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THE REPLAY ZONE - DECEMBER 2014
 
By Jeff Polman
 
December ruminations from your trusty Strat-O-Matic replay addict. Check out “Ball Nuts”, my latest “fictionalized” replay book, which used the 1977 season.
 
BEST OF 2013 TOURNEY CROWNS CHAMP!
 
After a crazy first round that saw four underdog teams moving on, the fourth-seeded L.A. Dodgers, managed by Paul Clinton of Lakewood, CA, dominated the rest of the tournament. Teams like the Nationals, D-Backs and Rays that were enjoying incredible dice mojo in the earlier rounds just smashed into a brick wall when they hit L.A. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had a team go 16-2 in this format, and the Dodgers did it with timely big hits by Yasiel Puig (.329, 13 RBIs) and Hanley Ramirez (.389, 8 HRs, 22 RBIs and four game-winners), excellent fielding (just five errors in the 16 games), and this fellow named Clayton Kershaw, who after getting beaten up by the Reds in his very first tournament start, was unhittable the rest of the way, going 7-1 with a 2.41 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 73 whiffs in 67 innings, and two complete game shutouts. If only he pitched like this in the real life postseason!
 
Anyway, congrats to Paul for winning his $25 Strat credit! Here’s the way the final three rounds played out…
 
SECOND ROUND
 
DIAMONDBACKS DEFEAT CARDS IN 7
 
The only second round series to go the distance. After narrowly squeaking past the Giants in seven games, St. Louis falls short thanks to a complete game gem by Patrick Corbin in the finale. Earlier, Matt Carpenter wins the opener with a grand slam in the last of the 10th, and the Cards also wins thrillers in Game 4 and 6, but Arizona’s clutch hitting and far better bench strength proves to be the difference.
 
AT CARDS 7-13-0, D-BACKS 3-9-1 (10 innings)
D-BACKS 7-10-0, at CARDS 2-10-1
AT D-BACKS 5-8-0, CARDS 2-9-0
CARDS 5-14-1, at D-BACKS 4-9-0
At D-BACKS 10-15-0, CARDS 4-8-1
At CARDS 5-13-0, D-BACKS 4-12-1 (13 innings)
D-BACKS 6-11-0, at CARDS 1-6-0
 
DODGERS SWEEP NATIONALS IN 4
 
All Clayton, all the time. Shuts the Nats out with a complete game 2-hit shutout in Game One, finishes them off with a complete game 3-hit shutout in Game Four.
 
At DODGERS 2-8-0, NATIONALS 0-2-1
At DODGERS 3-4-0, NATIONALS 2-6-0
DODGERS 5-9-0, at NATIONALS 3-6-1
DODGERS 2-6-1, at NATIONALS 0-3-2
 
 
RAYS DEFEAT TIGERS IN 5
 
After David Price gets torched in the opener, the Rays win four straight one-run games, coming from behind in three of them and winning the series with two in the last of the 10th in Game Five, moments after Torii Hunter’s single had given Detroit the lead. The Tigers may have had slightly better hitting, but there was no comparison between the two teams’ fielding and bullpens.
 
At TIGERS 11-17-0, RAYS 4-8-0
RAYS 5-12-0, at TIGERS 4-10-1
At RAYS 4-6-0, TIGERS 3-6-1
At RAYS 3-11-0, TIGERS 2-5-0 (11 innings)
At RAYS 6-9-1, TIGERS 5-10-1 (10 innings)
 
ATHLETICS DEFEAT ORIOLES IN 5
 
Except for a Game Four Camden Yards homer rampage (six total, and FOUR consecutive ones from Hardy, Roberts, Markakis, and Pearce) to keep the Birds alive, this series wasn’t much of a contest. Suffocating Oakland pitching from Colon, Gray, and Griffin held the Os at bay while every member of their lineup was contributing with big hits.
 
