Monday, August 31, 2015

Alternate 1993: April 19th

The current standings of my Alternate 1993 Project (BBW Season); A league without further expansion, so no Colorado Rockies & Florida Marlins -- meaning no Arizona Diamondbacks & Tampa Bay Devil Rays as well.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Toledo Glass City APBA Divisions Announced

This trophy will go to the winner of Toledo's inaugural winner, who will it be?

My friend Ron Emch is hosting his first APBA Baseball Tournament this Saturday, August 29th -- The Toledo Glass City APBA Baseball Tournament in Maumee, Ohio at the Maumee-Bowling Green Elks Lodge.

It should be a wonderful tournament with plenty of recognizable faces going, I will be making a strong attempt at it next summer, it's a clear shot down for I-75 for me.

I got the news on the division setups, and they are as follow....


I always like to make a prediction of these, so I'm going with Darren Schulz's 1937 Yankees. Good luck to everyone, it should be a blast!


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sweet 16 for Rich Z

My friend Pastor Rich Zawadzki is pretty well known among us on the APBA Facebook Group, he is one of the group's admin, while also hosting his first APBA Tournament (back in March) - The Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament (Jackson, MI).

By the way, you can get with him on the 2nd Annual GMABT here.

Doug, Rich & I at the Chicago World Series in Winter 2013.
I had the privilege to finally meet Rich in person during November 2013. I traveled on bus from Traverse City, Michigan through Grand Rapids and down to Kalamazoo, in which he was more than happy to pick me up from the hotel in K-Zoo on our way to Woodstock, IL for the 2013 Chicago APBA World Series (Winter edition) hosted by our friend Doug Schuyler. Even though his beloved Boston Red Sox ripped the hearts out of many Detroit Tigers fans (such as myself), we still had much more to talk about in family, faith & our love for APBA Baseball. APBA is a great bonding experience for many of us that have played the game, through this game I got to meet many new friends -- APBA is the ONLY reason that I still have a Facebook account actually.

Anyways, many of us like to do our own solo projects, and Rich Z is no stranger to doing a solo tournament of his own. He has done a good handful of tournaments in the past, and his tournaments are definitely popular to follow. He is currently doing a 100-Win, 94-team Double Elimination Grand Tournament -- all 94 teams in MLB history to have reached the century mark in wins, all go at it, to see who can finish up the absolute best of the bunch.

Here is the latest news from Rich...


By the way, please forgive my friend for using that Patriots logo for his Facebook Profile, it's only in his nature as a New Englander -- We all have flaws, hahaha! Should be an excellent finish to the tournament though.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Streakin'

Thames (here with his kids, wife & Leyland) more relaxed at the plate of late.
My Detroit Tigers for my 2007 Detroit Tigers Season Replay have suddenly found the ways of winning, at just the right time. We just finished sweeping the Texas Rangers at home, with the finale of the series coming off a walk-off sac fly by Ryan Raburn in the 13th, scoring in Curtis Granderson.

When we left off, the Tigers won 7 straight, they took that streak to 11 consecutive victories (a season best) -- breaking its 7 consecutive mark set in June. They also have won 15 of their last 17 games, their best stretch since early June, when they went 15-3.

Marcus Thames and Carlos Guillen, two players who have struggled all year, have been excellent during this stretch. Thames' peak performance was hitting 3 HR & 5 RBI in his first 3 at-bats by the 5th inning against the Chicago White Sox. Guillen has been rolling in his new #6 spot, with Placido Polanco batting 5th; Guillen's highlight during this stretch was against the Texas Rangers, going 4-for-5, with 2 HR's & 5 RBI.

Guillen has become more focused in his new #6 spot of the lineup.
As I mentioned above, the Tigers had to pull off some heroics in the finale against the Rangers, the Tigers were getting the hits, but failing to score -- while Brad Wilkerson was single-handily causes the Tigers problems; He would finish up 4-for-5, with 2 HR's, a double, single & batted in all 3 of the Rangers' runs.

Justin Verlander (entered at 15-8, 3.68 ERA) got the no-decision, allowing 6 hits & 2 HR's to Wilkerson, with only 3 K's -- he allowed 4 walks! Robinson Tejeda (a APBA Grade D-W) held his own for 5 innings, 7 hits, 2 ER & 2 walks allowed, with 3 K's -- it could have certainly been worse.

The Tigers the last few innings, kept leaving the winning runs in scoring position, and the game started to play out in the Rangers' favor -- until Curtis Granderson's one-out triple in the top of the 13th. Granderson had 4 K's for the night, until his big hit; Raburn would hit the walk-off sac fly to pull off the victory. Tigers had 15 hits, while the Rangers only had 8 -- Tigers were certainly playing with fire in that game.

Thames (left) and "Mags" has had plenty to be happy about; Team is playing loose.
The Detroit Tigers whooped the Texas Rangers overall for my replay, winning 8 of 9 from them -- in real-life, the Tigers edged Texas, 5-4 in the season series.

The Tigers now sit at 83-64, while the New York Yankees, who we are chasing, is at 83-62 -- one game ahead in the wildcard race. The Tigers & Yankees split 4-4, and both teams in real-life split the season series as well, which means there is no differential to help us, and we must beat the Yankees' final season record of 94-68.

My Tigers have to go at least 11-4 to force a one-game playoff, and go 12-3 to win the wildcard spot outright. We have gone 15-2 in this stretch, so it is possible, but it will get tougher...


Since, I have recently gone with a four-man rotation, I will have Justin Verlander (Grade B-X) on the mound for Game #151 (for the series opener) against the Cleveland Indians, Game #155 at home against the Kansas City Royals & another home against the Minnesota Twins (Game #159).

Here's to hoping for an amazing finish for the season.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The WHAT IF 1984 World Series (The Conclusion)


Here is a recap on the WHAT IF 1984 World Series...
(Click on game links to get a synopsis of each game)

Game 1 (at Chicago) - Detroit 5, Chicago 4
Game 2 (at Chicago) - Detroit 3, Chicago 2 (10 Innings)
Game 3 (at Detroit) - Chicago 4, Detroit 0
Game 4 (at Detroit) - Chicago 3, Detroit 2
Game 5 (at Detroit) - Chicago 2, Detroit 1

The Detroit Tigers won the first two games, while the Chicago Cubs won the next three at Tiger Stadium -- In fact, every game so far during this series has been won by the visiting team. 

