Sunday, November 29, 2015

Franchise Fantasy Project

Dodgers and Giants will feature two teams each.
Inspired by Doug Schuyler's recent announcement of the 2016 Chicago Summer Fantasy Tournament. I decided to just add one more player to the mix and go with basically 1 position player + 1 pitcher from other eras of that franchise & add them to a different team of that franchise. Some teams went with just 2 pitchers, or 2 position players.

I did try to represent each franchise, but since I only had like 2008, 2010-2015 for seasons, and don't have the GTOP's on BBW, which meant that my best option for the Seattle Mariners was the 2014 squad with two studs, and that overall was still not interesting enough to add to the mix. I did make two different Dodger and Giant squads, their New York incarnations + their California incarnations. I also decided to do two Athletic teams, one from Oakland and the other from Philadelphia.

I do have the BATS2 players for BBW (APBA Baseball for Windows) -- I took my World Series teams and the teams that I own and used the BATS2 and other season disks players to compile the rosters.

Did I do two different Yankee teams?
No, they have had enough success in MLB baseball, that I decided to stick with only one, I could have done a few interesting teams with the Yankees... but their 1998 New York Yankees team, with the addition of Babe Ruth and Ron Guidry enough, will be a headache for most teams.

Also will this be a long project? No

I likely will simulate the remainder, just have not had the urge to do that just yet.

There is 32 teams, and 16 teams in each league. Each team will sport 5-man rotations, and play each team in their league 10 times. Each league has 2 divisions, I tried to geologically place them and keep them in their historic leagues for most part; I do have the Houston Astros in A.L. West though, and I placed both Chicago teams (White Sox and Cubs) in the West divisions of their respective leagues.

I will do division winners, plus the next 6 in each league in a seeding position, much like the NBA does with Division winners being top 2 seeds in their league, regardless of record. 150 total games for each team.

By the way, I do plan to do a cards project, with just one star and practice with my 1987 Detroit Tigers that I will be taking to Chicago in July, they will be sporting the 2007 Magglio Ordonez card in their lineup.

There will be another article, or even a few on that upcoming tournament next year, and the teams & players that will be featured.

Let's see how Day #1 went for all the teams

GAME #1's

Ty Cobb & Denny McLain's 2013 Tigers shutout George Sisler & Mike Mussina's 1969 Orioles. Two-run HR for Jhonny Peralta off of Mike Cuellar; Sisler had 2 hits while Cobb went hitless. McLain with 9 K's held Baltimore to 4 hits.

2013 TIGERS 3, 1969 ORIOLES 0

Ted smacks one in the 9th for Boston.

The 2007 Boston Red Sox with Ted Williams & Cy Young on the mound should be an easy victory over the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays (starring 2012 David Price and closer Fernando Rodney), right

Nope, not as long as you are the Rays and you got Eric Hinske -- Hinske hits 2 two-run HR's to give Rays a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the 5th. It had to be an awkward situation for Hinske who also finds himself on the bench for the 2007 Red Sox -- The Rays' version would get plunked by Cy Young, which would result in a ejection of Young. Maybe Hinske was pissed that he did not start for the Red Sox and wanted to show them he meant business, who knows?

Things got more chippy as Manny Delcarmen got tossed later for hitting another Rays batter in retaliation.

Cy Young was not himself, allowing 6 runs & 6 hits in 6.1 innings, and is recorded with the loss. David Price was sloppy as well, allowing 3 earned runs on 7 hits & 6 walks to the Red Sox.

Ted Williams hit a too late, two-run HR in the top of the ninth to make things interesting; Williams went 2-for-4, with a HR, 3 RBI & walk.

2008 RAYS 7, 2007 RED SOX 5

1998 New York Yankees visit the 1992 Toronto Blue Jays; The Yankees feature Babe Ruth with Ron Guidry, while the Blue Jays feature George Bell and Roy Halladay.

The Yankees trailed 6-3 entering the 6th, when the continued scoring off the long-ball with a two-run HR by Bernie Williams; Scott Brosius (two-run HR) and Tino Martinez hit homers earlier. Bernie continued his wrath with a Grand Slam in the 7th; Williams ended the day with 8 RBI.

The entire lineup got a hit except for Babe Ruth and Jorge Posada; Ruth struck out twice, while drawing two walks.

Guidry was a mess (6 ER in 4.2 innings) while the Yankees bullpen kept the Jays off the boards in the team's comeback.

1998 YANKEES 14, 1992 BLUE JAYS 6

Big day for Bernie: 2 HR & 8 RBI for 1998 Yankees.

Rod Carew, Walter Johnson & the 1991 Minnesota Twins visit Old Commiskey to face the 1917 Chicago White Sox with Frank Thomas and Ed Walsh.

"Big Ed" Walsh was in complete control with a no-hitter in place, two outs into the top of the 7th when Kent Hrbek cut the White Sox's lead in half, to 2-1, with a solo blast to right -- breaking the no-no & shutout.

Randy Bush of all people hits a two-run HR in the top of the 8th for the Twins, to give Minnesota a 3-2 lead over the "Black Sox" -- but Chicago would bounce back with its hit & run magic, scoring 3 runs in the bottom of the 8th.

Ed Walsh pitches a complete-game victory over Walter Johnson.

1917 WHITE SOX 5, 1991 TWINS 3
Catfish was only one out away.

1948 Cleveland Indians (featuring Addie Joss and Albert Belle) against the 1990 Oakland Athletics with Home Run Baker and Catfish Hunter.
Another no-no is broken up, this time with two outs in the top of the ninth! A showdown between the visiting

With two outs, and one runner on due to a error, Hunter intentionally walks Belle to face Joe Gordon instead -- Gordon would hit a single to left-center to score Dale Mitchell. The game suddenly only a 2-1 lead for the Athletics and the go-ahead runs on base for Ken Keltner -- but Keltner would fly out.

Frank "Home Run" Baker went a perfect 3-for-3 with a triple & run, while Jose Canseco added a solo home run for Oakland. Addie Joss (8 innings) allows 5 hits & 2 runs in a tough loss.

1990 ATHLETICS 2, 1948 INDIANS 1

Alex Gordon of the 2014 Kansas City Royals breaks up another late no-no (two outs into 7th) with solo HR off of Dean Chance and the 2002 Anaheim Angels. The Royals feature George Brett and Bret Saberhagen, while the Angels have Chance and Bryan Harvey in the pen.

The Angels early solo HR's in the first by Tim Salmon, and in the second by Garret Anderson was enough for the Angels. The bullpen combination of Bryan Harvey (hold) and Troy Percival (save) closed out the victory for the Angels -- no rally monkey needed.

Both starters in Saberhagen and Chance only allowed each team 4 hits, while both racked up the strikeouts: Saberhagen 11, Chance 10.

2002 ANGELS 2, 2014 ROYALS 1

Young Guns: The Braves add Kid Nichols to the rotation.
Hugh Duffy and Kid Nichols headlining for the 1993 Atlanta Braves, while they go to Shea Stadium to face Tom Seaver, David Wright & the 1986 New York Mets.

The Braves would take a 2-0 lead in the top of the 7th with a solo HR by David Justice off Tom Seaver. David Wright would cut the lead in half with a solo HR of his own off of Kid Nichols in the bottom of the 7th.

The Braves' bullpen in Steve Bedrosian (hold) and Greg McMicheal (save) would finish off the Mets.

1993 BRAVES 2, 1986 METS 1

The 2011 Texas Rangers featuring Ivan Rodriguez and Dick Bosman go to Milwaukee County Stadium to play the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers with Prince Fielder and Teddy Higuera; For this game, the Brewers had Don Sutton on the mound to face Bosman.

Gorman Thomas was the man of the hour, with a three-run HR off of Bosman; It would be the play of the game as the Brewers win 3-1. Rollie Fingers comes in for two-inning save, while Sutton record 9 strikeouts.

