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!
Here we go with the sixth installment 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.
Yesterday, we learned that the Yankees were heading to the American League Division Series after winning the AL East with an 88-74 record. It was a rough ride at times, and since we disabled trades for our simulation, they had to lean heavily on the farm system to get through injuries. The kids helped out and Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia stayed healthy all year, while the bullpen was a strength as expected. 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.
ALDS Game 1: Yankees 3, Athletics 1
Carlos Beltran homered as part of a three-hit performance, supporting Masahiro Tanaka’s seven innings of one-run, six-hit ball as the Yankees defeated the A’s at o.Co Coliseum. Beltran gave the Yanks a quick lead in their first playoff game since 2012, homering in the first off Sonny Gray. New York reclaimed the advantage in the sixth on doubles by Beltran and Brian McCann, and Beltran added a run-scoring single in the seventh. Craig Gentry tripled and scored on a first-inning groundout to account for Oakland’s only run off Tanaka, who walked two and struck out six in his postseason debut.
ALDS Game 2: Yankees 5, Athletics 1
Brian McCann hit a three-run homer and Michael Pineda pitched seven commanding innings as the Yankees defeated the A’s, 5-1, in Game 2 of the AL Division Series. McCann’s sixth-inning shot off Jesse Hahn clanged against the right-field foul pole, while Mark Teixeira drove in New York’s other two runs. Marcus Semien’s solo homer in the seventh was the only dent against Pineda, who permitted four hits over seven innings.
ALDS Game 3: Athletics 4, Yankees 3
CC Sabathia permitted four runs and eight hits over 7 1/3 innings, accepting the loss as the Yankees dropped Game 3 of the AL Division Series, 4-3, at Yankee Stadium. Scott Kazmir limited New York to a Mark Teixeira homer and three hits over six innings, picking up the win, and Sean Doolittle pitched a scoreless ninth for the save. Josh Phegley drove in two runs and Billy Butler had three hits for Oakland, while Carlos Beltran hit a two-run homer in the eighth to trim the deficit.
ALDS Game 4: Yankees 4, Athletics 3
Masahiro Tanaka held the A’s to two runs and seven hits over six innings, backed by Jacoby Ellsbury’s three-hit performance as the Yankees advanced to the AL Championship Series with a 4-3 win at Yankee Stadium. Ellsbury had a two-run single and Didi Gregorius knocked a run-scoring hit in the second inning, and Carlos Beltran added a RBI single in the fifth off losing pitcher Sonny Gray.
The Yankees will face the Detroit Tigers in a rematch of the 2012 ALCS. Detroit defeated the White Sox, three games to one. In the NL, the Dodgers defeated the Padres in four games to face the Nationals, who went five games against the Cardinals.
ALCS Game 1: Tigers 6, Yankees 4
J.D. Martinez’s seventh-inning double off David Carpenter drove home the tying run and Andrew Miller balked home the go-ahead run in the eighth as the Tigers rallied late for a 6-4 victory at Comerica Park. Nick Castellanos punched a RBI single in the eighth as Detroit overcame a strong start by Michael Pineda, who allowed three runs in six innings, including a Steven Moya homer. Didi Gregorius homered for New York off David Price, who pitched 6 1/3 innings in a no-decision. Joakim Soria picked up the win and Al Alburquerque got the save.
ALCS Game 2: Yankees 6, Tigers 4
Carlos Beltran hit a three-run homer in the ninth inning off Al Albuquerque, lifting the Yankees to a 6-4 victory at Comerica Park. The Yanks held on after Masahiro Tanaka was knocked out after just 3 2/3 innings, allowing four runs and six hits, but Nathan Eovaldi provided three scoreless innings of relief. Justin Wilson and winning pitcher Andrew Miller each recorded two outs before Dellin Betances worked around three walks in the ninth for the save. Brett Gardner drove in two runs for the Yanks.
ALCS Game 3: Tigers 4, Yankees 1
Justin Verlander held the Yankees to just Carlos Beltran’s fourth-inning solo homer among four hits over eight innings, pitching the Tigers to a 4-1 win at Yankee Stadium. CC Sabathia served up three solo homers in the loss, charged with four runs and seven hits over seven innings.
