Friday, August 31, 2018

Statis-Pro Playoffs: Encarnacion's Indians To Face Cubs-Diamondbacks Winner in World Series

As I played out the Statis-Pro season I received astonished responses after writing the clearest AL path to the World Series belonged to the Cleveland Indians (see photo below and story), and it did play out that way in the Statis-Pro game at least the Dominican Republic's Edwin Encarnacion's Series MVP for leading the series in homers and runs scored to lead the Cleveland Indians to the World Series with a Game 7 win over the Yankees.) The explanation of the game that appeared at the top of this blog originally, is now at the bottom.

To Play Any Teams Yourself; 1) Click here for more than 800 Statis-Pro player cards from the 2018 season and the entire Statis Pro game for free. All you need to play the game is the four dice pictured in these instructions and add a 20-sided die to play advanced rules with fielding.

Series Finales

The clinching game of each series will be detailed here, regardless of which game of the series wraps up the series. The game-by-game reviews of the other games appear below the photo.

Game 1 of the NLCS features Arizona (Greinke 5-1, 2.80 ERA) at Chicago (Lester 3-2, 4.66) with the eventual winner of the series facing Cleveland in the World Series.

Cubs Eliminate Dodgers in Game 7 (NLCS1)

Game 7: It only seemed appropriate with 4-games decided in the 9th inning and another going extra innings that Game 7 would be no exception in this series.  Both starting pitchers gave quality starts and Rich Hill even drove in the Dodgers only run as the game entered the 9th tied 1-1.  But in a series where the Cubs' bullpen was just a little better than the Dodgers, it happened again.  A walk, a hit, and an error loaded the bases.  Pinch-hitter Kyle Schwarber then drew the bases loaded walk to win the series.  The 2-time defending champs of the Statis-Pro NL stay alive with a chance to 3-peat.

Los Angeles  1
Chicago        2
(Cubs win series 4-3)

Diamondbacks Eliminate Brewers in Game 6 (NLCS2)

The Brewers also tried to force a game 7, but Gio Gonzalez couldn't duplicate his game 2 shutout. The Diamondbacks most outstanding player for the series, Paul Goldschmidt drove in 2 more runs (8 RBI's for the series) and their most outstanding pitcher Archie Bradley picked up the save (3 saves in series). 

Arizona      5
Milwaukee  3

(Diamondbacks win series 4-2)

Indians vs. Yankees (ALCS)

Game 7: Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge both singled off Statis-Pro NL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber in the bottom of the 9th inning of Game 7 to cap incredible series in which they had by far the two best OPS averages (0.921 and 0.970 respectively). Those hits ignited a rally that scored two runs and loaded the bases to put the potential Championship Series-winning run on base, but Kluber induced Andujar and Hicks to pop out to give the Indians a 4-2 win and trip to the Statis-Pro World Series.

Indians 4
Yankees 2
(Indians win series 4-3, advance to World Series)

For the second straight game the Indians final inning included a home run by newcomber Josh Donaldson, who started his Indians season with an error and 0 for 11 start at the plate before hitting the game-winning homer in Game 6 and then a 2-run insurance home in Game 7 that made the score 4-0 and proved to be the difference.

While Yankees ace Severino started Game 3 with nine no-hit innings, Michael Brantley led off Game 6 with a home run. Jose Ramirez then doubled, and after the Yankees sixth error of the series, Series Most Valuable Offensive Player Edwin Encarnacion singled him home to make it 2-0. Encarnacion tied Judge for the most homers in the series (3), tied Gardner in runs scored (6) and led the Indians with an OPS of .856 in a pitcher dominated series during which both teams batted below .200 and the Indians held a .599 to .513 edge in team OPS (.700 is slightly below average).

The most valuable defensive player for the series went to Francisco Lindor, who led the series with four defensive gems, including a diving catch and double play that saved Game 6. The top pitching choice was easy, with Kluber allowing two runs, one of them earned, in 21 innings pitched. The Yankees Sanchez threw out 6 of 11 would-be base stealers and picked off another - but his passed ball and two errors gave the award to Lindor.

We do not usually compile detailed stats, but did tally the seven-game series stats below listed in order of OPS. We also listed typical batting stats, plus the number of errors and defensive gems at the end of the column.

7-game series totalsTmOPSABRHRBI2b3bHRBBSBCSErrGems
Team TotalsCle0.5993022759221609275727
Team TotalsNYY0.5133071858171325122068
Aaron JudgeNYY0.9703359731300000
Brett GardnerNYY0.92135612221121000
Gleyber TorresNYY0.8651817110011020
Edwin EncarnacionCle0.8563468520330000
Bradley ZimmerCle0.8131826220011201
Michael BrantleyCle0.7192836200230100
Jose RamirezCle0.6393438030040001
Lonnie ChisenhallCle0.6321925120000000
Josh DonaldsonCle0.6222534300220010
Francisco LindorCle0.6023417100150004
Rajai DavisCle0.5831513120013301
Yonder AlonsoCle0.5532825220050000
Didi GregoriusNYY0.5083527130010011
Gary SanchezNYY0.4873416300120022
Aaron HicksNYY0.4851603010010002
Yan GomesCle0.4233033520120010
Neil WalkerNYY0.4211904000000000
Jason KipnisCle0.400501000000000
Giancarlo StantonNYY0.3783224210040000
Greg AllenCle0.333601000001100
Melky CabreraCle0.3251812010010000
Andrew McCutchenNYY0.2612303100000002
Miguel AndujarNYY0.2353403020000011
Greg BirdNYY0.0452100000010000
Adeiny HechavarriaNYY0.000010000000000
Luke VoitNYY0.000700000000000
Jace PetersonNYY0.000000000000000
Erik GonzalezCle0.000600000000000
Roberto PerezCle0.000200000000000

Game 6s

See Diamondbacks vs. Brewers Game 6 summary above under Series Finales. The other two Game 6s below led to a Game 7 Above.

Cubs vs. Dodgers (NLCS1)

With the season on the line, the Dodgers needed a big outing from their dominant left-hander.  However his name isn't Kershaw, it is Alex Wood.  He ran his playoff streak to 22 consecutive scoreless innings (another 7 IP in game 6) and the Dodgers youngster Max Muncy hit another HR for 7 RBI's in just three games played.  It all comes down to Game Seven and a battle of left-handers, Jose Quintana vs. Rich Hill.

Los Angeles  5
Chicago        0
(Series tied 3-3)

Indians vs. Yankees (ALCS)

As more than 1,000 people clicked on the Statis-Pro cards for the Indians and Yankees today, new Indian Josh Donaldson hit Chad Green's only mistake of the game out of the park to complete a 6-5, 14 inning rally and force a Game 7 with the Yankees. The Yankees jumped all over Indians Trevor Bauer in the first inning, as Statis-Pro League MVP Gary Sanchez stroked a 3-run homer after doubles by Gardner and Judge and a hit batter to make it 4-0 before a single Indian was retired. Stanton appears on his way to a potential MVP as he added two more hits and threw out another baserunner, but the Yankees opened the door with two of their three errors in the third inning.

Cleveland Indians   6
New York Yankees  5   14 innings
(Series tied 3-3)

After Edwin Encarnacion continued his hot hitting in the playoffs with a 2-out double, Lynn appeared to end the threat when he induced a grounder back to himself, but it went through his legs for an error to put men on the corners. Gomes then delivered a clutch 2-run double to center, Zimmer singled to put men back on the corners, and rookie third baseman threw the ball away. Due to Zimmer's great speed (OBR On Base Running A) and the fact there were two outs, he raced all the way home from first to tie the game 4-4. 