1982 BREWERS 3, 2011 RANGERS 1

The 1997 Florida Marlins featuring Miguel Cabrera and Jose Fernandez were hosting the visiting 1993 Philadelphia Phillies with Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton.

This game would go to extras, thanks to Lenny Dykstra's solo HR off of Kevin Brown during the top of the 8th; Brown would pitch 10 innings, allowing 6 hits, 2 walks and 2 runs with 12 K's. The game was unfortunately put into the Marlins' bullpen's hands which is not a good thing -- The Phillies would score 4 runs in the top of the 11th.

Doug West pitches 4 shutout innings of relief, allowing only 1 hit, while logging 6 K's to collect the win for the Phillies.

Lenny Dykstra went 4-for-6 with 3 RBI for the night, while Bobby Bonilla of the Marlins had a two-run homer.

1993 PHILLIES 6, 1997 MARLINS 2 (11 Inn)

Lenny celebrating the team's win with teammates.

The 1975 Cincinnati Reds with Frank Robinson and Dolf Luque visit the Three Rivers area to face Arky Vaughan, Babe Adams & the 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates.

Tommy Leach of the Bucs collects 3 RBI on two singles, while Jack Chesbro holds on for a complete-game 5-2 victory over the Reds. Frank Robinson scored both of the Reds' runs, while getting a double.

1902 PIRATES 5, 1975 REDS 2

The 1935 Chicago Cubs starring Sammy Sosa and Ernie Banks come to Ebbets Field to play the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers, who have two aces in Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale.

The Cubs could not get anything going against Sandy Koufax, as he kept them off the boards, in a three-hit shutout against a lineup that not only features Sosa & Banks, but Gabby Hartnett, Chuck Klein and Stan Hack as well. Koufax also had 7 K's.

Bobby Morgan hit a two-run HR in the bottom of the second.

1953 DODGERS 3, 1935 CUBS 0

The 2007 Colorado Rockies feature a upgraded Ubaldo Jimenez & the addition of Carlos Gonzalez to the lineup, while the 1934 St. Louis Cardinals added Bob Gibson to the Dizzy Dean and the rotation, plus Rogers Hornsby's mean bat.

Dizzy Dean got beat on a couple mistake pitches, including a solo HR to Brad Hawpe. Rogers Hornsby, Rip Collins & Joe Medwick went a combined 1-for-11 for the Cardinals; Dean did record 11 strikeouts though.

2007 ROCKIES 3, 1934 CARDINALS 1

The 1931 Philadelphia Athletics + Jason Giambi and Rube Waddell come into Houston to play the 2005 Houston Astros with 1994 Jeff Bagwell and Mike Scott. For this game, it was a match-up between Lefty Grove and Roger Clemens.

Clemens kept the Athletics quiet, even with only 3 K's for a shutout that allowed only 4 hits. Craig Biggio went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI, double & stolen base, while Morgan Ensberg went 2-for-3, including a solo HR off of Grove.

2005 ASTROS 5, 1931 ATHLETICS 0

Mays makes presence known for 1993 Giants.

Willie Mays and Christy Mathewson join the 1993 San Francisco Giants, as they visit the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks, who add Paul Goldschmidt and Brandon Webb.

Robby Thompson ends up being the star in this one, going 3-for-5, with a HR, double, RBI & 2 runs, as Christy Mathewson pitches into extras to pin down the victory. The Giants took the lead, 3-2 in the top of the 10th off of Barry Bonds' RBI double.

Willie Mays stole 4 bases off of Rod Barajas by the 3rd inning (stealing 2nd & 3rd - twice).

1993 GIANTS 3, 2001 DIAMONDBACKS 2 (10 Inn)

The Ill-fated 1994 Montreal Expos plan for vengeance with the additions of Vladimir Guerrero and Steve Rogers, while they go to sunny California to play Mike Piazza, Dazzy Vance & the 2013 Los Angeles Dodgers.

This game is a see-saw battle that goes into extras, and is capped off with a walk-off HR by Mike Piazza off of reliever Gil Heredia.

Clayton Kershaw logged 10 K's, allowing only 2 ER & 2 walks in 7 innings, while Steve Rogers struck out 12 Dodgers.

2013 DODGERS 3, 1994 EXPOS 2 (10 Inn)

Piazza loving it in Dodger Blue for 2013 team.

The 1998 San Diego Padres with Dave Winfield and Randy Jones, visit the Polo Grounds to play the 1912 New York Giants featuring Mel Ott and Jim McGinnity; Kevin Brown takes the mound for the Padres in this one.

Both lineups combined for only 10 hits, then again most of the series openers have been low offense affairs with the aces all on the mound.

Fred Merkle was the difference, smacking 2 solo homers off of Kevin Brown.

1912 GIANTS 2, 1998 PADRES 1

*** This ends the article and its highlights ***

Monday, November 23, 2015

2007 Detroit Tigers (Final Replay Season Stats)

For my 2007 Detroit Tigers Season Replay, I made what would be MLB history, and in some cases I didn't duplicate the actual historic stats that were set that season.

In real life, Curtis Granderson became the third MLB player ever to record at least 20 doubles, 20 triples, 20 home runs & 20 stolen bases in the same season; I fell short of duplicating this mark, Granderson finished with 18 triples.

Granderson did set a different historic mark along with teammate Magglio Ordonez; They became only the second duo from the same team to record 400+ total bases in the same season. The first was, you named it, Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth in 1927.

Granderson also became the 16th player in MLB history to collect at least 240 hits in a single-season.

2008 Topps Baseball card of Mags, Polly & Grandy.
My team made more history, I ended up becoming the 4th team to have 3 players with 200+ hits in the same season; Granderson (240), Ordonez (239) and Placido Polanco, with 200 hits. The other three teams were the...
  • 1963 St. Louis Cardinals (Dick Groat, Bill White & Curt Flood)
  • 1982 Milwaukee Brewers (Robin Yount, Paul Molitor & Cecil Cooper)
  • 1991 Texas Rangers (Julio Franco, Rafael Palmeiro & Ruben Sierra)
Granderson and Ordonez each led the team with 54 doubles, not sure if there ever was a case in MLB history, in which two teammates in the same season had 50+ doubles. I tried to find some sort of evidence of this on google and came up with nothing.

I tried to play the Detroit Tigers in the replay true to form, but found myself leaning on players like LF/3B - Ryan Raburn and reliever Bobby Seay more. Raburn would start most games after the All-Star Break, my team hit a horrible slump in July, while our closer Todd Jones blown 7 games. Jones is a grade C (not great for a guy that you want to close games), while Seay was a A-XZ.

Safety Net: Ryan Raburn brought balance to lineup in #2 slot.
Ryan Raburn:

  • Actual 2007: .304 AVG, 4 HR & 27 RBI (.847 OPS) in 138 AB/49 games.
  • Replay 2007: .311 AVG, 15 HR & 53 RBI (.899 OPS) in 328 AB/98 games.
Raburn's OBP were right on mark with each other (Actual: .340 / Replay: .341) while he had a higher doubles and HR rate to produce a .899 OPS in the replay, for awhile he hovered around a .930 OPS. I was lucky enough to avoid running into an injury with Raburn, which would have knocked him out for a long duration.

Bobby Seay:
  • Actual 2007: 3-0, 2.33 ERA, 1 SV, 38 K & 15 BB (46.1 IP / 58 games).
  • Replay 2007: 6-6, 1.77 ERA, 20 SV, 81 K & 35 BB (101.2 IP / 72 games).
Seay was the team's set-up man for me, until Jones started blowing games. He used to pitch a couple innings in some of those games, also because he was my only grade A in the bullpen; Zach Miner (B*) and Tim Brydak (B*-XYW) were my next two dependable relievers and would get plenty of work as well. My bullpen well exceeded the innings of actual 2007, and in replays that's simply going to happen; Miner led the team in Game appearances for relievers with 87.

