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THE REPLAY ZONE - NOVEMBER 2012
 
By Jeff Polman
 
November ruminations from your trusty Strat-O-Matic replay addict.
 
 
BEST OF 2011 TOURNAMENT REACHES LCS ROUND
 
It’s been a crazy first two rounds, but the Yankees, Tigers, Giants and Dodgers have survived to play on for the eventual 2011 championship. Managers Rob Stricker (Saginaw, MI), Peter Schilling (Minneapolis, MN), John Barkoviak (Normal, IL) and Nathan White (Ottawa, Canada) will put their faith in their supplied lineups and rotations, as well as the rolls of my dice, with a $25 Strat gift certificate and Internet immortality at stake.
 
Here’s how we got here…
 
 
FIRST ROUND
 
YANKEES BEAT INDIANS IN 7
 
CLE 6 13 0 at NYY 8 12 0
CLE 9 14 1 at NYY 5 11 1
NYY 15 16 0 at CLE 4 5 0
NYY 6 11 0 at CLE 12 12 0
NYY 3 7 0 at CLE 0 6 1
CLE 10 17 0 at NYY 0 1 0
CLE 2 5 2 at NYY 10 11 1
 
Except for Game 5, where Sabathia whiffs 15, this series is filled with non-stop slugging. Justin Masterson throws a brilliant 1-hitter to force a seventh game, but the Yanks unload on Carmona to take it. For an eighth seed, Cleveland put up a great fight throughout.
 
RAYS BEAT RED SOX IN 6
 
BOS 1 7 1 at TAM 0 5 1
BOS 3 9 1 at TAM 9 8 1
TAM 10 11 0 at BOS 6 11 1
TAM 4 6 0 at BOS 3 10 1
TAM 3 7 1 at BOS 4 7 0
BOS 2 5 1 at TAM 3 3 0
 
A great series, filled with dramatic moments. Beckett outduels Price in the opener. Upton smashes a double, two homers and knocks in seven to storm back from an 0-3 deficit in Game 3. Joyce hits an 8th inning grand slam off Bard to shock the Sox in Game 4, before Boston rebounds with a game-tying Scutaro homer and Ellsbury double in the 9th to steal Game 5. Game 6 is 2-1 Sox in the last of the 9th when Scutaro boots a ball and Damon wins the series with a two-run pinch homer.
 
TIGERS BEAT ANGELS IN 6
 
LAA 4 9 0 at DET 5 8 1
LAA 7 14 1 at DET 5 9 0
DET 7 11 0 at LAA 1 6 2
DET 13 20 1 at LAA 6 13 1
DET 2 5 2 at LAA 5 10 1
LAA 2 6 0 at DET 3 10 0
 
Tigers get lots of great offensive dice rolls, important because Verlander goes 1-1 and never looks dominating. Brennan Boesch kicks off his great tournament with three homers in the series. Except for Weaver’s fine Game 5, Angels starting pitching is a bit thin.
 
BLUE JAYS BEAT RANGERS IN 7
 
TOR 5 8 2 at TEX 6 10 0
TOR 5 10 1 at TEX 3 6 0
TEX 6 13 0 at TOR 5 13 0
TEX 2 8 0 at TOR 3 7 0
TEX 3 7 2 at TOR 4 7 2
TOR 4 10 0 at TEX 5 12 1
TOR 10 11 3 at TEX 9 13 2
 
A beautifully matched battle, and one of two shockers in the first round as the Jays edge the heavily favored Rangers in Game 7 after being behind 8-0 going into the 6th. Two homers by Bautista, one by Molina and a game-winner by Corey Patterson off Mike Adams bring them all the way back. Rangers drop Game 5 on a critical Josh Hamilton error, much like the 2012 model did in Oakland. Six of the seven games are decided by one run.
  
PHILLIES BEAT NATIONALS IN 6
 
WAS 2 6 1 at PHL 4 11 0
WAS 0 5 0 at PHL 11 13 0
PHL 3 8 1 at WAS 4 9 0
PHL 2 5 0 at WAS 4 6 1
PHL 15 18 0 at WAS 4 12 1
WAS 0 2 0 at PHL 4 7 0
 
Cliff Lee wins 11-0 and 4-0 over Livan Hernandez, but except for Philly’s Game 5 rout, this is a surprisingly close series. The Phils have a decided edge in power, outhomering the Nats 9-2 with Mayberry hitting three of them.
 