GAME 6 
(at Wrigley Field, Chicago)

Petry was the right call for Game 6.
The Detroit Tigers saved Dan Petry for Game 6, and pitched Juan Berenguer instead for Game 5. While the Chicago Cubs send Dennis Eckersley, who last time pitched got the Cubs back into this series with a shutout of the Tigers in Game 3.

The Tigers started Rupert Jones once again in left field, he went 2-for-3 (2 singles) in Game 5 -- The move paid off again with a solo HR to get the Tigers started with a 1-0 lead in the top of the second. The Tigers' Lou Whitaker would add to the lead, with a RBI single in the 5th inning.

It was all Dan Petry in this one, allowing only two hits in 8 shutout innings, with 5 K's & 3 BB's. Dennis Eckersley was good again, but couldn't get the support from his lineup in this one, he went 6 innings, allowing 5 hits & 2 runs (1 earned), he did allow 3 walks though.

Tigers win 2-0, Series tied 3-3

GAME 7
(at Wrigley Field, Chicago)

Once again, it's Jack Morris vs Rick Sutcliffe. Morris has not done so well the previous two, while Sutcliffe has been excellent.


Both pitchers kept the other team off the board the first three innings, until Leon Durham got things going with a solo HR in the bottom of the 4th. The Tigers' Dave Bergman would get the Tigers' first hit in the top of the 5th, a two-out double. It would not be until the top of the 6th, that the Tigers would score, and that would be a game-tying RBI triple by Kirk Gibson; Scoring in Lou Whitaker from second (who had a double). The Tigers would strand Gibson.

The Tigers also would hit into many force plays or double plays in this series, or so it seems, because they happen to happen at the most crucial times of the ball games.

The game would remain a 1-1 tie for the next couple innings, entering the 9th. Jack Morris had his best game of the series, even though it was a short five inning outing -- allowing 4 hits & a run, while striking out five Cubs. The Tigers' Aurelio Lopez pitched two scoreless innings, and Dave Rozema & Doug Bair shared the 8th Inning. Willie Hernandez would come in for a non-save situation, with the Tigers hoping for him to last at least three innings, if this goes extras.

Meanwhile, Rick Sutcliffe has been keeping the Tigers at bay, allowing only 5 hits, a run & walk through 8 innings, while racking up 8 K's.

The top of the 9th, the Tigers had their #3, #4 & #5 hitters coming up in Kirk Gibson, Chet Lemon & Darrell Evans. They couldn't do anything with fly-outs by Gibson & Evans, and Lemon grounding out. Bottom of the 9th, the Cubs had Ron Cey, Jody Davis & Larry Bowa coming up. Cey would strike out a third time, and is 0-for-4 for the night. Jody Davis (1-for 18) entering the game, was 0-for-3 in this one with 2 K's (making him 1-for-21), appeared to be no threat to Willie Hernandez, until Willie accidentally hung one over the plate, Jody sent it deep over the Ivy in right, a walk-off series winner for the Cubbies!

The Chicago Cubs down 2-0, win the series, 4-3! Leon Durham has been a beast, it's been awhile since I have seen stats such as these in a dice series, but here they are...


LEON DURHAM

11 H / 25 AB
.440 BA
2 HR
6 RBI
7 Doubles
2 Triples
4 walks (1 Int Walk)
All 11 hits were Extra-Base Hits!

.517 On-Base Percentage
1.120 Slugging Percentage
1.637 OPS (On-Base + Slugging)

Easy call, he is the MVP of the series, despite Sutcliffe & Eckersley's excellent performances.

Jody Davis: The unlikely series hero, ending 76 years of frustration.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Boys are Back!

Tamales' rookie Jose Abreu sounds off with his bat, in historic start.

8/14/2015

The 2015 Boys of Summer APBA Baseball League is officially off and running, as we enter our 3rd season of our league's existence. We have many of the same faces (in owners) returning with three new faces.

Early on, there has been plenty of parity in the league. While some things have changed as in the (2013 Bos World Champion) South Shore Fighting Imps' dominate days momentarily setting with the sun -- Some have stayed the same as in the Portland Microbrewers looking like they want to make it three consecutive National League Championships.

With the American League East up for grabs, with the Imps no longer grasping onto the divison, early on there seems to be a three-team battle between the Swatara Eliminators (2014 A.L. Wildcard), Corktown Tamales, and the South Side Spartans. The Tamales & Spartans are two new teams with two new owners, taking over for former franchises -- Boston Bravos & Bronx Bombers.

The Tamales are currently in first (12-10), led by rookie Jose Abreu (.407 BA, 9 HR & 21 RBI for a 1.330 OPS), who is putting up MVP numbers early on -- His slugging percentage by the way, is .238 higher than the next player, his teammate Troy Tulowitzki. The Spartans are 11-11, and are led with a formidable rotation in Johnny Cueto, Jon Lester, James Shields, R.A. Dickey (currently 2nd in ERA with 1.61) & Hiroki Kuroda (last season in the states). The Eliminators are led by tag team Victor Martinez and Anthony Rizzo. "V-Mart" is batting .314, 3 HR & 16 RBI (.891 OPS), while leading the league with 11 doubles; Rizzo is batting .310, 4 HR & 15 RBI (.907 OPS). While the top 3 teams are separated by only 2 games, the Imps are noticeably in last, at 7-15, 5 games out of first. The team is loaded with productive vets in the past, in Joe Mauer, Matt Holliday, Shin-Soo Choo, David Wright and Ben Zobrist who are still capable of putting up numbers, but age is setting in. The team's rotation is not what it once was in 2013, led by Doug Fister.

In the A.L. West, we have a another wide open division. The Brooklyn Mets (14-8) hold a two-game lead over the World Champs - Fairgrove Tigers; Brooklyn currently lost 3 straight, while Fairgrove has won 3 straight. The division seems to be loaded with good pitching, as 4 of the 5 top team ERA's are all from the same division; The American League itself, has shown good pitching ranging from top team (South Side) ERA of 2.55 to bottom team (South Shore) at 3.68 ERA -- while hitting has been down, with top team (Swatara) batting .249 & worst team (South Shore) batting .198; Five teams are batting .222 or lower!