My ace Justin Verlander for the most part was on par, but would reach 200 K's in this replay for the first time in his career (he would not reach the 200 mark until 2009). More innings than the replay definitely helped -- he was a little more prone to the HR ball and walks in the replay compared to actual 2007.
Ace in the Making: Verlander showed what's to come in replay.

Justin Verlander
  • Actual 2007: 18-6, 3.66 ERA, 183 K & 67 BB (1.230 WHIP) in 201.2 IP / 32 GS.
  • Replay 2007: 16-8, 3.61 ERA, 208 K & 93 BB (1.224 WHIP) in 237 IP / 35 GS.
At the tail-end of the season, I switched to a 4-man rotation, to give my only Grade B starter more opportunities to help my team win.

Jeremy Bonderman would out-pitch his actual 2007 self and APBA card (Grade C-YZ) ...
  • Actual 2007: 11-9, 5.01 ERA, 145 K & 48 BB (1.382 WHIP) in 174.1 IP / 28 GS.
  • Replay 2007: 18-7, 3.52 ERA, 161 K & 83 BB (1.279 WHIP) in 217.1 IP / 35 GS.
Bonderman had a good first half in actual 2007, coming off what was a breakthrough year in 2006, but his second half numbers were down which would be an indication of arm troubles to come for Bonderman in 2008; Bonderman was never the same. 

Bonderman's 202 K's in 2006 led all right-handers in the American League.

I tried to keep to real life as much as I possibly can, Kenny Rogers would suffer arm problems and make only 11 starts for 63 innings in actual 2007; I pitched Rogers only 15 starts (plus 3 relief appearances) for 83 innings.

Chad Durbin would be our #4 starter, and he would out-perform his actual 2007 numbers...
  • Actual 2007: 8-7, 4.72 ERA, 66 K & 49 BB (1.426 WHIP) in 127.2 IP / 19 starts (16 relief).
  • Replay 2007: 15-7, 4.69 ERA, 111 K & 86 BB (1.413 WHIP) in 178.1 IP / 32 starts. 
His strikeout and walk rates were slightly higher in the replay by about 20+ what they should have been, while the ERA and WHIP were close to the actual 2007.


A look at the numbers & differences with the lineup regulars...

Curtis Granderson
  • Actual 2007: .302 AVG, 23 HR, 74 RBI & 26 SB (.913 OPS) w/ 122 runs & 185 hits.
  • Replay 2007: .338 AVG, 26 HR, 84 RBI & 46 SB (.968 OPS) w/ 150 runs & 240 hits.
Granderson played every game in my replay, missed only 4 games in real-life. Everyone knows with replays, that sometimes if lineups combined are performing better than actual life, can result in more opportunities, which in Granderson's case meant bigger stats (especially in runs & hits department).

Granderson's batting average was significantly better in replay.
His HR & RBI numbers are similar indeed, while his batting average & OPS were both higher in the replay. Like I said earlier in this article, I tried to duplicate history on Granderson reaching 20+ in the doubles, triples, HR & steals categories -- which he accomplished in the MLB, but fell short in the triples department.

Here are those comparisons:
  • Actual 2007: 38 doubles, 23 triples, 23 HR & 26 stolen bases.
  • Replay 2007: 54 doubles, 18 triples, 26 HR & 46 stolen bases.
The result of him reaching base more often than actual life, may have helped with more steals, and the fact that I probably rolled a few more 15's (result 11) than usual, while hitting more doubles, than triples. Ivan Rodriguez and Brandon Inge both had down years for me in the replay, which may have resulted in more doubles than triples, due to set-up scenarios for Granderson.

Magglio Ordonez:
  • Actual 2007: .363 AVG, 28 HR & 139 RBI (1.029 OPS) w/ 117 runs & 216 hits.
  • Replay 2007: .377 AVG, 39 HR & 127 RBI (1.113 OPS) w/ 116 runs & 239 hits.
I played him every game (he missed 5 games in real-life), this card is too good to just leave out of the lineup, especially when you have a goal to out-perform the actual success of the team in a replay -- so you want to give your team the best shot to win.

This card ALWAYS performs in all kinds of roles, in either a season replay, or in a dream league of sorts, this card always hits its batting average mark of .363 or higher (and in most cases its higher). Ordonez was batting .397 at the All-Star Break, with 23 HR & 71 RBI; Ordonez cooled off slightly and watched average dip to .360 mark until bouncing back up to finish at .377.

He duplicated his real-life 54 doubles in the replay, while Granderson tied him for team lead in the replay in that category.

By the way, always bat this card in the 3rd slot, and all will be gravy.

Gary Sheffield:
  • Actual 2007: .265 AVG, 25 HR, 75 RBI & 22 SB (.839 OPS) w/ 107 runs & 131 hits.
  • Replay 2007: .273 AVG, 34 HR, 128 RBI & 38 SB (.844 OPS) w/ 106 runs & 168 hits.
Sheffield missed almost 30 games in real-life due a shoulder injury in 2007, for my replay it was tough to keep Sheffield out of the lineup, I did give him two days off early in the season due to slumping though. I luckily never suffered an injury.

This card for quite awhile was out-performing real-life by a long shot, than cooled down to reflect similar real-life numbers; At the break, Gary was batting .296 with 20 HR & 79 RBI with 23 steals. Sheffield would still go on to edge Ordonez in RBI's for team lead (128 to 127), while at one point it appeared he may even challenge the 40/40 club at age 38, he ended up making the 30/30 club instead. He was a perfect 38 for 38 in steals.

His RBI numbers are inflated due to the fact that Ordonez & Granderson had bigger years, plus more playing time from Raburn in the #2 slot. Batting 4th, Gary could eat up a lot of ribbies. Plus, in real life, Jim Leyland had Sheffield batting third, while Ordonez batted clean-up.

Placido Polanco of the 2007 Detroit Tigers would duplicate his 200 hits in replay.

While Granderson, Raburn, Ordonez and Sheffield's numbers were up, the rest of the lineup was considerably down.

Carlos Guillen:
  • Actual 2007: .296 AVG, 21 HR, 102 RBI & 13 SB (.859 OPS) w/ 86 runs & 167 hits.
  • Replay 2007: .231 AVG, 22 HR, 68 RBI & 9 SB (.702 OPS) w/ 75 runs & 135 hits.
Guillen was a head-scratcher, could not get him rolling for the life of me; played much-better in the last month of the season & playoffs. Had a great April in which he batted .330, but followed it up with a lousy May (.147)! His 35 doubles duplicated his real-life total, while his HR's, steals & runs numbers were similar as well -- but had a bad .285 on-base percentage (compared to actual .357).

Guillen started to do better once I moved Polanco to 5th slot, and I bumped Guillen down to the 6th slot of the lineup.

Placido Polanco
  • Actual 2007: .341 AVG, 9 HR & 67 RBI (.846 OPS) w/ 105 runs & 200 hits.
  • Replay 2007: .298 AVG, 12 HR & 96 RBI (.775 OPS) w/ 104 runs & 200 hits.
Polanco actually missed 20 games in 2007 and still managed to reach 200 hits, while in my replay he played every game without getting hurt, and reaching 200 hits due to more opportunities. His batting average was down in the replay, but started to hit much better once I moved him from the #2 slot to the #5 slot of the lineup, got his average up to .310, and fell below .300 with a late slump.

His RBI numbers are quite up, even before the lineup move, probably due to Curtis Granderson alone -- he had 55 RBI at the break. Besides the batting average, OPS & RBI numbers, his numbers were quite on par with real life.

Casey, Inge, Monroe & Pudge in Detroit Stars uniforms.
Sean Casey:
  • Actual 2007: .296 AVG, 4 HR & 54 RBI (.746 OPS) w/ 40 runs & 134 hits.
  • Replay 2007: .253 AVG, 6 HR & 78 RBI (.650 OPS) w/ 40 runs & 137 hits.
Casey, in much the same way as Guillen was frustrating. His batting average and on-base percentage were off by quite a bit; In real life he had a .353 OBP compared to his replay OBP of .291! His runs & hits were the same, then again he had more opportunities, he played seven more games in the replay. His 35 doubles in the replay are similar to his 30 in real life, while he had a couple more HR's as well. 

