That was even worse for the Phils

So, I reran the Diamond Mind Online simulations of the Rays-Phils World Series with the new knowledge of the Rays rotation order, and well, Joe Maddon might be onto something.

This time, the Rays easily dispatched the Phils 4-1. The MVP was Evan Longoria, who crushed Phillies when it counted. Akonori Iwamura also had a good series, hitting over .400.

Quick Game Summaries:

Game 1: Philadelphia 4 – Tampa 0

  • W: Cole Hamels (9 IP/0 ER/8 K); L: Kazmir (6 IP/3 ER/8 K)
  • Jimmy Rollins: 2/5, RBI; Victorino 3/4, RBI. Hamels was dominant.
Game 2: Tampa 5 – Philadelphia 4
  • W: Chad Bradford; L: Chad Durbin; Sv: David Price.
  • Starters: Brett Myers 7 IP/0 ER/8 K; James Shields 7 IP/3 ER/10 K. The Philly bullpen imploded in the 8th, giving up a 2R pinch-hit HR to Rocco Baldelli.
  • B.J. Upton 2/4, RBI; Jayson Werth 1/4, 2 RBI; Pat Burrell 1/4 HR; Shane Victorino 1/4 HR
Game 3: Tampa 6 – Philadelphia 2
  • W: Matt Garza (6.2 IP/2 ER/7 K); L: Jamie Moyer (4.2 IP/5 ER/4 K); Sv: David Price
  • Akinori Iwamura 4/5, 2R; B.J. Upton 3/5, RBI; Dioner Navarro 1/3, 2 RBI; Victorino and Chase Utley, 2 H each. Moyer came unglued in the 5th, throwing 2 WP.
Game 4: Tampa 9 – Philadelphia 6 (Tampa leads 3-1)
  • W: Andrew Sonnanstine (5.1 IP/5 ER/5 K); L: Joe Blanton (2.0 IP/6 ER/1 K)
  • 2 IP of 0 ER relief from J.A. Happ and Ryan Madson; 3 IP of 1 ER relief from Grant Balfour.
  • Evan Longoria 2/3, 2 HR, 5 RBI; Carlos Pena 2/4, 3R, 3 RBI, HR; Iwamura 2/4; HR for Howard in 9th. Blanton was terrible.
Game 5: Tampa 3 – Philadelphia 1 (Tampa wins Series 4-1)
  • W: Kazmir (6.1 IP/1 ER/13 K); L: Cole Hamels (7 IP/3 ER/10 K); Sv: David Price
  • Longoria 2/4 RBI; Iwamura 2/5; Upton 2/5; Rollins 2/5; Feliz 1/4 HR. Kazmir struck out the first 11 batters he faced. Hamels was good, but not good enough.
If anything can be culled from this is that Philadelphia might strike its way out of the championship. The K totals for the Tampa starters: 8, 10, 7, 5, 13. Not pretty.

Simulated Phils don’t fare as well as I’d like

So, in my quest to not make my World Series pick based on gut and heart alone, I decided to simulate the World Series using Diamond Mind Online. Unfortunately for the Phillies, it doesn’t turn out as well as I had hoped.

Tampa won the series 4-3 for their first World Series championship. The Series MVP was none other than James Shields, who won games 3 and 7.

NOTE 10/20/08: Of course, the minute I did this, I read that Kazmir will start game 1. I will redo the sims considering Tampa’s revised rotation. Bah!

For your entertainment, here are the summaries of the 7 game series (remember, games 1,2,6,7 in Tampa and games 3-5 in Philadelphia):

Game 1: Tampa 6 – Philadelphia 4 (Tampa leads 1-0)

