me, if people notice their current BoS first basemen struggling during their 2017 MLB Season. I am a team that is still trying to build, I really love the direction of our ball club... there was definitely some strategy by drafting Cron -- I could not go wrong with that pick.

Extra depth & possible trade chip, not bad for 8th Rd pick.

To give you an example of how far my depth has come along since the beginning of last season, I will break down each position by showing you my opening day situations in 2016 & 2017... The stats to the right are the MLB numbers, so for the 2016 guys, it would be actual 2015 stats... while for 2017, it would be naturally be the 2016 MLB stats. (italics - not a member of 2017 team)

CATCHER


2016
  • Jason Castro     (.211, 11 HR, 31 RBI & .648 OPS)
  • Travis d'Arnaud     (.268, 12 HR, 41 RBI & .826 OPS)
  • Robinson Chirinos     (.232, 10 HR, 34 RBI & .762 OPS)
  • Tom Murphy     (.257, 3 HR, 9 RBI & .876 OPS)     
2017
  • Jonathan Lucroy     (.292, 24 HR, 81 RBI & .855 OPS)
  • Travis d' Arnaud     (.247, 4 HR, 15 RBI & .629 OPS)

FIRST BASEMAN

2016
  • Miguel Cabrera     (.338, 18 HR. 76 RBI & .974 OPS)
  • Marwin Gonzalez     (.279, 12 HR, 34 RBI & .759 OPS)
2017
  • Miguel Cabrera     (.316, 38 HR, 108 RBI & .956 OPS)
  • Brad Miller     (.243, 30 HR, 81 RBI & .786 OPS)
  • C.J. Cron     (.278, 16 HR, 69 RBI & .792 OPS)
Brad Miller will be playing everywhere for my Panthers, I have Jean Segura at shortstop already, with Jose Peraza waiting in the wings -- so with Miller capable of playing 1B & OF, we plan to play him there, plus at DH. Cron will also get some time at DH as well.


Bull-Dozier: Dozier hit a career-high 42 HR for the Minnesota Twins in 2016.



SECOND BASEMAN

2016
  • Brian Dozier     (.236, 28 HR, 77 RBI & .751 OPS)
  • Josh Harrison     (.287, 4 HR, 28 RBI & .717 OPS)
  • Jose Peraza     (.182, 0 HR, 1 RBI & .568 OPS)
2017
  • Brian Dozier     (.268, 42 HR, 99 RBI & .886 OPS)
  • Jose Peraza     (.324, 3 HR, 25 RBI & .762 OPS)

SHORTSTOP

2016
  • Jean Segura     (.257, 6 HR, 50 RBI & .616 OPS)
  • Wilmer Flores     (.263, 16 HR, 59 RBI & .703 OPS)
  • Jorge Polanco     (.300, 0 HR, 1 RBI & .717 OPS)
2017
  • Jean Segura     (.319, 20 HR, 64 RBI & .925 OPS)
There is plenty of players that would fill in for Segura on one of his few days off, being Brad Miller, Jose Peraza or Wilmer Flores; Segura played in 153 games for the Diamondbacks last season.

Panther Shortstop Segura has been a Panther from the beginning.


THIRD BASEMAN

2016
  • Josh Donaldson     (.297, 41 HR, 123 RBI & .939 OPS)
  • Josh Harrison     (.287, 4 HR, 28 RBI & .717 OPS)
2017
  • Nick Castellanos     (.285, 18 HR, 58 RBI & .827 OPS)
  • Wilmer Flores     (.267, 16 HR, 49 RBI & .788 OPS)
Nick Castellanos came to Traverse City in a trade with the eventual World Champion Fairgrove Tigers, in a deal involving Josh Donaldson. Donaldson was traded along with OF-Nori Aoki & a 6th Round Draft Pick in exchange for Castellanos, SP-Yordana Ventura & a 3rd Rd Draft Pick. Ventura (after his unfortunate death, prior to this season) was traded back to Fairgrove in exchange for that same 6th Rd Draft selection (which Panthers selected RP-Micheal Feliz); The 3rd Round DP that the Panthers acquired would be packaged in the deal that would get the Panthers the #2 overall pick to acquire Benintendi.


