Thursday, March 23, 2017

Fun with Side Projects

Hairston: One-Man Wrecking Machine.
Some of the action that transpired through my APBA projects this past weekend...

APBA 2K9 Project

For my blog followers, as you all know, my APBA 2K9 Project is the best cards of the players from each franchise between the 2009 & 2011 MLB Seasons; I thought about calling it the APBA 2K9-11 Project, but I didn't want people to read into 9-11 too much.

Scott Hairston has been gaining more & more playing time for the San Diego Padres, with players like Chris Denorfia & Will Venable struggling. The Pods also made him their new lead-off man entering their series with the tough Philadelphia Phillies, since their original lead-off man Everth Cabrera has struggled in that role.

That decision proved to be an excellent move, he went 2-for-4 in the 2nd game with a double; It was during the 3rd game that Hairston has officially made him a everyday starter...

Top of the 3rd, he added to the Padres lead with a RBI double... then in the 5th, he smacked a two-run homer off of Phillies starter J.A. Happ. During the top of the 7th, he led off the inning with a triple off of Chan Ho Park -- which led to a 3-run inning, giving the Padres a 7-3 lead at Citizens Bank Ballpark. It would be during the 8th inning that Scott Hairston would make a little history, smacking a single off of reliever Clay Condrey....

Scott Hairston hit for the CYCLE!

I have done this maybe 4-5 times tops, the last one came from Josh Gibson (for the 1935 Pittsburgh Crawfords) against the 1942 St. Louis Cardinals in my Crazy 48's Project. I have had more no-hitters in my APBA life than cycles, I have rolled close to 20 now, but of course, I do nothing but tons of solitaire projects... so of course, eventually a no-no will pop up; I have never thrown a no-no against an actual human opponent in the dice world, one on one... but back in high school one of my buddies did do it (against me) with Jim Abbott in our inaugural 1991 Season APBA league of 10 teams.

APBA Royalty: Cone put together back-to-back historic performances, back in the day.

In my brother Jared's APBA league, I did something amazing with David Cone, I pitched a no-hitter with Cone as a Royal... his next start, he went to extras & threw for 25 K's! We did a lot of unrealistic things in that league, like starting J-4 Francisco Cabrera, which he hit 27 HR's in 35 games, while my Braves started off 31-4 & Greg Maddux won every start through that point, with a ERA barely over 1.00... LOL! I definitely play with a more realistic approach to the projects now.

Anyways, back to the 2K9 Project....

I also played a double-header between the New York Yankees & Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays were in first entering this thing, but the Yankees would go ahead in both games during the 9th innings, as the Jays' pen keeps imploding -- this time (both games) with Jason Frasor (A-XYZ), giving up 6 earned runs (3 HRs) in 2 innings of work! The last one, being a three-run blast by Alex Rodriguez. These Yankees are loaded with power, for example Hideki Matsui (.879 OPS in 2009) has been hitting 7th in this lineup; The team currently has 15 home runs in 7 games, with 5 players with 2+ HRs each (A-Rod leads way with 3 HR) -- Nick Swisher bats 9th & has 2 HR & 8 RBI, while he is currently batting .364 (8-for-22)!

2K9 Beasts: The New York Yankees will be tough to beat, all year!

Back to the Padres-Phillies series -- Adrian Gonzalez (SD) hit his 4th & 5th HR, while he has 11 RBI for the season... Pedro Feliz (Phillies) went 5-for-7, 2 HR, 2B, SF & 7 RBI in his last 2 games, while filling in for injured Placido Polanco.

Crazy 48's Project - "Battle by the Bay"

The 1993 San Francisco Giants (11-17) & the 2002 Oakland Athletics (9-19) are at the bottom of the Jeter (Stripes IV) Division in the Stripes League; San Francisco all year long has been a streaky bunch plagued with injuries to players & currently hold a 7-game losing streak, while Oakland just has a hard time scoring runs.

The Crazy 48's League has 48 teams playing a 48-game season, with 4 divisions in each league, while the top seeded 8 teams (all division winners automatically clinch playoffs) in each league, go on to the playoffs. The remainder of the schedule will be down to division match-ups, so some of these division bottom-dwellers can start making up some ground now, with little room for mistakes.

Zito was in command for awhile until the wheels came off.
A day after I rolled a cycle with Hairston in the other project, Barry Zito for the "Moneyball" Athletics was pitching a no-no through 7 innings, although he did allow 4 walks in those inning, while Oakland had a 2-0 lead off of a two-run 2nd Inning double by Terrance Long. The wheels ended up coming off in the 8th inning as the Giants' #8 hitter Darren Lewis led the inning off with a double, followed by an RBI double by weak-hitting 2B (filling in for injured Robby Thompson); Royce Clayton, the 3rd hitter of the inning, smacked a RBI single to right, to tie the game, as Willie McGee collected a single. 4 consecutive hits off of Zito, after none allowed the 1st 7 innings, and he has yet to collect an out. The Giants would add a sac fly by Matt Williams, to give the Giants a 3-2 lead.... Todd Benzinger would hit a 9th Inning insurance HR during the top of the 9th, to help the Giants to an eventual victory.

For Benzinger (filling in for an injured Will Clark), it was actually his 1st HR in the season (29th game of season), which is pretty late considered the pop he has on his 1993 APBA card.

Injuries was the early focus in this series, as the series started off with Will Clark & Robby Thompson on the disabled list for the first two games in Oakland... while the Oakland Athletics were without Eric Chavez for the first 2 games as well.

With their Game 1 victory, the Giants snapped a 7-game losing streak, that seems to be the theme with this Giants team, untimely injuries & quite streaky. They started the season 3-0, then lost 6 straight, then won 6 straight & now they just got over a 7-game skid; These Giants have the potential to be one of the toughest teams, and then other days they just don't show up.

San Francisco would win Game 2, led again by the worst two bats in their lineup in Darren Lewis (2-for-4, 2 runs & SB) & Mike Benjamin (2-for-4, two-run double), as the Giants win 5-3.

Beck, one of the more solid closers in his day.
The series shifted across the bay to Candlestick Park, as Eric Chavez hits a home run in his very first at-bat from injury, for his 5th HR of the season, he is tied with Miguel Tejada for the team lead in RBI with 19 RBI. That would be all the highlights for Oakland though, as they lose 2-1, as the Giants once again score their runs late (7th & 8th innings) to steal another away from Oakland.

Oakland would be shutout in the last game, as Jim Deshaies pitched 7.1 innings of shutout ball, the Giants fared no better (with only 3 hits), as the Giants win 1-0; Rod Beck entered the series with only 4 saves for the season & would double his amount to 8, as he was called upon the entire series sweep of their bay rivals. Bill Swift logged the series opener victory in his start, and during his one inning of relief in Game 3, he logged another victory; Swift is 6-1 with a 2.74 ERA for the season.

The 2002 Athletics now have the worst record among all 48 teams of the Crazy 48's, with a 9-23 (.281 pct) record; The 1962 Los Angeles Dodgers (8-20/.286 pct) have a slightly better record. The Giants, meanwhile, are now 15-17 with some slight postseason hope, but are still a few games from the edge of the playoff bubble that is being controlled by teams that are consistently better, such as the 1953 New York Yankees (17-11) -- who still need to play their current series against the 1971 Oakland Athletics.

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