WORLD SERIES 2019

It looked like a sweep…Cleveland took the first 3 games and beat up Washington pitching, scoring 6 or more in each game.  But the Nationals still had fight in them, and with their backs to the wall overcame a 3-1 first-inning deficit in game 4 to win 5-4 on an unearned run off of Oliver Perez.  Patrick Corbin shut down the Indian bats in game 5 and beat Gerrit Cole 4-1.  The series was decided in an epic pitcher’s duel, with Strasberg and Clevinger each pitching 9 shutout innings.  Jordan Luplow tripled in Carlos Santana in the top of the 11th and Brad Hand pitched a perfect bottom of the inning to seal the series for the Tribe.

Congratulations to new champion Steve Skrovan!  Steve is in his 9th season and its obvious he’s getting the hang of it, having made the playoffs each of the past 4 years.  There’s no doubt he just straight up made a very good team better this year, and this season is proof that the 162-game schedule is a marathon and not a sprint, since many of his early trades seemed like they would really pay off but it wasn’t until the last week of the season that he finally hit positive WOR territory and then he was perfectly positioned for the postseason.  In an era of openers Steve just put together a really good starting rotation.  My only regret about Steve’s season is not calling his team the Unreasonable Men on player’s weekend.  It’s been great having you in the league, Steve, and it’s a comfort that there are guys like you out there trying to make the world a better place.  Congratulations, champ!

Andy Somers has been a joy to have in the league since he joined in 2010.  He has a record Billy Bean or Theo Epstein would envy; he’s never missed the playoffs, he’s won the World Series 3 times, he took the top WOR spot in his second season, he’s never had a losing record, he’s had 90+ wins seven times.  He’s always open to a good trade, he’s always got a quick joke and upbeat demeanor, he asks the right questions and is one of the most collaboratively-minded guys you could want.  Congrats on another fantastic season, Andy, and I can’t wait to see the team you pull together next year.

That’s a wrap on the season, and thanks to all the ASFBLers who make this endeavor one of the highlights of my week every week!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

2019 LCS results are in!

CLEVELAND ADVANCES IN FIVE

Gerrit Cole beat Randy Dobnak in game 5, and nobody chanted anything about a ride sharing service…six starters had multiple-hit games for the Tribe, and Steve Skrovan’s revamped roster came through to get him to his first ASFBL World Series appearance.

Tim Walsh is finishing his 21st ASFBL season and other than a single season has made the entire run with the Twins….this campaign marked his third divisional title and second LCS appearance…his 96 wins this season were just one shy of his all-time mark in 2002…sometimes content to watch his favorite team unfold, Tim was an active trader this year and pulled off 9 different trades with 5 different clubs…a quintessential nice guy and midwestern Dad, Tim brings an affability to the table that makes him a pleasure to have in the league…congrats on two decades of fun capped off with a terrific season!

WASHINGTON ADVANCES IN EPIC 7-GAME CAMPAIGN

Having gone down 3-1 in the series, the Cubs fought heroically to even the series when Hendricks beat Strasburg 2-1 on a Mike Trout RBI…the decisive 7th game took 11 innings to decide, when the Nats finally took a lead on their second solo shot of the game and Keone Kela worked a hitless inning for the save…

Gordon has been in the league since 1994 and this is his 11th playoff appearance….he’s finished in the top-10 WOR 5 times, and has won over 1,800 ASFBL games…after running the Tigers for a decade this is his third campaign with the Cubs, all three have been winning seasons, and this is the second time he’s skippered them to the playoffs.  Part of the Leckie Dynasty and Ben’s Dad, he always strikes the right balance between doing well and having fun.  Here’s looking forward to next year with you, Gordon!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Newsletter for 2019 DCS

WASHINGTON IN 5

The mighty Dodgers hit a rough spot at the wrong time.  After James Paxton out-dueled, ironically, Kenda Maeda for a slim 2-0 win in game 4, Patrick Corbin pitched better in real life and out of the rotation for the Nationals.  Juan Soto had 6 RBI in the decisive game.

There aren’t enough accolades for Rick Wynne…lifetime 60%+ win percent…all-time ASFBL leader in wins (300 ahead of Leo)…in the playoffs every year since 2001…three time series champ…fifteen 100-win seasons, including each of the last 5…there’s no doubt he knows this game better than I do without the benefit of having written the code…and more than that, he’s a class act all around, gracious in victory and in tough times, and always quick with an encouraging word or hearty congratulations.  You are the ASFBL, Rick, and it’s always an honor to play with you.

