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THE REPLAY ZONE - DECEMBER 2013
 
By Jeff Polman
 
December ruminations from your trusty Strat-O-Matic replay addict. Check out my recently completed 1938 replay blog at Dear Hank.
 
 
WASHINGTON NATIONALS WIN BEST OF 2012 TOURNAMENT!
 
Stephen Strasburg was allowed to start, Ryan Zimmerman went nuts, and the 2012 Washington Nationals outlasted the Oakland Athletics in six games to capture the crown in my Best of ’12 tourney. Chris Witt of Arlington, IL won the $25 gift credit from Strat with his expertly chosen rotation and lefty/righty lineups, while Norman Brown (Brampton, Ontario) surprised everyone with a second place finish helming his scrappy Oakland squad. After a wild first round filled with upsets, here’s how we got to the end…
 
 
SECOND ROUND
(home teams in bold)
 
RAYS 1-3-1, TIGERS 0-6-1
TIGERS 5-9-0, RAYS 3-5-0
RAYS 8-10-1, TIGERS 0-5-0
TIGERS 3-8-1, RAYS 2-9-0
TIGERS 6-11-0, RAYS 2-5-0
TIGERS 5-6-1, RAYS 1-5-2
Despite five homers in six games by the Rays’ Matt Joyce, Detroit throws too much clutch hitting and pitching at Tampa and takes the series rather painlessly.
 
ATHLETICS 3-6-0, WHITE SOX 0-6-1 (10 inn.)
WHITE SOX 7-12-0, ATHLETICS 6-11-1
ATHLETICS 6-12-0, WHITE SOX 3-9-1
ATHLETICS 4-6-0, WHITE SOX 3-6-0
ATHLETICS 4-11-0, WHITE SOX 3-8-0
After a shocking first round upset of the Yanks, Chicago can’t get the key hits against the A’s and goes out in five close games. A 3-run Seth Smith walk-off homer in extras settles Game One, while Reddick goes deep five times in the series, including twice in the finale.
 
NATIONALS 9-11-3, BREWERS 6-10-0
NATIONALS 5-15-1, BREWERS 4-8-1
NATIONALS 6-11-0, BREWERS 5-8-0
NATIONALS 7-7-0, BREWERS 5-11-0
Again, four close games but the Nats win every one. Bryce Harper with four RBIs and a game-winning homer in the opener, 3-for-5 and a game-winning homer in Game Three, and Desmond with two homers and six RBIs in the finale, but the real difference is Washington’s far deeper and superior relief pitching.
 
GIANTS 9-13-0, BRAVES 7-10-2 (12 inn.)
GIANTS 2-8-0, BRAVES 1-5-0 (12 inn)
BRAVES 2-9-2, GIANTS 1-7-0
GIANTS 11-14-2, BRAVES 7-12-2
BRAVES 2-8-1, GIANTS 0-4-1
GIANTS 2-2-1, BRAVES 1-7-0
Insane series, featuring a haunted Atlanta bullpen and only one game won by the home team. Giants win two 12-inning battles for starters, on a Sandoval single and Pence homer, both off Eric O’Flaherty. Paul Maholm shocks the AT&T house with a complete game win in Game Three, but Braves pitchers are given a 7-3 lead and cough up seven unanswered Giant runs in Game Four. Mike Minor and Kimbrel get the series back to Atlanta with a clutch win in Game Five, before Kimbrel blows Kris Medlen’s 1-0 lead in the 9th in the series finale by walking two guys and throwing a wild pitch.
 
 
LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPS
 
TIGERS 5-10-0, ATHLETICS 2-4-0
ATHLETICS 12-16-1, TIGERS 9-13-0
ATHLETICS 12-16-0, TIGERS 5-12-0
TIGERS 5-9-1, ATHLETICS 3-4-1
TIGERS 5-9-0, ATHLETICS 4-9-0
ATHLETICS 3-10-0, TIGERS 2-8-0
ATHLETICS 3-8-0, TIGERS 2-9-0
Verlander wins Games One and Four but can’t do the job in Game Seven. In between, the A’s rack up two straight 12-run, 16-hit performances and get great starts the last two games from Parker and Milone to win the only 7-game series in the last three rounds. Oakland wins two of these straight one-run games on a walk-off single by Seth Smith and a big double off Verlander by Brandon Moss. Great series.
 
NATIONALS 3-6-0, GIANTS 1-4-0
NATIONALS 13-15-0, GIANTS 8-11-0
GIANTS 3-12-0, NATIONALS 2-8-0
NATIONALS 1-6-0, GIANTS 0-7-0
GIANTS 4-12-1, NATIONALS 3-6-0
NATIONALS 3-6-0, GIANTS 1-8-0
Gio Gonzalez and Strasburg both win twice, Zimmerman goes 3-for-5 in the finale with a game-deciding homer, and the Nats, after nearly blowing a 3-0 advantage to Arizona in the first round, end up taking the NL pennant in six. The Giants get two Posey homers and plenty of offense in Game Two, but score only eight runs over the last four games. The beauty contest is Game Four, with Harper’s 8th inning double off Cain snapping a scoreless tie in the 8th.
 
 
WORLD SERIES
 

Game One

OAK 000 000 000 – 0 3 0
WAS 010 001 01x – 3 10 0
W-Gonzalez L-Milone GWRBI-Suzuki
Gio superb again, Milone just bad enough to lose.
 
 

Game Two

OAK 002 100 000 – 3 10 0
WAS 000 000 100 – 1 5 0
W-Parker L-Strasburg SV-Cook
HR: Kottaras GWRBI-Cespedes
Parker and Cook make early 3-0 lead hold up. Strasburg wobbly.
 
 

Game Three

WAS 100 010 000 000 – 2 8 0
OAK 001 010 000 001 – 3 10 0
W-Balfour L-Storen GWRBI-Cespedes
Two-out single by Cespedes in the 12th decides a thriller.
 
 

Game Four

WAS 005 102 040 – 12 16 0
OAK 203 001 000 - 6 13 1
W-M. Gonzalez L-Blevins
HRS: Werth-2, LaRoche, Espinosa GWRBI-Werth
Werth with two blasts and Nats pull away after three innings with a 16-hit avalanche and tie the series.
 
 

Game Five

WAS 110 010 003 – 6 14 2
OAK 000 010 022 – 5 6 2
W-Burnett L-Balfour SV-Storen
HR: Zimmerman, Moss, Reddick GWRBI-LaRoche
Nats take a 3-2 series lead back to D.C. as Zimmerman goes 4-for-5 with a homer and their multi-headed pen survives two late A’s homers.
 
 

Game Six

OAK 100 000 000 – 1 3 3
WAS 002 200 00x – 4 8 1
W-Strasburg L-Parker
HR: Moss, LaRoche GWRBI-LaRoche
Nats are the champs! Strasburg throws a brilliant complete game and the A’s pick the wrong time to start throwing the ball away, as two of Washington’s runs are unearned LaRoche wakes from a sleepy tournament to drive in the winner the last two games.
 
TOURNAMENT MVP: Ryan Zimmerman. In their 23 contests he goes 41-for 95 (.432) with a 1.113 OPS.
 
See you next month, folks!