Breaking OOTP…. ON THE OUT OF THE PARK BASEBALL WEBSITE!

Hello. Just wanted to let everybody know that a very special edition of BREAKING OOTP is now available. Just not here. Oh, no, it’s in an even cooler place (hard to believe, I know): the official blog of Out Of The Park Baseball! So, if you want to see what happens when the entire field is shaped like a literal diamond and the outfield walls are 700 feet tall, GO THERE NOW!

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OOTP International Baseball Competition Part 10: Weeks 9, 10 and 11

Throughout the year, I’ll be posting updates of a simulated league from Out Of The Park Baseball 2016 made up of national “dream teams” to determine what the greatest baseball country on Earth is… or something like that. Previous installments can be found here. This is a long post, so there is a JUMP after the first day. A glossary of storyline characters can be looked at here. Also, hit any picture to make it bigger and more readable.

Due to the lateness of this installment and how far behind I am on this, this time it’ll be a bit different: instead of a day-by-day coverage, it’s going week by week, encompassing Week 9 (May 25 to May 31), Week 10 (June 1 to June 7) and Week 11 (June 8 to June 14), with highlights from each.

So, let’s get going:

Week 9 (May 25 to May 31):

Monday was a simple ending of the previous week’s final series. But Tuesday brought whole new series, including prime matchups like Dominican vs. Japan and a Netherlands/Canada match-up that had major implications on the race for the final spots in the playoffs, even this early in the season.

The first game of the Japan/DR series certainly lived up to the hype, with Japan winning 5-3, with Albert Pujols striking out to end the game to end a last-ditch DR rally. The Netherlands-Canada game also was quite evenly matched, with the Canadians winning 2-1 thanks to a 2-run rally in the 8th. That would allow them to tie Mexico for the 8th and final spot. Sure, it was still a long way until the playoffs, but every game counts. Elsewhere, Team USA somehow lost to Team Rest-Of-World 3-2, and Venezuela creamed Italy, 18-4.

The next day- Wednesday the 27th, saw Japan again defeat the Dominican, 5-4 in 10 innings on a walk-off single by Shinnosuke Abe. Meanwhile, the Netherlands evened their series with Canada with a 8-2 win.

To end their series on Thursday, the Dominican salvaged a game with a 8-2 win, while Canada won their series with a 9-2 victory.

The final three days of the week saw a series between Team USA and Team Cuba. Team USA would take the first game in a 15-4 rout. That wasn’t even the biggest rout of the day, though, as Venezuela beat Colombia 15-3 behind a cycle from Miguel Cabrera:

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 2.08.27 PMThe next day, Team USA would win again, 8-3, and then finished the sweep the next day with a 3-1 win.

And thus ended Week 9… and take a look at South Korea!:

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 2.26.59 PMThe Power Rankings, which show how much the Korean team is on the rise with their winning streak:

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 2.29.07 PMThe Player of the Week for Week 9 was Carlos Beltran:

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 2.30.36 PMAnd monthly awards for May were given out to Yasiel Puig and Max Scherzer:

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 2.31.24 PM Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 2.31.51 PMWeek 10 (June 1 to June 7):

Bad weather plagued much of the week, washing out three games in the Caribbean and South America on Monday alone, but in Nicaragua the weather was fine as South Korea won their 13th straight game. They’d win the next day two to make it 14, coming back late against Rest-Of-World to win 8-7 and then finishing off the sweep on Wednesday, 9-2, to make it 15 wins in a row.

However, once the Koreans returned to Korea, they ended up finally hitting that bad weather, and at the worst possible moment, as it cut short a game and made them fall to Cuba, 4-1 in 6 innings. The streak was over.

That wasn’t the biggest surprise that day. The biggest surprise that day was this:

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 9.50.36 PMWell, I guess it’s true: anything can happen.

The end of the winning streak, the shocking upset of the Dominican, and the rain delays were the main stories of the week- as was a shocking injury that put Nelson Cruz out of commission for the rest of the competition:

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 10.01.45 PMSo, at the end of Week 10:

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 10.08.16 PMPower Rankings:

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 10.09.23 PMAnd MVP of Week 10, Matt Kemp:

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 10.10.59 PMWeek 11 (June 8 to June 14):

Injuries- both of people leaving the DL and going to the DL- were the story early in the week. Clayton Kershaw returned from the DL for Team USA, but elsewhere Yovani Gallardo was knocked off the Mexican roster for the rest of the season with a torn back muscle, Taiwan lost two players to the DL, Albert Pujols had a quad injury and would be out a few weeks, and the Dutch found out that they’d again be without Andrelton Simmons for about five weeks.