The West returns with the same teams in place, but some of the teams have had face-lifts. The Fairgrove Tigers made a few off-season trades, saying goodbye to star Adam Jones, Elvis Andrus, and to Jarred Cosart who played a huge role as a rookie to help Fairgrove win the title -- while they brought in Carlos Gomez, Chris DavisShelby Miller & Aaron Loup, The Chicago Nine acquired Jones & Andrus in Gomez/Miller deal with Fairgrove, while trading away Chris Archer (who they acquired from Boston the season below) to another division rival - Buffalo Yankees, along with Ian Kinsler in exchange for Miguel Cabrera and Wade Miley. Miguel's status with Chicago was momentarily, as he then was dished out to Traverse City in a mega deal, that sent Miguel, Josh Harrison, Drew Smyly & Leonys Martin in exchange for Yasiel Puig, Yu Darvish, Brandon Belt & Cody Allen. Buffalo, as mentioned above, got a young ace in Chris Archer, who will help form the top of that rotation with Jordan Zimmermann. The Brooklyn Mets have plenty of young guys in the minors in Jacob deGrom, Maikel Franco, Mike Bolsinger & Billy Burns -- showing that they are certainly a team on the rise. The entire West is separated by three games.

The National League East watched Holland Hitchhikers recently take 5 of 6 from the Traverse City Panthers. The Hitchhikers have already a 5 game lead on the second place Urbana Locomotives. Things have not been going well for the Panthers, as they find themselves at a disappointing 10-12 -- with a powerful lineup, great rotation & strong bullpen, T.C. expected more. Holland has a +31 scoring differential & have also succeeded with a strong bullpen led by Greg Holland. Holland has plenty of young talent with Bryce Harper, Eric Hosmer, Starling Marte and Andrelton Simmons.
The Kingsley Brownbeards (formerly Hannibal Cavemen) lead the league in fielding, an entire 7 pts higher than the next best team in the entire BoS. The Urbana Locomotives have an interesting mix of vets (Cole Hamels, David Price & Adrian Beltre) that have got it done in the past, while adding youth and versatile players to the mix in Yoenis Cespedes, George Springer & Tanner Roark -- remember it's just over a season ago that the Locomotives were just one win away from reaching the World Series.

Out West in the N.L., the Portland Microbrewers are at it again, maybe not as dominant out of the gate as last season's start -- but they once again appear to be the team to beat, and Mike Trout has not really gotten started yet. The Brewers' pitching seems to be the backbone of their success once again; Matt Shoemaker and Dallas Keuchel are off to great starts for them. The Seattle Rainiers made some big improves in the draft, drafting Joc Pederson, 2nd overall, and adding reliever Brad Boxberger in the second round. It's no secret that the San Diego Heroes have plenty of offense, but they are starting to shed some of that offense to make the team a more rounded force, last season they said goodbye to Jose Bautista by trading him to Boston in a deal that brought in better defense in Alex Gordon, and now have said goodbye to Chris Davis, who hit 53 HR's for them last season -- trading him to Fairgrove. The Heroes drafted Daniel Norris, to add to the youth movement in their starting pitching to go along with Tyson Ross & Kyle Gibson. The King Road Kings still have their two-headed monster in Clayton Kershaw & Chris Sale in their rotation, add that to one of the best closers in Aroldis Chapman --They definitely got the pitching, their lineup though needs to improve, and in a league full of pitching, the teams that lack the lineup will have a tough time.


8/16/2015

Early on, there seems to be a lot of parity in the league, a couple teams separating themselves at the top, while a couple teams in the cellar know that this may be a long season. Of course nothing is guaranteed this early, and it may be about who played who so far. Many questions, are the Brooklyn Mets for real? Was the Traverse City Panthers over-hyped? Can the Fairgrove Tigers repeat? Are the Chicago Nine, a playoff contender? It appears many, if not all teams, are trying to find their footing.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Good News, Bad News, Good News?

My Detroit Tigers were 68-62, 3.5 games behind Cleveland & a game behind suddenly-second place Minnesota. At no point after April 29th, in real life 2007 the Detroit Tigers ever fell to third place... I managed to accomplish this horrible feat. My team fell after being ahead of pace for the season (as much as +4 vs 2007 Tigers actual record) & having a +2 win differential against Cleveland at the All-Star Break.

This has been a funny replay, and most of it, record-wise has been living up to the actual 2007 Tigers season, as the collapse & losing streaks all happened around the same time. Every time that I felt like I was finally getting ahead, my team would roll over, with the bats disappearing or my bullpen giving up untimely runs.

So things were looking bad... but they somehow got better!

So GOOD NEWS...
My team would go on to win 7 straight games, after dropping 3 of 4 at home against the Yankees (winning the finale). We would sweep our two back-to-back road series (3 games each) against the Kansas City Royals and Oakland Athletics, two teams that have given me fits in the past.

BAD NEWS...
The Cleveland Indians who were leading my division was on a winning streak of their own, they won 8 straight, until losing their game on September 2nd to last place Chicago White Sox, 8-0. I closed in a total of 1 game, during this stretch. I guess I can count my lucky stars, and be thankful that I didn't have a untimely losing streak, which would have buried me, and likely cost me the season.

The Standings as of September 2nd for the Tigers.


But what's this? GOOD NEWS?! 
The Seattle Mariners have lost 9 straight, some of those at the hands of the Cleveland Indians. They were a wild card contender, that's quickly fading. My future series with them at home for 3 games will not help me in win differential against the Mariners, but could help in overall picture, as well as all my remaining series.

Maybe, more BAD NEWS?! After winning my first series against the New York Yankees, 3-1; I lost my next & last series against the Yankees, 3-1. The conclusion will be no differential between our two teams, which at one point I had a +2 against them, and now it's even. Which means, regardless, the New York Yankees will finish, 94-68 -- just hopefully the difference this time, is that they are not the wildcard team.

We are currently 1 game behind their record, we just need to not follow real-life Tigers' pace (which has been difficult), and avoid same tragic end to the season; Detroit ended up 88-74.

