Saturday, September 23, 2017

Games 10-12 / Detroit at New York (April 20-22)

Parrish's bat has been huge for Detroit.
The Detroit Tigers in real-life 1981 did horrible against the New York Yankees, and they would suffer a 10-game losing streak from April 19th-29th. My goal at the helm, is to reverse this bad stretch and replace it with a good stretch, so it all starts with this series against the Yankees.

Game 1 of this replay series, featured Dan Petry (Grade B-Y) against Rudy May (Grade D-Z). May, the previous season (1980), went 15-5, with 133 strikeouts in 175.1 innings, while winning the ERA title with a 2.45 ERA; His ERA+ (160), FIP (2.94) and WHIP (1.044) were also American League bests. He would follow that with a disappointing 1981 Season, which is a reason for his D rating in APBA.

The Tigers would jump on May early, with 4 runs in the first, highlighted by Lance Parrish's three-run home run; Parrish would go on to a huge day, going 3-for-5, 2 HR, 2B, 4 RBI & 3 runs. Petry's game should not go overlooked as he pitched a complete game shutout (his 1st shut out of the season) to improve to 3-0.

May's crooked numbers read like this: 2.1 IP, 10 H, 7 ER, 1 K & 1 BB.

Game 2 was a close game through 6 innings with the Tigers leading 2-1, thanks to a Lance Parrish solo HR in the 2nd Inning off of Ron Guidry; Alan Trammell would break the game open with a 3-run home run off Guidry in the 7th Inning.

Dave Rozema got the win during a short outing (4.2 innings) -- enough to log the win, allowing only 4 hits & no runs with a K & 3 walks. Dave Tobik & Kevin Saucier made sure that the Yankees did minimal damage on their way to a Tigers victory.

Reggie Jackson hit a homer in a losing cause, as Guidry was credited with the loss (losing 5-2).

Game 3 was a bit back & forth early on, with the Tigers taking back the lead at 4-3 after 3 innings, but the Bronx Bombers proved to be too much as Lou Piniella (solo HR in 4th) & Bucky Dent (2-Run HR in 6th) was the difference.

Jack Morris was off his game, allowing 8 hits, 7 earned runs, 4 home runs & 4 walks -- through only 5.1 innings, with 4 strikeouts; Morris refused to talk to reporters after the game.

Reggie Jackson & Bob Watson were the other two Yankees with homers off Morris.

The Detroit Tigers improve to 8-4, while in real-life they fell to 7-5, after a 7-1 start.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Trading Faces


Trading Faces

It's that time of year, when the contenders separate themselves from pretenders, the 2017 BoS Trade Deadline didn't go down without a whimper, in fact it may have been the busiest trade deadline the league has ever witnessed in its almost 5 full seasons.

The Fairgrove Tigers made numerous trades in their quest to repeat & win their 3rd BoS World Title in 5 years; They are the only team with multiple titles (2). Owner Robert Mosher's first deal was a simple deal between him & his new son-in-law Steve Ruder -- a deal that involved swapping reliever for reliever, a deceased ballplayer for another deceased ballplayer & draft picks for draft pick -- Fairgrove acquired Jose Fernandez and Sam Dyson with Holland's 7th Round Draft pick in exchange for Yordana Ventura and Ken Giles & Fairgrove's 2nd Round Draft Pick; It should be noted that Ventura has now been traded twice since his death.

Fairgrove also added Kendrys Morales (1B/DH), Lucas Duda (1B), Brandon Guyer (OF) and Joe Panik in a trade with the San Diego Heroes (Owner Chris Baier) -- The Heroes acquired Patrick Corbin who has been pitching solid for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2017, along with youngster Austin Barnes (C) of the Dodgers, along with multiple draft picks & Carlos Gomez. The Heroes also added pitcher Trevor May for a late 2018 draft pick, in a deal with the Portland Microbrewers & added reliever Trevor Rosenthal for a late pick in a deal with the Vancouver Storm.

The Traverse City Panthers' blueprint for success didn't go as exactly as they predicted, as the players they acquired before the 2017 BoS Season didn't play well for the 2017 MLB Season. Jonathan Lucroy and Yasmany Tomas went the opposite direction from their excellent 2016 seasons, while the Panthers made the mistake of releasing newly-acquired Alex Wood during player cuts prior to the season, only to be swooped up in the 2017 BoS Annual Draft by the Micatin Destroyers.

