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Mike_S View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Mike_S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Virtual Baseball Season/Franchise Updates
    Posted: 08-18-2009 at 3:28pm
Hitting doing absolutely nothing despite good pitching, we had five straight losses to drop to 10-20 and appear to be eliminated.  Completely unexpectedly, we finally exploded at the plate and have since had 5 straight wins (including 2 against the first-place Yankees)!!  We're 15-20, 5 GB in the wildcard race with 13 games still to go.  It's a long way back, but at least we're still breathing...

In each of the 5 losses, we scored no more than 4 runs.  In 4 of the 5 wins, we had 7, 8, 10, and 10. 

And the other win was the most satisfying -- Stan Sheridan, our former #1 pick pitcher, has been hot-and-cold all season, mostly cold.  He went 7 shutout innings, gutting it out when the Orioles loaded the bases with 1 out in the 3rd, and again when they had 1st and 3rd with one out in the 5th.  We had only 2 hits through 7 innings, but played smallball in the 8th -- 2 walks, a sacrifice bunt, a pop-out, then a clutch Carl Crawford single to right to score both runs.  Colby Lewis allowed 2 guys to get on in the 9th, but closed it out for his 9th save and the 2-0 win.

The next 2 games are against Anaheim who are on top of the West division.  After that we have a lot of games against lesser teams.  If we can stay hot and get at least 4 of the next 5 we should be in it to the end.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote TedSGN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-22-2009 at 11:37am
61-50, 3.0 games back of the Angels and 2.0 games in front of Toronto for the wild card.

I won my start against KC in an exciting back an forth game.  Brendan Morrow was up and down, going 5.2 innings, allowing 9 hits and 6 runs while striking out 7 and walking 3.  Cesar Jiminez came in to relieve him and then we had a 4 run 7th inning to take the lead and hold it, finally winning 8-6.  We took 2 of 3 from KC.

I lost my start 4-2 against the East leading Rays.  Felix Hernandez just wasn't sharp and we fell behind early 4-0 and finally scraped together a couple of runs, but it wasn't enough.  We took 2 of 3 from the Rays as well.

Next is the White Sox at home.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote TedSGN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-22-2009 at 5:40pm
63-55, 3.0 games back of the Angels and 1.0 games ahead of the Twins for the wild card.

I won my start against Chicago with Garrett Olsen.  We broke an early 2-2 tie with a big 5 run fifth inning when 2B Jose Lopez hit a two run HR and 4 batters later CF Franklin Gutierrez smacked a three run HR to give us a 7-2 lead.  Olsen tired and with one out in the seventh I brought in a rookie, Justin Thomas, recently up from AAA Tacoma.  I wanted to give him some work, but kept a watchful eye on him and had some other arms warming up in case he got into trouble.  He gave up two runs in the eighth, but looked pretty decent.  We answered back with a run in the bottom of the inning, making it 8-4 and I let Thomas finish it out in the 9th.

We lost our other two games against Chicago.

Our next was a four game home series against the Yankees.  My start was with Eric Bedard who has the best starter record (11-7) and ERA (3.17) on the ball club.  Bedard made it through one inning with no hits and then while facing Mark Texeira in the top of the second, disaster struck.  Texeira lined one right at Bedard who dove out of the way, but he must have banged his head and he immediately left the game with an injury. 

Our entire bullpen, except for closer Cordero is fatigued after our series with Chicago.  I brought in Cesar Jiminez to relieve and he did ok, allowing only 2 runs in 3 innings of work.  When he tired I brought in Miguel Batista.  Miguel was sharp and didn't allow any runs in three innings.  At this point we had fought back from a 2-0 deficit to take a 4-2 lead going into the eight inning. 

Batista was tired and I brought in a fairly fresh Rowland-Smith, who promptly gave up two runs and let the game get tied at 4 before I pulled the plug and brought in closer Cordero to get the last out in the eighth.

We couldn't scratch out anything against Gagne and we headed into the ninth.  Cordero proceeded to implode and loaded the bases with one out.  I only had the rookie left with any energy, but wasn't willing to take the chance yet.  Cordero ended up letting in a run (5-4) so I brought in the rookie with the bases loaded and one out.  Thomas gave up a triple and then continued to falter.  When the smoke cleared the Yankees had a 6 run ninth and had put the game out of reach with a nasty rally.  We lost 10-4 and proceeded to lose 3 out of 4 for the series.

The worst of it is that Bedard, my best pitcher for the season, is out for 34 days with a major concussion.  Our rotation is decimated and since two decent relievers are now starting that means our bullpen is in bad shape as well.

I hope this doesn't destroy our chances for the playoffs, but it's going to be very tough now.

I'm loving every minute.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote TedSGN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-23-2009 at 9:45pm
65-56, 2.0 games back of the Angels and 2.0 games in front of the Twins for the wild card.