So basically my magic number is 94 total wins for the season.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Latest Scorecard

68' World Series with current backdrop of Navin Field (Tiger Stadium).
Things to come from the Boys of Summer Blog...

  • The Conclusion of the WHAT IF 1984 World Series, between the Chicago Cubs and Detroit Tigers. Cubs lead 3-2, after 2-0 deficit.
  • News about the start of the 2015 Boys of Summer APBA Baseball League, we are a month into the season now. The Portland Microbrewers are looking good once again (Can they make it three straight World Series appearances?) and new teams are making the league take notice, along with new faces.
  • More 2007 Detroit Tigers Season Replay action...
  • Part III & Conclusion of 2020 article.
  • My thoughts on the 2015 MLB Season, how about them Blue Jays, right?! Their General Manager is looking like a genius right now.
  • News on the APBA Tournament coming up in Minnesota!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

2007 Tigers Progress Report (129 games)

There has been plenty of this of late: Leyland signals to bullpen.
The team was sitting pretty at 53-33 at the All-Star Break, with a 5-game lead on Cleveland & 10-game lead on 3rd place Minnesota. The team was batting .284, while the pitching had a 4.06 ERA. We actually won more games against Cleveland Indians up to this point (compared to real-life), while the Minnesota Twins had a three-game advantage differential against up.

Placido Polanco was batting .316 at the break, but struggled so bad in July, that his batting average dipped as low as .290, in a season that he batted .341 with 200 hits. So I made a change to move him to the 5th slot, from the #2 slot. Since I moved Polanco to the 5th spot, I had no desirable #2 slot, except for Ryan Raburn; Raburn in real-life, had 138 at-bats. Due to the struggles of Marcus Thames and Craig Monroe in left, and Brandon Inge at third, Raburn has found himself playing more often than he is supposed to. I have tried to keep it as realistic as possible, but at the same time, the team started to struggle in July, and I have done what I can to keep us competitive. After our recent blunder with the Oakland Athletics, I have also decided to go with a four-man rotation in an attempt to get my best starting pitcher, Justin Verlander, a APBA Grade B-X, out there every 4 starts. I am now starting Raburn everyday in the #2 slot, either at LF or 3B.

Ordonez & Granderson have lived up to their 2007 through APBA replay.

The lineup now looks like this...

1. Curtis Granderson - CF
2. Ryan Raburn - 3B/LF
3. Magglio Ordonez - RF
4. Gary Sheffield - DH
5. Placido Polanco -2B
6. Carlos Guillen - SS
7. Sean Casey - 1B
8. Brandon Inge - 3B/
Marcus Thames - LF
9. Ivan Rodriguez - C

Here is a progress report on the hitters of the Tigers.