One thing that definitely duplicated the real deal, he sure loved hitting into double plays.

Brandon Inge
  • Actual 2007: .236 AVG, 14 HR & 71 RBI (.688 OPS) w/ 64 runs & 120 hits.
  • Replay 2007: .190 AVG, 5 HR & 35 RBI (.569 OPS) w/ 47 runs & 81 hits.
If you are true Tiger fan, than you simply love Brandon Inge. The guy had serious glove, and should have won a Gold Glove (possibly two) in his career; He was usually graded a 5 at third, he was grade a 4 for 2007 -- He was better known for his defense than his bat.

From 2006-2007 & 2009, he actual put up good power numbers, hitting 27 HR's in both 2006 & 2009, and was named an American League All-Star in 1999. While batting 8th in 2006, he hit 27 HR's -- you don't see that often.

So it really hurt me as a fan of Inge to watch him struggle like he did in my replay. In real life, he played 151 games (508 AB's) -- My replay, I played him for 135 games (427 AB's)... probably more than I should have even. Ryan Raburn would start taking starts away from Inge in the second half.

Even though his .236 AVG & .312 OBP is nothing to write home about, it was definitely better than that of his replay. Slugging was down considerably as well, he managed to hit more singles than usual, while his HR & RBI numbers were noticeably low.

Thames stepped up game in 2nd half of season.

Marcus Thames:

  • Actual 2007: .242 AVG, 18 HR & 54 RBI (.776 OPS) w/ 37 runs (269 AB).
  • Replay 2007: .230 AVG, 10 HR & 26 RBI (.780 OPS) w/ 22 runs (178 AB). 
In real life, Marcus usually split time with Craig Monroe, and I followed this formula a little bit with both of them for the replay; Monroe would eventually get placed on waivers and picked up by the Chicago Cubs in 2007 (in late August). Around the All-Star break, I found myself never putting Monroe in the lineup, and splitting time in left with Ryan Raburn and Thames. Eventually, Thames started playing much more on his level, but at the break, Thames was only batting .173 with an OPS of .646 OPS & 3 HR at the All-Star break.

Then came August, and Thames played much better. That month, I decided to go to four-man rotation to feature Verlander (my only B starter, more often), played Raburn every day in #2 slot of lineup either in LF or at 3B, and Brandon Inge watched his time dwindle a little more with Thames' late-season emergence. Thames would spark his playing time with his 3 HR performance against the Chicago White Sox, all before the 5th inning of that game.

Thames ended season by hitting .272 after the break (28-for-103 with 7 HR & 16 RBI), he raised his slugging percentage from .387 to .494. 

That completes the 2007 Detroit Tigers' regular season marks, as we prepare for the Detroit Tigers to face off against the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Chicago World Series (November 2015)

Group photo of the Chicago World Series (Winter 2015) attendees, outside at the Grayslake Historical Society.

The Chicago World Series once again took play in its cozy little nest of mid-November (November 14th) this past weekend.

Once again, my friend Doug Schuyler led the charge & once again, with no surprise, everyone had a blast! I love how in each of these tournaments and other tournaments, the host keeps adding new things and mixing it up.
Pastor Rich Z speaking to everyone.

This year, they added a first pitch, a "State of the Game Address" (presented by my friend, Pastor Rich Zawadzki), and a All-Star Game featuring star players from teams featured at the tournament. They also added sheets on the wall, with the tournament division results. In the past, I know there has been home run derbies as well.

I unfortunately could not make the Winter Tournament, and have not made that or any of the Chicago tournaments since Winter 2013. It's great going to these tournaments because we form new friendships through a game that we love, in APBA & in Baseball. I have now missed a few of these, and have watched some of the returnees form stronger relationships, and I can't wait to build more on these friendships as well.

It's one thing chatting on Facebook with one another, but its an amazing experience to really get to meet these wonderful smiling faces in person. Everyone is like a kid in a candy store.. but in this case, more like the closest thing to playing a ball game on the Field of Dreams. We are literally children again, laughing and playing, having fun!

Rich Zawadzki (with Matthew Pike in background) competes against Chris Witt.
These tournaments are... Our field of dreams! And these dreams are possible due to people like Doug, Rich, and the others that have followed in their footsteps to host these tournaments, and also just as important as all of the people that come to compete in these tournaments. It is indeed a magical experience, a natural high -- personally, a life moment that you will always remember.

Matthew and Joel Pike enjoying some dinner at a local restaurant.
It's also a great time to bring family as well. I had the experience of going to the GMABT (Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament in Jackson, MI) with my brother, Christopher. The Pikes have also made these tournaments a family thing in Joel and Matthew Pike (father and son), it is really cool to see that generations are passing this game on down to other generations we need more of this in the APBA community, to watch this game continue to grow.

I know these tournaments are doing the right thing, I just hope as a community we continue to pass the game onto new faces -- I sometimes worry about the state of the company, but certainly not the state of the game, itself. The game & tournaments are doing phenomenal!

By the way, what I love about the picture above, is that you can tell that both father and son are close; I really can't wait to see those guys in person, as well as others in the upcoming tournaments. Also, I can't wait to talk with Joel, I love his creativity on his Presidential APBA Baseball Tournaments, you can check them all out on his blog KYDiceGuy. You really should read his post on the Chicago tournament, as well as Thomas Nelshoppen's piece on The APBA Blog.

Some photos of the tournament...

Host Doug Schuyler speaking to the troops in some wild, White Sox get-up.

The Tournament was won by Gary Lindley and his 1972 Oakland Athletics. I had the privilege of playing against Gary in the Chicago World Series (Winter 2013), which my 1912 New York Giants ended up taking both games from his 1931 Philadelphia Athletics. Gary was wonderful to talk to, plenty of knowledge for the game of baseball and APBA itself. 

He would defeat Bradd Romant's 1977 Los Angeles Dodgers in the championship game, 4-1, with a pair of Reggie Jackson home runs.

Division results being posted on sheets.

The Chicago World Series (Winter 2015) champ - Gary Lindley.

I hope that you enjoyed my piece on the Chicago World Series (Winter 2015) Tournament. If you have not had the privilege to play in these tournaments, you really should go ahead and do it & live it, there is no experience like it in the APBA world. It's one thing to play alone, or even play a local friend, but a tournament's atmosphere is something completely different...

You need to live the experience...

Keep on rolling 66's everyone!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

2007 ALDS (Game 5)

The Detroit Tigers rally to force a Game 5 at Anaheim.
The 2007 Detroit Tigers have tied the series, 2-2, coming off a three-hit shutout from their young ace Justin Verlander. Now the Tigers have traveled back to Anaheim to face the Los Angeles Angels, in a Game 5, losers go home battle.

Detroit at Los Angeles (A)

The Tigers send Jeremy Bonderman (C-YZ / 18-7, 3.52 ERA & 161 K's) to face off against Kelvim Escobar (B-Y / 18-7, 3.40 ERA & 160 K's) of the Angels.

Both pitchers kept the lineups quiet for the most part in five inning. During the top of the 4th, Escobar was sloppy by walking three batters and hitting a batter with a pitch -- but managed to get out of the inning unscathed; The Tigers' Ryan Raburn started that inning by drawing a walk, but Magglio Ordonez than hit into a double play, then Escobar loaded the bases by walking Gary Sheffield, hitting Placido Polanco with a pitch, and then walking Carlos Guillen -- Sean Casey though popped up for final out of the inning.

I remember thinking at that time, this better not come back to bite us in the ass.

Despite the four walks, Escobar only allowed one hit through first 5 innings -- which was a double by Curtis Granderson to lead off the game. Bonderman only allowed two hits & two walks the first 5 innings.

