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.

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