  • Curtis Granderson (CF) - Overall has outperformed his 2007 version in APBA, he has been in the .330 batting average range all season, struggling only in May (.270). He is currently hitting .343, while logging a .400 OBP with .562 slugging (.962 OPS). Granderson already has 41 stolen bases, while only stealing 26 in 2007. I am trying to duplicate his historic feat of 20 HR's, 20 SB's, 20 triples & 20 doubles in the same season; in which he and only like 3 other players EVER did in MLB history. He is only 2 HR's away from 20, while for some time the triples were lacking, he recently logged a few, and has 14 for the season -- So he has some work to do to duplicate his feat. By the way, Granderson only batted .302 in 2007, compared to .343 in the replay.
  • Ryan Raburn (LF/3B) - Real life: .304, 4 HR & 27 RBI (.340 OBP/.507 SLG/.847 OPS) in 138 at-bats / 2007 Replay: .317, 9 HR, 37 RBI (.347 OBP/.577 SLG/.924 OPS) in 208 at-bats. He is a APBA J-4, so I have to be careful not to lose him to injury, because it would hurt the lineup dramatically to lose him at this point. 
  • Magglio Ordonez (RF) - Won the 2007 A.L. Batting Title by batting .363, with 28 HR & 139 RBI -- with a 1.029 OPS. "Mags" was batting .397 with 23 HR & 71 RBI at the All-Star Break for me, flirting with .400 for awhile -- he nearly had an OBP of .500 at .495. Currently, Magglio is hitting .369, 31 HR & 97 RBI -- leading the team in batting average & home runs for the season; He also has 44 doubles & 95 runs.
  • Gary Sheffield (DH) - Sheffield in real-life started off hot in 2007 with his new team, then got hurt & struggled in second half; Sheffield finished with .265, 25 HR, 75 RBI & 22 steals -- with .462 SLG/.378 OBP, combining for a .840 OPS. 2007 Tigers Replay: Sheffield has outperformed his numbers -- .276, 29 HR & 106 RBI with 33 SB's; He had 20 HR & 23 Steals at the break, while batting .296! At one point he was on pace for the 40/40 club at age 38 (he will be 39 in November), still has shot to do it, but will most likely reach 30/30 club. By the way, "Sheff" is 33-for-33 in steals attempts & leads team in RBI department.
  • Placido Polanco (2B) - His move to the 5th slot is starting to pay off, after Polanco's struggles in July. Polanco's 2007 real-life totals: .341, 9 HR, 67 RBI & 7 SB (.388 OBP/.458 SLG/.846 OPS); Polanco's 2007 Replay: .299, 10 HR, 72 RBI & 11 SB (.347 OBP/.426 SLG/.773 OPS). "Polly" has shown power of late, and is starting to hit the ball again, so his OBP & SLG numbers should help pull up that .773 OPS to get him closer to his real-life numbers -- has already more HR's, RBI & steals than his real-life totals.
  • Carlos Guillen (SS) - He has been downright frustrating since April's hot start. In April, he batted .330 with a.361 OBP/.484 SLG/.845 OPS -- very similar to his 2007 marks of .296 avg, .357/.502/.859 OPS. After April, he plummeted in which his 2007 Replay totals come nowhere close to the real deal: .210 AVG, 15 HR & 45 RBI with a .266 OBP/.369 SLG/.635 OPS -- he is .224 OPS off his real-life mark! In actual 2007, he also hit 21 HR & 102 RBI. Sometimes in APBA you get weird cases such as this.
  • Sean Casey (1B) - In real-life, Casey is known for getting on-base (.353 OBP in 2007), in APBA he has struggled to reach base (.286 OBP), while only batting .252 compared to his .296 AVG in 2007. He has already hit more HR (5) than his 2007 total of 4... while his other numbers seem to be on par in the runs & RBI departments. His batting average being 44 points lower, of course is effecting his on-base percentage.
  • Brandon Inge (3B) - Inge batted .236, 14 HR & 71 RBI (.312 OBP/.376 SLG/.688 OPS) in 2007 for the Tigers; In the 2007 Replay, he is lacking the power -- with only 5 HR & .302 slugging. His batting average (.195) and on-base percentage (.287) are noticeably down as well, all contributing to a miserable .589 OPS!
  • Marcus Thames (LF) - Where is the power, Marcus? Thames in real-life hit 18 HR (.498 SLG) in only 269 at-bats. So far, in 118 at-bats, he has hit 4 HR (.415 SLG) -- which would give him 9 HR's (only half of total), if he matched real-life 269 AB's. Thames is not making matters better by only batting.203 compared to real-life .242 batting average.
  • Craig Monroe (LF) - "C-Mo" has recently been traded to the Chicago Cubs... He will not be missed, had no impact for me on the season, and had only one at-bat in recent 20 Tiger games. In real life, he had 343 AB's by time he was traded -- I only gave him 153 AB's, in which he hit .196, 4 HR & 14 RBI. Real life for Tigers: .222, 11 HR & 55 RBI -- his replay .561 OPS was noticeably lower than .638 OPS. A far cry from his 2006 totals to help Tigers win the American League Championship, batting .255 with 28 HR & 92 RBI.
  • Ivan Rodriguez (C) - Has been as frustrating as Carlos Guillen at times, batting only .229 with 10 HR & 55 RBI; Even though his HR & RBI numbers are both on pace to be up, he is not doing well in the batting average department (.229 compared to .281), while his Slugging & On-Base numbers are lower as well. "Pudge" has a .610 OPS in the replay, compared to .714 OPS in actual 2007.
  • Mike Rabelo (C) - Rodriguez's back-up through 69 AB's, is out-performing his card so far. Rabelo in real-life finished .256, 1 HR & 18 RBI (.300 OBP/.357 SLG/.657 OPS) in 168 AB's -- compared to the replay .275, 0 HR & 8 RBI (.333 OBP/.435 SLG/.788 OPS). He might be getting more at-bats, if the team's season starts to tank. Rabelo, by the way, would later be part of the 2008 trade package with the Florida Marlins that would bring in Miguel Cabrera.
  • Timo Perez (LF/PH) - Perez was a good occasional start option for Jim Leyland in 2007, in which he batted .389 with 13 RBI (.427 OBP/.533 SLG/.960 OPS) in 90 at-bats/29 games. For me, not as much, he has had some big clutch at-bats in pinch-hit role, but so far has under-performed his card (which by the way has a 51-7, 62-9 & 64-9) -- In 72 at-bats, he is batting .250 with 6 RBI, with a .280 OBP/.403 SLG/.683 OPS clip. 
  • Ramon Santiago (SS) - Has played exactly like his card so far, batting .283 with 7 RBI (.314 OBP/.370 SLG/.684 OPS) in 46 AB's compared to real-life .284 with 7 RBI (.324 OBP/.388 SLG/.712 OPS) in 67 AB's. 
  • Omar Infante (IF/OF) - Only batting .170 with .490 OPS in 88 at-bats for me, while batting .271 with .662 OPS in 2007 for Tigers. The one good thing is he has already duplicated his 2 HR total for me, in 88 at-bats.
  • Mike Hessman (1B) - The all-time minor league HR champion has only played in 14 at-bats (.142 AVG & 1 HR) for me, when Sean Casey didn't start, I usually plugged Carlos Guillen in at first. He had 4 HR in 51 at-bats, while batting .235 for the Tigers. 
  • Neifi Perez (IF) - has been used primarily as a pinch-runner for me, he only batted .172 in real-life, 64 AB's. He has only one hit for me, a HR, matching his real-life season total.
Bonderman out-pitching actual 2007 season stats.

Now the pitchers....
The rotation is as follows...