After two walks in the fourth, Encarnacion and Chisenhall singled to give the Indians a 5-4 lead, but a double by Gregorius and single by Torres tied it in the bottom of the inning 5-5. Both teams had chances to win as Ramirez led of the 6th with a single and Alonso then doubled, and later in the 11th Rajan Davis walked and stole second and third with one out - but in every cases the Yankees pen shut them down. Gregorius doubled again and then Andujar doubled in the 11th, but the Indians pen was too good.

When the 10th inning ended, the Yankees had a decided advantage because both teams had only one rested pitcher left. The Yankees Green was not only even better than the Indians Otero (PB 2-9 to PB 2-8) but more importantly, his endurance is an RR7 and Otero is an RR4. This is the number of baserunners + runs allowed a pitcher can give up before he loses his effectiveness, but we also play that if you go to the inning that matches that number, your PB drops by 1. This meant that Green could have pitched the 11th through the 16th inning at full effectiveness if he could last that long, while Otero could only pitch the 11th through 13th before starting to drop PB numbers.

Green only allowed two runners in the four innings he did pitch, and one of only two mistakes (PB 10-12 to end up on the batter's card) was to the Indians newly acquired slugger Josh Donaldson who put it just over the left field fence for the 5-4 lead. Otero still had to hold the lead in the bottom of the 14th pitching as a PB2-7, and Hicks (who came in as a pinch-runner after an Andujar double) hit his own double with one out to put a fast runner in scoring position. However, Otero struck out Torres and Voit hit a nubber in front of the plate that Gomes threw to first to end the game.

The third long extra-inning game of the series left each team with only two rested relievers. As powerful as the Yankees line-up is, they are more right-handed heavy which is a disadvantage against the best Statis-Pro pitching card in the AL, Corey Kluber (right-handed PB2-9). He also has two PB2-9s for relief, while the Yankees ace Severino is great but a PB2-7 that could give Indians batters' several more chances and one of his relief options is a PB2-8. If either team has all three players run out of endurance then they need to use a tired pitcher or the next starter in the rotation with a lowered PB.

Game 5s

Dodgers vs. Cubs (NLCS1)

For the 3rd time in 5 games, this one is decided in the 9th inning.  The mystique of the Statis-Pro cards continues as Clayton Kershaw turns in another sub-par playoff start.  The Cubs built a 5-2 lead, but the Dodgers rally in the 7th capped by Max Muncy's pinch-hit 2-run double to tie it 5-5.  Just like in the ALCS, fatigue becoming a factor in these bullpens.  A tired Ryan Madson couldn't get the game to extra innings.  Anthony Rizzo in a 2-22 slump (too much Dodger left-handed pitching) comes through with a clutch 2-out RBI single against the righty (88) and the Cubs now return to Chicago to try and clinch the series.

Chicago       7
Los Angeles 5
(Cubs lead series 3-2)

Brewers vs. Diamondbacks (NLCS2)

Yet another playoff game decided in the 9th inning.  Both teams got a quality start from their respective pitchers (Godley & Chacin)  The Brewers facing elimination tied the game in the 7th inning 2-2.  In the 9th, the Diamondbacks will be second-guessed as their lefty reliever Andrew Chafin retired both left-handed batters with a runner on 2nd, but they decide to leave him in to face right-hander Lorenzo Cain and he makes them pay with an RBI single for the game winner.

Milwaukee  3
Arizona      2

(Diamondbacks lead series 3-2)

Indians vs. Yankees (ALCS)

After winning two of the first three games despite scoring only four runs in 45 innings, the Yankees erupted for a 1st inning cycle including Aaron Judge's third home run in five at bats. Gardner tripled to open the game, and Judge followed with a 2-run homer to greet Carrasco. Stanton then doubled, and after Sanchez struck out McCutcheon singed him home to make it 3-0 Yankes with a complete cycle (one single, double, triple and homer) in just five batters. Gardner led off the fifth inning with a single and Judge tripled him home to make it 4-1 and chase Carrasco, but Stanton greeted Brad Hand with a single to make it 5-1 Yankees.

Normally a 4-run lead for the Yankees bullpen means the game is over, but the Indians homered in both the sixth (Encarnacion again) and seventh (Brantley) to make it 5-3 and the Yankees two PB2-9 stoppers were needed for 2 1/3 innings. Lindor greeted Robertson with his second bunt single in consecutive games. In the eighth, Ramirez drew a walk and then Alonso hit a one-out grounder to short that Gregorius threw away to put runners on the corners but they could not get anyone home. In the ninth Green gave up rare back-to-back singles - to Brantley and Lindor, and then hung a pitch to Donaldson that gave him a shot to win the game but he flew out to right field for the second out. Brantley went to third on the fly ball, and then one of the best base stealers in baseball, Greg Allen, pinch ran and stole second base to put the tying run in cscoring position for the red hot Encarnacion - but he flied out to left to let the Yankees cling onto the 5-3 win after the 4-3 loss in Game 4.

The Yankees now desperately want to wrap up the series in Game 6, because if they fail to the would need to defeat Cy Young winner Corey Kluber in Game 7.

Yankees   5
Indians   3
(Yankees lead three games to two)

Game 4s

Cubs vs. Dodgers (NLDS1)

It looked like the Cubs were destined to take control of the series.  They gave starting catcher Willson Contreras the day off and back-up catcher Victor Caratini slugged a 3-run HR for the early lead.  But it was Chicago's turn to have the bullpen falter. LA tied it in the 7th and then new Dodger Brian Dozier with the walk-off HR with 1-out in bottom 9th off Brian Duensing.

Chicago        3
Los Angeles  4
(Series tied 2-2)

Diamondbacks vs. Brewers (NLDS2)

If pitching and defense wins pennants then it will be why the Brewers come up short.  A nightmare 6th inning leads to their loss.  With 2-outs, Jonathan Schoop with another throwing error allows the run to score 2-2.  It is followed by two HBP, two bases-loaded walks to force in runs and then a single to cap it.  The Brewers never recover and are now in a big hole for the series.

Milwaukee   3
Arizona       6

(Diamondbacks lead series 3-1)

Indians vs. Yankees (ALCS)

Aaron Judge's second home run of the game tied the score 3-3 and threatened to have make the Indians rely on the last pitcher in their pen (Josh Tomlin, 4.98 ERA, 11-26 hits on his weak PB2-6 card) that was depleted during the longest game in our Statis-Pro history (a 21-inning win by the Yankees).

With two outs in the ninth, Rajan Davis drew a walk. AL Statis-Pro MVP Stanton had thrown out four a five Indians attempting to steal - including Davis both times he had tried - but with a 63% chance to steal and only a 16% chance of being thrown out (see chart below) Davis had to try to get into scoring position with the light hitting No. 9 hitter Gonzalez at the plate. The attempt went better than Indians' fans could have hoped, as Davis not only stole but raced to third after Stanton's throw went into center field. Former Orioles closer Zach Britton then unleashed a wild pitch, Davis raced home, and the Indians won 4-3 and tied the best-of-seven series two games apiece.

Yankees   3
Indians   4
(Series tied 2-2)

Stolen base chances - better than 3.0-to-1 ratio needed to make it worthwhile

Stolen base strategy. Since we first started playing Statis-Pro in the 1980s, the stolen base, bunt and hit and run have become less and less a part of the game due to the better strategy being not to risk an out for one extra-base since so many home runs are hit. Bill James' said a stolen base or extra base on the basepaths should only be tried if the stealer were at least three times more likely to be safe than out because an out hurts ou three times as much as an extra base is worth.

Playing Statis-Pro solitaire, the general rule of thumb should be if the would-be base stealers Speed Rating (SP of A, B, C or D, as an E cannot attempt to steal) is better than the catcher's throwing arm rating (T of A, B or C). If a team is desperate for one run (e.g. a game-tying or -winning run near the end of a game, or two outs and a singles hitter who rarely hits home runs at the plate) then a team may want to steal if the SP and T are equal.

