Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Sweep Rule Keeps Even Blowouts Interesting - Pirates Closer Bednar Prevents Double Sweep vs. Brewers

In addition to being a better measure of the strength of each team in the small sample size of board games played, our 5+ "sweep" rule keeps almost all our games as even if a team leads by 4, 5, 6 or 7 runs they are within 2 runs of attaining or preventing a SWEEP. 

Despite the Brewers hammering the Pirates in the opener, that is the reason there is one Pirates hero in Statis-Pro Pirates David Bednar - who was able to come into the bottom of the 8th inning for a 1-2-3 inning to hold the loss to 6-2 and give the Pirates credit for one win in the "3-game series" after the Brewers did sweep the first game 7-1 to officially claim a 5 games to 1 series. The Brewers move into a virtual 3-way tie for 3rd place in the NL at 13-11, though technically percentage points behind the two other 3rd place teams at 10-8.

NL Statis-Pro Season       Wins   Losses   Percent  GB
Los Angeles Dodgers      1350.7220
Atlanta Braves  1170.611-2
Arizona Diamondbacks 1080.556-3
San Diego Padres             1080.556-3
Milwaukee Brewers        13110.542-3
New York Mets 990.500-4
Chicago Cubs8100.444-5
St. Louis Cardinals8100.444-5
Philadelphia Phillies        7110.389-6
Cincinnati Reds6120.333-7
Pittsburgh Pirates150.167-6

It was a tough choice for the 10th and final spot for our Statis-Pro NL season between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds. We went with the Reds, who have started 6-12, but with the Pirates surprising everyone in actual MLB play we added them but this first series was tough against the Brewers.

Christian Yelich went 4 of 8 with a homer in the leadoff spot for the Brewers, while the Brewers held the 2 through 4 Pirates hitters to a 0 for 22 series.

Brandon Woodruff, one of the top No. 2 starters as a dominant PB 2-8, actually took a shut out into the 9th inning before allowing a homer to Oneil Cruz to lead off the 9th and make the final 7-1. Woodruff left with a 8 inning, 3 hit, 1 walk, 9 strikeout item and then we were able to use the Brewers new card in a nice PB2-7 Elvis Peguero card calculated based on consecutive dominant seasons in Triple A ball.

Freddy Peralta was as dominant in the second game, though not for as long. he allowed only 1 hit and 3 walks in 5 innings, and the Brewers were on track for the first in the season double sweep and a 6 games to 0 win with a 6-0 lead. However, he allowed a walk and double to start the sixth, and his PB4-7 (average though his ratios are excellent to make him a bit better) was replaced because the Brewers bullpen did not have to be used in the first game and thus had 4 innings of overpowering PB 2-8 cards to try to hold the lead.

Aaron Ashby (will actually miss most of the season with a shoulder injury, but we are playing this as a "what if" league), who can pitch two innings. Ashby got out of that 6th inning, but struggled in the 7th by giving up a run and loading the bases. Matt Bush came in and induced a fly out to end that inning with the score 6-2 and then pitched a scoreless 8th to keep the Brewers just one run from another sweep. At that point closer Devin Williams had not been used, and if the closer is not used until the 9th then a 5+ lead after 8 innings qualifies for the sweep credit - meaning the Brewers only needed one run in the bottom of the 8th.

However, the Pirates Bednar card is excellent, and he came in for a 1-2-3 8th. not only is he a strong PB 2-8 with hits only up to 22, but because those projections are based on a hitters park PNC park he also turns the top home run number for any opposing batter into an out.

With both the Reds and Pirates Statis-Pro cards for projected 2023 performances looking weaker then the other nine teams, at this point we have the option of keeping both teams in an 11-league team OR we could play one more Reds series already on our schedule against St. Louis, and have the Pirates complete their remaining schedule on that grid plus play the Cubs and stop there. We need to keep the scheduling fair, so that would let the other nine teams all play each other in a 2-game series, and then each of those nine would have played EITHER the Pirates or Reds for one easier series.

We will see if the Pirates keep up their much improved play in the real season - but at this point it appears the Reds would be the team to be relegated with the Rockies, Giants, Nationals and Marlins.

Reminder Note: To play our own Statis-Pro Baseball games, click and print the batters cards here, then these pitchers' cards and finally the Statis-Pro rules which will have everything you need to play. Also note that we had one error in earlier notes - the adjustments listed at the bottom of some pitcher cards to the batters they face (changing a HR to Out or vice versa) must be used every time they pitch, not just in road games as previously listed. You may notice this season that our blogs are picked up by https://www.baseball-reference.com/ so when a player is mentioned you can link for their stats by clicking. The reference to our league rule in which we count each game as a 3-game series, which is only a sweep if the winning team led by more than 5 runs after 8 innings, is not necessary to the game - just a fun rule that makes it more likely better teams will win as many games as they would if you could play more games because run differential predicts future results, and teams have a 14% chance of winning by 5 runs and a 14% chance of sweeping a 3-game series.

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