Prior to the season, the Panthers acquired Jonathan Lucroy (C), Yasmany Tomas (OF), Brad Miller (SS/OF), Alex Wood (SP), while acquiring a 2nd Round Draft Pick [White Sox' Carson Fulmer] in exchange for Masahiro Tanaka (SP), Kelvin Herrera (RP) & a 3rd Round Draft Pick [Matt Bush-RP]. Wood was the reason the deal became a big package in the first place, then I made the poor decision on releasing Wood, in favor of keeping players such as Drew Smyly, Hunter Pence, and Tyler Clippard.

The aftermath was Wood gets swooped up & has a big season for the Dodgers, while Lucroy & Tomas has down seasons, while Miller returned to earth; Seattle didn't exactly win either in the deal, he acquired Tanaka who has not been at top form with a good reliever in Herrera, who I did hate trading, but in a league where relievers are a dime a dozen, that's not much of a loss. During those players cuts, I also made the bad decision of releasing Marwin Gonzalez.

So come August, it was another deal between the Panthers & the Seattle Rainiers (Owner Merle Watkins) that would reshape things for both franchises. I think overall we compliment each other well in our past deals, and his past deals with other teams have been well thought-out deals that benefited both teams there as well. There is many things that I like about Merle, I love his attitude, involvement in the league, and the fact that he's not afraid to make a deal, it's nice to see that his Rainiers may finally reap the benefits of good trades, as it appears they will be making a hard-earned trip to the postseason.

This deal involved Lucroy again, and for the Panthers it would be the second time that they have traded both Yasiel Puig and Cody Allen, in fact they were traded together in a deal with the Chicago Nine (June 3rd, 2015) in the big Miguel Cabrera trade. Lucroy recently won the 2017 BoS All-Star Game's Most Valuable Player Award.

This time, the Panthers traded Lucroy (C), Julio Teheran (SP), Puig (OF), Jean Segura (SS), Cody Allen (RP) & a 6th Round Draft Pick in exchange for Corey Seager (SS), Taijuan Walker (SP), David Robertson (RP), Yadier Molina (C), Mark Trumbo (DH/OF) & IF/OF-Jeimer Candelario. For Puig (2014's #1 Overall pick) it is the 4th time he has been traded, traded more than any player in BoS history.

Puig gives his thoughts on latest trade.
Sometimes when you make deals, you second-guess (sometimes a lot), but I really, really wanted Seager a lot, I think he is a once-in-a-generation star, and will love seeing him on the diamond with fellow Panthers Giancarlo Stanton & Andrew Benintendi.

My Panthers currently sit in a lousy division & find themselves in last place only 5 games out of 1st, the Spring Branch Duffers currently lead the division with a 67-64 record.


Saturday, September 16, 2017

APBA Announces Greatest Teams of the Past IV!



Great news in the APBA Baseball world...
APBA has announced the release of Greatest Team of the Past IV!


Here are the National League teams representing this latest set...
  • 1919 Cincinnati Reds
  • 1922 New York Giants
  • 1930 St. Louis Cardinals
  • 1935 Chicago Cubs
  • 1948 Boston Braves
  • 1950 Philadelphia Phillies
  • 1962 San Francisco Giants
  • 1974 Los Angeles Dodgers
  • 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates
  • 1980 Houston Astros
The American League Teams...
  • 1911 Philadelphia Athletics
  • 1921 New York Yankees
  • 1922 St. Louis Browns
  • 1933 Washington Senators
  • 1948 Cleveland Indians
  • 1959 Chicago White Sox
  • 1961 Detroit Tigers
  • 1969 Minnesota Twins
  • 1978 Boston Red Sox
  • 1993 Toronto Blue Jays
I'm really excited about the news for several reasons...

First off, it's been long overdue, the wait that is... plus now there is brand new excitement for this hobby, I think APBA has done a great job of late, in being active on plenty of new APBA products such as APBA Go, the yearly playoff team sets, reintroducing All-Star Team sets, and now the new GTOP IV & with all the recent activity by the company, I have a feeling that GTOP V may not be far around the corner.

Source, my friend Pastor Rich Zawadzki noted: 14 of the 20 single teams [from this set] have been out of print for a long time; Printed by APBA previously in the old World Series set (1921 Yankees & 1930 Cardinals) or GTOP (1911 A's, 1919 Reds, 1922 Giants, 1922 Browns, 1933 Senators, 1935 Cubs, 1948 Indians, 1948 Braves, 1950 Phillies, 1959 White Sox, 1962 Giants & 1974 Dodgers).