In this case, Davis was a SP: A and Stanton as a TB, so stealing certainly made sense regardless - despite the unbelievable bad run for the Indians of being only 1-5 on the bases so far in the series.

We were actually playing Statis-Pro with the Fast Action Deck of cards, but let's start by looking at Davis' chance if we were using the simple dice game - which just entails rolling a single 6-sided die with these results:

A runner with a SP: A rating steals on a 1-3, a SP: B on a 1-2, and a SP: C on a 1, but otherwise the runner cannot get a jump unless the roll is a "6," in which the catchers throwing arm (TA, TB or TC) comes into play. If a "6" is rolled, the die is rolled again and there is a tag at the base, and a TA throws him out, a TB throws him out on a 1-4 but the base stealer is safe on a 5-6, and if the catcher is a TC, then the base steaer is out on a 1-2 but safe on a 3-6 he is safe.

The bolded items below shows Davis' SP: B against Stanton's TA, in which Davis would have had a 56% chance to be safe and 11% to be out, or a 5.0 to 1 ratio and worth the shot. After this chart, see the second chart showing the actual percentages using the fast action deck.

TA allows steal50%33%17%0%
TA holds runner33%50%67%83%
TA throws out17%17%17%17%
TB allows steal56%39%22%6%
TB holds runner33%50%67%83%
TB throws out11%11%11%11%
TC allows steal61%45%28%11%
TC holds runner33%50%67%83%
TC throws out6%6%6%6%

And below are the actual ratios based on the Statis-Pro Board and chances based on the Fast Action Card results of 11-88 on the base-8 system. As you can see, Davis chances of being safe were 63 percent, and Stanton chances of throwing him out was 16%, a 4.0 to 1 ratio that made it worthwhile - but the chances of a wild throw letting him get all the way to third was actually only one in 16.

TA allows steal58%38%27%19%
TA holds runner22%42%53%61%
TA throws out20%20%20%20%
TB allows steal63%42%31%23%
TB holds runner22%42%53%61%
TB throws out16%16%16%16%
TC allows steal69%48%38%30%
TC holds runner22%42%53%61%
TC throws out9%9%9%9%

Game 3s

The Game 3s of all three series played Saturday night lasted 44 innings, an average of almost 15 innings per game. Both Cy Young Winners came up empty, but you can hardly blame either one.

Cubs vs. Dodgers (NLDS1)

Another bullpen battle and once again the Cubs prevailed.  Chicago used nine pitchers in a 14-inning game we would usually call a "marathon" except that the Indians and Yankees were still at it when this one ended.

Kris Bryant tripled to drive in the go-ahead run in the top of the 14th. Bryant also homered earlier in the game. He has two homers in the last two games.  He had one HR in the previous 31-games.

Chicago        6
Los Angeles  4  (14)
(Cubs lead series 2-1)

Diamondbacks vs. Brewers (NLDS2)

The defense let the Brewers down in game three.  A Jonathon Schoop throwing error in the bottom of 8th set up the winning run for Arizona.  Jon Jay hit the clutch 2-out single to drive in the game winner.  A tough loss since the Brewers wasted a good start from the NL Statis-Pro Cy Young winner Chase Anderson.

Milwaukee   2
Arizona       3

(Diamondbacks lead series 2-1)

Indians vs. Yankees (ALCS)

With both aces on the hill and two of the deepest and most dominant bullpens ever, we knew runs would be hard to come by - but what transpired was unprecedented going back to the Statis-Pro games in the 1980s. AL Cy Young winner Kluber pitched 12 scoreless innings, and was outdueled by the Yankees Severino, who would have made history with a no-hitter if not for extra innings. In the 10th Lindor laid down a bunt single (we only allow OBRA or Bs to try that if they are at least a Sac CC, and count any Random Number above a 28 as on the Sac chart). In the 11th, Zimmer registered an infield hit on a single, but Sanchez's throw to nail pinch runner Davis trying to steal saved the game because Brantley gave the Indians their first outfield hit of the game which likely would have scored Davis to win the game if he were safe stealing. While new Indians acquisition and clean-up hitter Donaldson had an error and not hits, two Yankees acquisitions were key to the win.

In the 18th inning, pinch hitter Cabrera hit a 2-out double that might have been the game winner, except that newly acquired Yankee McCutchen's PERFECT throw nailed Alonso at home. The Yankees' Andujar doubled to lead off the 21st and newly acquired Hechavarria came in as a pinchrunner and raced home on a one out single by Gardner to provide the 1-0 lead and win after the Indians Guyer pinch hit, singled, and stole second, but was stranded by former Orioles ace Britton to end the game.

Yankees   1
Indians   0      (21 innings)
(Yankees lead 2-1)

Game 2s

All three series were tied one game apiece.

Cubs vs. Dodgers (NLDS1)

The Dodgers' Alex Wood ran his post-season streak to 15-scoreless innings as he pitched 7-shutout innings over the Cubs to help LA even their series.  Four different players drove in a run off Kyle Hendricks who turned in a second straight poor start in the playoffs.

Los Angeles   4
Chicago         1
(Series tied 1-1)

Diamondbacks vs. Brewers (NLDS2)

The Brewers continue to have the best deadline deals for Statis-Pro.  Just minutes before the game, they acquire Gio Gonzalez to solve their number four starter problem.  He was inserted immediately and proceeded to toss a 5-hit complete game shutout.  Of course, the offense came from another deadline-deal player as Mike Moustakas hit a grand slam.  For those counting, he now has 6 HR's, 13 RBI's in 7 postseason games this year.

Milwaukee  7
Arizona      0
(series tied 1-1)

Indians vs. Yankees (ALCS)

Dominican Republic star and MVP candidate Edwin Encarnacion hit his second home run of the game to start the fourth inning it was the Indians eighth extra-base hit in the game and give the Indians a 10-1 win. The Indians scored five first-inning runs off former Cardinal and Twin Lance Lynn, and greeted Tanaka with three straight doubles followed by two singles to make it 9-1 before Encarnacion's home run. The Indians now have the edge with Statis-Pro Cy Young winner Corey Kluber scheduled to pitch Game 3 and then Game 7 if needed.

Cleveland 10
NY Yankees 1
(series tied 1-1)

Game 1s

Cubs vs. Dodgers (NLDS1)

A marquee matchup between Kershaw & Lester.  The Dodgers bullpen commits the unforgiveable sin and wastes a Kershaw start.

They give up a 3-1 lead and let the Cubs tie it in the 7th.  Ian Happ provides the walk-off hit in the bottom of the 9th, Cubs take it 4-3.

Los Angeles   3
Chicago         4

Diamondbacks vs. Brewers (NLDS2)

No drama here. Arizona came in last in the Statis-Pro NL in runs scored.  Paul Goldschmidt did not drive in a run in the opening round (4 games), but you can’t keep him down for long.  Goldschmidt with a HR & 5 RBI’s as Arizona blasts the Brewers 12-2.

Arizona         12
Milwaukee     2

Indians vs. Yankees (ALCS)

The heralded match-up of relief corps played out in the first 15th inning game of almost 200 played this Statis-Pro season. Nine relievers from the two teams pitched a scoreless inning or two after Lindor and Gardner traded homers off the starters to send the game to extra innings tied 1-1. In the top of the 15th the lightning fast Davis singled and went to third on a pickoff attempt, but two popups left him there. In the bottom of the 15th Olson came in and walked Stanton, who raced home ahead of a tag on a one-out double by Gregorius's double for the 2-1 Yankees win.