The lack of scoring stopped during the top of the 6th, when Magglio Ordonez led off the inning with a solo home run to right. The Angels would stop their 17.2 inning scoring drought with an RBI single by Garret Anderson in the bottom of the 6th -- scoring in Orlando Cabrera (double) from second.

The bullpens would take over, and keep both teams off the boards for the next four innings as the game went into extras.

Top of the 11th, two outs, and the bases empty - Marcus Thames launches a blast to right, to take the lead, 2-1. The Tigers' Bobby Seay, already in the game, makes sure that the Tigers walk away with the win & the series, in a 1.2 innings non-save situation.

The Cardiac Cats, once again had their backs against the walls, down 2-0 in the series, the Tigers come through and rally to win the series.

Maicer Izturis was actually quiet in this game for the Angels, by the way... He had an excellent series, in which he batted 9-for-19 (.474 AVG) with 2 HR (one was a grand slam) with 6 RBI. The Angels' offense for the last two games collected only 10 hits & one run.

Thames and the Tigers battle on for another day -- Next up, the Red Sox.

Monday, November 16, 2015

2nd Annual GMABT - Sign up for this March!

35 of 40 slots have been filled for the

TIME: 9:00 AM
COST: $15.00
Just remember NO World Series Winners allowed.
First come, first serve on years and teams, only one of each. If you know someone who is interested, contact them, and shoot Rich Zawadzki a message on Facebook or contact his post for the tournament on the APBA Facebook Group.

Young Guns: The 1993 Atlanta Braves take aim at the 2016 GMABT.
The Tournament is a lot of fun, last year I watched my youngest brother Chris Baier go to the championship game with the 2006 Detroit Tigers, to watch them lose to the eventual champion - 1937 New York Yankees, managed during the tournament by John Roels.

This March, I will be taking the 1993 Atlanta Braves.

BY THE WAY, I will have a article about the recent fun that APBA rollers had in Chicago this past weekend, wish that I was there, as always it looked like a blast!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

2007 ALDS (Game 4)

The Detroit Tigers with their backs against the walls, down 7-4 in the late 6th, have force a Game 4 against the Los Angeles Angels, thanks primarily to Marcus Thames' excellent 3-for-4 game, with 2 doubles, HR & 4 RBI.

Unfortunately, for Thames, he would have to start the game on the bench, while the Tigers can field (a fielding one) with Brandon Inge playing third for starting pitcher Justin Verlander (who is the Tigers' only fielding 2 starter -- besides Kenny Rogers). So the Tigers will sacrifice offense (which they have plenty of) for some defense; Inge actually has had a productive series in two starts, batting 3-for-5 with a solo HR and walk.

Los Angeles (A) at Detroit

Verlander cruises in Game 4 with three-hitter.
Verlander (B-X / 16-8, 3.61 ERA & 208 K's) will face off against John Lackey (B-YZ / 3.01 ERA & 179 K's) in a rematch of Game 1; Lackey pitched outstanding in Game 1, allowing only 5 hits, 1 run & 2 walks in 7 innings of work (5 K's).

Bottom of the 1st - Curtis Granderson would lead off with a double. After Ryan Raburn flied out, Magglio Ordonez would single to right, to score in Granderson to draw first blood. After a Gary Sheffield single, the lineup stalls out, and strands two base-runners.

The Angels are unable to do anything for the first two innings. Sean Casey leads off the bottom of the 2nd, with a single. John Lackey would strike out Brandon Inge for the 1st out. Ivan Rodriguez hits a double, advancing Casey to third base. With two men on & one out, Curtis Granderson hits a ball into the left field corner, this is good for extra bases, the ball ricochets off the corner of the wall, and the Angels' Garret Anderson is scrambling for the ball -- both runners score, and Granderson pulls up with a triple. Tigers up 3-0 early. Ryan Raburn strikes out for out number two.

Lackey would walk Magglio Ordonez, and is performing on completely opposite performance from Game 1. With runners on 1st & 2nd, Gary Sheffield scores in Granderson on a RBI single to right. Placido Polanco would hit a two-run double to break the game open at 6-0; Polanco would end the inning by trying to steal second.

John Lackey only lasts 2 innings, allowing 8 hits, 6 runs (all earned) and a walk, on 3 strike outs. That was all the breathing room that Detroit starting pitcher Justin Verlander needed. Verlander would go on to a three-hit shutout of the Angels, and Curtis Granderson (adding a solo HR in the 6th) would fall short of the cycle (needing a single). Granderson entered the game, only 2-for-12, so he came through at a great time.

The Angels have not scored since the 6th inning of Game 3, basically since their bullpen meltdown in that game.


The Tigers collected 13 hits; No errors for either team.

Monday, November 9, 2015

2007 ALDS (Game 3)

We are in the post-season for my 2007 DETROIT TIGERS Season Replay, in which I will be playing out the other playoff series that may have been altered during season match-ups.

I would like to mention that it was pointed out to me (repeatedly by one person) that my research on the match-up for the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees would never happened due to the old rules that were still in place before the 5th playoff team (2nd wildcard team) was added.

For that, it's good to know, but too late since I have played the first 2 games for the 4 teams in the ALDS already -- maybe, I will go back and do an alternate & more accurate MLB finish to this, but then again.. this is my alternate replay, this is my APBA project, and this is how my 2007 DETROIT TIGERS Season Replay will be conducted for the time being.

We left off with the Los Angeles Angels up 2-0 in their series against the Detroit Tigers, while the New York Yankees find themselves in a 2-0 hole against the Boston Red Sox.

We go out to New York for Game 3 in Old Yankee Stadium...

Boston at New York (A)

Two veterans starting pitchers go head-to-head in this one, and both are no strangers to post-season glory -- Curt Schilling (C-YZ / 9-8, 3.87 ERA & 101 K's in 151 innings) for Boston & Andy Pettitte (C / 15-9, 4.05 ERA & 141 K's) for the Yankees. Pettitte would go on to win 19 post-season games, posting a 3.81 ERA in 276.2 innings; Schilling would not win as many post-season games as Pettitte, but was definitely more impressive (11-2, 2.23 ERA & a outstanding post-season .968 WHIP).

So would this go on to be a great pitchers' duel?

Andy Pettitte would get injured on the second out of the 2nd Inning while covering first, while Jason Varitek steps on Pettitte's foot. Phil Hughes would take over for Pettitte out of the pen, he would go perfect for 1.1 innings, until Boston would score in the top of the 4th, on a error by Alex Rodriguez.

Top of the 5th - Boston takes commanding 4-0 lead, after a two-run home run by David Ortiz, and RBI double by Mike Lowell.

Ortiz flexing some muscle with 2nd HR of the series.
Hughes would only last 3 innings, allowing 4 hits, 3 earned runs (4 runs), while walking 3 batters, with no strike outs.

Top of the 6th - Manny Ramirez would add a two-run double, while Mike Lowell collects his 2nd ribbie of the night, with RBI single. Boston leads 7-0.

Unusual good series for A-Rod.
Boston's Curt Schilling was mostly in control the first 5 innings, he would get touched up for three runs in the bottom of the 6th by Alex Rodriguez's two-run triple (A-Rod's 2nd triple of the series) -- while Alex would score on a ground out by Hideki Matsui.

Boston's great bullpen would take over, the final three innings, keeping the Yankees off the boards. The Yankees would use 8 pitchers in this game, as they lose 8-3 and are swept by the Red Sox.

Alex Rodriguez, historically a playoff goat, goes 4-for-13 in the series, with 4 RBI & 3 runs (Yankees only scored 9 runs all series); Derek Jeter went 6-for-11, but his 2 errors in Game 2 cost the Yankees dearly.

Bostons' heroes: Kevin Youkilis went  4-for-9, also drawing 4 walks, with 4 RBI; David Ortiz went 4-for-10 with 2 HR with 3 RBI & 6 runs (3 walks) & Dustin Pedroia went 4-for-12 with a HR & 2 RBI (5 runs).