DESIGNATED HITTERS

2016
  • Matt Carpenter     (.272, 28 HR, 84 RBI & .871 OPS)
  • Derek Dietrich     (.256, 10 HR, 24 RBI & .802 OPS)
2017
  • Brad Miller     (.243, 30 HR, 81 RBI & .786 OPS)
  • Brandon Drury     (.282, 16 HR, 53 RBI & .786 OPS)  
  • C.J. Cron     (.278, 16 HR, 69 RBI & .792 OPS)
Matt Carpenter, the last few years played DH for me, due to better fielders on the hot corner in Donaldson, and at second in Dozier & Harrison. Carpenter was traded to San Diego in exchange for Brandon Drury, SP-Daniel Norris, OF-Yasiel Puig & 3rd Rd Draft Pick.

Puig returns to Traverse City, in which the Panthers drafted him 1st Overall in the 2014 BoS Annual Draft; The 3rd Round pick acquired from San Diego was packaged in the Seattle-Traverse City deal involving Lucroy, Miller & Yasmany Tomas coming to T.C., with Tanaka, Herrera going to Seattle -- Seattle drafted RP-Matt Bush with that 3rd Round Pick.

Derek Dietrich was traded to Portland, in which the Panthers picked up a 5th Round Draft Pick -- eventually drafting RP-Michael Lorenzen


OUTFIELDERS

2016
  • Giancarlo Stanton     (.265, 27 HR, 67 RBI & .952 OPS)
  • Hunter Pence     (.275, 9 HR, 40 RBI & .806 OPS)
  • Eddie Rosario     (.267, 13 HR, 50 RBI & .748 OPS)
  • Nori Aoki     (.287, 5 HR, 26 RBI & .733 OPS)
  • Juan Lagares     (.259, 6 HR, 41 RBI & .647 OPS)
  • Rusney Castillo     (.253, 5 HR, 29 RBI & .647 OPS)
  • Jarrett Parker     (.347, 6 HR, 14 RBI & 1.163 OPS in 49 at-bats)
2017
  • Giancarlo Stanton     (.240, 27 HR, 74 RBI & .815 OPS)
  • Yasmany Tomas     (.272, 31 HR, 83 RBI & .820 OPS)
  • Hunter Pence     (.289, 13 HR, 57 RBI & .808 OPS)
  • Yasiel Puig     (.263, 11 HR, 45 RBI & .740 OPS)
  • Brad Miller     (.243, 30 HR, 81 RBI & .786 OPS)
  • Brandon Drury     (.282, 16 HR, 53 RBI & .786 OPS)
  • Andrew Benintendi     (.295, 2 HR, 14 RBI & .835 OPS)
  • Albert Almora Jr.     (.277, 3 HR, 14 RBI & .763 OPS)
  • Hunter Renfroe     (.371, 4 HR, 14 RBI & 1.189 OPS in 35 at-bats)
The outfield has been a complete makeover since opening day 2016, with Giancarlo Stanton & Hunter Pence being the only stayovers. Puig returns to T.C., while the Panthers added some young talent in Benintendi, Renfroe, Albert Almora Jr. & Brandon Drury (acquired mid-season, last year).

Panthers' OF trio of the future: Benintendi, Renfroe & Almora Jr.