CUBS SWEEP

After taking the first 3 games in the series by a total of 4 runs, and having both teams score at least 5 runs in what looked like a slugfest, Cole Hamels and Rowan Wick combined on a 1-run gem in the final game to seal out the series.

Danny has been in the league since 2006 and this is his sixth playoff appearance…tack on to that three top-10 WOR performances….this year marked his third NL East divisional title and his third with the Braves after taking the Phillies to the playoffs in 2009 and 2011…he pulled off 10 trades this year, and it’s notable that he was making moves with other teams that made the playoffs , and his May 7th acquisition of Will Smith really seems prescient…Danny always quietly goes about his business, stays active, puts a great team on the field, and is nothing but pleasant to work and interact with…it’s been a great decade and change with you around, Danny, and here’s hoping it will be at least 10 years more!

CLEVELAND ROARS BACK

After dropping 2 of the first 3 in the series, the Tribe showed they meant business by taking game 4 by a 9-1 count…the next two games were both offensive-heavy and 1-run affairs, with Boston scoring the decisive run in the 9th inning of game 5 and surviving Garret Cole giving up 10 runs to win game 6 by a narrow 11-10 count…without the 1 bad loss the total series score was 29-30.

Tony was our defending champ and coming off a second straight great season…he’d been to the World Series twice before winning it all last year and this is his 9th playoff appearance overall…he’s managed Boston, Oakland, and Los Angeles and had 10 straight even-or-better WOR years between 2007 and 2016, including a +28 in 2012…he is one of the truly funny human beings on this planet, and in the midst of some tough health issues this year he’s spread his wit and wisdom throughout the league.  Great season, Tony, and there are 29 of us cheering for your health to turn around.

TWINS AND ASTROS GO THE DISTANCE

The Twins took a commanding 3-1 series lead before the Astros found themselves to even the series at 3 apiece…a 7-run second inning and 3.67 shutout bullpen innings from Alcala won the series for the Twinkies….and you gotta cheer for Tim Walsh, who is in the playoffs for the first time since 2010 and in the LCS for the first time since 2008.

Jim Casey has a run that goes back to 1995, back-to-back World Series appearance in 2010 and 2011, and a World Championship in that latter year…he had two top-2 WOR finishes between 2000 and 2002, and is in his third consecutive year of the playoffs…always a mover-and-shaker and active trader, you can count on Jim to be among the league leaders in total trades and impactful ones…you bring a lot to table every year, Jim, and it’s been a great two decades with you!

UP NEXT

We’ll replay the NL East and the AL Central during the League Championship Series…down to the final four!  Danny has put together back-to-back 99 win seasons and challenges former champ Andy as the higher seed…the AL will have a newcomer to the World Series, as neither Steve nor Tim has been to the fall classic before…good luck, guys!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Wild card series

ASFBL wildcard series go 5 games, not 1.  Here are the results:

CLEVELAND vs. TAMPA BAY

Game #1 went to Cleveland on the road, 6-5.  Beiber beat Glasnow, with each starter charged with all the runs.  Hand got a 2-inning save, and Blackmon had a homer and 3 RBI.  Tampa took game #2 9-8, with nobody pitching very well until Pagan pitched a scoreless 9th for the save.  Adames and Choi each homered and had 3 RBI.  Game #3 was in Cleveland and decisive; an 8-8 tie made it until the 15th inning when Cleveland won on a 2-run homer.  Aging Oliver Perez turned in 5 innings in relief.  With every game a 1-run nail biter or extra-innings, the floodgates finally broke open in game 4 with Cleveland scoring 11 and Clevinger going the distance and only allowing one run.  Going into game 4, 2 runs separated the teams over 33 innings.

Alan Minsky finishes his second year with his second playoff appearance and his second winning season.  He’s finished in positive WOR territory both times, and he seems to relish the role of the small-market underdog team.  He spends his daytime hours keeping a public radio station afloat in LA, which is truly David throwing stones at the media Goliaths out west, and keeps his head up doing work that I find inspirational.  It’s been a great 2 years for him and I hope he has many more to come.