  • W: Edwin Jackson; L: Chad Durbin; Sv: David Price
  • Summary: Philly starter Cole Hamels was not at his sharpest, giving up 4 ER in 5.1 IP with 5K. Tampa starter Andrew Sonnanstine didn’t fare much better, surrendering 4 ER in 6.1 IP with 4K. Ryan Howard did put the Phillies ahead at one point with a HR, while Greg Dobbs went 2/4. However, that was no match for B.J. Upton, who went 3/4 with 2 HR and 4 RBI.
Game 2: Philadelphia 7 – Tampa 4 (Tied 1-1)
  • W: Brett Myers; L: Scott Kazmir
  • Summary: Brett Myers took over as the Philadelphia ace, throwing 6.1 innings with 3 ER and 7 K, holding Tampa off balance. On the flipside, Scott Kazmir imploded in the first inning, giving up 4 ER, but he did end up hanging around for 5 innings, giving up 5 ER with 3 BB and 6 K. Philly closer Brad Lidge gave up a 9th inning HR to Evan Longoria, too. Shane Victorino got 2 H and scored 2 R, while Pedro Feliz drove in 2 on 0 H.
Game 3: Tampa 4 – Philadelphia 2 (Tampa leads 2-1)
  • W: James Shields; L: Ryan Madson: Sv: David Price
  • Summary: James Shields was nearly outpitched by Jamie Moyer, both going 6 IP and giving up 2 ER (with Shields striking out 5 to Moyer’s 0), but Shields came out with the win when Ryan Madson gave up a PH HR to Eric Hinske. Chad Bradford added 2 innings of 0 H, 2K relief. The only real offense for Philly consisted of Pedro Feliz’s HR as they floundered at home.
Game 4: Tampa 5 – Philadelphia 3 (Tampa lead 3-1)
  • W: Chad Bradford; L: Chad Durbin; Sv: David Price
  • Summary: The Philadelphia bullpen blew another game, this time Chad Durbin did the damage, giving up a big 2 run hit to Jason Bartlett in the top of the 9th. Evan Longoria hit a HR earlier off Philly starter Joe Blanton, who went 6 innings and gave up 2 ER with 4 K. Matt Garza was good, but not great, allowing 3 ER in 6 IP with 4 K, while David Price racked up his third save. The Phillies got 2 RBI from Pat Burrell and 2 H from Shane Victorino.
Game 5: Philadelphia 10 – Tampa 2 (Tampa leads 3-2)
  • W: Cole Hamels; L: Andrew Sonnanstine
  • Summary: This was the type of game that Philly hoped it would get at home, it only took 2 games to get there. Ryan Howard also finally decided to show up, going 3/4 with 3 RBI and a HR. Jayson Werth added 2 RBI, 3 H and a HR, while Pedro Feliz went deep for his own 2R HR. Cole Hamels pitched well, striking out 11 over 6 IP with 1 ER and Sonnanstine fared poorly, giving up 5 ER in 4 IP. Carlos Pena was one bright spot for Tampa, going 2/4 with 2 doubles.
Game 6: Philadelphia 4 – Tampa 2 (Tied 3-3)
  • W: Brett Myers; L: Scott Kazmir; Sv: Brad Lidge
  • Summary: Scott Kazmir got bombed again, lasting only 4.2 IP, yielding 4 ER with 7 BB and 5 K. The biggest hit was Geoff Jenkins grand slam after Kazmir walked the bases loaded. Pedro Feliz also went 3/4. Brett Myers again pitched well, 6 IP with 2 ER and 5K. Carl Crawford went 2/4 and Longoria drove in a run in the losing effort.
Game 7: Tampa 4 – Philadelphia 1 (Tampa wins 4-3)
  • W: James Shields; L: Jamie Moyer; Sv: Chad Bradford
  • Summary: James Shields decided to take Tampa all the way to the top, coming 2 outs from a CG, striking out 7 and allowing only 1 ER. Chad Bradford came in to get the save and finish Tampa’s World Series run. The big hit was Rocco Baldelli’s 2R HR off Jamie Moyer, who performed admirably, allowing 3 ER in 6 IP with 2K. Philadelphia did get on base a lot, with Burrell, Utley and Victorino all getting 2 H, but none would score except for Burrell on a solo HR. If anything killed the Phillies chances to win the Series is Jimmy Rollins inability to get on base most of the Series.
So, there you have it. My heart says Philly will win, but Tampa does seem like a better team on paper. In any case, sounds like an exciting series.

Congratulations to the Rays

Well, on the plus side, I did correctly predict a Rays-Phils World Series, now didn’t I?

I give the Rays credit, they got the timely pitching (from Matt Garza) and timely hitting (from Willie Aybar) they needed to win the game and the series. The holes in the Red Sox lineup were huge tonight, with not much to fear from hitters 7-9. This will be an interesting challenge for the Sox to deal with in the offeason. What do you do about Drew? Or Lugo? Or Varitek? Or Lowrie? Or Ellsbury? (if either of them can’t figure out how to hit the fastball.) Or Crisp? The Sox need a another bat, but where will they find the space with Lowell and Youk at the corners? Ah, the questions.

Anyway, congratulations to the Rays for the 2008 AL Pennant. The franchise deserves the success after the mess they were from 1998-2006, especially with all the homegrown players that lead them to this championship.

That being said, I still say the Phillies will be the World Series Champions in 7 games. It will be exciting, I’m sure about that.

MLB playoff picks 2008

Now that the White Sox dispatched the Twins and were officially crowned the AL Central Champions (by the way, I was rooting for the Twins), we can get to my picks:

American League Division Series

  • Boston Red Sox (WC) vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (ALW): Boston in 5 – Sure, I might be biased, but I think most people underestimate Lester and Matsuzaka, along with the Sox bullpen. The biggest question mark is the health of Lowell and Drew. This series will be a nailbiter
  • Chicago White Sox (ALC) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (ALE): Tampa in 4 – I’m not the first to dub them the “team of destiny,” but yes, the Rays are “the team of destiny” in 2008.
National League Division Series
  • Milwaukee Brewers (WC) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (NLE) – Philadelphia in 4 – Unless CC goes all Walter Johnson on us and pitches on 1 days rest, the Phillies are just too potent to be slowed down by the Brewers.
  • Los Angeles Dodgers (NLW) vs. Chicago Cubs (NLC) – Chicago in 5 – Sweet Lou will outdo Torre to win the series, even with the fragile arms of the Big Z and Harden.
League Championship Series
  • Boston Red Sox (WC) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (ALE) – Tampa in 7 – I had to think long and hard about this, but with the home field advantage and the “team of destiny”, I can’t really justify picking against them. However, that being said, I wouldn’t mind if either team wins the series.
  • Philadelphia Phillies (NLE) vs. Chicago Cubs (NLC) – Phillies in 6 – Yes, yes, Cubs fans, get over it. The Phillies will win the series and your long suffering will continue. Sorry.
World Series
  • Philadelphia Phillies (NLE) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (ALE) – Phillies in 7 – Apologizes to you, too, Tampa Bay fans, but my hunch is that Philadelphia will walk away World Series champs this year. Utley and Howard will carry the team, especially when Howard can DH in Tampa. And Jamie Moyer will get his ring.