At ATHLETICS 4-10-0, ORIOLES 1-6-0
At ATHLETICS 6-8-0, ORIOLES 2-3-0
ATHLETICS 4-9-0, at ORIOLES 2-7-0
At ORIOLES 9-15-0, ATHLETICS 4-7-1
ATHLETICS 4-9-0, at ORIOLES 2-8-0
 
 
LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPS
 
DODGERS DEFEAT D-BACKS IN 5
 
More of the same, though Kershaw has a little tougher time of it, eeking out two one-run victories in Games One and Four. An A.J. Pollock triple gives Arizona their only win in Game Three, and the finale is just ridiculous, with the slugging D’Backs unable to get more than two singles off Chris Capuano and wasting a man on third, nobody out chance to walk it off in the last of the 9th against Brian Wilson. A 10th inning double by Hanley “Who Else” Ramirez in the 10th decides the NL pennant. For the series, Paul Goldschmidt, who was impossible to get out the first two rounds, ends up going 2-for-18 with zero RBIs.
 
At DODGERS 4-9-0, D-BACKS 3-7-1
At DODGERS 10-12-0, D-BACKS 2-8-2 (4 Dodger homers)
At D-BACKS 5-10-0, DODGERS 3-7-0
DODGERS 2-10-0, at D-BACKS 1-9-0
DODGERS 1-9-0, at D-BACKS 0-3-0 (10 innings)
 
RAYS DEFEAT ATHLETICS in 5
 
The pesky Tampa Rays do exactly what they did vs. Detroit: drop the opener on the road, then take four in a row with plenty of thrills along the way. After the A’s take Game One despite being outhit 10-4 on late dingers from Moss and Barton, Sean Rodriguez wins Game Two with an RBI single in the top of the 16th off Jesse Chavez, despite Jed Lowrie hitting for the cycle. Tampa then goes home and rides a combined shutout by Moore, McGee and Rodney, a nail-biter with Rodney hanging on for his sixth save, and a come-from-behind walkoff win when Grant Balfour gives up a Zobrist walk, Myers double and Joyce single in the last of the 9th.
 
At ATHLETICS 5-4-1, RAYS 4-10-0
RAYS 3-11-0, at ATHLETICS 2-8-0 (16 innings)
At RAYS 3-6-0, ATHLETICS 0-4-1
At RAYS 4-10-1, ATHLETICS 3-8-0
At RAYS 2-6-0, ATHLETICS 1-4-0
 
 
**THE WORLD SERIES**
 
GAME ONE
 
TAM 003 002 003 - 8 8 0
LAD 003 800 01x – 12 16 3
 
W-Kershaw L-Price SV-Jansen
HRS: Rodriguez, Loney, Ramirez-3, Van Slyke-2
The Dodgers have their worst game of the tourney in the field, but make up for it in spades with a nuclear offense, as Hanley goes yard three times and knocks in seven of L.A.’s twelve runs.
 
GAME TWO
 
TAM 011 000 200 – 4 11 0
LAD 100 110 30x – 6 12 0
 
W-Wilson L-Torres SV-Jansen
HRS: Zobrist, Ramirez-2
Yep, five homers in the first two games by Hanley, the second a three-run game-winner after the Rays had taken a 4-3 lead in the 7th.
 
GAME THREE
 
LAD 020 000 000 – 2 4 0
TAM 000 000 100 – 1 10 0
 
W-Ryu L-Moore SV-Jansen
The second time in two rounds the Rays outhit their opponent 10-4 and lose the game by one run. Desmond Jennings goes 4-for-4 in the third spot in the order but never crosses home plate.
 
GAME FOUR
 
LAD 000 004 000 – 4 12 1
TAM 000 001 000 – 1 6 0
 
W-Kershaw L-Archer
HR: A. Gonzalez
Archer pitches as well as Kershaw for the first five innings, until suddenly he doesn’t. A Gonzalez homer and single by Uribe brings on Peralta, who allows two singles, a walk and sac fly to basically end the tournament. Hanley Ramirez and Clayton Kershaw are voted the co-MVPs of the tournament.
 
I would also like to congratulate Strat Fan Forum member Charles Tripp on getting the scrappy Tampa Rays into the Series. Unfortunately, nobody was beating this Dodger squad. Here are their final hitting and pitching stats for the tournament.
 
See you next month with a winter hockey special!