ALCS Game 4: Tigers 9, Yankees 1
Ian Kinsler homered twice and J.D. Martinez also went deep as the Tigers thumped Ivan Nova and the Yankees, 9-1, taking a commanding lead in the ALCS. David Price cruised to the victory, allowing an unearned run and two hits over six innings. Each Tigers starter had at least one hit as Kinsler slugged a three-run homer and Martinez belted a two-run shot off Nova, who lasted just three frames. Kinsler’s second homer came in the fifth off Nathan Eovaldi.
ALCS Game 5: Yankees 3, Tigers 1
Masahiro Tanaka allowed a run and five hits over six innings as the Yankees forced the ALCS back to Detroit with a 3-1 win at Yankee Stadium. Brian McCann slugged a two-run double in the third inning off Buck Farmer, who pitched a complete game in the loss. David Carpenter pitched two scoreless innings and Dellin Betances worked a clean ninth for the save.
ALCS Game 6: Yankees 1, Tigers 0
Michael Pineda pitched 7 2/3 dominant innings and Carlos Beltran produced the game’s only run with an eighth-inning RBI double off Anibal Sanchez as the Yankees pushed the ALCS to the limit with a 1-0 win at Comerica Park. Andrew Miller recorded an out and Dellin Betances worked the ninth for the save. Sanchez scattered six hits over eight innings. Yankees catcher Brian McCann exited the game after one at-bat with back spasms and is done for the postseason.
ALCS Game 7: Yankees 8, Tigers 1
Mark Teixeira drove in three runs and Brett Gardner banged out three hits as the Yankees punched their ticket to the World Series with an 8-1 victory at Comerica Park. David Price was hammered for seven runs (six earned) and five hits, knocked out without recording an out in the Yanks’ five-run fifth inning. CC Sabathia worked 5 2/3 breezy innings, allowing a run on four hits, and Nathan Eovaldi fired the final 3 1/3 innings for a save as the Yankees secured entry to their first World Series since 2009.
Tomorrow… the quest for 28 continues into the World Series, as the Yankees and Nationals prepare for an epic showdown. See you there!
It’s episode five 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 two posts, here’s our ground rules and what happened in April, and here’s how May and June went. July and August followed, and yesterday we covered September. 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.
As I said in the previous entry, this is a good time to promise to everyone reading that, yes, I stuck to the ground rules of the simulation and did not alter the settings to help the Yankees. This is just what happened. “You can’t predict baseball,” as John Sterling might say.
Checking In… Oct. 1, 2015
Hello from Yankee Stadium, where we have seen some incredible baseball in front of packed houses over the last few days. While it seems pretty assured that the Yankees will be playing in the postseason, ending their two-year drought, the division is still very much up for grabs. Joe Girardi keeps talking about how it is hugely important to win the division and not put yourself in a situation where you’re the second Wild Card, guaranteed only to extend your season for nine innings. We’ll know if they can hold off Tampa Bay and accomplish that goal soon.
Let’s wrap the regular season…
Michael Pineda came up huge on Oct. 1, holding the Red Sox to a run and five hits over seven innings as the Yankees clinched a playoff spot. Jacoby Ellsbury had three hits as the Yanks improved to 86-73, one game up on the Rays. “The hard work doesn’t stop now, it’s only just beginning,” Ellsbury said. … Chase Headley and Stephen Drew homered Oct. 2 as the Yankees rolled to a 9-1 win over the Orioles at Camden Yards. Masahiro Tanaka pitched seven innings of one-run ball, improving to 17-6 with a 3.17 ERA. …
CC Sabathia tossed a five-run clunker on Oct. 3 in Baltimore, chased in the third inning of the Yanks’ 6-2 loss as he fell to 9-16. New York and Tampa Bay were tied, 87-74, going into the season’s final day. …
Joe Girardi bypasses Nathan Eovaldi and pitches Ivan Nova on short rest on Oct. 4. The gamble pays off, as Nova hurls five solid innings and the Yanks beat the Orioles, 7-4, to clinch the American League East. Brett Gardner’s RBI single in the ninth inning off Brian Matusz provided the margin of victory, and Carlos Beltran added a two-run single.
