SimSeason: The 2015 Yankees, conclusion
This is it, the conclusion of our just-for-fun projection of the 2015 season, as run through the newest edition of Out of the Park Baseball, licensed by MLB.com. If you missed the first posts, here’s our ground rules and what happened in April, and here’s how May and June went. July and August followed, as did September and now the first two rounds of the postseason.
Welcome to the big dance, the final countdown — New York vs. Washington in the World Series. I’d say they had an unlikely road to get here, winning 88 games to take the AL East before beating the Athletics and Tigers for the pennant. Your mileage may vary. If you want to get in the driver’s seat for your own GM/managing experience, OOTP 16 is available now for PC and Mac.
World Series Game 1: Yankees 8, Nationals 2
Carlos Beltran continued his ridiculous postseason, homering and driving in two runs as part of a three-hit performance, and John Ryan Murphy (filling in for the injured Brian McCann) collected four RBIs late to lead the Yanks to an 8-2 victory in Game 1 at Nationals Park. Masahiro Tanaka struck out eight over 6 1/3 innings, holding the Nats to two runs and nine hits to improve to 4-0 in the postseason. Stephen Strasburg allowed five runs and 11 hits in 4 1/3 innings.
World Series Game 2: Nationals 1, Yankees 0
Ivan Nova made just one mistake, but Bryce Harper knew what to do with it. Harper’s seventh-inning homer was the difference in Game 2, lifting the Nationals to a 1-0 victory. Max Scherzer started for Washington but left after four innings with an ankle sprain; five Nationals relievers held the fort, with Craig Stammen pitching a scoreless seventh for the win and former Yankee Matt Thornton closing it out in the ninth for his first save.
World Series Game 3: Yankees 2, Nationals 1
Mark Teixeira drove in both New York runs and Michael Pineda out-dueled Jordan Zimmerman as the Yankees took a 2-1 series lead in Game 3 at Yankee Stadium. Pineda held the Nats to a run on four hits over eight innings, striking out nine while walking two, and Dellin Betances pitched the ninth for his sixth save. Teixeira homered in the fourth and doubled home Jacoby Ellsbury in the sixth.
World Series Game 4: Nationals 6, Yankees 5
Doug Fister bested CC Sabathia as the Fall Classic moved back to even in the Bronx. Sabathia was handed a three-run lead early, thanks to a Mark Teixeira two-run homer and a Didi Gregorius RBI single, but gave it back as the Nats scored four times in the fourth. Ian Desmond’s three-run homer was the big blow against Sabathia, who lasted just 4 1/3 innings. Fister scattered seven hits over seven frames for his second win of the postseason.
World Series Game 5: Nationals 9, Yankees 1
Masahiro Tanaka invited the Yankees to strap themselves to his back, but he was due for a clunker. This one came in the form of a six-run pounding at Yankee Stadium, with Tanaka lasting just 2 2/3 innings. Washington scored three in the first, highlighted by Ryan Zimmerman’s two-run homer, and three more in the third. Stephen Strasburg accepted the support, permitting only Jacoby Ellsbury’s sixth-inning homer in 8 2/3 innings of five-hit ball, striking out seven.
World Series Game 6: Nationals 8, Yankees 7
Elation in D.C., and heartbreak in the Yankees’ clubhouse.
Ryan Zimmerman’s three-run, walk-off home run off Dellin Betances sent the crowd into ecstasy as the Nationals secured their first World Series championship. Betances was protecting a two-run lead beginning the ninth, but Stephen Drew booted a Bryce Harper grounder and Anthony Rendon followed with a double. Zimmerman then launched Betances’ second pitch into the left-field seats, a season-ending 353-foot shot.
The Yankees seemed to have the game in hand early. New York scored six times in the first off Max Scherzer, with Carlos Beltran slugging a two-run homer, Drew doubling home a run and Didi Gregorius belting a two-run double. Even Michael Pineda, pitching in short rest, got in on the fun with a line drive single to left that brought home the sixth run.
Anthony Rendon hit a three-run homer in the third off Pineda, who threw 89 pitches over 3 2/3 innings. A double play grounder in the seventh brought in Washington’s fourth run and Danny Espinosa homered in the eighth off Andrew Miller, trimming the deficit before Betances coughed it up in the ninth. “Ballgame over, World Series over, Nationals win,” Sterling sadly intones.
On the morning of Nov. 5, I receive my final e-mail from ‘Hal Steinbrenner.’ He’s very happy about the nearly winning it all and wants to talk about long-term goals. He’s demanding upgrades in right field, improving the team on-base percentage, increasing attendance from 42,765 to 48,000 per game, and … yeah, he wants to win the World Series.
“The next step is obviously to figure out how you can win that last series and what we can do to help bring glory back to New York,” he writes.
Thanks, but no thanks, Hal. I’ll keep my day job.
What did we learn from this exercise? I’m not going to pretend that these results were scientific, but it was a fun window into what could happen in some alternate universe. It helps confirm a few suspicions on my part, in that the Yankees need their starting pitching to stay healthy, their bullpen should be a force and that there is talent in the farm system that could help soon — if not this year, then next. Enough computer baseball… let’s get into some games that really count!