Monday, December 7, 2015

The Big, Bad East (BoS Update)

My team logo for the Panthers.
I have not done a post on my Boys of Summer APBA Baseball League for some time, and here is the latest. We enter this weekend, a game up on Thomas Nelshoppen's Urbana Locomotives, and about 5 games up on the Steve Ruder's Holland Hitchhikers; All three teams have high playoff hopes, the fact of the matter only two will advance into the postseason.

Not to toot my own horn, but entering the season I believe that with my acquisition of Miguel Cabrera and the fact that my pitching staff, lineup & bullpen was pretty solid, I would say that others believed we were division favorites as well. I knew I put together a good team, and know that if I want to win it all, I need to put a team together to battle back-to-back National League Champions - Portland Microbrewers, and be able to hang defeat the American League powers to be, in case I get that far, to the World Series.

What I did not know is that the division race was going to be this tough, I kind of knew that I would have to worry about Holland, but maybe I & the entire league underestimated Urbana. Urbana really has that 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers thing going on, they do have the pitching, but their team is only batting .216, but Tom has his team playing great baseball and that's where it counts.

That is what's great about APBA Baseball and baseball in general, anything is possible, and what Urbana is doing is really not the impossible. I really did think that this year would be very close among the whole league, maybe 2 bad teams, and 2-3 stellar teams, but the middle not too far behind the top, or too far ahead the bottom -- lots of parity I expected.

This league has watched teams go through phases this season, losing & winning, and even though there is 3, maybe 4 teams pulling away from the pack, that top echelon has not been perfect. For the most part the same three teams have been at the top of the BoS Power Rankings- Portland, Chicago & Traverse City.

Now I hope people are not offended in my league with me doing a article at where my team is sitting, this is my APBA blog though, and this blog reports on my APBA activity; Being the commissioner, I feel guilty at times for writing such a post, but I'm doing this post more as a competitive team owner or manager, who believes in his team, so I guess I'm giving this article in that perspective.

My upcoming series are as follows:
vs SAN DIEGO (6 games)
at Kingsley (5 games, who are 8-7 against me for the season)
at Urbana (5 games)
vs URBANA (6 games)
at Holland (5 games)

First up in this stretch is against my brother Christopher's team in the San Diego Heroes, who acquired Yasiel Puig, the player I drafted 1st overall in the 2014 Annual BoS Draft. Puig won N.L. Rookie of the Year for my Panthers, and helped us make the playoffs for the very first time. He was then traded just before the 2015 BoS Draft in the trade that brought Miguel Cabrera over from Chicago.

Game 1

Adam Wainwright pitched a two-hit shutout in Game 1, to defeat San Diego 2-0. Giancarlo Stanton's solo HR (his 28th HR of the season) in the bottom of the 8th, gave the Panthers more breathing room.

Game 2

The Panthers scored 2 runs on 2 errors by the San Diego Heroes in the first, but San Diego bounces back with the long-ball -- Julio Teheran gives up 4 long balls and surrenders 7 runs inside 4 innings. The Heroes put on a 10-5 whooping; Dalton Pompey (Panthers prospect) hits two-run pinch-hit HR in the 9th in his very first at-bat of his BoS career. San Diego's Dioner Navarro went 3-for-4, with 3 RBI & 2 HR's. 

Game 3

After 3 innings of quiet offense by either team, Nelson Cruz breaks the game open a bit with two HRs (both off Henderson Alvarez) in between the 4th & 6th innings to give San Diego a 4-0 lead. 

During the bottom of the 6th, Panthers would load the bases with no outs, but then would fail to score anyone in. The frustrating Alex Cobb came into relief & gave up his 23rd HR of the season (Lucas Duda's 9th HR of the season); Cobb in real life gave up 11 HR in 166+ innings -- For me, he gave up 23 HR's now in only 112 innings! Cobb's ERA sits at 5.54.

San Diego wins. 6-1

Game 4

The Panthers were holding a 3-2 lead until Nelson Cruz struck again, with a two-run off blast off of reliever Tyler Clippard. The Panthers would tie the game with an RBI pinch-hit double by Wilmer Flores, scoring in pinch-runner Adam Rosales, at 4-4 in the 7th. 

With runners on 1st & 2nd, in the bottom of the 9th, Miguel Cabrera delivers a walk-off three-run HR off of reliever Hector Rondon -- Panthers win! Series now tied 2-2; Panthers want to win the last two games & give themselves an extra game over Urbana (Urbana and Portland's series results are in, and both split 3-3).

Game 5

Panthers getting frustrated trying to find answers as Corey Kluber for the second start in a row, fails at reaching his 20th win & has lost his second straight outing (19-4 now). Wade Davis even gets roughed up in a non-save situation, as the team loses 7-2.

Game 6

Adam Wainwright allowed a two-run HR to Edwin Encarnacion, as the Panthers found themselves down, 2-0 after the top of the 4th. Traverse City grinds back, led by Miguel Cabrera's three hits (RBI) & two-run single by Jason Castro. Wade Davis is a bit sloppy, but holds on for his 36th save of the season.

*** By the way, another league note, the Corktown Tamales' rookie Jose Abreu currently leads all three triple crown categories: .312 batting average, 36 HR & 90 RBI with 27 games remaining. ***

Abreu's 2015 BoS Baseball card.

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