1. Justin Verlander (B-X)
2. Jeremy Bonderman (C-YZ)
3. Nate Robertson (C)
4. Chad Durbin (C)
5. Kenny Rogers (C)

  • Justin Verlander (B-X) - J.V. in 2007, is starting to give us a glimpse of what's to come in the future for Motown (he would have a down year in 2008 though). For the replay, Verlander is 12-8, with a 3.98 ERA, 3 complete games (2 shutouts) with 159 K's in 176.3 innings. His walks are definitely up (73 walks through 129 games) compared to his 2007 real-life total of 67 in 201.2 innings. He has allowed 19 HR's through my replay so far, the untimely homer has been partially responsible for his higher replay ERA of 3.98 compared to that of 3.66; He allowed 20 HR's in real-life that season. His strikeout numbers are on pace to be spot on.
  • Jeremy Bonderman (C-YZ) - Bonderman has been playing more like a B starter for me, for that I won't complain. He experienced back-to-back shutouts, during a stretch he went 23 consecutive innings without allowing a run. His record stands at 13-5, while both him & Verlander had 10 wins at the All-Star Break, the team has not supplied much run support of late, which both have slowed down in the victories department. His 3.65 ERA is considerably lower than his 5.01 ERA in real-life, which makes it a bit more surprising that APBA gave him a C starting grade -- Then again, they must have been following him as close as most of Tigers fans that year, Bonderman pitched pretty good in first half of 2007, coming off his successful 2006 season... but like the Tigers, Bonderman's second-half was a different story, which may have been an indication of his injury woes to come in 2008 & beyond. His strikeout numbers are down in APBA, while his walk numbers are up.
  • Nate Robertson (C) - He was a fan favorite during these times, a good guy to interview, down to earth, although he was really nothing special, especially when you compare him to the starting pitchers that the Tigers would add by 2010-2014. Nate has been horrific for most part in my replay, he is currently 6-12, with a 5.56 ERA; In real life, he also had a losing record in a 9-13 season that sported a 4.76 ERA. After Verlander, Robertson has gave up 17 long balls, with 33 games in the season remaining. Robertson had two good outings recently, until allowing 9 ER's in 1 inning of work against the New York Yankees in Game #129.
  • Chad Durbin (C) - Durbin was winning in the first-half due to good run support or good Tigers timely hitting & the bullpen holding down the victory; He managed to go 9-1 during the first-half, despite a 4.58 ERA. He has not won since, and his ERA has rose to 5.06; In real-life, he went 8-7 in 19 starts, 17 relief appearances. Due to Mike Maroth traded to St. Louis & Andrew Miller's D-YW, Durbin has started 23 games for me, we even asked a bit more out of the old vet Rogers as well.
  • Kenny Rogers (C) - Everything hit the wall for "The Gambler" in 2007, a pitcher who didn't really suffer injuries, a model of endurance in his career, once he had his injury you knew it was up, especially at his age. Here is an interesting statistic for Rogers, from 2002-2006, at the ages of 37-41, he won a total of 75 games during that stretch -- very impressive! Okay, now onto how's he played for the 2007 Replay: 2-4, 4.87 ERA, 47 K & 41 BB's in 81.3 innings & 15 starts; In actual 2007, he started only 11 games & pitched 63 innings, going 3-4, with a 4.43 ERA, with 36 K & 25 BB's. 
  • Andrew Miller (D-YW) - Let me come on out & say that I was not a big fan of Andrew Miller. I did not like the fact that he had it in his contract (during signing bonus) that the Tigers had to call him up for 2007 season -- They pitched him too many starts (13!), and had a 5.63 ERA to show for it, those 13 starts may have been the difference in a division title. I could only start him 3 games until I said "f@%k it!" -- for the other 19 appearances he has been out of the bullpen for me, mostly in mop-up duty in lost games; His ERA? Oh, a wonderful 6.40 in 32.3 innings -- surprisingly he only gave up one long-ball for me. Since 2012, he has reinvented himself into one of baseball's best relievers -- showing off the same potential that was witnessed when he pitched at UNC.
  • Mike Maroth (D-R) [Now with Cardinals] - Tigers fans will remember Mike Maroth for two things in his career, losing 21 games in the ill-fated 2003 season & Maroth's month of April in 2006 -- his season would come to an end, due to an arm injury that would effect the rest of his career, which the remainder was 2007. In real life, he pitched 116 innings with both Tigers & Cardinals, with a combined ERA of 6.89 (0-5, 10.66 ERA with Cards -- Ouch!). On the other hand, in my replay, Maroth was pitching out of his mind for a Grade D-R [R is reduced strikeout on newer boards, for those who may not know] -- Maroth went a perfect 4-0, in 17 games & 7 starts, with a 3.16 ERA (51.3 innings) during his time with the Tigers.

Now for the bullpen....
  • Jason Grilli (C*-Y) - Long after being the 4th overall pick in 1997 & long before being a closer for the Pirates in 2013 (for his lone All-Star performance), Grilli had a rebirth in his career under Jim Leyland in Detroit from 2006-2008. He was a bit more effective in the pennant winning 2006 season, while in 2007, he pitched 79 innings, with 62 K's & 4.74 ERA. For my Tigers replay, Grilli has hit a skid, he did have a 3.94 ERA in 48 innings at the All-Star Break -- he has since allowed 13 ER's in only 8.2 innings, watching his ERA rise to 5.40! His walks are quite up with 31 walks allowed in 56.7, compared to his real-life 32 walks in 79 IP.
  • Joel Zumaya (C*-YW) - One of the most tragic baseball stories in recent times, this guy really could be one of today's biggest closers, if it was not for an unfortunate crack in his shoulder blade -- He once recorded baseball's fastest pitch at 104.8 mph! You should read about the freak injuries from Guitar Hero to moving boxes HERE, you really can't make this stuff up, so much promise! For my 2007 Replay, he has done better than his actual 4.28 ERA (33.2 IP), then again, I have not put him in high-pressure situations, and he has coasted to a nice 3.18 ERA (28.1 IP), his high walks are spot on, while his K's are down for me. Zumaya retired from MLB Baseball in February 2014.
  • Fernando Rodney (C*-XY) - Like most of my bullpen, Rodney has already pitched beyond his innings of real-life (50.2 IP) with 54 IP for my 2007 Replay through 129 games. The difference is that he's been pitching great for me with a 2.50 ERA compared to actual 4.26! His strikeout numbers are much better as well, with 70 K's through 54 innings (11.7 K per 9 IP) compared to 54 K's. He's pitching more like Grade B*-K for me, at least that!
  • Zach Miner (C (B*)) - Miner started one game for Tigers in 2007, and was used primarily as a reliever. He has been used as a long reliever in winning or close game situations for me, and is 5-4 for me, with a 3.49 ERA through 80 innings -- he only pitched 53 innings in real-life with 3.02 ERA; Miner did have 2.89 ERA for me at the All-Star Break. Just like most of my guys with no control Z grades, the walks have been higher in my replay. 
  • Tim Byrdak (B*-XYW) - Byrdak already has more appearances (51 to 39) and more innings (49 to 45) than in real-life 2007; Brydak has also had more decisions, going 2-6 compared to his actual 3-0 record. His walk numbers are definitely up, with 37 walks in 49 innings, while sporting a 3.67 ERA (3.20 in 2007). Byrdak has actually lowered his ERA from 5.33 to 3.67 since the All-Star Break, one of the few to go the opposite direction, while everybody else has gone south.
  • Todd Jones (C*) - Nicknamed by Tigers fans as "The Human Roller Coaster" for his roller coaster relief results. There was a time in the season that I was getting by with Jones being my closer, I wanted to try to be as realistic as possible -- but eventually he started blowing more games, and was making things far too interesting for me to keep him as the closer. Jones had 18 Saves at the break, and at one point was definitely on pace for his 38 Saves. Jones has 21 Saves for the season, and Bobby Seay now has 9 Saves as the Tigers' new closer. Jones has floundered with a 5.45 ERA in 33 innings & 7 blown saves.
  • Bobby Seay (A*-XZ) - I have already pitched Seay 34 more innings than in his actual 2007 season. Seay was my set-up man for Todd Jones, but I had to make some adjustments, and make Seay the closer. Seay has a 3-6 record, 9 SV, 1.82 ERA & 61 K's in 79.2 innings. For Seay, 2007 was as best as it would get, with 2.33 ERA in real life.