Cleveland 1                                          
NY Yankees 2           15 Innings

Playoff Preview: Top 7 Teams in 2017-18 also Made Statis-Pro Elite 8

The Statis-Pro season offers insights but is really a combination of the 2017 and 2018 teams because we use 2017 player cards but keep up with 2018 rosters. When you average the winning percentages from both seasons, the top seven teams in baseball were all in the final 8 to make it through the Statis-Pro season and opening rounds of the playoffs. The only difference as of today is that the 9th best Milwaukee Brewers (0.545 average winning percentage) are alive and the 8th place Washington Nationals (just 3 points better at .548) as the other "Elite 8" team - a percentage so close that the Brewers would pass the Nationals with a win or Nats loss:

Top 10 Last 2 Years
Statis-Pro Elite 8?
Boston Red Sox
Houston Astros
Cleveland Indians
New York Yankees
Los Angeles Dodgers
Chicago Cubs
Arizona Diamondbacks
Washington Nationals
Milwaukee Brewers
St. Louis Cardinals

Once in the playoffs, anyone can win in baseball, and that was our point. While the Astros were throwing everyone to try to stay ahead of the Mariners and A's for the Division and the Red Sox and Yankees were battling to the end, the Indians were lined up and beat the Astros and in real baseball they have not had to rush back injured players and can let them recover for the playoffs. The Red Sox won the regular season head-to-head to the Yankees but lost out in the regular season finale, and having to throw ace Chris Sale in the wild card game and combined with Andrew McCutchen going to the Yankees they had the edge and won that series. With the Elite 8 now down to six, scroll below the picture for the results of the current three series as we head toward the playoffs.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Statis-Pro ALCS: McCutchen to Yankees in Battle of the Super Bullpens with Indians

Just as we set the Statis-Pro ALCS Series, we had to add the card below for Andrew McCutchen to the New York Yankees. Here is the excellent card right-handed card added to what is already a fantastic line-up - particularly against the Cleveland Indians incredible left-handed relief pitching.

The average Home Run range is 27-32, meaning that McCutchen hits homers on all those numbers but also hits homers on a 33 or 34 - numbers that are strikeouts for the average player. In addition, he gets to base on a walk or hit by pitch on eight additional numbers (51-58) meaning he reaches on 26 of 64 random numbers on the base-8 system from 11-88. The one thing McCutchen no longer brings is elite defense like Gardner in leftfield and Judge in right field around him - who both have the ultimate CD (Clutch Defense) 4 defense for having been nominated for a gold glove in at least one of the last three seasons (see all recent gold glove nominees).

The final account of the first two playoff series and Red Sox win in the wild-card game are here.

In this series, this helps give the Yankees incredible line-up a bit of an edge over an also outstanding Indians line-up. However, batters will need to get big hits against the starting pitchers because the relief corps for both teams are unbelievable and can put outstanding pitchers on the mound for almost an entire game if the starter is knocked out.

To that end, the Yankees have a very steady rotation with all four pitchers as PB2-7 (good) starters. That means the Indians will have the edge in Games 3 and if necessary Game 7, with PB2-9 (the best) and Cy Young winner Kluber starting those games. However, the Yankees will have the edge in Games 2 and 6 when they can hit off Bauer - who is excellent this year in real play but is only a PB2-6 for mediocre pitching last year.

In-depth on 2 bullpens (most likely more than most of you care to read)

The following is a more in-depth explanation of the dynamics of the Statis-Pro system which groups pitchers from PB2-9 (the very few who keep the action away from the batters' cards 83% of the time) and the terrible PB2-5 (which do so only 28% of the time).

In the end, the two AL teams with six dominant Statis-Pro reliever cards emerged from the season and playoffs - and will now face off in a seven-game series. The key difference between Statis-Pro and all other baseball board games was the ability of the pitcher to first determine which card was in control during a plate appearance, and then the results are determined. The average starting pitcher was a PB2-6, meaning the pitcher would be in control 42% of the time and the batter 58% (combined total of two dice or fast action cards of 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 for the pitcher) and the average reliever is a PB2-7 - with the one extra die roll of 7 giving a PB2-7 control 58% of the time.

The Indians and Yankees bullpens were the two loaded with PB 2-9s and PB2-8s.

In Statis-Pro the top pitchers have a PB of 2-9, which means they keep the action on their card in 30 of 36 combinations. So if they face six great batters in a row, on average only one will have a chance to for an extra-base hit.  In the case of the Indians Andrew Miller or the Yankees Chad Green, that means five in six times there are only 5 numbers that are hits out of 64, and a couple of other numbers are walks.

Our basic rules are the best reliever for each team (Miller and Green based on these cards) can only be used once at least two batters have batted in the 8th (the last inning and a half basically).

Most teams hope to have a single PB2-9 reliever, however, the Indians have three and the Yankees have two.

The second best reliever can come into the game from the beginning of the 7th inning on, meaning both teams can go to a PB2-9 pitcher when the 7th inning starts.

The Indians third PB 2-9 means they can go to one after two batters have hit in the 5th, both teams can go to their 4th best pitcher (a PB2-8 for either team while most teams would need a PB2-6 that early.

Then the fifth best pitcher after two batters have hit in the 2nd, and the 6th best pitcher if a starter is being shelled right away.

While that is the earliest permissible, pitchers who pitch to at least five batters must skip the next game, and any that pitch to 12 need to skip two games. Also, many pitchers must leave the game they are in after allowing a few hits or walks, so you do not want to go to pitchers as early as outlined above because a combination of pitchers resting and pitchers leaving before the next better one is ready can create a domino where worse relievers must be used.

That being said, these two teams have incredible options while a typical team might have one PB2-8, then a couple of PB2-7 pitchers, and then start to need to use PB2-6 or even PB2-5 pitchers.

While a PB: 2-9 30 of 36 times, (83%, 17% on the batter's card)
a PB: 2-8 controls the action 26 of 36 times, (72%)
a PB2-7 21 of 36 times, (58%)
a PB2-6 15 of 36 times, (42%)
and a PB2-5 10 of 36 times (28%).
Note that later versions of Statis-Pro have cards from PB2-10 to PB2-4, and also have a PB4-7 which would keep the action on their card exactly half of the time, but we are keeping it simple here.

Because there are a lot more PB: 2-6 pitchers than any others in the league, a batter will get the action on his card about half of the season, but in a playoff series, the pitcher will control a lot more of the action.

Corey Kluber is even more valuable than the best of this pen because he is the best starting pitcher in the league with a PB2-9 as a starter who can pitch a complete game rather than just an inning or two. The average starter is a PB2-6, while the average reliever is a PB2-7.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Final Run Differentials; ERA Leaders for Statis-Pro AL Season

The Boston Red Sox led AL Statis-Pro in offense with 5.30 runs per game, and the Houston Astros led in defense (3.25 runs per game) and run differential (+1.70), yet both trail their ALDS best of seven series two games to none. Meanwhile, Corey Kluber won the Cy Young with a 12-3 mark and 0.74 ERA, with an ERA half that of Cy Young runner-up Chris Sale (11-4, 1.49 ERA). (see Game Log here)

Because teams get credit for winning a "series" three games to none when they win by at least 5 runs, and credit for a 2 games to 1 win for anything closer, the teams actually played 20 games each but the record reflects 60 games. However, the last place team in each division is dropped after 15 games, so the Tigers, Blue Jays and Rangers completed fewer games.