WASHINGTON vs. ARIZONA

Washington took advantage of the home field and put up 14 runs in game 1 to overcome a shaky start by Corbin; 4 hitters pitched in home runs to drive up the tally.  Game 2 was, in sharp contrast, a pitching duel, and Strasberg out-did Grienke.  Dozier powered the offense with a homer and Kela logged a 2-inning save.  The DBacks wouldn’t go quietly and chased Scherzer after 3 innings with 6 runs, with Wilmer Flores going 4-4 and Christian Walker tacking on a home run.  Washington got to Robbie Ray in game #4, and Jimmy Cordero pitched 3 perfect innings to seal the series.

Ben is the youngest a member of the Leckie Dynasty that includes his uncle, Dad, and in the distant past, Grandmother Jean.  He’s never had a losing season (wow) and is finishing his 5th consecutive year in the playoffs…he was the 2017 WOR league-wide champion and is in his 4th wildcard series.  All that is a darned impressive performance in a league populated by media success stories, lawyers, and professors.  Great having you in the ASFBL family, Ben!

We’ll ask for the DCS lineups tomorrow, and hopefully have them run by Monday.

Good luck to the final 8!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Playoffs — AL wild-card run-offs

The set up: There are 2 sudden-death games, and the winner advances to the wildcard round to take on the Rays.  Unlike MLB, the wildcard round is a 5-game series.
As the team ahead in the tiebreakers, Steve Skrovan of Cleveland has selected “C” and will sit out the first game and visit the winner of A/B.  Mark Yee of the Yanks has selected “A” and will host John Weerts’ Oakland squad in game #1.
PLAYOFF RULES REMINDERS:
  • Real-life playoff stats do not count.
  • ASFBL statistics will continue to accumulate through the playoffs. There will be a 2-day break between the last game of the regular season and the start of the playoffs (except for the crazy wildcard runoff, which will follow MLB rules).
  • There will be 2 wildcard spots in each league. The wildcard round will be 5 games and follow a 2-2-1 format with off days in between. All other rounds are 7 games following a 2-2-1-1-1 format with off days in between.
  • Regular season statistics will NOT be cleared and will continue to accumulate, with the exception of the over-use factors, which will be frozen at their final regular season figures. For example, a pitcher over-used at 145% on the last day of the regular season will have an over-use factor of 145% for all of the playoff games, but all other statistics will continue to accumulate.
  • A three man rotation may be used in the playoffs. There will be a fatigue adjustment for playing on three days’ rest.

GAME #1: Yankees 4, Oakland 1.

The Yankees went into this series the hottest ASFBL team, kind of by a lot..the A’s lamented needing to go to their fifth starter…Brett Anderson gutted out 6 innings but gave up 4 runs, with Urshela and LeMahieu each knocking in a pair…the Yanks took a page from the Rays playbook and mixed up the bullpen, with Chapman coming in early and Severino coming in to close.

No matter how you slice it, John Weerts had a great year…he’s now got a lifetime above-.500 winning percentage in nine ASFBL seasons, and has finished in top-10 WOR every year between 2015-2018…this season marks his first playoff appearance, which is an important milestone in a really competitive division…he’s been inthe league since 2010, and I have yet to hear his first complaint…he brings a lot to the league with his attentiveness and saavy moves, and his 13 or so trades really revamped his roster in a way that way fun to follow…looking forward to seeing you next year, John!

GAME #2: Cleveland 5, New York 1

The game was scoreless through 7 when Cleveland led 1-0 going into the 9th, with Clevinger and King locked up for a pitcher’s duel.  The Tribe erupted for 4 runs in the top of the 9th off of Zach Britton; Santana and Bogaerts each had a 2-run shot.  Clevinger came out for the bottom of the 9th but gave way after 127 pitches to Wittgren who sealed the deal.  The Yankees incredible run has finally come to an end, but Mark Yee has nothing to hang his head about.  The torrid 24-6 run was huge and after a season of struggling they turned it on when it really mattered.  This year marked Yee’s 4th playoff appearance in 5 years, and 9th playoff apppearance overall.  He has a lifetime +.500 record after almost 4,000 games, and has a penchant for wildcard appearances which account for 5 of the 9 playoff showings.  One of the original members of the league since 1992, Mark has an incredible 27 years in the league.  It’s been another great one, Mark, and it’s always great to have you playing with us!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Newsletter for games through 9-29 — end of the regular season!