But the games went on, and Kershaw made his presence known late in the week:

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 12.02.39 PMSo, at the end of Week 11, the standings, where Team USA is rampaging:

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 12.05.21 PMThe power rankings:

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 12.06.08 PMThe week’s top player was Kennys Vargas:

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 12.06.51 PMAnd that concludes Part 10 of the International Baseball Competition. But next time: JOSE FERNANDEZ JOINS THE COMPETITION!

 

OOTP International Baseball Competition Part 9: Week 8 brings lots of runs, a near-no-hitter, etc.

Throughout the year, I’ll be posting updates of a simulated league from Out Of The Park Baseball 2016 made up of national “dream teams” to determine what the greatest baseball country on Earth is… or something like that. Previous installments can be found here. This is a long post, so there is a JUMP after the first day. A glossary of storyline characters can be looked at here. Also, hit any picture to make it bigger and more readable.

May 18

Week 8 of the IBC began in Australia between the Dutch and the Australians. The Dutch would end up winning 9-6, not long before a Takayuki Kajitani 3-run home run in the 7th in Japan put the home team up 3-0 against Venezuela, a lead they wouldn’t give up. Not long after that, the Taiwanese finished off the Puerto Ricans, 5-4.

And then… everybody waited until night-time on the East Coast of the USA.

The first game of the night, at 6 PM, was South Korea vs. Dominican Republic. It was a nice pitching match-up:

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 7.25.02 PM(A reminder that injuries and such are, other than opening day injuries, entirely separate from actual reality, hence why Hyun-Jin Ryu is still playing despite being injured in the real world)

Bartolo Colon would prove to be the winner of the game, as the Dominican would be the first to get on the board, thanks to a Starling Marte double in the second. Robinson Cano and Adrian Beltre would add two more RBIs later in the game. Colon and the relievers (including Antonio Bastardo, who had to fill in after Joaquin got injured with two outs in the 9th) would hold the Koreans scoreless. Colon would strike out nine and give up six hits in the victory.

In Boston, Team USA once again demolished Italy, but “only” by the score of 13-1, as Trout, Stanton, Kemp and McCutchen all homered and Jon Lester went 8.2 IP allowing only 3 hits and striking out 15. However, the Ghost of the Bambino was not happy: “Only won by 12, Joe?”, he whispered in Joe Maddon’s ear. And, worse, Matt Kemp, who was hitting .373, hurt himself running the bases and would be out for 2 weeks.

In Havana, the biggest upset of the day took place, as Team Rest-Of-The-World defeated Cuba, 4-3, surviving a late 9th-inning rally. However, the Rest-Of-Worlders did not get out unscathed, as 1st baseman Rene Leveret, one of their few sort-of-kind-of-semi-power threats, was injured making a spectacular dive to record an out in the 9th, straining an oblique and being knocked out for three weeks.

Justin Morneau, Joey Votto and George Kottaras all homered as Canada beat Panama, 12-6.

Finally, Enrique Osorio went 5-5 with 2 doubles and 4 RBIs as Mexico steamrolled Colombia, 15-5.

GO BELOW THE JUMP FOR MORE:

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OOTP International Baseball Competition Part 8: Week 7 includes more USA-DR action!

Throughout the year, I’ll be posting updates of a simulated league from Out Of The Park Baseball 2016 made up of national “dream teams” to determine what the greatest baseball country on Earth is… or something like that. Previous installments can be found here. This is a long post, so there is a JUMP after the first day. A glossary of storyline characters can be looked at here. Also, hit any picture to make it bigger and more readable.

May 11

Week 7 of the IBC began in Taiwan, where Venezuela was playing the Taiwanese. Taiwan had won the opening game of the series, and they’d win the second game too, 4-2. The two teams now had identical 23-15 records.

Later, the Dutch were able to tie their series with Japan with a 4-2 victory. However, veteran outfielder Andruw Jones was injured during the game, and the Dutch could only hold their breath waiting for a diagnosis.