The Yankees were outscored 22-9 & while Boston out-hit them 29-21. Boston made no errors in the series, while New York made 3 errors.


Boston sweeps series, 3-0

Los Angeles (A) at Detroit

The Detroit Tigers find themselves in a 2-0 hole, as the Tigers' lineup will have to do their best in keeping the Tigers in this one with Nate Robertson on the mound; Robertson (C / 12-12, 4.84 ERA & 104 K's) will face the Angels' Jered Weaver (C-YZ / 13-7, 3.91 ERA & 115 K's in 161 innings).

The Angels strike first with a one-out, two-run home run by the dangerous Vladimir Guerrero in the top of the 1st. Vlad was quiet in the second game, after reaching safely in all four plate appearances in Game 1 on 2 hits & 2 walks. The Tigers would get a run back in the bottom half of the inning, as Curtis Granderson, who led with a double, reached home on a fielding error by Chone Figgins.

Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the 2nd, Marcus Thames (getting his 1st series start) would knock in Carlos Guillen on a RBI double.

Top of the 3rd, a lead-off double by Guerrero for the Angels, while Garret Anderson would collect his 5th RBI of the series, with an RBI single; Angels lead 3-2.

Bottom of the 5th - Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez leads off with a double for the Tigers, while surprisingly stealing third, Angels' catcher Jeff Mathis would throw the ball past the third baseman into left field, as Pudge would score easily, tying the game. A.L. Batting Champion - Magglio Ordonez (.377) would hit his 2nd HR of the series, to give Tigers a 4-3 lead.

Golden Halo: Maicer has had an amazing series for Angels.
The Angels though would silent the Tigers crowd in the top of the 6th though, Zach Miner in relief, would load the bases up for Maicer Izturis; Izturis would send it deep for a Grand Slam! Izturis has been amazing this series for the Angels -- 7-for-11 (.636), 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2 runs & a stolen base... he would add another single by end of game to raise average up to .750 this series.
Big, bad Marcus Thames lights up Game 3.

The Tigers, now feeling the pressure of a 7-4 game deficit, would get a run back in the bottom of the 6th, with another RBI double by Marcus Thames.

Trailing 7-5, Ryan Raburn would hit a solo HR off of reliever Justin Speier, to make it 7-6 Angels. The Tigers' reliever Tim Byrdak would pitch a shutout 8th inning in an attempt to keep the Tigers in the game.

Bottom of the 8th - Scot Shields on the mound for the Angels; Shields gets the first two Tigers in Placido Polanco and Carlos Guillen to fly out. The Tigers decide to pinch-hit Timo Perez for Sean Casey, and draws a walk; Tigers pinch-run Omar Infante for Perez. With two outs, Marcus Thames makes Shields pay with a mistake pitch left over the plate -- two-run blast for Thames; Thames is 3-for-4 this game, with 2 doubles, HR & 4 RBI.

The Tigers have now pulled off another late comeback, and now have a 8-7 lead, thanks to Thames. Bobby Seay would come out of the pen for the Tigers, and complete the Save, while Tim Byrdak is credited with the win.

The Tigers are hoping this game can spark some life into the remainder of this series, they must win Game 4 to force this series back to California though.


Tigers had 7 hits, no errors; Angels had 8 hits on 2 errors.

Angels leads series, 2-1

Sunday, November 8, 2015

BoS Power Rankings (July)

Adam Bomb: Panthers hope Wainwright can give Panthers that extra push.
The Power Rankings for the month of July 
(October 5th - November 1st on League Manager - Calendar).

The top three teams in the Portland Microbrewers, Traverse City Panthers & Chicago Nine have separated themselves from the pack, and appear to be the cream of the crop. Recently, the Chicago Nine took 5 of 6 from Portland in Chicago... while the Panthers are trying to fend off division rivals Holland Hitchhikers and the upstart Urbana Locomotives.

Traverse City hopes to get past Portland in the upcoming NLCS this year, after losing in a hard-fought seven-game series: A series that featured a instant classic Game 6 that dragged out for 20 innings, with T.C. pulling off the victory to force a Game 7.

Abreu: Seeking the Crown, plus two other awards.
Meanwhile, Jose Abreu of the Corktown Tamales, in heavy pursuit of the Triple Crown. Abreu leads the American League with a .314 batting average & 30 home runs, while he is tied for the league in RBI with 70 (tied with Chicago's David Ortiz). He also the easy favorite for Rookie-of-the-Year, and will also have a great shot at landing the league's Most Valuable Player Award.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Early Predictions on MLB Free Agents

Johnny Cueto is among heavy free agent class.

My predictions of who's going where in Major League Baseball. I like any fan has been reading plenty of the rumor mill articles on sites such as Bleacher Report, ESPN & numerous other baseball sites and have took some of this input and came up with my own choices.

Here they are...

Jordan Zimmermann - Cubs
The Chicago Cubs will probably go for two steady and dependable starting pitchers to add to Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta. Zimmermann is probably the most effective and affordable & would fit perfectly with the Cubs.

The Cubs have the lineup, now add pitching, and the team should only get better, even if they are in the toughest division in all of baseball.

Ben Zobrist - Yankees
The Yankees for the last few years have been plugging veteran pieces in their infield slots with little success -- they should put more faith in their prospects, but likely will keep going for a veteran signing. Zobrist would be the best signing of the bunch, and would give the team flexibility without breaking the bank. Yankees should be able to outbid their opponents on Zobrist.

Yoenis Cespedes - Yankees / Marlins
There are many reports at the moment that the Miami Marlins will land the recently well-traveled Cuban stud -- but I would not be surprised to see the Yankees over-pay for lightning in a bottle, he is exactly the type of player the Yankees would spurge on in the past. Yankees probably would be hoping for a Reggie Jackson impact, but end up more with a Danny Tartabull, Ruben Sierra, or Jesse Barfield.

I do think Cespedes gets too much grief for being traded plenty of recent, with many questioning his mind frame for the game, but I think adding him to a team is always a upgrade despite a low career On-Base Percentage -- His arm in the outfield, and power surges do make up for plenty of that, and it has been statistically proven that his teams (with the exception of Boston) play better when he is in the lineup, compared to when out of the lineup

[See Oakland's 2014 second-half collapse & get back to me on that]

Jason Heyward - Re-signs with Cardinals
Heyward is an interesting free agent with plenty of tools, at times he comes off as over-rated and then he comes off underrated. I do think Cardinals get it done by resigning him, unless a big market team overpays for him.

Johnny Cueto - Red Sox 
Johnny Cueto is exactly the big signing that new GM Dave Dombrowski is looking for. The Red Sox need an ace to anchor a rotation that still needs work -- landing Cueto, will bring in other dependable starters as well.

Alex Gordon - Resigns with Royals... or St. Louis?
I have read reports about the Houston Astros being in hunt for Gordon.. but would not be surprised if the St. Louis Cardinals jump in, if Jason Heyward does not resign with Cards. Plus Gordon would completely fit into Mike Matheny & the Cardinals' way with no problem. Cardinals fans would love to see him in Cardinal red.

Doug Fister - Tigers
Okay, okay... This is definitely wishful thinking. I personally hated watching the Tigers trade Fister to the Washington Nationals, and in hindsight that deal ended up being a bust for the Tigers, even though Fister didn't have the same success in Washington than he did in Detroit.

Maybe teams will be weary of Fister's recent injuries, undervalue him, and the Tigers swoop in and sign him to a three-year deal. Fister would help solidify a rotation that is desperate need for balance right now, add that to a reemergence of Justin Verlander, a hopeful rebound for Anibal Sanchez, and the emergence of Daniel Norris -- The Tigers would suddenly have a rotation again.

Hey, Tiger fans can dream, right?!