Twenty-six lineups submitted this week, which is great for the last week of the season!  And although I forgot to mention it last time around, there were like 40 players waived the first week of league-wide free waivers, so it looks like a lot of us had some player moves we’d saved up.

WINS OVER REALITY

The top spots for the non-playoff qualifying teams are:

  • San Diego +16
  • Miami +14
  • Texas +10
  • Kansas City, Seattle +9
  • Colorado +5
  • Baltimore +4
  • Cincinnati +1

More on the Padres below, but these are great seasons for Rob Perkins, Ben Brockreide, Leo Leckie, and Adam Symonds.  Hugh Brown, Mark Chen, and Raphael Malveaux can be proud of playing a weak hand better than the actual clubs could.  Great season, guys!

NATIONAL LEAGUE

The Dodgers finished in historic territory with 113 wins, the 3rd-best finish in ASFBL history.  #1 is the 1998 Yankees (124 wins) and #2 is the 2001 Blue Jays (116 wins), so this might be one of the better “modern” ASFBL records.  Rick eeked past the 2005 Yankees and 2015 Giants (his own team), each of which has 112 wins.

Wildcard:  The Padres needed a big week and for the DBacks to stumble; the DBacks needed a big week and the Nationals to stumble.  Everyone finished around .500, and so the Nationals will host the DBacks in the NLWCS.  There’s no doubt that Al Benedek had a great season, finishing +16 WOR (tops in the NL) and getting a mid-range team to within a week of the playoffs.  The Padres dropped 2 of 3 to the Dodgers, a tough draw on the last week of the season, and actually took 2 of 3 from the Diamondbacks in the last week to go down fighting.  Big congrats to Al on a great season.  Washington hosts Arizona in the wildcard.  In ASFBL time, those games will start on 10/2 and we’ll ask the teams to submit lineups by Saturday (10/5); it may take us a day or two for the AL parallax to sort itself out.  I will email updates as the wildcard results trickle in.

The Braves and Cubs ended in a dead tie with 99 wins each; Atlanta hosts Chicago on the strength of the head-to-head tiebreaker.  Will email an update on lineup deadlines.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Boston cruised to the best record and finished strong at 5-2…which they needed, since the Rays finished with the second-best record in the league and were 4-2…The Bosox also had the league-best WOR at +18…The Yankees wouldn’t go away and finished with 94 wins and won 24 of their last 30…Minnesota took matters into their own hands and took the AL central on the strength of a 4-2 week…which they also needed, since Cleveland roared across the finish line a 5-1…that 4-2 week also put them a game upon Houston and made them the hosts of the ALDS…Houston limped in at 2-4 as Oakland picked up 3.5 games on the week at 5-1, but came 1 game short of the Astros…Houston can thank the Mariners, who handed the Athletics their sole loss on the week and hence sealed the division for Houston…that game was a bullpen effort with the Mariners getting 5 innings of 1-run ball out of their bullpen.  Boston hosts the wildcard and Minnesota hosts Houston when the DCS starts (lineup deadlines TBD).

There is wildcard chaos.  The Rays took the top spot with 97 wins, and there is a 3-way tie between the Yankees, Indians, and Athletics with 94 wins.

Now this happens:

“Tied teams are designated as A, B, C, and D. Choice for one of these designations is first given to the team winning the tie-breakers (listed below).”

The #1 tiebreaker is head-to-head competition.  Those series played out like this: Cleveland beats the Yankees 5-2, the Yankees beat Oakland 4-2, Oakland ties Cleveland 3-3.  Thus, the series records are #1 Cleveland (1-0-1, 8-5 overall), #2 New York (1-1-0, 6-7 overall), #3 Oakland (0-1-1, 5-7 overall).

In our scenario: “After Clubs have been assigned their A, B and C designations, Club A would host Club B. The winner of the game would then host Club C to determine the Wild Card Club.”

That means Steve Skrovan will get to select whether he wants to be “A” or “C.”  If he’s “C” then the other two play game 1 and Cleveland is the visitor on day 2.  If he takes “A” then he has home field on game 1 and, if he wins, he hosts game 2.  If he takes “B” we declare him legally insane and give his wife power of attorney and let her decide.