We have momentarily fell to 3rd place, behind Minnesota now (by 1 game) & 2.5 games behind first place Cleveland. At no point in real life after April 29th, did the Tigers fall back to third place... so this is not a good sign for me, especially after being ahead of real-life pace at All-Star Break (5 games up on Cleveland compared to 1 game). 

Monday, August 10, 2015

2015 Chicago World Series (Summer) Highlights

The coveted Chicago World Series trophy.
The Chicago APBA World Series was once again, an amazing success, once again brought to you by Doug Schuyler -- If I remember right, he is now a solo act, since Jim Saska (co-producer) moved away from the area.

Many teams & people came, I had my eye on a few teams that I thought could make some noise at the end of July tournament. I thought the Pikes (Joel & Matthew - aka "Yankee Boy") had a chance to make final four, they brought some good teams. Bob Eller brought the 2012 Washington Nationals, lots of potential to make a good tournament run, and then there was Craig Christian -- who I want to say, brought the 1989 Oakland Athletics & his dreaded dice tower. But in the end, the last man standing was Bill Lilley & his 1968 Detroit Tigers. Lilley made it to Jackson, MI this last March, in which we both participated at the Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament; It was fitting that his team was led by Denny McLain, the Chicago-born ace to win the Summer edition of the 2015 Chicago APBA World Series.

It's a bit of a case of deja vu for the 1968 Tigers, who also won the 2014 Chicago APBA World Series (Winter edition), that time led by APBA roller Cal Mannesto. The Tournament also had 4 champion rollers return in Curt Bartel, Scott Fennessey, Jim Welch & Christian; Christian relieved Welch, in last summer's champion for the tournament's first co-champions.

Curt Bartel - 1977 Kansas City Royals (Summer 2013)
Scott Fennessy - 1905 New York Giants (Winter 2013)
Jim Welch & Craig Christian - 1968 St. Louis Cardinals (Summer 2014)
Cal Mannesto - 1968 Detroit Tigers (Winter 2014)
Bill Lilley - 1968 Detroit Tigers (Summer 2015)


Bill Lilley with the Championship trophy.
You can't have a tourney without Baseball in the background.
Packed house on the left...
....Packed house on the right.
Lilley & former co-champion Jim Welch face off in championship game.
A recognizable face: Clark Eichman [white shirt] reached final game in Winter 2013.
Kevin Burghart and the young Bartel that won the recent Minnesota tournament.
Look at them game faces!
APBA HOFer William D. Blair (left) with Eric Berg.
Grayslake: The site of all the exciting APBA action.
As always, the Chicago World Series was another success with plenty of APBA fun. Once again, a big hats off to Doug Schuyler who has took the time to host another successful tournament. There has been APBA tournaments in the past before the Chicago World Series, but I really feel that this one kicked off & inspired many tournaments around them -- it seems like there is always some one trying to start a new one now. I know I have read of possible tournaments possibly in New York, Florida, Kansas... 

We of course have tournaments in Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and now Michigan & Ohio. 

Let's keep it rolling, everyone!
Roll 66's!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Not Looking Good

Placido Polanco has been better, batting in 5th spot of lineup.

My 2007 Detroit Tigers have had a rough second half -- that is putting it mildly. I would start getting on a role, and then we would skid out again. Let's get you caught up.

Games #111-114 - Tampa Bay at Detroit 

The Detroit Tigers snapped their 9-game losing steak winning Game 1 (Game #111), this is also the game we started plugging Placido Polanco in the 5th spot in the lineup.  We would win the series,
3-1 over the Rays.

Game #115 (at Oakland) - Going with a four-man rotation to try and get the Tigers better chances to win this division, Justin Verlander becomes the first Tiger starter since Game #99 to record a win.

Games #116-#118, the Tigers would lose the 3 remaining games against the Athletics & then lose a close two-game series in Cleveland (Games #119-120). The Cleveland Indians take first in Game #120,

The standings as of August 5th...


Games #121-124 (at Old Yankee Stadium, New York)

Sheffield sounds off with bat in New York.
My Tigers have just lost 5 straight, we win convincingly with 8-2 victory over Yankees in Game #121. We would lose Game #122, and Game #123 was not looking good until we caught some luck late in that game; Down 4-1 in the top of the 8th, the Tigers hit two solo HR's off of Joba Chamberlain (Grade A&C-KX) - One by Ryan Raburn and the other by Gary Sheffield -- Sheffield's 3rd HR of the series (he had a Grand Slam in first game). Top of the 9th (down 4-3), Carlos Guillen leads off with a double on closer Mariano Rivera, Guillen steals third, and catcher Jorge Posada throws the ball over Alex Rodriguez's head at third, Guillen scores & ties the game up. Top of 11th, the Tigers' Sean Casey hits a RBI double to take lead, while Timo Perez adds insurance with RBI single. Bobby Seay would go 4 innings in relief for the win for Detroit. So an excellent come-from-behind win.

The Tigers would win the finale, 7-5 -- including a save by Zach Miner. Placido Polanco went 9-for-19 (.474 BA) in the 5th slot during his series against the Yankees. Tigers win series, 3-1.

Games #125-127 -- Another big series against Cleveland, this time they visit Comerica Park.

Another good outing for Nate Robertson (6-11) goes to waste in the first game, as he allowed only 2 hits & 1 ER, with 4 walks in 6.2 innings - plus 7 K's, pretty good for not having a strikeout grade; Counting this outing plus his last against the Yankees, Robertson has allowed 7 hits & 2 ER's in 12 innings, for a flat Grade C pitcher with no control grades as well.