TeamWinsLossesWin%Runs/9 InnAllowed/9Difference
New York38220.6335.053.501.55
Kansas City26340.4333.804.55-0.75
Los Angeles25350.4173.704.60-0.90
Tampa Bay22380.3673.805.70-1.90
AL Average4204350.4914.244.50-0.26

The following are the top 10 ERAs in the AL Statis-Pro season, followed by all other starter ERAs grouped by team. The Records are actually the team's records during the starts based on the three-game series match explained above. The ERAs are also approximations, as we do not take the time to actually calculate all stats. Rather, we take the average runs scored by the opponent in each of their starts, and then deduct 7% from that figure since that is the average number of runs in baseball that are unearned.

RnkTop 10 ERAsWinsLossesERATeamQualify
2Richards871.30Los AngelesYes
5Severino1051.86New YorkYes
6Sabathia1032.09New YorkYes
7Duffy1052.23Kansas CityYes
RnkAll Others by Team

Fillmyer122.79Kansas CityNo
45Hammell275.89Kansas CityYes
35Junis574.42Kansas CityYes
Keller423.72Kansas CityNo
48Kennedy576.05Kansas CityYes
Skoglund120.93Kansas CityNo
Meyer212.79Los AngelesNo
40Ohtani4114.84Los AngelesYes
37Shoemaker874.65Los AngelesYes
55Skaggs397.21Los AngelesYes
Cole210.93New YorkNo
28Gray454.03New YorkYes
Lynn421.86New YorkNo
39Montgomery634.65New YorkYes
Tanaka214.65New YorkNo
53Andriese366.82Tampa BayYes
13Archer542.79Tampa BayYes
Castillo332.33Tampa BayNo
54Faria4117.07Tampa BayYes
42Snell364.96Tampa BayYes
Stanek334.65Tampa BayNo
Yarbrough128.37Tampa BayNo
Kansas City125.58TexasNo

Statis-Pro MVP, Rookie of Year, Cy Young Votes

The day that Aaron Judge led the Yankees to an extra-inning playoff win over the Boston Red Sox with two home runs and a throw to the plate to nail Mookie Betts, we tallied the regular season stats and he finished third in the MVP race behind teammate Sanchez and Angels rookie sensation Ohtani. As previously announced, Cody Bellinger won the Statis-Pro NL MVP with a .311 average and seven home runs, 21 RBIs and 15 extra base hits in the Dodgers 25-game Statis Pro season.

The link to the game log of the 170 regular season games played shows the three top players in each game who divide up three "MVP Points" for that game, and the tally of those points made Sanchez the MVP with 25, Ohtani runner-up with 21, and Judge third with 20 (see game logs for the award winners at bottom of this blog).

RnkMVP Final - ALVotesOther Awards
1Sanchez NY25MVP
2Ohtani LA21Rookie of the Year
3Judge NY20MVP Runner-Up
4Cano Sea19
5Castillo Chi19
6Fowler Oak19Runner-Up Rookie
7Kluber Cle19Cy Young
8Kimbrel Bos18Fireman of the Year
9Merrifield KC18
10Miller Cle18Runner-up Fireman of the Year
11Gardner NY15
12Pedroia Bos15
13Sale Bos15Runner-up Cy Young
14Springer Hou15
15Trout LA15
16A Garcia Chi14
17Leake Sea14
18Cron TB13
19Richards LAA13
20Verlander Hou13
21Altuve Hou12
22Candelario Det12
23Giolito Chi12
24Keuchel Hou12
25Lindor Cle12

SCORING. Below is a breakdown of every game in which an award winner received 1 to 5 points for being one of the top three players in the game. The total points awarded are always 9, but they can be broken down in any combination, so if one player is clearly the best he could receive 5 points with the other two getting 2 points a piece, or the three players could get 5-3-1. If all three players were pretty even, it could be a 3-3-3, or if closer together a 4-3-2.

"WHAT IF" ... NO INJURIES OR SUSPENSIONS. Part of the fun of the Statis-Pro game is the "what if" factor, since we keep up with the current rosters BUT, do not drop players when they are injured or suspended. The dual-threat Ohtani actually missed part of the season complete with an injury, and then returned only to hit in some games but not to pitch. However, in Statis-Pro he twice received the maximum 5 MVP votes for complete games in which he also had a hit, and in five other games, he received points for games with extra-base hits. Two other teams that benefitted in Statis-Pro from players who actually missed many games. Two players who benefitted in Statis-Pro from suspended players, as Cano led the Mariners and Welington Castillo gave the White Sox a dominant clean-up hitter that made them the surprise second wild card team while the real team finished near the bottom without him.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR. While Ohtani was the rookie of the year, the A's Fowler was the runner up with a great glove and speed as a leadoff hitter.

CY YOUNG. Kluber was clearly the best Statis-Pro pitcher card, and his 0.75 ERA during Statis-Pro made him the clear Cy Young. However, Chris Sale of Boston was second and pitched the Red Sox through the wild card game against the White Sox, and is scheduled for Game 4 against the Yankees in the ALDS. The NL starters were able to make seven starts, and the Brewers Chase Anderson won the award with a 6-0 record and 1.89 ERA to nudge the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw (6-1, 1.87).

FIREMAN. The Red Sox Kimbrel was the top reliever but lost an epic battle in Game 2 of the playoffs when Judge took him deep in the 10th to give the Yankees a two games to none lead. Andrew Miller meanwhile backed up his runner-up Fireman status by striking out the side for the Astros in the top of the 10th inning to help the Indians take a two games to none lead in the other ALDS.

Overall MVP Rank - Game ResultsTop StarMVPAward - Details of top games
1Sanchez NY25MVP
New York d. NY Mets 7 to 3Sanchez NY43 of 5, HR
New York d. NY Mets 3 to 3Sanchez NY43 of 4, 2b
New York d. Tampa Bay 2 to 1Sanchez NY4HR, threw out base stealer
New York d. Toronto 10 to 1Sanchez NY42 HRs,4 RBIs
New York d. Baltimore 5 to 3Sanchez NY42-run hr
New York d. Kansas City 8 to 3Sanchez NY32-run HR, 3 of 5
New York d. Los Angeles 3 to 1Sanchez NY22-run HR
2Ohtani LA21Rookie of Year, Runner-up MVP
Los Angeles d. Colorado 6 to 2Ohtani LA59 ip, 2 runs, single, run
Los Angeles d. Texas 2 to 1Ohtani LA59 ip, 1 run, 14k, 1 hit
Boston d. Los Angeles 6 to 3Ohtani LA43 of 3 HR
Cincinnati d. Los Angeles 4 to 3Ohtani LA2pinch hit 2b, rbi, r
Los Angeles d. Boston 7 to 3Ohtani LA23 of 5, 2b
Los Angeles d. Detroit 3 to 0Ohtani LA2game winning 2b
Cincinnati d. Los Angeles 3 to 0Ohtani LA1pinch hit 2b
3Judge NY203rd Place MVP
New York d. Toronto 13 to 4Judge NY52 HR, 5 RBI, 1b
New York d. Kansas City 6 to 3Judge NY4HR, 2b, 2r, 2rbi
New York d. Los Angeles 8 to 5Judge NY42 of 4, W, HR, 2R 2RBI
New York d. Tampa Bay 6 to 1Judge NY33 of 4
Houston d. New York 9 to 2Judge NY22-run hr
New York d. NY Mets 7 to 3Judge NY21 of 3, 2b, 2 walks
6Fowler Oak19Runner Up Rookie of the Year
Oakland d. Los Angeles 6-5 (10 inn)Fowler Oak5gem, 2 of 5, 2 steals
Oakland d. Baltimore 4 to 0Fowler Oak4gem, 1b, W, Steal, run
St. Louis d. Oakland 6 to 3Fowler Oak43b and HR
Oakland d. Miami 9 to 4Fowler Oak32 hits, steal, 2 rbis
Seattle d. Oakland 4 to 3Fowler Oak22 SB
Los Angeles d. Oakland 3 to 1Fowler Oak12 gems
7Kluber Cle19Cy Young
Cleveland d. Texas 3 to 0Kluber Cle59 ip, 10k, 0 w
Cleveland d. Baltimore 4 to 0Kluber Cle49 ip 0, 13K, 2 w, 4H
Cleveland d. Chicago 4 to 1Kluber Cle47 ip 1
Cleveland d. Pittsburgh 8 to 2Kluber Cle39 ip, 2 runs
Cleveland d. Tampa Bay 6 to 1Kluber Cle39 ip 1 unearned run
8Kimbrel Bos18Fireman of the Year
Boston d. Tampa Bay 5-4 (11 inn)Kimbrel Bos5inherit loaded, none score 2.1 inn
Boston d. Baltimore 8 to 3Kimbrel Bos31 ip 0 SV hold 5-run sweep
Boston d. Los Angeles 6 to 3Kimbrel Bos31.2 perfect, save
Boston d. Miami 6 to 2Kimbrel Bos3Sv 5 straight outs
Boston d. Detroit 9 to 2Kimbrel Bos2Save
Boston d. Minnesota 3 to 1Kimbrel Bos10.2, Sv
Detroit d. Boston 8 to 4Kimbrel Bos1Salvaage,1.2 IP
10Miller Cle182nd Fireman of the Year
Cleveland d. San Francisco 4 to 3Miller Cle5inherited loaded, 0 R 5th or 6th, Win
Cleveland d. Minnesota 2 to 1Miller Cle43 ip 0 W
Cleveland d. Seattle 4 to 3Miller Cle32 IP, 5 ks, 0 R, Hold
Cleveland d. Kansas City 7 to 3Miller Cle32 ip 0r
Texas d. Cleveland 9 to 8Miller Cle33 perfect IP
13Sale Bos15Cy Young Runner-up
Boston d. Baltimore 3 to 0Sale Bos59 ip 0, 16k, 0w, 2h
Boston d. Kansas City 5 to 1Sale Bos49 ip 1, 3h 9k 0w
Boston d. Detroit 9 to 2Sale bos28.1 IP, 3 runs
Boston d. Cincinnati 9 to 3Sale Bos28 ip, 3 runs
New York d. Boston 2 to 1Sale Bos29 ip, 2 runs