DODGERS BEAT BREWERS IN 5
 
L.A. 6 12 0 at MIL 1 9 1
L.A. 5 8 1 at MIL 1 6 1
MIL 9 13 1 at L.A. 6 13 0
MIL 6 14 0 at L.A. 7 12 1
MIL 2 6 1 at L.A. 3 7 0
 
The other big shock, and L.A.’s magic dice rolling continues straight into the next round. The Brew Crew manages a big comeback to take Game 3 with a six-run 8th inning, but the Dodgers counter that by scoring five times in their 8th inning the next day. Kershaw wins twice, Billingsley somehow beats Gallardo in Game 2, Kemp outslugs Braun, and Milwaukee’s bad defensive range hurts them every chance it can.
 
BRAVES BEAT CARDS IN 7
 
ATL 3 8 0 at STL 4 9 0
ATL 2 8 0 at STL 0 6 0
STL 2 6 2 at ATL 4 7 0
STL 0 5 0 at ATL 8 14 0
STL 4 6 0 at ATL 2 9 0
ATL 0 6 0 at STL 1 11 1
ATL 9 12 1 at STL 6 8 1
 
Braves score five in the 5th and two in the 6th off Garcia and Lynn in Game 7 to take a hard-fought series. Atlanta comes through with many big homers, like McCann’s two-run shot in the 9th to take Game 2 and Freeman’s walk-off in the 10th to win Game 3. Game 6 features a clutch, combined shutout by Lohse ad Dotel to force the final game.
 
GIANTS BEAT D-BACKS IN 5
 
S.F. 2 3 1 at ARZ 0 2 0
S.F. 3 7 0 at ARZ 4 4 0
ARZ 2 7 0 at S.F. 5 9 1
ARZ 0 6 0 at S.F. 3 11 0
ARZ 2 8 0 at S.F. 3 4 1
 
Arizona just never gets its offense rolling against nasty Giants starting pitching. In their one win in Game 2 they only manage four hits off Lincecum. Pretty much a snoozer of a series.
 
 
SECOND ROUND
 
YANKEES BEAT BLUE JAYS IN 5
 
TOR 2 7 0 at NYY 8 13 0
TOR 3 9 0 at NYY 6 10 0
NYY 9 13 0 at TOR 3 6 1
NYY 1 3 0 at TOR 6 12 0
NYY 3 8 0 at TOR 0 3 2
 
Very one-sided, and it’s hard to believe Toronto managed to beat Texas. C.C. with two great starts, including a 12-strikeout, 3-hit shutout in the finale. Yanks bash 12 homers in the five games.
 
TIGERS BEAT RAYS IN 5
 
TAM 0 1 0 at DET 4 9 0
TAM 9 11 0 at DET 4 10 1
DET 5 9 0 at TAM 2 10 0
DET 7 11 1 at TAM 5 12 0
DET 7 10 3 at TAM 5 9 0
 
Rays play flawless defense, outhit the Tigers in three of the games, yet still lose in five. The difference is balanced Detroit hitting and Brennan Boesch, who slams a two-run shot off Price to open the last game and a two-run shot off Farnsworth to win it in the 9th. The opener features vintage Verlander, a 12-strikeout one-hitter in which he fans the first five he faces and only lets six balls leave the infield all day.
 
DODGERS BEAT PHILLIES IN 5
 
L.A. 4 11 0 at PHI 3 9 1
L.A. 2 8 0 at PHI 0 7 1
PHI 2 6 1 at L.A. 3 4 1
PHI 10 15 1 at L.A. 1 6 1
PHI 3 5 1 at L.A. 4 11 1
 
The Dodgers’ charmed life continues. Chad Billingsley somehow beats Cliff Lee in Game 2. They win Game 3 by scoring three times in the 9th after Jimmy Rollins makes an X-chart error (despite his e8 rating) on a grounder that would have ended the game. Philly wastes all of their good hitting in a Game 4 rout.
 
GIANTS BEAT BRAVES IN 7
 
S.F. 4 7 1 at ATL 3 7 0
S.F. 1 6 0 at ATL 2 5 1
ATL 5 10 0 at S.F. 4 15 0
ATL 0 5 1 at S.F. 1 6 0
ATL 2 5 0 at S.F. 0 3 1
S.F. 9 10 1 at ATL 2 7 0
S.F. 2 6 0 at ATL 1 6 0
 
Even better than the Cards-Braves series. Five of the games decided by one run. Giants win the finale on a 10th inning, pinch-hit solo homer by Pat Burrell off Craig Kimbrel (2-4 diamond shot on Burrell’s card) Braves give it everything they have, but tough Giants arms and clutch hitting by Brett Pill and Pablo Sandoval is too much to overcome
 
So it’s Verlander vs. Sabathia (4-0) and Kershaw (4-0) vs. Cain to kick off the league championships. Be back next time with recaps through the World Series, and be sure to follow the action on my Strat Fan Forum game thread!