STARTING PITCHERS

2016

  • Corey Kluber     (Grade 9-XYZ / 1002 MBF & 3.49 ERA)
  • Julio Teheran     (Grade 8-Y / 960 MBF & 4.04 ERA)
  • Masahiro Tanaka     (Grade 10-XZ / 678 MBF & 3.51 ERA)
  • Garrett Richards     (Grade 12-Y / 972 MBF & 3.65 ERA)
  • Yordana Ventura     (Grade 8-X / 782 MBF & 4.08 ERA)
2017
  • Corey Kluber     (Grade 14-X / 967 MBF & 3.14 ERA)
  • Julio Teheran     (Grade 11-YZ / 848 MBF & 3.21 ERA)
  • Brandon Finnegan     (Grade 7-YW / 829 MBF & 3.98 ERA)
  • Drew Smyly     (Grade 3-Y / 826 MBF & 4.88 ERA)
  • Aaron Nola (Grade 4-XZ) / Garrett Richards (Grade 12-X) & Daniel Norris (Grade 10-X) are all splitting 5th slot, with guest appearances by Reynaldo Lopez, Tyler Glasnow & Chad Kuhl.
When the draft was finished the Panthers had to make an additional roster cut, which ended up being OF-Eddie Rosario (due to a crowded Panthers outfield), in favor of pitcher Drew Smyly... A few days later, Smyly went on the DL for the Mariners with a flexor strain in his pitching elbow, and is out until late June (at the earliest).

Yes, the Panthers could have been more competitive this season, by keeping Masahiro Tanaka, but the team is building for a brighter future & could not ignore the package of players it received in that deal.

Behind Corey Kluber & Julio Teheran, there is a lot of young talent coming up, compared to 2016 where there was only Aaron Nola & Brandon Finnegan.

Corey Kluber & Cody Allen warming up during Spring Training.

BULLPEN

Cody Allen returns as the closer, along with relievers Luke Gregerson, Tyler Clippard & Mychal Givens. The Panthers made a tough decision & traded away long-time setup man, fan favorite Kelvin Herrera to the Seattle Rainiers, along with starting pitcher Tanaka in the deal, that the Panthers acquired Tomas, Brad Miller & Lucroy. 

In leagues that there are only 16 teams (like this one), relievers are for the most part, easy to replace, there is plenty in every annual league draft. 

The Panthers are hoping relievers like Dan Altavilla, Micheal Lorenzen, Koda Glover & Micheal Feliz can hit their potential in time for the 2018 BoS Season. 

* * * * *          * * * * *           * * * * *

This completes the 2017 Panthers Report, I will do a post in the future of how this roster will be shaping up (due to the 2017 MLB Season) and see if the Panthers are heading in the right direction.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Games 2-4 / Cincinnati at Atlanta (April 10-12)



The Cincinnati Reds lost their season opener against the Philadelphia Phillies, and now travel to Atlanta Fulton County Stadium to face the Atlanta Braves. In the season opener, we experienced a Hall of Fame match-up between Tom Seaver (Reds) and Steve Carlton (Phillies) -- In this series, we will witness a team with two more of the 3,000 Strikeout Club, in Phil Niekro & Gaylord Perry; Niekro & Seaver, won't be involved this series, but Perry will be.

The Braves in real-life, took this series 2-1... We will see if Cincinnati can reverse history, and walk out of this series on the plus side.

Game #2 / April 10th (at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium)

The Atlanta Braves send out Tommy Boggs (Grade D-Y) to be their #2 slot starting pitcher for the season, or that was the intention at least. He would go onto a 3-13 record with a 4.10 ERA & 81 K's in 142.2 innings. Atlanta was hoping that Boggs would follow up his breakout 1980 season, in which he went 12-9 with a 3.42 ERA & 84 K's in 192.1 innings -- including 4 complete games.

Boggs was a former 1st Round Draft Pick (2nd overall) for the Texas Rangers in 1974 at 19 years of age. Boggs up to 1980 was looking like a complete bust, and it appeared that Atlanta may finally be reaping in the benefits from the big 4-team trade that took place on December 8th, 1977; That trade involved Al Oliver (Pittsburgh to Texas), Jon Matlock (Mets to Texas) & Tom Grieve (Texas to Mets)... with the Braves also acquiring Adrian Devine and Eddie Miller.

Foster strong out of the gates.

The Reds meanwhile sent Mario Soto (Grade B-XZ) to counter the Braves' Boggs.

In what was starting to look like a 1-2-3 inning in the works, the Reds' Dave Conception (with two outs) would hit a 1st Inning double, followed by an RBI single by George Foster. Dan Driessen took it one step further, by hitting a two-run homer to left, giving Cincy a 3-0 lead.