With the Rays’ 2-1 loss to Toronto, here’s how the American League East finished:
x- NEW YORK 88-74 .543 --
z- Tampa Bay 87-75 .537 1
Toronto 77-85 .475 11
Boston 75-87 .463 13
Baltimore 65-97 .401 23
Let’s check back in on that Opening Day lineup:
Jacoby Ellsbury CF – 80 games, .261, 5 HR, 31 RBIs, 14 SB
Brett Gardner LF – 141 games, .249, 7 HR, 63 RBIs, 15 SB
Carlos Beltran RF – 91 games, .261, 9 HR, 37 RBIs,
Mark Teixeira 1B – 95 games, .206, 12 HR, 40 RBI
Brian McCann C – 138 games, .224, 22 HR, 76 RBI
Chase Headley 3B – 154 games, .232, 15 HR, 68 RBI, 12 SB
Alex Rodriguez DH – 108 games, .229, 12 HR, 36 RBI
Stephen Drew 2B – 116 games, .220, 6 HR, 29 RBI
Didi Gregorius SS – 134 games, .279, 7 HR, 62 RBI, 9 SB
Other contributors as the guys in the room start thinking about how to split up the playoff shares:
Garrett Jones (.232, 14 HR, 43 RBI in 410 at-bats), Slade Heathcott (.276, 3 HR, 24 RBI in 210 at-bats), Rob Refsnyder (.372, 1 HR, 15 RBI in 129 at-bats), Greg Bird (.246, 6 HR, 19 RBI in 134 at-bats), Chris Young (.193, 7 HR, 33 RBIs in 378 at-bats), John Ryan Murphy (.212, 2 HR, 8 RBI in 80 at-bats), Ramon Flores (.161, 2 HR, 4 RBI in 31 at-bats), Brendan Ryan (.168, 0 HR, 9 RBI in 131 at-bats).
So, yeah, if our ‘Brian Cashman’ could have made some moves at the Trade Deadline, he would have. 378 at-bats for Chris Young, and he didn’t even crack the Mendoza line? But, hey, they made it, thanks to the pitching and a 49-32 home record. They only scored 666 runs, 12th in the AL, and actually allowed 686 runs. Differentials be damned, I guess. Here’s a look at the biggest contributors on the pitching side:
Masahiro Tanaka — 34 starts, 17-6, 212.2 IP, 3.17 ERA
Michael Pineda — 33 starts, 14-10, 203.2 IP, 3.58 ERA
CC Sabathia — 33 starts, 9-16, 192.1 IP, 4.40 ERA
Nathan Eovaldi — 32 starts, 8-19, 174.2 IP, 5.62 ERA
Ivan Nova — 21 starts, 7-9, 122.1 IP, 4.27 ERA
Dellin Betances — 64 IP, 10.0 K/9, 1.69 ERA, 35 SV
Andrew Miller — 62.1 IP, 10.4 K/9, 3.32 ERA, 2 SV
David Carpenter — 61 IP, 10.5 K/9, 2.95 ERA, 2 SV
Adam Warren — 76.2 IP, 6.6 K/9, 6.69 ERA, 4 SV
Justin Wilson — 67.1 IP, 8.8 K/9, 2.54 ERA, 3 SV
Esmil Rogers — 81.1 IP, 7.1 K/9, 4.54 ERA, 2 SV
Chase Whitley — 31.2 IP, 5.1 K/9, 2.27 ERA
Chris Capuano — 60.1 IP, 6.6 K/9, 4.48 ERA
Chasen Shreve — 22.2 IP, 11.1 K/9, 5.96 ERA
On to the postseason. Here’s how the Yankees set their roster…
PITCHERS (11): Betances, Carpenter, Eovaldi, Miller, Nova, Pineda, Rogers, Sabathia, Tanaka, Warren, Wilson.