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Statis-Pro AL Playoff Blog: Yankees, Indians Win Game 6s to Eliminate BoSox, Astros

After flirting with a .700 season most of the year the Boston Red Sox may make the 2018 World Series, and the defending champion Houston Astros also could do it - but in Statis-Pro joined two other virtually equally matched teams during a regular season in which all four finished between 36-24 and 38-22. In the playoffs, it was the other two super teams, the Cleveland Indians, and New York Yankees, who prevailed in six games to advance and face each other in the ALCS.

In the NL, the Brewers' Mike Moustakas hit two homers and Cy Young winner Chase Anderson threw a 1-hitter in a 5-1 win that puts them up against the Diamondbacks in the next series, with the winner facing the Cubs-Dodgers winner in the other Best-of-seven (see NL blog here). The AL series are best-of-seven so no elimination games yet (see below for updates). Also, the MVP, Cy Young, Fireman of the Year and Rookie of the Year were just announced here.

Playoff results will be kept at the top here (the 2017 and 2016 brackets appear at the bottom of this blog).

Chicago White Sox at Boston Red Sox - one game wild card. Results: Boston 3-0, advances to face Yankees in best of 7.

Red Sox (1) vs NY Yankees (2) best of 7. Results: Game1 Yankees 4-1; Game 2 Yankees 4-2 (10); Game 3 Red Sox 4-3. Game 4 Yankees 6-5 (12).

Houston (2) vs. Cleveland (3) best of 7. Results: Game 1 Cleveland 1-0; Game 2 Cleveland 8-6 (10); game 3 Houston 7-3, Game 4 Houston 2-1.  Game 5 Cleveland 1-0.

Notes: This bracket was generated here. Click for the NL Playoff blog or AL regular season standings or wrap up of the AL season. To play your own games instructions and the dice and cards you need click here, and once you've reviewed how to play the game just click here to play.
 and final standings are here.

Blog previews and an account of games (will be added to chronologically while results main at top).

Wild card: Red Sox 3, White Sox 0. Ironically as we lined up the teams to start the 2018 AL Statis-Pro playoffs, ESPN aired a piece on the trade of Chris Sale from the White Sox to the Red Sox. Sale shut out his old team 3-0 to set up a classic Red Sox-Yankees best of 7.

Astros vs. Indians Recaps

ALDS - GAME 1 - Corey Kluber and Dallas Keuchel had a duel for the ages, allowing a combined 5 hits, 3 walks and striking out 20. Bradley Zimmer stole 2nd with 2 outs in the fifth and scored on a double by Yan Gomes to give the Indians a 1-0 lead. The only Astro to get in scoring position was Jose Altuve, who reach on an error, stole second, raced to third on a comebacker to Kluber, and then raced home on a grounder to a drawn in Francisco Lindor at short who gunned him out at home. The only other threat Kluber faced was a lead off single by George Springer in the 9th and then a rain delay - but he retired the last three to win 1-0 and give the Indians a 1-0 lead in the series without even tapping their incredible pen.

GAME 2. For me as an Astros fan, this was a tough one to play out. The Astros managed 15 hits including two homers by Altuve en route to a 5-0 lead for Verlander in the 6th. Unfortunately this series features the ultimate mismatch of bullpens. Verlander finally ran out of steam in the 9th and the Astros Devenski, who has the best relievers card for the Astros but would be the 7th best if he were with the Indians, faced 5 batters and gave up one hit, 2 walks, and two outs on drives to the wall that advanced runners to help the Indians tie the game 6-6 and force extra innings. Andrew Miller easily outdueled Osuna in the 10th. He struck out the only three he faced - Gattis, McCann and Springer, then Osuna allowed a single to Chisenhall and a homer to Gomes to make it two games to none. On defense Chisenhall and Zimmer gunned out runners at home - making 3 Astros nailed at the plate in 2 playoff games - and catcher Gomes (a gold glove nominee in the past) went into the stands to catch a foul most couldn't have gotten to end another inning.

GAME 3. Morton did what Verlander could not do in Game 2, throw a complete game to hold onto a 4-run lead in the 9th and not risk the shaky Astros bullpen. The Indians are always happy to go to their incredible bullpen, and went to Fireman of the Year runner-up Andrew Miller with two Astros on and a 3-3 tie in the 7th. However, Gurriel drilled a clutch three-run homer to give the Astros a 6-3 lead, and in the 8th Gonzalez drilled a clutch double off Cody Allen to make it 7-3 Astros - which turned out to be the final. Correa and Altuve homered earlier in the game, but the score was tied due to an unearned run after an error by Bregman at third base and a two-run double by Ramirez to tie the score 3-3 in the fifth inning. Game 4 could be a slugfest as the first playoff match-up of two mediocre PB2-6 starters in Gerrit Cole for the Astros and Trevor Bauer for the Indians. Both are awesome this season in real play, but both have weaker cards from subpar 2017 seasons. The Astros win assures a Game 5 match-up of Cy Young winner Kluber vs. Keuchel.

GAME 4. Cole made it into the 7th allowing only a home run to Gomes, and Osuna and Devenski matched shutout relief of the Indians great pen in a 2-1 win. The offense came on a home run by Correa and rbi-double by Altuve, and despite the Astros being thrown out by Gomes on all three attempted steals to make Gomes clearly the MVP of the game despite the loss. The win ties the series at 2-2 and guarantees the Astros will still be alive to return to Cleveland for at least Game 6 even if they lose to Cy Young Award Winner Kluber in Game 5.

