When my previous computer died, I lost the International Baseball Competition. I will try again next year. I might still have the original starting files to go on, and if I can find them, I will put them up so that you can do the IBC.
However, from the ashes of the 2015 IBC, there has risen…
Yes, Out of the Park Baseball tasks me, so I must have it! I will force it to do things that it was not made to do, things that mankind was not meant to see simulated. Some will answer questions, some will settle scores, and some will push Out Of The Park Baseball to it’s very limits, to see if I can literally cause the game engine to beg for mercy.
(And, yes, this is basically Breaking Madden in OOTP form, you have a problem with that? Oh, and CLICK PICTURES TO MAKE THEM BIGGER.)
Yes, for all time, the pitchers have waged war with those at the plate. But now, it is time to finally settle it once and for all, as a team made up entirely of pitchers will play a team made entirely up of hitters. And at the end of the day, ONLY ONE SHALL BE LEFT STANDING…. AFTER THE JUMP:
Team Pitcher will, of course, be the Dodgers. I mean, have you seen Greinke’s ERA lately? Team Hitter will, obviously, be the Blue Jays. The teams of 25 will be made based on the Fangraphs version of WAR- because I said so- and will not be made with any idea of how good a hitter a pitcher is or how good a pitcher a hitter is. However, players whenever possible will be in their “natural” position (i.e. a closer would close, a catcher would catch), unless the computer decides otherwise. For position players, I will have two from each position (including DH) and then the top players not in the top two of their position. For relievers, I will have the top ten starters and the top ten relievers, and the top four who are not already on the team, and Bartolo Colon, because he’s Bartolo Colon. Once the rosters are selected, the line-ups and depth charts WILL be made with a pitchers’ hitting ability or a hitters’ pitching ability in mind.
The game will be held at Dodger Stadium, because I said so.
The starting lineups:
As you can see, this is a strange thing. Buster Posey is a starting pitcher, sure, but the “Dodgers” roster is absolutely bizarre. Madison Bumgarner is catching, leading to a Kershaw-Bumgarner battery. Max Scherzer is leading off. There are left handed players at 2B and 3B. And… hang on… what the hell is Andrew McCutchen doing at Catcher? Oh, it probably got confused at the fact that Posey, a catcher, is starting. Hang on a second…
Okay, that’s better.
So let’s get started.
Clearly, the biggest threat for Kershaw may not be any particular batter, so much as how bad the defense behind him might be. He knows this, and so wisely strikes out Kinsler, Donaldson and Trout in order, and MadBum didn’t screw up behind the plate. So, to the bottom of the 1st we go, where…
WHAT THE HECK IS MCCUTCHEN DOING BEHIND THE PLATE!?!?!
Okay, so, here’s the thing: to make sure that the game knows that some of the position players are now pitchers, I changed their official position to pitcher. Among those is the backup catcher, Brian McCann. That meant both catchers were labeled as pitchers, so whenever I left the computer to it’s own devices, it figured that there were no catchers on the roster and so just threw Cutch in there.
So, I took over again and forced McCann in. This means McCutchen won’t be able to play the rest of the game, but if the Hitters are having trouble with an outfield of Cespedes, Trout and Harper, McCutchen isn’t going to be much help anyway.
And so we begin, and Buster Posey promptly walks Max Scherzer. Now, Posey was a pitcher at times in college, but obviously OOTP doesn’t know that, because it’s having him send in Little-League style 66 MPH fastballs. BUT THAT’S ENOUGH FOR THE JOB AT TIMES, right, Andrew Miller?
Note: The “heckuva fastball” was 64 MPH. Feel the burn.
However, Posey then walks Zack Greinke, and then, against Jacob deGrom, throws a pitch that gets past McCann. Men now stand at 2nd and 3rd with one out. deGrom further works the count to 3-2, and then draws a walk. So now, the bases are loaded for Madison Bumgarner. Yes, BUSTER POSEY IS PITCHING AGAINST MADISON BUMGARNER!
Posey’s first pitch is ripped on the ground foul. Bumgarner then fouls back the second pitch. Posey then throws a ball, and then Bumgarner sends a short down to right that goes foul.
And then, Madison Bumgarner finally has had enough and hits a ball up the middle, bringing Scherzer and Greinke home on a 2-RBI single that also puts deGrom at third, with still just one out. Posey mentally notes to himself not to send the Bumgarner family a Christmas card this year.