CATCHERS (2): McCann, Murphy.
INFIELDERS (7): Drew, Gregorius, Headley, Jones, Refsnyder, Rodriguez, Teixeira.
OUTFIELDERS (5): Beltran, Ellsbury, Gardner, Heathcott, Young.
Remember back in the preseason, when I said ‘Joe Girardi’ must stick with the Opening Day lineup whenever possible? He’s got it, healthy and ready to go in October, so the vets will get the starting nods in the playoffs.
While we assume the Yanks were having workouts at the Stadium, the White Sox (87-75) beat the Rays (87-75) in the AL Wild Card playoff game and the Padres (90-72) beat the Reds (89-73) in the NL Wild Card playoff game.
The ALDS is thus set: the Yankees (88-74) will play the A’s (91-71) while the White Sox play the Tigers (101-61). In the NLDS, the Padres get the Dodgers (99-63) and the Nationals (95-67) face the Cardinals (97-65). See you in Oakland tomorrow.
The bags are packed, the cars have been sent north and the plane is waiting on the runway at Tampa International Airport. This is the end of the Grapefruit League portion of the spring, as CC Sabathia makes his final start. The Nationals are here and anxiously will be looking forward to getting to D.C., where the Yanks will tag along for an exhibition game Saturday before making it to The Bronx.
“I’m pleased with the way [Spring Training] went,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We had a couple of injuries that we have to deal with. We’ll try to get through these next two days without anything happening, but pretty good.”
Girardi said that the backup catcher decision won’t be made until tomorrow. He also said that the Yankees may go into the season with no set closer, as Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller could share the duties. Here are the lineups as we say goodbye to George M. Steinbrenner Field until 2016 in a game that will be televised on YES:
Michael Taylor cf
Yunel Escobar 3b
Bryce Harper rf
Ryan Zimmerman 1b
Wilson Ramos c
Ian Desmond ss
Tyler Moore lf
Danny Espinosa 2b
Stephen Strasburg p
Brett Gardner lf
Didi Gregorius ss
Brian McCann dh
Mark Teixeira 1b
Garrett Jones rf
Chase Headley 3b
Chris Young cf
Gregorio Petit 2b
John Ryan Murphy c
CC Sabathia lhp
Hello from George M. Steinbrenner Field, where the end of spring is near. The players’ cars have been loaded on the truck, the clubhouse is emptying out and we are officially in the home stretch. They say Spring Training is about a week too long, and you can tell the players are ready to play in some games that count. But first, the Yanks and the Rays will lock up this afternoon in a game that is being televised on YES.
Jacoby Ellsbury is playing in his first spring game since March 15, having logged five at-bats in a Minor League game yesterday with the Double-A Trenton squad. Didi Gregorius isn’t playing yet due to some swelling in his left wrist, but otherwise, this looks like the Opening Day lineup. Chase Whitley gets the start against Jordan Norberto.
A good sign for Gregorius’ wrist: Sir Didi is listed on the travel roster for tomorrow’s game against the Tigers in Lakeland. Upcoming pitching announced by the Yankees to wrap the spring — Michael Pineda faces A.J. Burnett tomorrow here, Bryan Mitchell faces the Tigers in Lakeland. On April 3, CC Sabathia faces Stephen Strasburg at Steinbrenner Field, and on April 4 in Washington, Nathan Eovaldi takes on Doug Fister.
Here are the lineups:
John Jaso DH
Logan Forsythe 2B
Asdrubal Cabrera SS
Desmond Jennings LF
James Loney 1B
Rene Rivera C
Kevin Kiermaier CF
Brandon Guyer RF
Juan Francisco 3B
Jordan Norberto LHP
In relief: Grant Balfour, Kirby Yates
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Carlos Beltran RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Chase Headley 3B
Alex Rodriguez DH
Stephen Drew 2B
Brendan Ryan SS
Chase Whitley RHP
In relief: Esmil Rogers, Chasen Shreve, Andrew Bailey