Boggs would settle down and not allow another run, the next four innings.

Atlanta starts to scratch at the lead in the bottom of the 5th, with a solo home run to right by leftfielder Rufino Linares. Atlanta would add another run with a pinch-hit RBI double by Jerry Royster during the bottom of the 7th Inning.


Soto would go 7 good & efficient innings, allowing 6 hits, 2 runs (1 earned) & 1 walk, while striking out 4 Braves in the process; Bullpen (Joe Price & Tom Hume) takes over, with Hume collecting his first save of the season.

George Foster collects 3 hits, making him 5-for-7 (.714) with 1 HR & 4 RBI (2 runs) for the season.


Game #002 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
CINCINNATI 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 10 1
ATLANTA 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 X 2 6 1
WP: Mario Soto (1-0) / LP: Tommy Boggs / SV: Tom Hume (1)

Real 1981 Game Result: Reds lost 5-3
My 1981 Reds: 1-1
Real 1981 Reds: 1-1
Replay Scoring Differential: 0
Real 1981 Game Record Differential: 0


Game #3 / April 11th (at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium)

The Reds send out Bruce Berenyi (Grade C-YW) to face off against eventual Hall of Fame Gaylord Perry of the Braves. The game started off messy for both starters, with a 3-3 score after one innings. The Reds scoring came off scattered hits RBI singles by Dan Driessen (1st Inning) and Ken Griffey (2nd inning), while Reds' starter Berenyi contributed towards his own cause with an RBI double. The Braves' scoring came off 1st Inning RBI singles by Bob Horner & Dale Murphy, while Gaylord Perry (who also had a double like his pitching counterpart) scored off of an error (botched fly ball by George Foster in left).

The two starting pitchers would get through the 3rd & 4th innings comfortably, no runs allowed.

The Braves' Glenn Hubbard would break up the 3-3 tie with a solo HR in the bottom of the 5th, Chris Chambliss would eventually score from 3rd on a ground out to 2nd by Rufino Linares.

Atlanta would start to break away with the game, by scoring a run in each of the next three innings (6th, 7th & 8th), as the Reds' bats would remain quiet. The Braves' bullpen closed out the last 3 innings with the combination of Gene Garber, John Montefusco & Rick Camp.

The Reds' Dave Collins recorded 2 hits, and is batting 4-for-8 (.500) against Atlanta, he also has recorded two stolen bases & a walk this series; Glenn Hubbard (Atlanta) went 4-for-5, with HR, 2B, RBI & 3 runs in this game, falling a triple short of the cycle.

Reds were sloppy with 3 errors (2 by Foster).

Game #003 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
CINCINNATI 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 7 3
ATLANTA 2 1 0 0 2 1 1 1 X 8 12 0
WP: Gaylord Perry / LP: Bruce Berenyi (0-1)

Real 1981 Game Result: Reds won 3-2
My 1981 Reds: 1-2
Real 1981 Reds: 2-1
Replay Scoring Differential: -5
Real 1981 Game Record Differential: -1


Game #4 / April 12th (at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium)

The Reds send Frank Pastore (Grade D-YZ) to go against the Braves' Rick Mahler (Grade C). Pastore's Baseball career for the most part was nothing special, although he was a 2nd Round Draft Pick by the Reds in 1975, he never went on to huge success in the majors. His best season was 1980, in which he put together a strong 13-7 record, sporting a 3.27 ERA & strong 1.099 WHIP (He also had a 111 ERA+ for the season) in 184.2 innings.

For the strike year, Pastore's Grade D-YZ may seem a bit harsh, considering his 1.212 WHIP is normally (especially from the 1990's on) is respectable as a starting pitcher... but he did have only a 4-9 record with 4.02 ERA in 1981.


Pastore's next two seasons (82' & 83') were nearly identical...

  • 1982:  8-13 record, 3.97 ERA, 94 K's, 1.418 WHIP (93 ERA+) in 188.1 innings (29 starts).
  • 1983:  9-12 record, 4.88 ERA, 93 K's, 1.470 WHIP (78 ERA+) in 184.1 innings (29 starts).
His career would finish with a 48-58 record, 4.29 ERA & 1.348 WHIP in 986.1 innings (mostly for Reds, with 33 games in Minnesota). 

