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THE REPLAY ZONE
 
By Jeff Polman
 
December ruminations from your trusty Strat-O-Matic replay addict.
 
Wow. What a tournament. Oodles of exciting battles went on for weeks, culminating in a roller coaster 7-game World Series between two classic franchises, with the Giants providing typical Strat realism and taking another championship crown for their 2010 mantle.
 
To backtrack a bit, 16 “absentee managers” were chosen from the Strat-O-Matic fan community to helm the teams, and it came down to Jason Stapley of Kearns, UT winning a $25 gift certificate from Strat for managing his Giants to victory over Paul Salzgeber (Akron, OH) and his Yankees. Both managers showed great sportsmanship, and Paul contributed some thoughtful pre- and post-game analysis, box scores and enthusiasm to my World Series updates and “live dicecasts” on the Strat Fan Forum.
 
But when we last left off in this arena, we were heading to the league championship round…
 
ALCS
(2) YANKEES over (1) RAYS, 4 games to 1
Tight games were in order here, and the Yanks came through with the late power when needed. After the Rays take a 4-0 lead in Game One, a homer by A-Rod and two by Marcus Thames, the second winning the game in the 12th, give New York the early series lead. In Game Two it’s Teixeira’s turn to shine, smashing a 2-run shot in the 8th off the allegedly unhittable Benoit, for the 5-3 win. Up at Yankee Stadium, Jeff Niemann gets creamed 6-2 before the Rays finally wake up their bats and take Game Four 11-5. C.C. is back on the hill for Game Five and it’s a snoozer, as the Yanks go up 3-0 early on a Swisher blast off Price, and cruise from there 6-2.
 
Yankees 5-9-1, at Rays 4-8-0 (12 inn.)
Yankees 5-10-0, at Rays 3-5-1
At Yankees 6-10-1, Rays 2-10-0
Rays 11-12-1, at Yankees 5-11-0
At Yankees 6-11-0, Rays 2-7-0
 
NLCS 
(2) GIANTS over (6) PADRES, 4 games to 2
Torture at its finest from San Francisco, as the Giants prevailed against a surprisingly tough Padre squad. Red-hot Buster Posey stays that way in the opener with a 2nd inning homer off Latos to put S.F. in the lead, but Chris Denorfia erases a 2-0 deficit with a 3-run shot in the 5th. Bottom of the 9th, two outs with Sandoval on second, Travis Ishikawa singles in the equalizer, and we go extras. Bottom of the 10th, three singles and a walk off Adams brings on Heath Bell, Uribe rolls a gbA+ past a drawn-in infield, and that’s that. The Giants hold on to win 5-4 in Game Two, as Wilson survives giving up a 2-run Hundley shot in the 9th. Down Petco way, Matt Cain has a no-hitter going with two gone in the 8th when Denorfia singles. Three straight hits in the 9th bring on Wilson to save the 3-1 game, and the Giants are on the verge of an NLCS sweep. But then San Diego takes two straight tough ones, 3-2 on a pinch-hit Kyle Blanks homer, 3-1 behind a brilliant Latos show, before the Giants return home and crush Jon Garland, outhitting the Pods 11-4 to win the pennant.
 
At Giants 4-11-0, Padres 3-7-1 (10 inn.)
At Giants 5-10-0, Padres 4-6-0
Giants 3-8-0, at Padres 1-4-0
At Padres 3-8-1, Giants 2-5-0
At Padres 3-7-0, Giants 1-5-0
At Giants 5-11-1, Padres 1-4-0
 
 
WORLD SERIES
(2) GIANTS over (2) YANKEES, 4 games to 3
 
Game One
All Giants, all night long, as C.C. can’t make it out of the 4th inning and S.F. pounds out 15 hits. Lincecum gives up two early homers but settles down and whiffs ten Yanks in 6 and two-thirds for his first win of the tournament.
 
SFG 010 604 000 – 11 15 0
NYY 100 100 210 – 5 8 1
 
 
Game Two
More of the same hammering, against Hughes here, but this time New York roars back late with three in the 8th and four in the 9th, capped by a two-out, bases-clearing triple by A-Rod to make it very tense. Wilson whiffs the luckless Cano to end the game with the tying run on third.
 
SFG 050 040 100 – 10 11 0
NYY 000 101 034 - 9 9 1
 
 
Game Three
The change of ballpark scenery does nothing for the Yanks, as Pettitte is behind 6-0 before the chairs are warm, and Cain sails along until Swisher hits a grand slam off him in a 5-run 6th. Once again, though, the superb Giants bullpen of Romo, Casilla and Wilson close it out.
 
NYY 000 005 000 – 5 8 0
SFG 330 000 01x - 7 11 0
 
 
Game Four
Now it gets fun. Despite two Burrell homers, the Giants can’t hold a lead as Granderson ties it with a shot in the 8th. Two outs in the top of the 9th, Gardner singles off Casilla, Cervelli gets hit and Jeter puts one in the bleachers for an eleventh hour Yankee win to save the series.
 
NYY 000 012 013 – 7 9 0
SFG 010 003 000 – 4 5 1
 
 
Game Five
Another thriller. Yanks take a 3-0 lead in the 6th after a Cano solo blast, but Posey matches him, Huff makes it 3-2 with a sac fly in the 8th and Rivera sweats out the last two innings for the save, sending the series back to the Apple. Oh, forgot that Rivera doesn’t sweat…
 
NYY 000 201 000 – 3 7 0
SFG 000 001 010 – 2 7 0
 
 
Game Six
One of the best Strat games I’ve ever played, and we’re talking over 45 years of dice rolling. Madison Bumgarner and Phil Hughes match pitch for pitch, and it doesn’t seem like either team will ever score. Through nine innings, it’s 0-0, Bumgarner has 11 strikeouts and has given up three hits, while Hughes has whiffed eight and given up one hit. Neither pitcher is fatigued, they don’t have to hit, so why take them out? Bumgarner ends up whiffing 13, finally comes out after giving up two singles in the 11th. Wilson comes on to face Teixeira and gets him on a 1-6-3 DP. And did I mention Andres Torres robs Marcus Thames of a walkoff home run an inning before? Finally, in the last of the 15th, after Mariano has pitched three innings himself, the previously impenetrable Romo gives up two singles and a walk. Casilla comes in to face Jeter, and HITS HIM to end the game!
 
SFG 000 000 000 000 000 – 0 3 0
NYY 000 000 000 000 001 – 1 8 0
 
 
Game Seven
Anti-climactic for sure, though Matt Cain’s fifth win of the tournament earns him the Cy Young nod. A-Rod hits a 2-run homer in the 1st, but Cain shuts the door from there, while the Giants roll on solo shots from Ross, Sanchez, and a grand slam off Sabathia by Burrell. Pat, who only hit .156 in the tournament, bashed 9 homers, many of them big ones. Buster Posey, with his .378 average, 1.134 OPS and 25 RBIs, more than earned the MVP award.
 
SFG 014 000 200 – 7 8 0
NYY 200 000 000 – 2 7 0
 
 
So that was sure fun. Hopefully we can make this tournament a yearly event, and I like doing it this time of year as a way of wetting our whistles for the new card set. See you next month with news about my new upcoming replay blog!