GAME 5 - MCann's passed ball with 2 outs gives the Indians a 1-0 win in game 5. Kluber hung only a couple of pitches. In the 7th with speed on second and third and one out, he hung one to Springer who struck out when almost any contact would have scored Reddick. In the 8th he hung one to Altuve with 1st and 3rd and 2 outs and Altuve grounded out. Earlier in the game he hung one to Correa who just misses for strike three on a home run swing. Lindor made two great plays at short and Kemp was picked off in the 1st. Astros must win 2 in cleveland to prevail!

Red Sox vs. Yankees Recaps

GAME 1 - Aaron Judge's home run off David Price broke a 1-1 tie and the Yankees went on to win 4-1 in the series opener. Chris Sale will not pitch until Game 4 since he was needed in the wildcard game. Andrew Benintendi led off the series with a home run, and in the 9th laid down a bunt single and ended up at 3rd base to put men on the corners and tying run at the plate.

GAME 2 - Aaron Judge homered again in Game 2, then went deep in the 10th inning off Fireman of the Year Kimbrel to give the Yankees a two games to none lead heading to Boston. In between, the Yankees forced extra innings with defense. Judge also gunned down Mookie Betts at the plate in right field, something that even a great arm his only guns down a runner about once every eight tries. Then to top that, Gardner also threw out a Red Sox at home. Both get the highest defensive ratings due to being nominated for gold gloves. Judge was third in the MVP race, while Kimbrel was 8th. The Red Sox do have Chris Sale, who finished 13th and was second among pitchers for the Cy Young, going in Game 4 but will need to win Game 3 to have a realistic chance to rally unless they believe they can repeat the 2004 miracle and rally from down three games to none against the Yankees.

GAME 3 - Down 3-1 in the 6th inning the and 2 games to none, the Red Sox continued to show the value of being the only team in the AL with multiple players able to execute the hit-and-run play. With Benintendi on third, JD Martinez broke for second and Nunez singled in the hold to cut the lead to 3-2 and Martinez cruised into third. Nunez then broke for second, thus avoiding an inning-ending double play as Betts grounded out to tie the game 3-3. Then Steve Pearce, who homered earlier in teh game and was acquired from the Blue Jays to give the Red Sox more right-handed balance, doubled to make it 4-3. With the pen mainly depleted from the extra inning game 2 loss, hard-throwing righty Nathan Eovaldi, who was also acquired to balance the three left-handed starters and is throwing 97 mph after last year's Tommy John surgery, pitched into the 7th inning. With the Red Sox top two relievers (including Fireman of the year and PB2-9 Kimbrel) unavailable, the only bullpen left (PB2-6 Rodriquez) just had to come into to face lefty Gardner for the final out of the 7th, and then the one remaining PB2-8 Velazquez, who has good endurance (RR7) came in for the two-inning save. The Yankees still have the edge, but with Cy Young runner-up Chris Sales started Game 4 for the Red Sox, they have a real chance to win and turn this into a best-of-3 during which all solid (PB2-7) starters would be going for both teams. If the Yankees had won, Gardner looked like the MVP with a diving catch and double play in left field in the first inning, and then his second outfield assist in the fourth to nail Pedroia trying to score from second. Bradley also popped up a bunt that Sanchez caught and turned into a double play as the Yanks took the 2-0 lead.

GAME 4. The Red Sox gave Cy Young runner-up a 3-0 lead, then wasted his 15 strikeout performance with three infield errors that sent the game into extra innings. In the bottom of the 11th, an apparent game-winning double by Nunez was robbed by centerfielder Hicks on a tough z-play to keep the game 5-5. Fireman of they Year Kimbrel had to yield in the top of the 12th due to already pitching three perfect innings with strikeouts and Kelly struck out the side in the top of the 12th, but the one runner he was allowed was a home run to Gardner that provided a 6-5 Yankees win. The three Red Sox pitchers combined for 24 strikeouts - believed to be an all-time record for a losing effort., but Devers (one of the worst fielding third basemen ever with an E9) threw the ball away with two outs in the seventh to put the Yankees ahead 4-3. Pedroia doubled in a tying run in the bottom of the 8th off one PB2-9 pitcher Robertson, but then Pedroia dropped a throw to second in the 9th and then Torres scored to make it 5-4 Yankees. A single by Betts and the double by Vazquez scored a run off another PB2-9 in Green to tie the score again and force extra innings. The Red Sox would now need to win three straight games without a start from Sale, and with Kimbrel unavailable in Game 5.

End of Regular Season

The Statis-Pro regular season wrapped up August 19 with the same top four teams that were the top four in 2017 and were in the top four in the current season - Boston, New York, Houston and Cleveland. All four teams finished within four games of each other - between 36-24 and 38-22. However, several great Statis-Pro batting cards helped the White Sox emerge as the surprise 5th team to face the Red Sox in the wild card game.

JD Martinez grounder to Yankees rookie Andujar at third to eliminate the Red Sox 4 games to 1, and Andujar bobbles it. The PB 2-9 Robertson (onky allows hits on 11-16 BUT as a lefty Devers fights off a single (87 always a singlesrunners advance 2 if lefty vs right pitcher's) pitcher. Red Sox lose advantage next battler with a righty vs right since Steve Pearce pinch hit for Bradley earlier against Chapman and - as pictured - BD (clutch batting happens 1 in 20 times if meb in base to replace PB) and as pictured 21 on Pearce's BD is a base clearing double and Red Sox win 5-4 to take it back to Yankees Stadium and bring back ghosts of 2004. Valazquez retires last 10 Yankees for win.

Playoff Preview of Killer Statis-Pro Player Cards

Playoff reviews point out any KILLER Statis-Pro cards on a playoff team. This include a home run range of much better than the AL average HR: 27-32 (4 of 64 numbers from 11-88 base 8), a PB2-9 relief pitcher (keeps action off of batters’ card 30 of 36 rolls/card flips as one of top 5% of pitchers) or PB2-8 starters (top 15% of pitchers able to go deeper into game keeping rolls/card flips on 26 of 36 rolls.

Playoff Preview: Chicago White Sox at Boston Red Sox (wild card game)

The Red Sox are the slight favorite, joining the Yankees, Astros and Indians as the top four teams both in 2017 (on which the Statis-Pro cards are based) and 2018 (on which the rosters are based). While the real White Sox team was well behind the fifth and final playoff team in 2017 (Twins) and A’s that would be the surprise 2018 team if the season ended today – it was more than just the small sample size of the Statis-Pro season that helped the White Sox become the best of the rest in Statis-Pro.

Because the Red Sox Sale (11-4 record with 1.49 ERA) will face the White Sox Giolito (9-6, 2.23) in the wild card game, the winning pitcher will not be available again until Game 4 against the Yankees, thus getting only one start.

If Boston wins WCWLERAGmsYankees PitcherWLERA
Price, Boston873.161&5Severino, New York1051.86
Pomeranz, Boston336.512&6Happ, Toronto-NYY486.98
Eovaldi, TB-Boston212.793&7Sabathia, New York1022.09
Sale, Boston1141.494Lynn, Min-NYY421.86
If Chicago wins WCWLERAGms
Lopez, Chicago933.251&5
Shields, Chicago4116.142&6
Santiago, Chicago843.723&7
Giolito, Chicago962.234

WHITE SOX PITCHING KILLER CARDS - NONE. While the White Sox pitching is bad in Statis-Pro just like in one life, in Statis-Pro they do have the one good starter you need for a one game playoff - Lucas Giolito. While in real life this year he has been terrible with a 6.15 ERA in 24 starts, his Statis-Pro card is based on last year’s promising 2.38 ERA in seven starts that gave such hope for this year. He gives up few hits or walks, and his PB2-7 is strong for a starter to keep the ball off the powerful Red Sox cards over half the time (rolls of between 2 and 12 mean 21 of 36 card flips or dice rolls keep the action on his card – and his card actually calculated as a PB2-8 but our rules require at least 10 starts or 20 relief appearances to have a PB2-8 card). Pitching overall is weak, but they have one strong starter for the one game they need. If they beat the Red Sox, they will throw very mediocre PB2-6 starters in Games 1-3 and if necessary 5-7 against the powerful Yankees and would be bigger underdogs. The pen added two PB2-8s in Luis Avilan from the 2017 Dodgers and newcomer Jace Fry, if they can get to the late innings with a lead.