Mark Yee then chooses whether to be team “B” (the visitor on game 1 but the host on game 2 if he wins) or team “C” (the visiting team on game 2 and a bye on day 1).

I’ll ask Steve and Mark to get me their selections by tomorrow night (10/3) and we can set the lineups and play the games on Friday (10/4).  If we can all stay in touch, that will let the regular 5-game wildcard series lineups to come in Saturday (10/5).

In ASFBL time, those games will be played on 9/30 and 10/1; then starting on 10/2 the Rays will host the winner of the 3-team playoff for the second wild card.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Newsletter for games through 9-22-19

On the second-to-last week of the season, 25 of 30 owners still submitted lineups!  I truly love the enthusiasm of this league…one week to go…

PENNANT RACES!

Atlanta, the Cubs, and the Dodgers are coasting to divisional titles…but Atlanta and the Cubs are only 1 game apart and that might matter since the division winner with the 3rd-best record draws the mighty Dodgers, who I think just clinched the best record in all of the ASFBL…note to self: check on the best record in AL history before next week…but the NL wildcard has Washington with 88 wins, Arizona with 85, and the Padres with 83…which is big news for Arizona, since they finished the week 6-0 to surge in front of the Padres…that surge included a crucial 3-game head-to-head with the Padres…Al has nothing to hang his head about since he’s +13 WOR, behind only to the Cubs and Marlins in the NL…but does it get any crazier than gaining 5.5 games in a single week with that week being the second-to-last of the season?

In the AL, Mark Yee’s Yankees have a scarier surge than a coastal hurricane…6-0 on the week, 16-4 over the last 20, and 22-8 over the last 30…that final number is best in the AL…probably too late to catch Boston, but they moved half a game in front of Oakland and Cleveland for the last AL wildcard spot…the Rangers lurk with 87 wins and were 4-1 this week…the 4 contenders for the last wildcard spot were a combined 17-6 last week…the best friend of the Athletics was that Royals, who surrendered all of a 3-game series, and the key Ranger victory was a 3-game sweep head-to-head with Oakland…don’t know if this is lucky or unlucky, but 13 series last week ended in sweeps…Boston has a solid shot at 100 wins but can no longer match last year’s win total of 108…

FEATS AND FAILURES

Shane Bieber of CLE had 10 strikeouts against DET on 9/17/2019
Matt Szczur of ARI robbed 3 hits against MIA on 9/17/2019
Justin Verlander of BOS had 11 strikeouts against SFG on 9/17/2019
Aaron Civale of LAD had 11 strikeouts against TBR on 9/17/2019
TBR and LAD played 14.5 innings on 9/17/2019
Marcus Stroman of TOR had 10 strikeouts against BAL on 9/17/2019
Gerrit Cole of CLE had 13 strikeouts against DET on 9/18/2019
Eduardo Escobar of ARI hit 3 home runs against MIA on 9/18/2019
Matthew Boyd of HOU had 10 strikeouts against TEX on 9/18/2019
J.D. Martinez of TEX struck out 5 times against HOU on 9/18/2019
LAA and NYY played 15.5 innings on 9/19/2019
Omar Narvaez of BAL struck out 4 times against TOR on 9/19/2019
Alec Mills of DET had 13 strikeouts against CWS on 9/20/2019
Luis Robert of CWS struck out 4 times against DET on 9/20/2019
Andrew Stevenson of PIT struck out 4 times against MIL on 9/20/2019
Homer Bailey of SEA had 12 strikeouts against BAL on 9/20/2019
Yuli Gurriel of HOU hit 3 home runs against LAA on 9/21/2019
Yuli Gurriel of HOU had 7 RBI against LAA on 9/21/2019
Mitch Garver of MIN had 6 RBI against KCR on 9/21/2019
Matt Chapman of OAK struck out 4 times against TEX on 9/21/2019
Danny Duffy of KCR had 10 strikeouts against MIN on 9/22/2019
Austin Nola of SEA struck out 4 times against BAL on 9/22/2019
Sonny Gray of CHC had 11 strikeouts against STL on 9/22/2019
Zack Wheeler of TEX had 10 strikeouts against OAK on 9/22/2019
Nicky Lopez of TEX struck out 4 times against OAK on 9/22/2019
TEX and OAK played 14.5 innings on 9/22/2019

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized