Monday, August 29, 2011

NL 2010 Playoff Series - Spencer v. Torto

The Marlins breach past Spence and into the 2010 NL World Series
Last weekend played host to West Bend's popular Germanfest and the slightly less popular Rob Deer Super Summer Softball Slam.  Perhaps most importantly though, West Bend hosted Spencer and I rolling out our 1st round 2010 NL PTP playoff series (Marlins vs. Astros).  A hard fought series all the way, we rolled thru 6 games on Friday afternoon and evening, before succumbing to the call of the beer tent at Germanfest, a mere 4 blocks away.  6 games was not enough to decide the series, so an early riser Game 7 was played in a winner-take-all situation.  Here's how it went down:

Game 1: C.Carpenter @ C.Billingsley
Spencer made the decision to have Carpenter be his first starter, rather than rolling with his top ace, Josh Johnson in Game 1.  This choice ultimately allowed for the Marlins to gain the early series lead, as Billingsley pitched a strong 8 innings, yielding only 3 runs.  A 3-3 tie in the 4th, it stayed that way until the 8th, when Spencer desparate to break the tie, pulled Carp for a lead off pinch hitter.  A tie-breaking run was not produced, and Tim Stauffer entered the game to pitch the bottom of the 8th.  Stauffer got beat around for 3 runs, culminated on a Josh Thole double and a 1-run Chase Utley CLUTCH situation single.  Romo came in for the Marlins to get the shakey, but scoreless save.
WP - C.Billingsley; LP - T.Stauffer; Save - S.Romo
Torto wins 6-3 (leads series 1-0)

Game 2: J.Johnson @ R.A.Dickey
Now with his ace on the hill, Spence needed to steal back my momentum and get the series back to Houston with a split.  Johnson did just that, and delivered a strong performance. Conversely, R.A.Dickey had absolutely no movement on his knuckler, and served up BP for the Astros, giving up 7 earned runs in 2 innings.  Spencer cruised to the win, with Johnson going the distance in a dominant 9 K performance.
WP - J.Johnson (CG); LP - R.A.Dickey
Spencer wins 10-2 (series tied 1-1)

Game 3: W.Rodriguez @ B.Myers
The series went back to Minute Maid Park at a draw, with me tossing my only lefty starter at Spence's platoon-less lineup.  A back and forth game, tied 5-5 in the bottom of the 8th.  Spencer took the lead off reliever Mike Adams, with a Pudge single, followed by a J-Rollins triple, and then a series of walks that ended in Derek Lee taking ball 4 to make the lead 7-5.  Johnny Venters rolled through the heart of my order with 3 Ks after plunking Heyward, and grabbing the save.
WP - T.Saito; LP - M.Adams; Save - J.Venters
Spencer wins 7-5 (takes series lead 2-1)

Game 4: J.Garland @ D.Lowe
Now fully feeling the pressure to not go down 3-1, I needed a strong performace from my saavy vet #4 starter, Jon Garland.  He delivered 8 strong innings of 3-run ball, and held on to a 3-3 tie, until a Chase Utley RBI double broke the tie.  The Marlins broke the game wide open in the 9th, shelling Tim Stauffer again for 5 runs, closing the door on any chance of a comeback.
WP- J.Garland; LP - D.Lowe
Torto wins 9-3 (ties series 2-2)

Game 5: C.Billingsley @ C.Carpenter
The last game in Houston featured the two #1 starters again, and again Billingsley had the upper hand over Carpenter.  Billingley scattered 8 hits and a walk over 7+, yielding 3 runs.  Carpenter yielded 3 runs thru 5 innings before getting touched up for 3 runs in the 6th (including a bases loaded walk) to permanently give the Marlins the lead.  Mike Stanton, quiet all series, cracked a solo shot in this one as well, providing a reminder of his league leading power.
WP - C.Billingsley; LP - C.Carpenter; Save - S.Romo
Torto wins 6-3 (takes series lead 3-2)

Game 6: J.Johnson @ R.A.Dickey
The series returned to Miami, and the Marlins had their hopes riding on the Dickey knuckler to take the series in 6.  Robert Alan Dickey had Josh Johnson beat thru the 6th, with a 3-2 lead, but when he yielded the mound to Matt Belisle due to fatigue, the Astros took advantage. Playing for their lives,  Houston made Belisle give up the tying run in the 7th on a Andres Torres RBI triple, and then picked up 2 more insurance runs in the 8th on a Belisle throwing error.  After this, the Marlins went quietly into the night, apparently content to try their luck in a game 7.  Likewise, playing the final innings of this game by reading charts by the light of Spencer's cell phone on my back patio, it was time to beer up in downtown WB, and play Game 7 in the morning.
WP - J.Johnson; LP - M.Belisle; Save - Heath Bell
Spencer wins 5-3 (ties series 3-3)

Game 7: B.Myers @ W.Rodriguez
I woke early for this one, and a groggy, half asleep Nick wished me well and reminded me to not let one 'Randy Rodriguez' lose this game for me.  7 AM rolled around, and Spencer rolled off my back porch like a hobo out of a box car (he decided to sleep outside) to play the final game of the series.  While I believe Spencer inadvertently took this scoresheet with him when he packed up - I think I can recall the gist of this game.  Nick's advice was well taken, as I had stud Daniel Hudson waiting in the wings.  'Randy' gave up 3 runs in 3 innings, and that was all I could suffer.  Down 3-0, Daniel Hudson entered the game.  Meanwhile, Brett Meyers only managed to no-hit my lineup for 5 straight innings.  D-Hud preserved the 3-run deficit until the 6th, when Meyers got figured out (or maybe started tipping his pitches).  Walks and singles, followed by a Dexter Fowler base clearing triple forced Myers out of the game, and made it 6-3 Marlins.  Spence mustered one run off Hudson, before Sergio Romo slammed the door for the series winning save.
Most of the 11,000 Marlin fans in attendance cheered politely, before returning to their various retirement communities.  The remainder of fans were deported back to Cuba later that evening, the result of a carefully planned sting operation put on by US Department of Immigration and Naturalization.
WP - D.Hudon; LP - B.Myers; Save - S.Romo
Torto wins 6-4 (Wins Round 1 series 4-3)

It was definitely a hard fought series, back and forth, with very little margin for error.  Hats off to Nick who 'kept it real' by charting 6 of the 7 games for us, despite being bored for much of our series.  Very few HRs, and only 3 errors throughout.  Good stuff - now its time to relax with the Marlin Mermaids until our World Series opponent is determined...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Nick beats Mario 2-1, King Felix dealt. Welcome Bombtista!

I improved to 7-5 with a 2-1 series win over Mario last weekend, though the real story involves a blockbuster trade involving the team's disgruntled ace, Felix Hernandez. King Felix had a rough start to the 2011 season (0-3 in his first three starts) and after lasting only four innings in game two vs Mario, the rocket-armed youngster went AWOL on the water cooler, the bat rack and anything else that was bolted down. Rumors are now flying that he landed a bevy of haymakers on the jaw of Les Lancaster, the team's pitching coach, in the locker room later that night. Lancaster was seen on game three wearing shades despite the dreary, rainlike conditions in Seattle. Felix was on a plane, headed east.

Jake Peavy continued to impress in game-one, shutting Mario out through seven strong innings. Nick grabbed the win 2-0, scoring his two runs in the first on a Shin Soo Choo sacrifice and a Brett Gardner single. Gardner worked his baseball jaw to three hits on the day. Big Papi hit a bomb. Ho hum. Daniel Bard locked it down after Peavy's exit, adding two shutout innings. Mario managed just three hits in the game.
W - Peavy, L - B. Anderson, SV - Bard

Mario battered Felix Hernandez for four runs (one unearned on typical, terrible Betemeit defense) in the second inning and another three in the fourth. The "birther" Luke Scott had a two-run double, a homer and a single in the game. Alberto Callapso hit a two-run single, going 2 for 4. For Nick, Ben Zobrist goes 3X4 in his last game as a Mariner. Mike Napoli hit a two-run double. Andy Pettite earns the win for Mario, pitching seven strong innings of baseball.
Mario 7, Nick 4
W - Pettite, L - Felix

Early season Cy Young candidate Shawn Marcum earned his third win of the young year, going 7 innings of shutout, five-hit ball. Mario's starter Jered Weaver pitched well, but earns a complete game loss. Shin Soo Choo had two homers on the day, half of his team's hits. Bard earned the hold and Neftali Feliz the save, yielding nary a run.
Nick 2, Mario 0
W - Marcum, L - Weaver, SV - Feliz

Nick 2, Mario 1

Now entering the Thome/Papi/Batista chapter...


Monday, August 15, 2011

BLOCKBUSTER TRADE! Nick and Torto deal to push towards AL Playoffs

King Felix is eccstatic to hear the news he'll be playing for a real contender this season.
 Although a number of AL series went down last Sunday at Fish's house, the big news was the blockbuster 6-player trade that went down.  Nick was frustrated with his ace, 2010 AL Cy Young award winner Felix Hernandez, and I was looking for a 2nd situational lefty and an ace to lead my staff.  To land said ace, a big bat needed to be in play, and Jose Bautista was in the mix. In what must have been record time, we quickly (< 10 minutes) put a 6-man package together and agreed to a midseason trade.  The transaction was approved by Fish, Keith, and Mario and went thru immediately.  The trade details are as follows:

Nick acquired:
Jose Bautista - RF/3B
Koji Uehara - RP
Jeremy Guthrie - SP

Torto acquired:
Felix Hernandez - SP
Darren Oliver - RP
Ben Zobrist - RF/2B/1B

Other details:  As Guthrie was scheduled to get the next start for my squad, he is eligible to start immediately for Nick's next game.  King Felix needed to rest 3 more games before his next start, so I had to spot start Brian Duensing in Game 1 vs. Keith in my series immediately following the trade, followed by my normal #2 and #3 starters (Pineiro and Vargas).  Therefore, effective my next series, King Felix will get the next start, falling in as my #4 starter for the remainder of the regular season.

A classic Big Bat for Big Arm trade - with some nice secondary pieces attached.  Both teams win?  I think so.  Look for Nick's Bautista-Thome-Ortiz gauntlet we'll have to run (yikes).

Friday, August 12, 2011

NICK SWEEPS KEITH: Forcasting Brewers 2011 fortune through 2010 A.L. Stats (and dice)


Shawn Marcum is a bulldog. Coming off a complete game, 10K, three-hitter, Marcum tossed another delight versus Keith. Marcum advances to 2-0 after an eight inning, four-hit win. Offensively, Big Papi Ortiz hit a two-run single in the fifth and Shin Soo Choo added a solo homer. Keith's main highlight came on a Lance Berkman solo homer in the second inning.
Nick 3, Keith 1
W - Marcum, L - Phil Hughes, SV Feliz

The Mariners received back-to-back strong starts as Zack Greinke hurled seven innings of one-run ball, collecting his first win of the year. Seattle's offense wasted no time, plating two runs in the first. Jim Thome drove in Brett Gardner on a double and Wilson Betemit drove in Thome on a single. Big Papi added a solo donger in the eighth. Keith was held to a lonely run for the second straight game, this time on a Danny Valencia single that scored Big Puma (or as Keith calls him "Booma"). Neftali Feliz earned another save, untouched.
Nick 3, Keith 1
W - Greinke, L - Verlander, SV - Feliz

Ricky Romero and Sergio Mitre, of all people, helped guide Nick to a three-game sweep over a reeling Keith, 2-0. The tandem combined for a three-hitter, pitching to contact, while striking out only three. Wilson Betemeit hit a RBI double in the third and Brennan Boesch plated a run on a single in the sixth. Jon Lester pitched well for Keith yielding just two runs in six innings, striking out eight.
Nick 2, Keith 0
W - Mitre, L - Lester


Carry on...remain calm...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Golden Scoresheet

I was in the process of printing off some new scoresheets when I had a couple sheets of gold paper mixed in with the other color (KKK white).

So I decided to design two GOLDEN SCORE SHEETS for the upcoming AL season.

If a golden scoresheet is used in a series and I lose that game, the winner is entitled to the following prizes:

1. A Free Drink or Shot (When Available) ($5.00 Value)

2. 76.6122 Japanese Yen in cash money, on the SPOT!!!!! (Approx. $1.00 US)

3. Firm handshake, look in the eyes and a hearty, deep "Nice game, dude."

Enjoy the added bonuses of the (2) GOLDEN SCORE SHEETS. Just a little something to spice things up in a game, but mainly for shits n' giggles.

-Dewon "D-Ray" Brazelton

Friday, August 5, 2011

Playoff Pitching Rotation Questions

Like this hippo, Skeptical Torto is skeptical this proposal will fly with the Commish...
As I'm preparing myself to face Spencer in the NL playoffs, I came up with a question that I wasn't sure about.  Playoff pitching rotations - 4 guys (check), catcher can go gangster (check), but what about long relievers who did indeed start a number of games, but just not the prerequisite 15.  These 'long reliever' guys have the endurance rating of a starter, and can be used as a spot starter if needed, BUT can they be inserted into the starting playoff pitching rotation?  Commish, can I get a ruling on this?  Daniel Hudson is just itching to get a piece of Spencer's squad in the starting role.  And surely you'd enjoy rolling out Sweet Strassy Molassy as your #4 starter vs Fish.  What say you good sir?