The horrors continue for Posey, however, as Arrieta hits a double to left that brings home deGrom. Dallas Keuchel then gets a 2-RBI single to make it 5-0 Pitchers/Dodgers. Then Josh Donaldson throws a would-be double-play wide, allowing Dallas Keuchel to get to second and Ken Giles to get to first. Finally, something goes right for Posey when Clayton Kershaw bunts and Posey is able to get the lead runner at third for the second out and then Scherzer- in his second plate appearance of the inning- grounds out to short. 5 runs on three hits and an error in the bottom of the first, as Posey threw 39 pitches, 20 for strikes.
In the top of the second, the hitters appear ready for revenge. Although Goldschmidt flies out, McCann then singles, then Cespedes takes knocks a ball over Ken Giles’ head for a stand-up double that moves McCann to third. Bryce Harper then gets McCann home on a sacrifice fly, and the hitters are on the board. Jung-Ho Kang (who is not injured in this) then is able to hit a ball that falls in between Zack Greinke and Ken Giles, allowing Cespedes to score and make it 5-2.
That, however, would prove to be it in the top of the second, as while Posey walks, Kinsler pops out.
Perhaps reinvigorated by the showing of offense, Posey has a much easier bottom of the second, sending down the pitchers 1-2-3, although Jacob deGrom put a scare by sending a pitch deep that Bryce Harper has to lunge for for the out.
The good vibes continue for the hitters in the top of the third, as Donaldson gets a hit to lead-off and then moves to second on a wild-pitch with one out and Goldschmidt up. Goldschmidt then hits it deep and off the right field wall, allowing Donaldson to score to make it 5-3. A little later, Cespedes hits a two-out double that brings Goldschmidt home, narrowing the lead to one. The game goes to the bottom of the third 5-4 in favor of the pitchers.
Bumgarner leads off the bottom of the inning with a double off of Posey, but that is the only hit of the inning for the pitchers, and the score remains 5-4.
In a somewhat surprising move, the top of the fourth sees a pitching change, as Kershaw is taken out and replaced with David Price, who strikes out Jung-Ho Kang to begin the inning. In another surprising move, Buster Posey is pinch-hit for by Michael Brantley. This, clearly, is a glitch that has come about from the fact that the in-game AI is not looking at Posey’s hitting abilities, but rather is simply seeing he was a pitcher who had been getting beaten up, and so pinch-hit for him.
Or maybe the AI is just psychic, because Michael Brantley hits the ball deep and off the centerfield wall for a stand-up double, then tags up and goes to third on a Ian Kinsler fly-out. Oh, sure, Price then strikes out Donaldson to end the inning and leaves the score at 5-4 again, but, hey, I’m not OOTP’s AI.
Replacing Posey on the mound is Curtis Granderson. Let’s look at Grandy’s pitching scouting report, shall we?
Anyway, Granderson gives up a single to Price to start the inning, but at least he’s getting the ball into the 70s, which is nice, and he then goes and gets Max Scherzer to fly out and has Andrew Miller ground into a double play. After 4 innings, it’s still 5-4 pitchers.
Mike Trout leads off the fifth, and this happens:
Trout then moves to second on a Goldschmidt fly-out, and later ties it all up when he comes home on another Yoenis Cespedes hit, his third of the day. Clearly, Yo is just as hot in OOTP as he currently is in the real world.
And then… Bryce Harper gives the hitters a lead:
The shot to center chases away David Price, and Wade Davis then comes in and gives up a single to Kang. Davis then strikes out Granderson, though, ending the inning. It’s 7-5 hitters.
With one out in the bottom of the fifth, Granderson gives up a single to deGrom and then walks Bumgarner. Jake Arrieta then gets one past Kang and scores deGrom to make it 7-6. Dallas Keuchel then ties it up by hitting a sacrifice fly that scores Bumgarner from third. 7-7. And that is what the score remains when the fifth innings ends.
In the top of the sixth, with one out, Greinke is again humiliated in the field, this time by Josh Donaldson:
Would Greinke be this bad in real life at shortstop? We may never know, but the numbers and bits that OOTP eats obviously give it a stomach ache whenever Greinke has to make a play up the middle. Although, to be fair, reality did the same thing with Derek Jeter whenever there was a play up the middle, didn’t it?