Chris Davis - Rangers
The Texas Rangers love their sluggers, so why not bring in a guy who started his career in Texas? The Rangers' division rival, Los Angeles Angels may also jump into the fun as they try to transition Albert Pujols towards full-time DH.

Greinke had huge season with Dodgers.

Zack Greinke - Giants / Dodgers
When looking at the possibilities, considering he turned down a great option -- He would only get a huge contract from either Los Angeles team. But sources have mentioned the fact that Greinke really hit things off with San Francisco Giants players and Giant Manager Bruce Bochy (during All-Star break), feeling a good comfort level. Greinke once battled anxiety problems, so San Fran would probably be more his fit, although he had his best stretch of career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, going 57-17 (.770 winning percentage) in a 3 1/2 season stretch. Dodgers still have a shot at re-landing Greinke.

David Price - Any team with a huge piggy bank
If the price is right, some team will be happy with landing David Price -- the question remains, who? The Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox all seem to be great suitors.

It would be interesting to see if the Chicago Cubs, and even the New York Mets (who have enough pitching) tip the scales, and try to wing it with a lineup that needs offensive and defensive upgrades.

I actually have heard the Detroit Tigers still wanting to bring him back, but with the team being strapped, I think they try to fill in the holes on their rosters with hopeful bargain signings.

My gut says either the Dodgers or Yankees get it done, but don't count out the Cubs.


Stephen Strasburg (SP-Washington Nationals)
With the Nationals being a mess, and with Doug Fister and Jordan Zimmermann hitting free agency, it may be the best time to trade Strasburg while his stock is up. There has been connections that the New York Yankees would try to land Strasburg -- The Nationals could bring in some pieces, particularly pitching in maybe players like Adam Warren with a bundle of prospects. The Nats still have Gio Gonzalez, Tanner Roark and the possibility of resigning either Fister or Zimmermann -- The Nats are definitely reshuffling the deck, especially since they have already reshuffled possible managers a couples times, and now has Dusty Baker at the helm... who seems to be a manager that knows how to fix a mess.

Another team would be the Dodgers, who probably have more attractable pieces to offer the Nationals than the Yankees.

Justin Verlander (SP- Detroit Tigers)
Okay, I jumped the gun about a season to season & half ago, saying Justin was back -- now, confidently, and the fact that he finished the 2015 season strong, he may just be back.

Is he the old Cy Young stud from 2011/2012 period?
No, probably not.

Is he closer to the 2009-2010, 2013 version?

I have made it no secret that Justin Verlander is my favorite player in Major League Baseball, and saying that, I would hate to see the Detroit Tigers ever trade him... but if the Tigers are not in the hunt for true playoff contention by All-Star Break 2016, and Verlander is pitching strongly like he shown in the second-half of 2015, it may not be a bad idea for the Tigers to get possible contenders with huge bank accounts in the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, or Los Angeles Angels to bite on his huge yearly salary.

At this point, I do not see Tigers any better than 2nd place, if not more like a third-place team. He would be perfect for the Chicago Cubs to make that next huge step in late 2016.

Just saying.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Big Names, New Places (Boys of Summer - League Update)

McCutchen is hoping to be the answer for Chicago.
The third season of the Boys of Summer APBA Baseball League is half-way through, and we are starting to see teams move their chips, place down their cards...

Who's all in? Who is out?

The league was quiet for the first couple months after the season started, but then the Chicago Nine broke the silence by picking up veteran Justin Morneau in exchange for speedy, plus-outfielder Anthony Gose; The two players have a stark contrast in terms of power, but both give their teams something that they seek.

The Portland Microbrewers (back-to-back National League Champions) once again have the best record in the entire league (in seek of the 1st BoS World Championship) made a huge splash in acquiring shortstop Troy Tulowitzki; Portland also acquired reconstruction relief project Neftali Feliz in the deal, while the Corktown Tamales get themselves a catcher (which they desperately needed) with a little pop and reliable, consistent reliever Mark Melancon.

The Traverse City Panthers were close into landing two big-name starting pitchers from two other franchises, but had to settle on Adam Wainwright from the Kingsley Brownbeards. Things will get interesting as the Panthers will not have Wainwright, Alex Cobb, Drew Smyly, and Henderson Alvarez for the 2016 seasons (due to MLB injuries) -- but will have Matt Harvey returning, to go along with Corey Kluber and a down-year from Julio Teheran (who was finding his way in 2nd-half for MLB). The Wainwright trade comes with another price, the Panthers traded Tampa Bay's Nathan Karns (7-5, 3.67 ERA & 145 K's in 147 IP) who had a good season for the Rays, with Yankees' pitcher Adam Warren (7-7, 3.29 ERA & 104 K's in 131.1 IP), plus T.C.'s 2nd Round Draft pick for upcoming draft. The Panthers acquired scrap in pitchers Roberto Hernandez and Rex Brothers, who will both not play a role in the team this season, and will find themselves most likely available after the season.

The Panthers are rumored to have been shopping Brandon Finnegan, Teheran, Alex Cobb and Dalton Pompey in an attempt to bring a bigger name than Wainwright.
Wanted Man: San Diego, 3rd team to land Puig.

Two big trades went down on November 1st, the Chicago Nine, no strangers to making a deal (I believe they have made the most deals in the league's brief history), landed Andrew McCutchen. In exchange for McCutchen, the Nine send Cuban star outfielder Yasiel Puig, young ace Danny Salazar of the Indians, and Chicago's third-round draft pick. Chicago acquired Puig from Traverse City prior to the 2015 BoS Draft in a blockbuster trade that watched the Nine send Miguel Cabrera, Drew Smyly, Josh Harrison, Leonys Martin & a Chicago 3rd Round Draft Pick (that ended up being Dalton Pompey) to Traverse City; Puig was sent to Chicago with pitchers Yu Darvish and Cody Allen, plus first baseman Brandon Belt & T.C.'s 1st Round Pick (Rusney Castillo).

Miguel Cabrera happened to be acquired hours before the Chicago-Traverse City Puig-Cabrera deal, when Chicago acquired Cabrera and Wade Miley from the Buffalo Yankees in exchange for young phenom Chris Archer and second baseman Ian Kinsler. Chicago having a knack for landing big players and trading big players, also landed Adam Jones and Elvis Andrus from the World Champion Fairgrove Tigers, in exchange for Carlos Gomez and Shelby Miller.

Johnny Cueto & Holland shooting for division title & more.
The other big trade on November 1st was between the South Side Spartans and Holland Hitchhikers. In a attempt to try to keep up with the N.L. East leading Panthers, the Hitchhikers landed ace Johnny Cueto and two veteran relievers (Jordan Walden and Joel Peralta) in exchange for a equally impressive package of shortstop Andrelton Simmons, starting pitcher Zack Wheeler, outfielder Adam Eaton and the Holland's 2nd Round Draft Pick.

We are at the closing hours, as the BoS has until November 6th (8:00 am) to get in any more deals before the Trade Deadline.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

2007 ALDS (Games 1 & 2)

My 2007 Detroit Tigers Season Replay has the Detroit Tigers facing the Los Angeles Angels, while the New York Yankees enhance their rivalry with the Boston Red Sox. Boston and the Angels have home-field advantage in this series, hosting Games 1&2, and Game 5, if necessary.

The National League will not be altered in anyway, due to my inter-league games not making a huge difference, for example, I didn't beat up on the Philadelphia Phillies more often than in real-life & lose more to the Mets, which could have helped the New York Mets win the division. Remember in real life, the Mets had a historical collapse of sorts.

So with no altering, the Colorado Rockies are destined to still reach the 2007 World Series, the question remains, will it be real-life opponent Boston, or any of the other three teams in Detroit, L.A., or New York?

Detroit at Los Angeles (A)

Lackey was in control for the Angels of Anaheim.

Justin Verlander (B-X / 16-8, 3.61 ERA & 208 K's) will face off against the Angels' John Lackey (B-YZ / 19-9, 3.01 ERA & 179 K's).