Justin Thomas, the rookie pitcher recently brought up to bandage a wounded rotation and bullpen, and a journeyman pitcher at best was phenomenal against a free swinging Detroit ball club.  He pitched a complete game shutout and did it with just 66 pitches, giving up only 4 hits, while striking out four and walking none.  The hitters took a lot of pressure off the rookie by knocking in 2 HR's (one a grand slam by Branyan) and scoring 9 runs in total.  Even Ichiro got a rare HR this night.  It helped that the wind was blowing out to left during the game.  It was a lot of fun doing something unusual like a shutout with a journeyman.  It felt like "that was his moment in the sun."

I noticed that for the last few series Griffey Jr. has been really low on stamina (60%) and so I decided to rest him for a game here and there.  Since my pitching staff is so beat up right now I figured to shore up defense and decided to put Ronny Cedeno in for Yuniesky Betancourt at SS.  It's actually a good move anyway since Betancourt is only a marginally better hitter, but Cedeno is a significantly better fielder.  I also moved Branyan into the DH role, while giving LaHair every day duties at 1B.  LaHair has been a decent hitter for average in his own right.  I'll monitor Griffey Jr. and decide later if he can DH every game or if he needs to be spot started and pinch hit instead in close games.

We took 2 of the 3 games at Detroit and now we are going to Cleveland, the #1 team in the AL.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote Mike_S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-24-2009 at 3:57pm
That's awesome about the journeyman getting you a great performance!!

My career-mode 2009 season closed with a whimper, our starting pitching fell completely apart at the end and we finished fifth in the East again.  For the season, our hitting was poor (decent for average, but light on power) and our starting pitching was ok-at-best; only our bullpen was excellent. 

On the plus side: Larry Henderson (our top pick two drafts ago) won the AL Rookie of the Year award playing 3B, Carl Crawford led the AL in stolen bases with 15 (in a 48-game season), Cristian Guzman rebounded to hit around .330, and Sean Casey smacked 11 Homers.  Carlos Silva was much-improved as a setup man, Eddie Guardado defied his age (38), and our bullpen was as good as it's ever been.

On the minus side: Our new "big 3" young pitchers were not great; Stan Kelly had an ERA around 4, Stan Sheridan around 5, and Lafayette Pierce got knocked out the rotation altogether.  Also, Mark Mulder is about to be done with the Red Sox after 4 strong seasons and 2 less-than-stellar ones.  Aubrey Huff had a power outage after 5 strong seasons, only 3 HRs and 22 RBIs.  And we still have gaping offensive holes in LF (Carlos Lee was cut after hitting .170 with 1 homer for the first 30 games or so), 2B, and apparently C too (Victor Martinez hit below .200 after 4 seasons in the .260-.290 range).

I did about 2 hours of research last night on top prospects for other teams.  I made very few moves last season and it did not pay off.  I'm hoping I can move a few older veterans like Mulder for some lightning-in-a-bottle for 2010!!


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Post Options Post Options   Quote TedSGN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-25-2009 at 9:54am
65-59, 3.0 games back of the Angels and 1.0 game back of the Twins for the wild card.

We dropped three straight in Cleveland.  The Indians hitters are so damn tough to get out.  I lost my start with Felix Hernandez 6-3.  Once again Felix struggled early, but we managed to stay withing striking distance and he settled down.  It was 4-3 when I pulled him at the top of the seventh because he had thrown a lot of pitches and was tired.  Unfortunately Tyler Walker gave up hits to the first three batters he faced and let in two runs.  Aardsma took over and was solid, but we weren't able to score again and that was that.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote TedSGN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-27-2009 at 5:42pm
68-59, 3.0 games back of the Angels and 2.0 games ahead of the Twins for the wild card. 

We swept the A's in three at home.  My start was a bit of a nail biter at the end.  My starter was with another journeyman recently brought up from AAA Tacoma.  Ryan Feieraband gave an outstanding performance, going 7.1 innings and giving up 6 hits and 3ER while striking out 7 and walking none. 

Feieraband had a shutout going with 1 out in the top of the seventh and gave up three singles, scoring a run.  Since he had no stamina left and the shutout was gone I pulled him for recent Rookie of the Week award recipient Justin Thomas (L) to face the left hand batting Eric Chavez.  This is the same Justin Thomas that had the shutout I wrote about a few posts back.  Thomas threw one pitch, a waist high slider that tailed away (but not enough away) from Chavez.  Chavez promptly parked it 350 feet away in the left field bleachers and it was 4-3, Oakland.

I immediately went to Aardsma who was already warm and he shut down the last two batters and we regrouped.  We couldn't do anyhing in the bottom of the eighth and Aardsma shut down the A's again at the top of the 9th.