His post-baseball career would feature him as one of the most popular Christian-Radio hosts, until his bizarre self-predicted motorcycle fatality in December 2012; He mentioned on the air, just hours before his eventual death of the possibilities of winding up a bike casualty... talk about spooky.

To the game action...

For the 4th consecutive game, the Reds would score before their opponent, with a RBI single by Dave Conception (scoring in Ken Griffey, who had a one-out double). 

Hubbard hitting big for Braves.
The Reds' Pastore would fall apart quickly though, walking the lead-off batter Dale Murphy in the 2nd, followed by Rufino Linares and Bruce Benedict singles, loading up the bases with no outs. Pastore would plunk Rafael Ramirez with a pitch (HBP), scoring in Murphy. Braves' pitcher Rick Mahler would help Braves take the lead, with Sac fly, scoring in Linares.

Same inning, with two outs, runners on 1st & 2nd, Glenn Hubbard would deliver his 2nd HR of the series, with a three-run blast over Dave Collins' head in right, making it a 5-run inning off of Pastore. Atlanta would struggle to keep up after that, as Rufino Linares, also hits his 2nd HR of the series, with a solo HR to right in the 6th Inning off of Reds' reliever Mike LaCoss

The Reds lose another game by 5 runs, falling to 1-3 with a -10 scoring differential.

Rick Mahler of the Braves, goes 6.1 strong innings, allowing 4 hits, 2 runs & 2 walks, while collecting 4 K's against the Reds' lineup; Frank Pastore: 2.1 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 4 K & 2 BB.



Game #004 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
CINCINNATI 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 5 0
ATLANTA 0 5 1 0 0 1 0 0 X 7 9 0
WP: Rick Mahler / LP: Frank Pastore (0-1)

Real 1981 Game Result: Reds lost 3-2

My 1981 Reds: 1-3
Real 1981 Reds: 2-2
Replay Scoring Differential: -10
Real 1981 Game Record Differential: -1

Next: The Reds travel out west to face the San Diego Padres (April 13-15th). 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Games 4-5 / Detroit at Kansas City (April 14-15)


With the prior day off, Spark Anderson gave Jack Morris the start for the 4th game of the season (coming off 4 days rest), I decided to do the same in this case.

The defending A.L. Champion Kansas City Royals split their previous series with the Baltimore Orioles, standing at 1-1, while the Detroit Tigers stand at 2-1 for the season.

Game #4 / April 14th (at Royals Stadium) 

So it will be the Detroit Tigers' Jack Morris (Grade B) against Paul Splittorff (Grade D-Z). Not only was this game a mismatch with the APBA cards, the game would play out that way as well.

The Tigers' great double-play combination of Lou Whitaker & Alan Trammell, kicked off the game with back-to-back doubles; Lance Parrish would knock in Trammell on a RBI single.

The top of the second, at first, did not appear that it would amount to much, after Richie Hebner's lead-off single, Champ Summers would hit into a fielder's choice (getting Hebner out at second), followed by Tom Brookens striking out against Splittorff. Then the Tigers' bats lit up Splittorff with 5 consecutive singles by Whitaker, Trammell, Steve Kemp, Kirk Gibson & Lance Parrish -- Trammell, Kemp, Gibson & Parrish all collected an RBI each, and all 5 would score. The Royals would do a quick hook of Splittorff, by replacing him with pitcher Juan Berenguer (future Tiger), which Berenguer would allow two more RBI singles to Al Cowens & Richie Hebner (Hebner's 2nd single in the same inning); 7 consecutive hits all together, amounting to 6 runs & an early 8-0 lead after two innings!

The Royals would score on a error in the 5th, but that's the most that they would get off Morris. Morris would go all the way in this one, allowing only 4 hits, 1 unearned run & 2 walks, while striking out 4 Royals in the process.