A pitcher's duel was on display, as both starting pitchers would not allow any runs during the first 6 innings. Verlander was a little sloppier with his control, and got out of some sticky situations.

Bottom of the 1st, loaded the bases up with a single by Vladimir Guerrero, walking Garret Anderson and plunking Gary Matthews, Jr. with a pitch... but Casey Kotchman grounded out to second for the final out.

Bottom of the 5th, Verlander would once again plunk Matthews with a pitch to load bases, but got Kotchman to strike out for final out that time.

Top of the 7th, Brandon Inge of all people for the Tigers, would hit a solo HR, he reached base on all three plate appearances that night with a single in the 2nd, and a walk in the 5th. Inge gave the Tigers, a 1-0 lead.

Bottom of the 7th - The Angels strike back, Justin Verlander walks lead-off man Chone Figgins, Orlando Cabrera would hit into a fielder's choice to get the lead runner for out number one. Vladimir Guerrero would make Verlander pay with an RBI double. Manager Jim Leyland goes to the pen, for Tim Byrdak, Verlander done for the night.

Verlander went 6.1 innings, allowing 4 hits, 4 walks, and 2 HBP, while striking out 8 Angels hitters. He is responsible for Guerrero at second.

Byrdak would give up an RBI double to Garret Anderson, as the Angels take a 2-1 lead. Gary Matthews, Jr. (probably steaming from getting hit by two Verlander pitches) launches a two-run homer to give the Angels a commanding 4-1 lead.

Scot Shields and Francisco Rodriguez ("K-Rod") finish off the Tigers in 8th & 9th inning relief.


Angels had 6 hits, no errors, while the Tigers had 5 hits and 2 errors.

New York (A) at Boston
Big Time Beckett: Josh owns Yanks.

"The Rocket" Roger Clemens (C-Y / 6-6, 4.18 ERA & 68 K's in 99 IP), who once again came out of retirement, faces Boston's Josh Beckett (B-XZ / 20-7, 3.27 ERA & 194 K's), a gritty pitcher that has been compared to Clemens from time to time in his career.

Clemens shows his age early by loading the bases up in 1st inning with one out to Manny Ramirez, he would force in a run on a walk to Kevin Youkilis. Mike Lowell would fly out for out number two, with no runners advancing. J.D. Drew hits two-run single, driving in David Ortiz and Ramirez, for 3-0 lead. Jason Varitek strikes out to end inning.

The Red Sox were at it again, in the bottom of the 2nd, with lead-off double by Julio Lugo. With two outs, David Ortiz draws a walk. With runners on 1st & 2nd, Manny Ramirez delivers RBI single to right, scoring in Lugo. "Big Papi" would score off a RBI single by Kevin Youkilis.

The Red Sox jump to 5-0 lead and never look back, Clemens was lousy and lasts only 3 innings for the Yankees, allowing 6 hits & 4 walks, along with 5 earned runs, with only 1 K.

Josh Beckett on the other hand was spectacular, pitching a complete-game shutout, allowing only 5 hits & 2 walks, while striking out 7 Yankees.


Yankees only managed 5 hits, Boston collect 9 hits; No errors for either team.

Detroit at Los Angeles (A)
"Little Sarge" putting charge into series.

The Detroit Tigers who are no strangers to having their backs to the wall, find themselves trailing the series 1-0, they will send out Jeremy Bonderman (C-YZ / 18-7, 3.52 ERA & 161 K's) who led the Tigers in victories & ERA to face off against Kelvim Escobar (B-Y / 18-7, 3.40 ERA & 160 K's), who had similar stats for the Replay season.

Bonderman was far from sharp, and appeared rusty, walking off lead-off man Chone Figgins, followed by a single by Orlando Cabrera. Vladimir Guerrero bounces into a fielder's choice, as the Tigers get Cabrera in a force at second. With one out, and runners on 1st & 3rd, Garret Anderson hits three-run homer to get the Angels off and running. Bonderman fields an infield grounder by throwing the ball over first baseman Sean Casey's head at first, the hitter Casey Kotchman would reach second on the play. With two outs (after a Howie Kendrick pop-out), Gary Matthews, Jr. adds an RBI double. Angels lead 4-0 after one.

Top of the 2nd - Gary Sheffield, after a single & steal (and advancing to third on a ground out) scores off a sac-fly by Carlos Guillen.

Bottom of the 3rd - Matthews keeps taking it to the Tigers, scoring Casey Kotchman from third on a sac fly -- this is already "Little Sarge" Gary Matthews' 4th RBI of the series.

Magglio Ordonez gets his 1st hit of the series, a solo HR in the 4th, as Tigers still trail 5-2 -- But that will be as close as it gets, as the Angels will do the Tigers in with the long-ball in the late innings. Maicer Izturis was 4-for-4, with a two-run HR in 5th, plus a steal; Izturis is 6-for-10 in the first two games. Mike Napoli and Howie Kendrick add solo HR's.

The Tigers have no answers for the Angels offense so far this series, as Angels collect 12 hits in Game 2. The Tigers trail 18-14 in hits this series, which is not much of a different, but have not been able to capitalize as the Angels have.

Kelvim Escobar pitches 7 strong innings, allowing 7 hits and 2 earned runs, no walks with only 2 K's -- while Jeremy Bonderman allowed 6 hits, 5 earned runs, 3 walks in 3.1 innings with 4 K's. The Tigers' bullpen is getting worked early in this series, while Angels are in the driver's seat.


Tigers had 9 hits with 2 errors (4 for the series), while Angels had 12 hits and 1 error.

New York (A) at Boston

Youkilis putting together some good numbers against Yanks.

It's the sign of the times, with a Southeast Asian match-up of Chien-Ming Wang (B / 19-7, 3.70 ERA & 101 K's) will take the mound for the Yankees, while Boston counters with Daisuke Matsuzaka (C-X / 15-12, 4.40 ERA & 201 K's).

"Big Papi" David Ortiz struck first for Boston with two outs in the bottom of the first, with solo HR to right. The Yankees quickly answered back with a RBI double in the 2nd by Jorge Posada, RBI double by Bobby Abreu in the 3rd, and a RBI single by Johnny Damon in the 4th. Damon's RBI single was the 6th hit for the Yankees in the game, out-weighing the 5 total hits they collected in Game 1 off of Josh Beckett. Yankees leading 3-1 after top of the 4th.

Just when the Yankees looked like they were going to make this a game, the bottom of the 4th became a quick mess. Derek Jeter's off-throw pulled first baseman Andy Phillips off the bag, putting Dustin Pedroia on; Ortiz followed with a single, advancing Pedroia to third, with Manny Ramirez following up with an RBI single. Kevin Youkilis comes up big once again, with an RBI double, to give Boston a 4-3 lead; Youkilis is having a great series at this point, 3-for-5, reaching base 4 out of 6 plate appearances, plus 4 RBI.
Unlikely Goat: Jeter makes two throwing errors.

The bottom of the 5th, started off the same way the previous inning with a throwing error once again by Derek Jeter. Coco Crisp smacks an RBI double to add to the lead, making it 5-3. The Yankees pull Chien-Ming Wang out of the game -- 4.1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER (6 runs) with 3 K's and bring in Mike Mussina to face Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia would make Mussina pay with two-run blast, breaking the game open 7-3 for Boston.

The Yankees would make things interesting, only later with a two-run triple by Alex Rodriguez, in the top of the 9th, that helped generate 3 runs. Hideki Okajima holds on in a non-save situation, to help hold down a 9-6 victory that was further than the final score indicates.

Even though Derek Jeter would reach base all five times at the plate in Game 2, with his 3 hits, and two walks... his two throwing errors sparked two big innings for the Red Sox.

The Red Sox and Yankees would each collect 10 hits in this one, while Boston made no errors.


Both the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees find themselves in 2-0 series holes, will a return in front of their hometown fans help bring these teams back from the depths?
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