The Tigers had 7 hits compared to the Indians' 3 hits, but lose 2-1. Rafael Perez records the win, while Zach Miner loses the game by allowing Ryan Garko to score on a wild pitch. The Tigers top 3 hitters of the lineup in Curtis Granderson (leading way with 3 hits), Ryan Raburn & Magglio Ordonez recorded all 7 hits, while the bottom 6 hitters, went hitless. Joe Borowski records the save; Borowski in real-life would record 45 Saves with a 5.07 ERA -- he may be the only guy in MLB history to do that, if there is others with that many saves & high ERA, there can't be too many. He is a APBA Grade C*-XZ.
Extra exposure: Raburn has been taking advantage of playing time.
I have had to depend on Ryan Raburn more than the team used him in real-life, the fact is, Jim Leyland really should have used him more in the second half of 1997, he swing a hot bat. I used Marcus Thames and Craig Monroe (both LF) & Brandon Inge much less. All have struggled with trying to stay over Mendoza line. Monroe would finally get an at-bat after 20+ games of warming up the bench, he grounded out on Game #126, taking over in left; Monroe was traded to the Chicago Cubs the next day for Clay Rapada (as in real-life). Rapada has no APBA card for 2007.

The Tigers were never in the game, during Game 2 (#126) of the series, the team allowed 11 hits & 10 walks! I called upon the old vet Kenny Rogers once more, and he disappointed, allowing 4 ER, 5 hits & 7 walks in only 4 innings. Rogers in now 2-4 in 15 starts (81.1 IP) with a 4.87 ERA -- in fact he walked the bases loaded to start the game, setting up a two-run double by Victor Martinez. Martinez and Jhonny Peralta were "Tiger Killers" while members of the Cleveland Indians, how glad was I, when they later joined the Tigers in their productive careers. "V-Mart" went 2-for-4, with two-run HR as well, a combined 4 RBI night. Paul Bryd pitched a performance opposite of Rogers, by allowing only 3 hits & 1 ER in 7.2 innings.

The 3rd game of the series, Justin Verlander (Grade B-X) records his 12th win, with a 10 K performance; in one stretch, he struck out 6 Indians in a 8 at-bat span. Brandon Inge was productive for one, going 2-for-3, with triple & single, a walk & RBI; Ivan Rodriguez had two doubles with 3 RBI while batting in the 9th spot of the lineup. Tigers win convincingly in 9-4 victory & avoid 3-game sweep.

The Tigers' record & standings after the conclusion of their series with Cleveland (Aug 23rd)...


The Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees are currently on the outside looking in, the Seattle Mariners own the A.L. Wild Card spot, and remain one-game out of the division lead in the A.L. West. The Minnesota Twins are nipping on the Tigers' heels in 3rd place, trailing Tigers by only a game. 

The Tigers have the Yankees visiting Comerica, for a 4-game series. Tigers took last series, 3-1.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Toledo Glass APBA Tournament


Holy Toledo, Batman! We are less than a month away from the Toledo Glass APBA Baseball Tournament hosted by Ron Emch. There is still plenty of room to sign up for the tournament & plenty of teams available to play.

The Tournament will take place August 29th (Saturday) at 9:00 am -- at Maumee-Bowling Green Elks Lodge #1850 in Maumee, Ohio.

Here is the link to the events page on Facebook

The event can hold up to 32 participants, 20 are signed up to attend.

I unfortunately can make it to the event, but plan to next year -- for me it's actually quite a quick trip down there, according to Mapquest, a 4 12 trip, in which I would take I-75 most of the way.

Plenty plan to see the Toledo Mudhens as well -- so find out what you can from Ron, he's a great guy, he's done wonderful videos on other APBA tournaments in the past. Without a doubt, this tournament should be a wonderful success, which will have plenty of fun!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Good Summer to Cut Cable

The Price was Right: Tigers land Daniel Norris & few prospects for David Price.
Before the trades have gone down the last few days, I have to say that I have been surprised by the numerous Tigers fans that STILL think we have a shot at the playoffs -- C'mon guys, it's just one of those seasons -- I'm glad to see Dave Dombrowski, selling on this season, the Tigers were not going to resign David Price; which meant if we did not trade him, we would have got nothing.

Fortunate for me, I have not had to watch this season with the wife & I saving up for a new move & place, and we cut our cable. So I am saving myself from watching the Tigers' troubles. We just didn't think it was worth having cable TV, we got our internet, so I can checkout highlights on ESPN, I have Bleacher Report & Baseball America sending me emails on latest baseball news, I have my APBA Facebook family -- Plus me & the wife have our Netflix; Which by the way, I have been re-watching The Walking Dead from the beginning again, while reading the Graphic Novel of Walking Dead as well -- I truly encourage anyone that's a fan of the show, to DEFINITELY check out the Graphic Novel, I think I may be enjoying it more than the show actually, truly gripping.

Anyways...

Like I was saying we picked the best summer to cut our cable. I knew I should have picked the Kansas City Royals to win the division, I thought the moves the Tigers made would work out, not so much & the reason I picked Tigers, is well, they won the last four straight division titles, so I figured until proven otherwise, pick them to win. Now I'm going with K.C. not only to win the division as I now predicted in my mid-season report -- I am picking them to win it all, and this was predicted before the additions of Johnny Cueto & Ben Zobrist.

I think the Blue Jays could make a run at the New York Yankees' division lead, and will make the playoffs with Troy Tulowitzki & David Price now on board.

I believe the Houston Astros and Kansas City Royals would make an excellent American League Championship Series. The Astros added Scott Kazmir & Carlos Gomez.
My custom-made Rick Grimes (1987 Topps).

I do like the pieces the Tigers got for Price, Yoenis Cespedes & Joakim Soria. It's a start, I hope that we continue to produce on the farm, since we are pretty much dead-last in farm system area in the MLB. We have traded so many pieces through the years, I knew when Boston knocked us out in 2013, at that moment, it was pretty much the end of shot at the World Series. Entering the 2014 post-season, I knew we would not get far, the wife known it all year. Heck, let's be honest, the walkers on Walking Dead have shown more life than the Tigers.

I do think we are retooling, and not rebuilding though -- We can look at it in the same way after our 2009 collapse to Minnesota, in which that off-season afterwards & through Spring 2011 that we retooled many pieces for new pieces that would make good runs in 2011-2013.

This summer, the wife and I have not been able to get out of the house -- due to being short on funds, plus it has been miserably hot for almost a month & half straight, been a good few years since we have had a summer like this. The odd thing is, we have not had any thunderstorms, always get warnings of a possibilities, but nothing ever happens. Our A/C has been running quite often, so yeah... we are not looking forward to our electric bill.

Back to the 2013 Tigers, I really thought 2013 was going to be the year, damn you Big Papi!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...