Only the 1961 Tigers, 1969 Twins, 1978 Red Sox, 1979 Pirates, 1980 Astros & the 1993 Blue Jays are new to the single teams fold. 

Rich has been instrumental in helping me acquire plenty of teams in the past, when he would notice them on eBay, he would message me the link. I have since put together a pretty solid APBA teams collection, nothing quite like his impressive collection though. 

Just recently I have tried to acquired the long sought-after 1922 Browns team, along with the 1930 Cardinals, 1950 Phillies & 1959 White Sox off of an APBA Facebook Group member who posted those available teams among other teams, I messaged him, also tagged his name, and got no responses... So naturally at the time, I was bummed out.

Then to read this morning that these teams are part of the Greatest Team of the Past IV, I was thrilled by this news.

Teams of GTOP IV that I already own...

  • 1911 Philadelphia Athletics
  • 1919 Cincinnati Reds
  • 1948 Boston Braves
  • 1948 Cleveland Indians
  • 1962 San Francisco Giants
  • 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates
This doesn't mean though, that these new GTOP IV sets might not be different, usually with reissued team sets, not to mention the fairly new 'K' and 'R' strikeout ratings, you will definitely get some new modifications. I do also remember that the GTOP sets, now also have the Master Card ratings on the cards as well... so I'm still thrilled to get these modified duplicates.

I'm pretty excited about this, and you should be too...
$40 for 20 great teams, to me that's quite a deal, I hope this means more GTOP sets to come, in the near feature.

Way to go, APBA!

Here is the link to the APBA Baseball store...

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Streakin'

Puig & Santana; Two teams going in different directions
The current MLB season has been one of streaks, especially of late.

At one point, the Los Angeles Dodgers were on pace for 116 wins, as recent as August 19th with an impressive 87-34 (.719) record, looking like the team to beat for this year's upcoming World Series, it was theirs to lose. Around this time, baseball analysts and baseball fans like myself were starting to point out the same fact... that it was their season to lose.

Not sure if the Dodgers team started hearing these whispers, the label that has been placed upon them.. It quickly changed like a turn of the switch, the Baseball Gods suddenly turned on the Dodgers, they have lost 16 of 17 games between August 26th & September 11th, including a 11-game losing streak, the franchise's worst streak since the 1944 Brooklyn Dodgers.

They did finally win against the San Francisco Giants... barely though, and it took a great pitching performance by Clayton Kershaw (who has a great career pitching at Giants' AT&T Park) & their closer Kenley Jansen to close things out.

Meanwhile in the same N.L. West, the Arizona Diamondbacks put together a 13-game winning streak, which ended September 8th. The D-Backs were not exactly playing great prior to their excellent 15-1 stretch from August 21st through the 8th, they went 4-11 during a stretch between August 5th & August 20th. During their winning streak, their mid-season acquisition of J.D. Martinez became one of handful players in MLB history to hit 4 home runs in a single game on September 4th, against the struggling Dodgers, off 4 different pitchers.

Rattling Away: Martinez has been popping them out for Arizona.
J.D. has now hit 22 HR in 47 games with the Diamondbacks, collecting his 38th HR of the Major League season, and is looking for a big pay day this off-season, as he will likely be one of the biggest free agents to hit the market.

The Diamondbacks may also be one of the most under-appreciated teams in baseball, and could be a tough playoff hurdle to get past, as their rotation is consistently good 1-through-5, so that gives them plenty of options with match-ups.

Another team that matches up well for this upcoming postseason will be the Cleveland Indians, the best team in all of baseball. The tribe is solid all-around from top-to-bottom, and have put themselves in the record books yesterday, by tying the A.L. record of 20 consecutive wins; The record was previously by the 2002 Oakland Athletics (Moneyball).

The Indians will go for their 21st straight against the Detroit Tigers today, they put themselves in more interesting territory if they win their 21st today, joining the National League's 1935 Chicago Cubs at 21 straight. The Major League Baseball record of 26 consecutive wins belongs to the 1916 New York Giants.

None of the above with 20+ consecutive wins have ever won the World Series, the Indians are trying to become the first while they are trying to destroy another streak, a World Championship drought of 69 straight years in the making.

John McGraw piloted the Giants to 26 straight victories.