WHITE SOX BATTING KILLER CARDS – A. Garcia HR41-44, Abreu HR33-38 and Castillo HR31-37.  Where the White Sox are much better in Statis-Pro than in real life is their line-up, which started the season with these three killer cards and then three other nice power hitters to round out a very strong line-up that can challenge even Chris Sale and has let them outslug teams into the playoffs. In real life they have not had two of those three killer bats and also two of the three additional power hitters fell way off in power to turn a very strong Statis-Pro line-up into a well below average real team. Only Abreu is the killer bat in real life, as Avisail Garcia is now batting 100 points lower than the .330 average last year that led to his (HR: 41-44.). Welington Castillo (31-37 HR) was acquired to give them a great defensive hitter and cleanup batter, but was suspended for most of the year. Of the three extra power hitter, Daniel Palka still looks good but Nick Delmonico (HR: 24-32) and only 5 HRs all year this year, and Leury Garcia (HR 33-36) has fallen off to just 4 homers off the bench this year. One final difference is that the real White Sox lineup is weighed down by one of the worst hitters in baseball - Adam Engel – for his defense in centerfield, whereas he never plays in Statis-Pro. This line-up is how they beat out the A’s and Mariners at the end of the year for the final wild card spot.

BOSTON KILLER PITCHER CARDS: Sale PB2-8 starter, Kimbrel PB2-9 closer. The Red Sox have solid PB2-7 starters all the way through the rotation and strong relievers to set up Kimbrel, so they are in much better position to beat the Yankees in a Statis-Pro series, if they can survive the wild card game. The risk in the one-game playoff is that as great as Chris Sale’s PB2-8 card is for an ERA just under 3.00 ERA last year, it is not the absolute shutdown PB2-9 card he would have this year for his 1.90 ERA.

BOSTON KILLER BATTER CARDS: Martinez HR25-38, Nunez HR41-43, Pearce HR26-32. As great as the Red Sox top 12 hitters are – letting them platoon and hit from the one through nine spot – the one reason their Statis-Pro line-up is not nearly as good as their real line-up this year is Mookie Betts. While Betts may be the best player in baseball this year and his card might rival Martinez for the best Statis-Pro card in the league if based on this year, his card from last year is absolutely average (HR 27-32). The Red Sox have an edge with a deeper line-up than the White Sox, and a line-up that can compete with the Yankees, but the difference is not nearly as huge on the mound or the line-up as it obviously is against the White Sox in real life.

Playoff Preview: Chicago/Boston at NY Yankees

NEW YORK KILLER PITCHER CARDS: PB2-9 relievers Green and Robertson. The Yankees do not have a killer PB2-8 starter like Boston, but all four starters are strong PB2-7, and they then have two PB2-8 relievers who can pitch as early as the middle innings, before going to the two killer PB2-9 for the final three innings. They were one of three shut down AL Statis-Pro pens this season, but two factors leave their bullpen slightly worse than the Statis-Pro Indians and A’s. The only strong left-hander is Aroldis Chapman, who is actually the closer this year with a 2.11 ERA but whose Statis-Pro card from last year is just a PB2-7. Also, the Yankees traded away Adam Warren to Seattle, who was their third PB2-8 reliever. A great, solid pitching staff of starters and relievers and the only time they could have a disadvantage on the mound would be a Game 4 vs. Boston Red Sox’s Sale.

NEW YORK KILLER BATTER CARDS: Gregorius HR33-38, Sanchez HR26-35 and three with a ton of walks which actually pushes the HR range down – Gardner HR28-33, 9 walks-HPB, Judge HR25-35, 11 W-HPB, Stanton HR22-34, 10 W-HPB. These 5 incredible Statis-Pro cards and two of the top 3 rookie Statis-Pro cards make this line-up the best in the AL and would challenge the Red Sox but certainly could overpower the White Sox pitching if they win the wild card.

Playoff Preview: Houston Astros at Cleveland Indians

Houston PitchersWLERAGmsCleveland PitchersWLERA
Keuchel, Houston1051.681&5Kluber, Cleveland1230.75
Verlander, Houston963.902&6Clevenger, Cleveland1142.97
Morton, Houston873.723&7Carrasco, Cleveland695.58
Cole, Houston1053.534Bauer, Cleveland874.09

HOUSTON KILLER PITCHER CARD: Keuchel 2-8 Starter. The Statis-Pro Astros are about just as good as the real Astros, but everything is reversed. While Keuchel is the only killer pitcher in Statis-Pro and will need to face Statis-Pro Cy Young winner Corey Kubler in game 1, in the real 2018 season he is decent and the other three starters are killers – Verlander, Cole and Morton. Unfortunately in Statis-Pro Verlander’s card is good but not great since it includes his mediocre season for the Tigers last year, and Cole is a mediocre PB2-6 because he was not that good with the Pirates last year, as is ace closer Hector Rondon (2.42 ERA this year but only PB2-6 from last year), and newly acquired Ryan Pressley and Roberto Osuna have only decent PB2-7s while the one killer reliever from last year Ken Giles was traded away. The Astros pitching is very vulnerable throughout the playoffs as the Indians are much better, while in the real season it is the strength.

HOUSTON KILLER BATTER CARDS: Altuve HR41-45, Correa HR33-38, Springer HR27-35, Gurriel HR36-41, Marisnick HR22-31. While the Statis-Pro pitching is much worse than real life, the batting is much better with five killer bats and great hitters that platoon at several spots. The Astros will likely need to score a lot of runs to beat the Indians.

CLEVELAND KILLER PITCHER CARDS: Kluber only starter PB2-9 in AL and won the Cy Young with a 12-3 mark and 0.74 ERA as clearly the best pitcher in the league; three PB2-9 relievers Miller, Otero (though on the 40-day roster now) and former Padre Hand. Cody Allen just missed to be one of five PB2-8s, meaning the Indians pen can literally take over in the 1st inning if a starter struggles and keep a PB2-8 and PB2-9 the rest of the game. Kluber gives the Indians a great chance in Games 1 and 5, though in the opening round his opponent Keuchel is one of the top 5 Statis-Pro cards. While the bull pen was not as good this year, adding Hand and PB2-8 rookie Cimber from the Padres and the chance for Miller to take his time coming back from the injury certainly gives them the pitching to have every chance to compete for the AL title and a World Series appearance.

CLEVELAND KILLER BATTER CARDS:  Lindor HR28-35, Ramirez HR35-42, and two with incredible walk numbers (which pushes the HR and other hit numbers down) Alonso HR24-32, with 10 walks or Hit By Pitch and more incredibly HR 22-28 and 14 walks-HPB. The Indians line-up is awesome, though a notch below the Statis-Pro line-up of the Yankees and Astros.

In 2017, the Boston Red Sox defeated the Houston Astros in the Statis-Pro AL Championship before losing the Statis-Pro World Series to the Chicago Cubs.

In 2016, the Houston Astros defeated the Toronto Blue Jays in the Statis-Pro AL Championship and then went on to beat the Chicago Cubs in the Statis-Pro World Series.