Clint Hurdle, K.C.'s "future star" would get injured for 26 games, sliding into second. For Hurdle, 1980 & 1981 would be the peak of his baseball career; In limited play, he did have an outstanding APBA card in 1981 (.329 BA, 4 HR, 15 RBI & .980 OPS) although it was only in 28 games & 76 at-bats.

The Tigers would clobber K.C. pitching for 20 total hits & 11 runs, with Alan Trammell leading the way, going 4-for-6, 2B, 4 RBI & 2 runs. Lou Whitaker added 3 hits & 3 runs, while Lynn Jones came off the bench, and went 2-for-2 & 2 runs, including his 9th Inning home run.

The Tigers' Top 5 of the batting order (through 4 games):
  • Lou Whitaker: 7-for-16 (.438 AVG), HR, 3 RBI, 4 R & 4 BB.
  • Alan Trammell: 7-for-17 (.412 AVG), 3B, 4 RBI, 5 R & 3 BB.
  • Steve Kemp: 5-for-16 (.313 AVG), 2 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R & 3 BB.
  • Kirk Gibson: 6-for-17 (.353 AVG), HR, 3 RBI & 3 R.
  • Lance Parrish: 5-for-17 (.294 AVG), 2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R & 1 BB.

Game #004 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
DETROIT 2 6 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 11 20 1
KANSAS CITY 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 4 1
WP: Jack Morris (1-0) (CG) / LP: Paul Splittorff

Real 1981 Game Result: Tigers won 6-5
My 1981 Tigers: 3-1
Real 1981 Tigers: 3-1
Replay Scoring Differential: +12
Real 1981 Game Record Differential: 0


Game # 5 / April 15th (at Royals Stadium)

The Detroit Tigers' power display during the previous game, seemed to have suffered a power outage, as the bats went completely cold.

The game featured an even pitching match-up between Milt Wilcox (Grade B-Z) of the Tigers, facing Larry Gura (Grade B-Z) of the Royals, but it would be Gura that kept control throughout this one.

The game remained close entering the bottom of the 6th, until Cesar Geronimo's two-run single, made it a 4-0 affair.

Steve Kemp would collect 2 of the Tigers' 5 hits, including a triple. 

Wilcox would allow 9 hits, 4 runs & a walk, through 5.1 innings (collecting only 1 K), while Gura owned the Tigers, on his way to a 5-hit shutout. In real life, the game result was reversed with Dave Rozema pitching a 6-hit shutout, towards a 4-0 Tigers win (same score).


Game #005 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
DETROIT 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
KANSAS CITY 0 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 X 4 10 0
WP: Larry Gura (CG/SHO) / LP: Milt Wilcox (0-2)

Real 1981 Game Result: Tigers won 4-0
My 1981 Tigers: 3-2
Real 1981 Tigers: 4-1
Replay Scoring Differential: +8
Real 1981 Game Record Differential: -1


NEXT: Detroit travels to Toronto for a 4-game series (April 16-19th).

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Game 1 / Philadelphia at Cincinnati (April 8th)

They say that sometimes life imitates art, and sometimes, just sometimes art imitates life.

I am currently playing a Detroit Tigers & Cincinnati Reds 1981 season replays, as mentioned before in a previous blog piece 1981 Revisited. Just like the Tigers, the Reds had a strong record throughout the 1981 season, but could not win either half-season division titles for that particular season. The 1981 MLB Season suffered a mid-season strike, as the fans would witness the first LDS style format that we witnessed from 1995 through 2011.

The Reds opener is an interesting one for so many reasons. The pitching match-up features two eventual Hall of Fame pitchers in Steve Carlton (Phillies) and Tom Seaver (Reds), who both would go onto 300+ wins & 3,500+ strikeouts. Pete Rose, a long-time Red, is starting his 3rd season in a Phillies uniform, while the Philadelphia Phillies are the defending champions.