Mike Trout doubles, although Donaldson is unable to score on the hit. Paul Goldschmidt takes care of that, though, by hitting a ball up the middle (the announcer was kind enough not to burn Greinke this time), scoring Donaldson and Trout and making it 9-7 for the hitters.
And that proves that for Wade Davis, as Dellin Betances comes in in a BOLD double-switch that puts Bartolo Colon at third to replace Keuchel and the pitcher’s spot taking the 7th position in the lineup. This doesn’t help immediately, though, as McCann doubles in Goldschmidt to make it 10-7, Cespedes singles, and then Bryce Harper sacrifice flies. But, wait, Arrieta tries to throw out McCann at the plate! Let’s see how that goes:
Betances strikes out Kang to end the inning, but the damage is done. Going into the bottom of the 6th, the hitters lead 11-7.
Nelson Cruz takes the mound for the hitters in the bottom of the 6th, and faces the immortal Bartolo Colon. And then this happens:
Bartolo is able to tag up when Scherzer flies out, but the great one is unable to be brought home to score and is left stranded on third baseball.
Despite how well (relatively) Nelson Cruz was doing, he is pinch-hit for by the horribly confused OOTP AI by J.D. Martinez. Meanwhile, the Pitchers put in Cody Allen, who walks Martinez to start the top of the 7th. Kinsler bunts over Martinez for some reason, and then Allen strikes out the next two hitters, allowing me to hawk this t-shirt right here.
After “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” finishes, Edwin Encarnacion comes to the mound, because the AI is basically doing a flailing action right now, and then this happens:
With deGrom’s home run, it’s now 11-8 Hitters. Thankfully for Encarnacion and the hitters, nobody else scores in the innings, although Cody Allen gets a single.
You’d think with Cody Allen being allowed to hit, he’d still be in the game in the top of the 8th, right? Well, obviously not, because it appears that the OOTP AI is at least smart enough not to pinch-hit somebody who might be even crappier of a hitter than Allen. So, in this bizarro world, they let the pitcher hit, and THEN replace him the next inning, in this case with David Robertson, who walks Goldschmidt, lets him go to second on a wild pitch, strikes out McCann, and then intentionally walks Cespedes.
Intentionally walks Cespedes… to face Bryce Harper. Okay then. I guess they are setting up the double play. Or maybe the AI is again psychic, because Robertson strikes out Harper and Kang to end the inning.
Taking the mound for the Hitters in the bottom of the 8th is Kris Bryant, because… reasons. And, what’s more, this is a double-switch that takes out Cespedes, AKA arguably the best player of the game so far, and replaces him with Kevin Kiermaier.
The first man that Bryant faces is, of course, the immortal Bartolo Colon. Lightning doesn’t strike twice, however, as Colon lazily flies out to Trout in center. Bryant, by the way, is able to hit the high 70s and low 80s in OOTP, and he uses whatever that is worth to strike out Max Scherzer for the second out. It’s the first strikeout thrown by a Hitter since Buster Posey struck out Andrew Miller in the first inning. Speaking of Miller, Bryant walks him on four pitches, but then gets Greinke to pop out to end the inning.
So, after 8, it’s 11-8 Hitters.
The Pitchers have had enough of this madness and put Aroldis Chapman on the mound in the top of the ninth. Kevin Kiermaier is up, and surely he gets blown away, since everybody gets blown away by Aroldis Chapman, right?
Oh, and then later in the inning Chapman gives up a solo jack to Mike Trout, making it 13-8, and so he’s pulled for Trevor Rosenthal, who finishes the inning. Baseball is weird, huh?
Abreu walks deGrom to start the inning, then Bumgarner hits into a fielders choice for the first out. Arrieta then flies out. So, with only one out left, up to the plate to face Jose Abreu is… Trevor Rosenthal… who grounds out to end the game.
Yes, the pitchers actually had more people take the mound than the hitters. Go figure, huh?
Just for fun, I also ran a 162-game simulation of the two teams, here’s how it turned out:
So, I do believe that we learned a few things this time:
- A team made up entirely of hitters would have to be considered the favorite in a game entirely against pitchers.
- Out Of The Park Baseball‘s AI gets horribly confused when you have a team made up entirely of hitters or entirely of pitchers.
- Greinke, Kershaw and Bumgarner are good at hitting. Greinke would not make a good shortstop because apparently his range would stink.
I hope you enjoyed this inaugural installment of Breaking OOTP. Come back next time as we answer another burning question and maybe drive the OOTP AI further into madness.