To my surprise they didn't bring in their closer and kept the reliever that had put us three up and three down in the eighth.

Catcher Jeff Clement lined one up the middle and SS Ronny Cedeno hit one to left and it was first and second, no outs, and up comes Ichiro at the top of the lineup.  I just wanted to move the runners over and eliminate the double play so I bunted with Ichiro, but he managed to beat the throw and it was bases loaded and no outs.  CF Franklin Guttierez lined one sharply to CF and it looked to be an out, but Pensota bobbled it and Clement scored tying it. 

Now they went to their closer (shrug).  Beltre lined out to left.  Griffey Jr. came up with one out and the bases loaded.  I was hoping not to hit into a double play and extend this game.  I wanted it over.  Griffey took it to a 1-2 count and then got a decent pitch that he hit to center for the game winning, walk off RBI.

We host K.C. for four next.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JasonSGN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-27-2009 at 8:32pm
Well, I'm not in the middle of a franchise but it felt great to beat the Red Sox 4-2 after losing to them 6-0 last night. Last night's pitching matchup was Sabathia vs Beckett and tonight's matchup was Burnett vs Beckett (I wanted revenge against him). I hate losing to the virtual Red Sox as much as I hate the real Yankees losing to the real Red Sox.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote TedSGN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-27-2009 at 9:46pm
70-61, 3.5 games back of the Angels and 1.5 games ahead of the Twins for the wild card.

We split the four game series with the Royals.  I won my start, tough 3-2 win, with my favorite starter Brandon Morrow getting the win on a 6.1 inning 7 hit, 2 run, 1ER, 8 K performance.  Aardsma and Walker got holds and Cordero got the save.  There were a couple of tense moments in both the eighth and the ninth, but we prevailed.  Griffey Jr. got all three RBI's on a two double performance.  He has been so fun to bat with this season.  I'll miss him if he retires after this one (he's 39 and only has the 1 year contract.)

We host the Angels for three next and then on the road for 10, all against division rivals LAA, TEX, and OAK.  At this point the calendar in the franchise matches the calender in real life so I'll probably slow it down and play along with the real calendar.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Mike_S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-28-2009 at 3:18pm
Ted: That's awesome about your pennant chase.  Your next ten games sound really important.  Also, your journeymen pitchers are so good compared to the ones I come up with in my franchise... :-)

Jason: At some point in my current franchise, beating the Yanks or Toronto became more important than the real Sox doing the same -- maybe not than a real life playoff game, or key late-season playoff-deciding contest, but certainly more than just a standard regular season game. I just have so much ownership of my own team than I do over the real-life guys, especially new acquisitions.  I like Victor Martinez IRL, but I mostly think of him as an Indian still -- whereas in High Heat, he's been a Red Sox for the entire seven years of the franchise!! :-)

As for my franchise, I did the offseason tasks a few nights back.  I picked up JD Drew to fill the left-field void, and traded the fading Mark Mulder to get Joe Thurston, a second-baseman from Cleveland that I've wanted for a few seasons (he had great numbers in limited play in Cleveland as they have an All-Star second baseman in their lineup).  I also picked up Mike Sweeney as a RH Bat.  I got two good pitching prospects in other minor moves, plus moved my top minor league prospect into our rotation.  I did not move any major cogs in our current team, although Aubrey Huff is arguably expendable now if he doesn't rebound in 2010 (Williams could play first for a year or two, and we have a highly-drafted first baseman in AAA now).

Meanwhile, I wanted to take a moment to honor Eddie Guardado who retired following the 2009 season.  He was an original pick of our team in the 2003 season Fantasy Draft, our original closer, a great set-up man, and most recently, a strong key-out-against-lefties specialist.  His 7-year career was mostly excellent.  At least some of his losses were good outings where we just couldn't win the game for him offensively.  (The funniest thing is I just recently realized he's still playing IRL, I'm interested to see if he goes on to play in 2010 or retires there as well!!!)

Anyway, here are the numbers (remember, 48-game season, and we've never won more than 22 in a year):

          Inn    W   L   ERA    Sv
2003   15     0   2   3.60   14
2004   18.2  0   0   0.00   11 - Won AL "Best Pitcher" Award (High Heat Cy Young equivalent)
2005   17     1   4   4.24    4
2006   21     3   4   3.43    1
2007   19.1  2   2   2.33    2
2008   19.1  0   3   4.19    4
2009   14     1   2   3.21    1

It's too bad, we would have continued to use him in key situations in 2010.  The only remaining Red Sox from our original draft class are now: Victor Martinez, Cristian Guzman, Carlos Beltran, and Carl Crawford.  Many others are still playing for other teams.

OK, hope to play some 2010 games this weekend -- and the season opens with three against the Yanks!!


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