On a separate note, I joined a league named the No Expansion Professional League (NXPL), two of my starting pitchers for the Detroit Tigers were Seaver & Manny Soto -- So I am familiar with their early 80's seasons, and its interesting to see them once again heading my Reds rotation now. My 1982 NXPL Tigers would reach the 1982 World Series, only to lose to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Game #1 / April 8th (at Riverfront Stadium)

The Cincinnati Reds were the first team to draw blood in the Hall-of-Fame pitcher duel, as George Foster took Carlton yard, for a two-run HR during the bottom of the 1st Inning.

The game would go on with 4 scoreless innings, until the Philadelphia Phillies tied the game up in the top of the 6th, with their premier slugger, Mike Schmidt, hitting a two-run blast off of Seaver.

Lonnie got things started in the 8th for Phils.
Pinch-hitter Lonnie Smith (pinch-hitting for pitcher Steve Carlton) led off the top of the 8th with a triple; Smith would score off Pete Rose's sac fly on the next play.

Phillies would add to their lead, as Larry Bowa's RBI single in the 9th, made it a 4-2 Phillies lead.

As I mentioned earlier, on art possibly imitating life... Phillies closer, Tug McGraw with bases loaded (after walking pinch-hitter Joe Nolan), and the score now, 4-3 Phillies (George Foster had RBI double off of Ron Reed, earlier in inning) -- would go on and strike out pinch-hitter Sam Mejias.... in real-life with bases loaded, he walked Ken Griffey to lose the ball-game, he had a chance in this replay to possibly walk-in the tying run, but pulled off the save in this scenario...

Similar, but not quite, but it's things like this, that I love in APBA -- A little difference here & there, can create an alternative ending.... what will be the alternative ending to this 1981 Season?

We will have to find out...

NEXT: Off-Day, followed by 3-game road trip to face the Atlanta. 


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Games 1-3 / Toronto at Detroit (Apr 9, 11-12)

The Blue Jays' Danny Ainge at third.
The Toronto Blue Jays come into Detroit to play the Tigers; The Blue Jays up to this point as a franchise is still a sad one, but with some breaking rays of hope in Dave Stieb, Lloyd Moseby & Willie Upshaw... but are not close to their breakout 1984 season (first winning season).

The Blue Jays finished 37-69 during the actual 1981 season, and played their worst during first half (16-42), while their 2nd half showed a 21-28 (somewhat) improvement.

These were the days of Danny Ainge, better known for shooting the ball beyond the arc in Celtic green, then fielding the hot corner for Toronto. These are the days of Jorge (not-yet George) Bell, long before his 47 home runs in 1987. These are the days where they have yet to bring up Jesse Barfield and Jimmy Key.


A Brief History of Things to Come

The Jays would eventually improve to 78-84 in 1982, 89-73 in 1983 & would somewhat challenge the Detroit Tigers in 1984 at one point with their 89-73 record, well... at least until Dave Bergman took Roy Lee Jackson yard, during a 13-pitch 'Marathon' at-bat.

The Blue Jays would soar to new heights eventually winning the A.L. East in 1985, with a 99-62 record (only their 2nd winning season); They would eventually blow a 3-1 A.L. Championship Series lead over the Kansas City Royals.

The Rivalry

As a youth, I remember the cities of Detroit & Toronto having quite a rivalry, the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL definitely had no love for each other -- and I remember the 1987 MLB Season being the same way, the 87' season looked good as over for the Tigers, when the Tigers had lost their third straight to the Jays on back-to-back walk-off games, and with Toronto stretching their division lead (on September 26th) to 3.5 games with only 8 games to play.

It would come down to the last series in Detroit, in which the Tigers' Doyle Alexander improved his Tiger record to 9-0, with a 4-3 series opening win to tie the division lead. The next night would go extras, with Alan Trammell hitting a walk-off single to drive in pinch-runner Jim Walewander, to give Tigers a one-game lead.

Game #162 would be epic that season, with Frank Tanana pitching a 1-0 shutout, with the only run being a solo HR by Larry Herndon off of Jimmy Key.

Game #1 / April 9th (at Tiger Stadium)

The Blue Jays played much better than I would have imagined by glancing at their cards, in Game #1 they sent Jim Clancy (Grade D) to the mound. I will use the real-life lineups & rotations for the opponents to the best of my abilities.