The 1916 New York Giants finished 4th place at 86-66. The Giants were slow out of the gates with a 2-13 record, but then would win 17 straight games, making them 19-13 on May 29th, 2016. Their MLB record 26 straight wins would not come until the tail end of the season. It's remarkable thinking they had two great winning streaks that totaled 43 victories, take those two streaks out of the equation and the Giants were horrible at 43-66. Their late momentum though (in 1916) was a great thing moving forward to the 1917 season, winning the National League pennant only to lose to the 1917 Chicago White Sox.

1935 Chicago Cubs'  lineup.

The 1935 Chicago Cubs were 38-32 on July 5th, and then would get hot by winning 24 of 27 games, which included a 11-game hitting streak in this stretch. Their 21 consecutive victories would come later in the season, just before the World Series, they would lose their last two games of the season, before losing the World Series to the 1935 Detroit Tigers, 4-2.

During the Indians' successful streak, there has been plenty of impressive numbers, I felt the biggest eye-opening stat was the fact that during this entire streak that has taken place 3+ weeks, is the fact that the Indians have only trailed a total of 4 innings... they have not trailed in 176 of their 180 innings.... that's insane!

More interesting stats of this streak....

  • They have annihilated their competition, outscoring their opponents 134-32, giving them 102+ run differential, there is only 6 teams with a 100+ run differential for the entire MLB season.
  • The Indians clobbered 39 home runs, while the pitching has only allowed 32 runs.
  • Jose Ramirez has batted .383 with a .950 slugging percentage & .415 on-base percentage, including 8 home runs.
  • Carlos Carrasco's 0.62 ERA with 34 strikeouts & one walk.
  • Morning of August 25th: Los Angeles Dodgers (91-36), Cleveland Indians (72-56); Cleveland now 4 games behind Dodgers mark.


Jose Ramirez: Most undervalued player in all of baseball?
Jose Ramirez may be the most underrated player in all of baseball, he should get some serious consideration for the American League MVP Award, he has a .927 OPS, leads the league with 47 doubles, in which he is within reach of becoming the first player to hit 60 doubles in a single-season since Charlie Gehringer (Detroit Tigers) and Joe Medwick (St. Louis Cardinals) did it back in 1936... that's 81 years ago, folks.

In a single game, I watched Jose single-handily destroy my Detroit Tigers on September 3rd -- Going 5-for-5, with 3 doubles & 2 home runs, including 3 runs & 3 runs batted in. His 5.4 WAR & 135+ OPS is superior to his talented teammate Francisco Lindor (4.1 WAR & 112+ OPS), who has put together a fine season himself, becoming the third shortstop in Major League history to hit 30+ homers at 23 years or younger... the other two to do so? Alex Rodriguez and Nomar Garciapparra.

Another thing to note is that they have accomplished all of this without Andrew Miller, Jason Kipnis & Michael Brantley, who were all on the disabled list the entire time of the streak.

Terry Francona also deserves tons of respect, he's a certified winner, I cringed the day that Cleveland signed him to manage this ballclub (being division foes of the Tigers).. but he is one of the best managers in the game, he is well-on-his way towards enshrinement in the Hall of Fame, a World Championship for Cleveland would only further cement his place in the history of the game.

Francona will be enshrined in Cooperstown when its all said & done.

This MLB season has really been about the streaks, teams & players having polarizing splits. First it was the Houston Astros, then the Los Angeles Dodgers, now Cleveland. The Indians' season though wasn't all hunky dory, they started the season in sluggish limbo at 31-31 after a lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 14th.

Fortunately for Cleveland, they were in the weakest division in all of baseball, and had time to get their crap together -- They have gone 58-25 since, that's a .699 winning clip that would net a single-season's equivalent of 113 wins.

This team is that good, they are now the team to beat, I placed my chips on the Chicago Cubs last year prior to Spring Training & kept with my pick throughout the season. I am placing my chips now on the Indians, so to echo fictional character Jake Taylor (Tom Berenger in 'Major League' movie)'s words, I guess there is just one thing for the Cleveland Indians to do...

and that's to win the whole (damn) thing.



Sunday, September 10, 2017

A Bit Surreal


It's been a strange week, my Detroit Tigers have officially signaled the new era, by first departing with Justin Upton & then got rid of the last remaining member from the 2006 World Series team by trading long-time ace Justin Verlander. Upton's departure was predictable, considering he was very likely opting out of his contract with the Tigers at season's end... Verlander's departure was a bit of a surprise, but yet wasn't.

My long-time readers know that Verlander is my favorite current player in the majors, so to watch him last night (Tuesday night) pitching for the Houston Astros was to say at the very least... was quite surreal.

I stayed up late to watch him debut against the Seattle Mariners in Seattle, and he gave the Astros fans & Verlander fans quite a bit to be excited about. He would go on to pitch six strong innings, allowing only 1 run (a solo HR to Kyle Seager) with 7 K's & he survived Nelson Cruz as well (who, like Seager, has his number).

Verlander is the workhorse that the Astros & the city needs right now.

Like I mentioned above, Verlander's departure was not a complete surprise, MLB Network (on MLB Now), proposed some deals involving Verlander, including the Houston Astros & Milwaukee Brewers.... Personally, I'm not sure why it took Houston this long to go for it, they made their team, their fans & many insiders scratch their heads that they didn't do something back at the original trade deadline.

Better late then never though, they finally came through... Verlander is the workhorse & ace that the city of Houston needs right now after all the devastation that Hurricane Harvey has caused. Always one for charities, it won't take long for J.V. to team up with J.J. Watts of the Houston Texans, you can count on that.

Justin addressed his fans via Instagram with a wonderful heartfelt message, tied in with his excitement towards the next chapter of his storied baseball career. Here is a video highlighting the excitement during his Astros debut...


Detroit's reaction to the trade news, below....


The Tigers fans' reactions...


People have been wondering about my feelings on the whole deal, I am actually thrilled for Justin, of course its bittersweet, but I want him to play for a winner, because he is so damn good, that it would be a shame for him not to be on display this postseason.



Wednesday, September 6, 2017

N.L. Wins with the Long Ball (2017 BoS All-Star Game)

Jonathan Lucroy of the Traverse City Panthers (National League).

Greeting from the 2017 BoS All-Star Game, being hosted by the Holland Hitchhikers, in Holland, Michigan. The BoS All-Star Game returns after a one-year hiatus, this is the 5th season, but only the 4th All-Star Game; The American League hold a 2-1 edge.

STARTING LINEUPS

American League
  1. CF- Mookie Betts (South Side)
  2. 2B- Dustin Pedroia (Vancouver)
  3. 1B- Anthony Rizzo (Swatara)
  4. LF- Khris Davis (Fairgrove)
  5. 3B- Kyle Seager (Corktown)
  6. DH- Matt Kemp (Watersmeet)
  7. C- Yasmani Grandal (Swatara)
  8. SS- Asdrubal Cabrera (Buffalo)
  9. RF- Howie Kendrick (Fairgrove)
SP- Madison Bumgarner (Fairgrove)

National League
  1. SS- Eduardo Nunez (King Road)
  2. 2B- Daniel Murphy (King Road)
  3. 1B- Miguel Cabrera (Traverse City)
  4. CF- Ryan Braun (Seattle)
  5. 3B- Adrian Beltre (Urbana)
  6. DH- Carlos Beltran (King Road)
  7. C- Evan Gattis (Holland)
  8. LF- Ian Desmond (King Road)
  9. RF- Nomar Mazara (Spring Branch)
SP- J.A. Happ (King Road)

Top of the 1st - Asdrubal Cabrera (Buffalo) scores in Matt Kemp on a sac fly, for the American League to draw first blood, 1-0.

Bottom of the 1st - Ryan Braun (Seattle) ties the game up for the National League with a solo HR (off of Madison Bumgarner).

Top of the 4th - Daniel Murphy (King Road) injured at second (fielding ball), Jose Altuve (Seattle)comes in to replace him.

Bottom of the 5th - Ian Desmond (King Road) gives National League its first lead with a two-run homer (off of Jake Arrieta/Corktown), N.L. leads 3-1.

Bottom of the 6th - Yoenis Cespedes (Urbana) helps pad the N.L.'s lead, 5-1, with a two-run homer.

Top of the 8th - The American League strikes back with one-out double by Swatara's Charlie Blackmon, followed by RBI double by Manny Machado (Vancouver), now trailing 5-3.

Bottom of the 8th - Jonathan Lucroy (Traverse City) hits clutch three-run home run that gave the National League a bigger cushion to win the game, 8-3. The National League had four different players with home runs in this one & has now evened the All-Star series at 2 games a piece. The 2016 BoS Season did not feature an All-Star Game.

Lucroy takes home the All-Star MVP honors.































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