Toronto would jump to a 2-0 lead, after an RBI single by Barry Bonnell and a Danny Ainge Sac Fly, during the top of the 2nd Inning; The Tigers would answer back in the bottom half of the inning, led by a solo HR by Lance Parrish (batting 6th) and a three-run HR by Lou Whitaker -- after back-to-back singles by Al Cowens & Richie Hebner.

The Blue Jays would eventually tie the ballgame at 4-4 in the 6th, after Alan Trammell's error, that resulted in Willie Upshaw scoring; Trammell would make up for his fielding folly with a lead-off triple during the bottom of the 7th Inning, Steve Kemp would hit him in on a 6-3 ground out, while Al Cowens a few at-bats later would knock in Kirk Gibson with an RBI single.

Kevin Saucier would hold down the save, despite giving up a one-out triple to Lloyd Moseby in the 9th (Moseby was picked off by Lance Parrish, a few pitches later).

Jack Morris (Grade B) would get the no decision with a 5.1 IP, 4 HR, 3 ER, 1 K & 3 BB performance.


Game #001 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
TORONTO 0 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 4 7 0
DETROIT 0 4 0 0 0 0 2 0 X 6 11 2
WP: Dave Tobik (1-0) / LP: Roy Lee Jackson / SV: Saucier (1)

Real 1981 Game Result: Tigers won 6-2
My 1981 Tigers: 1-0
Real 1981 Tigers: 1-0
Replay Scoring Differential: +2
Real 1981 Game Record Differential: 0


Game #2 / April 11th (at Tiger Stadium)

The Blue Jays send out Dave Stieb (Grade B-Z) to counter Milt Wilcox (Grade B-Z), the lineups end up being much quieter in this one... A total of 5 hits between the two clubs.

John Mayberry would hit a two-run HR during the opening inning off of Wilcox, to give Toronto a early 2-0 lead; Toronto adds to the lead with a RBI double by Ernie Whitt during the top of the 2nd.

The Tigers could not come up with anything against Stieb, who would only allow doubles to Kirk Gibson & Steve Kemp... He did allow 5 walks though.

Mayberry & Stieb highlighted Game #2 vs Detroit.

Game #002 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
TORONTO 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 3 1
DETROIT 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1
WP: Dave Stieb (CG, SHO) / LP: Milt Wilcox (0-1)

Real 1981 Game Result: Tigers won 6-2
My 1981 Tigers: 1-1
Real 1981 Tigers: 2-0
Replay Scoring Differential: -1
Real 1981 Game Record Differential: -1


Game #3 / April 12th (at Tiger Stadium)

The game did not look good early on, as Dan Petry (Grade B-Y) would allow 3 runs during the first 3 innings, led by Damaso Garcia's two-run double in the 1st Inning.

The Tigers would not test Toronto's starter Luis Leal until the bottom of the 3rd, when Lance Parrish hit his 2nd HR of the season with a two-run blast to deep center. The Tigers would continue scoring the next two innings, led by a two-run homer by Kirk Gibson & from one of the most unexpected areas - Tom Brookens smacks a three-run HR to give Tigers an 8-4 edge.

Brookens was all smiles after the game.

Tigers would hold onto the win, as Kevin Saucier came in for his 2nd Save. Petry gets the ugly win, allowing 7 hits, 4 earned runs & 3 walks through 6 innings -- while Leal left crooked numbers, allowing 8 hits & 8 runs, with 4 walks in only 4 innings of work.

Game #003 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
TORONTO 2 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 5 8 2
DETROIT 0 0 2 3 3 0 0 0 X 8 10 1
WP: Dan Petry (1-0) / LP: Luis Leal / SV: Kevin Saucier (2)

Real 1981 Game Result: Tigers lost 6-2
My 1981 Tigers: 2-1
Real 1981 Tigers: 2-1
Replay Scoring Differential: +2
Real 1981 Game Record Differential: 0


Next: Off-Day, followed by 2 games (April 14 & 15) at Kansas City.
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