And then… in the Western Hemisphere, there was another showdown between the baseball superpowers: USA at Dominican. It’d be Matt Harvey (4-1, 3.38) vs. Francisco Liriano (5-0, 3.05). And everyone was hyped.

At least, that was the hope. Some bad weather was going through the Caribbean, and the game in Puerto Rico between them and the South Koreans had already been delayed:

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 1.14.34 PMCoincidentally, Joe Maddon ran into Pedro Martinez during workouts that day under cloudy skies.

“Hey, Joe, think the game will happen?” asked Pedro.

Joe Maddon then entered into a sprawling explanation of weather systems, how rain forms, wind patterns and the differences between various forecasting models… before basically saying he had no idea.

So, go figure, by the time the game started, it was clear skies and a nice 80 degrees Fahrenheit, just in time for Matt Carpenter, Giancarlo Stanton and Andrew McCutchen to go down 1-2-3 against Liriano. Harvey was able to work around a lead-off walk to Carlos Gomez to similarly put down the Dominican in the bottom half.

That was a omen of things to come, as neither pitcher would let a run across, although both teams would threaten at one point or another. It wasn’t helping that the wind was blowing in: a would-be dinger from Stanton instead fell into the waiting glove of Carlos Gomez in the top of the 6th, for example.

That could possibly prove costly, as a Adrian Beltre single in the bottom of the 6th- made possible because of a Buster Posey passed ball on what should have been a inning-ending strikeout of Nelson Cruz- put the Dominican up 1-0. And then Edwin Encarnacion was able to bust it open with a 3-run home run, making it 4-0.

And Liriano continued to dominate, ending up going 7.1 IP with 3 hits allowed and 12 strikeouts. Harvey, meanwhile, was replaced after the 7th inning… he’d given up 8 hits, had struck out six, and given up 4 runs… none of them earned due to Buster Posey’s passed ball allowing the Dominican to open the flood gates.

Perhaps to put an exclamation point on how big that one passed ball proved to be, it was Posey who would be the last out, as the Dominican won 4-0.

In other action:

  • Jorge Cortes homered for Panama in a 2-0 victory over Italy.
  • Alfredo Despaigne and Yulieski Gourriel both homered in Cuba’s 5-2 win over Colombia.
  • Mexico steamrolled Australia, 12-1.
  • A late Canadian rally was way too little, way too late, as Team Rest-Of-World beat them 9-5.

(GO BELOW THE JUMP FOR MORE)

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OOTP International Baseball Competition Part 7

Throughout the year, I’ll be posting updates of a simulated league from Out Of The Park Baseball 2016 made up of national “dream teams” to determine what the greatest baseball country on Earth is… or something like that. Previous installments can be found here. This is a long post, so there is a JUMP after the first day. A glossary of storyline characters can be looked at here. Also, hit any picture to make it bigger and more readable.

May 4th

Week 6 would begin in Asia with a game between Taiwan and the visiting Korean team. And the home crowd went home happy, as the Taiwanese won 8-4. Cheng-Ming Peng homered in the win.

Later, Japan hosted Mexico. Both Chihiro Kaneko and Jaime Garcia pitched well in the starts, but Japan was able to get to Garcia and the Mexican bullpen for three runs in the 8th to pull out a 5-2 win.

In San Juan, Joe Maddon awoke. He had not been visited by Babe Ruth’s ghost the previous night, but he was still wary. However, it was Star Wars Day (“May The Fourth Be With You”), so he instead decided he’d get his mind off of the spectral slugger by having a team-bonding activity by having everybody dress up in Jedi robes. It’d be hilarious.

In the earlier games in the hemisphere, though, things were hilariously crazy. Colombia, for example, at one point led Canada 10-1 after 4-and-a-half innings, only to ultimately lose 12-11:

Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 2.45.15 PMAnd the Dominican utterly destroyed Panama, 23-3:

Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 2.47.45 PMBy the time of first pitch in Puerto Rico, the internet had seen the viral sensation of seeing Team USA in Jedi Robes, and, in fact, the force proved strong for the Americans, as Team USA beat Puerto Rico 10-1 in 8 innings, with the game being called in the 9th due to bad weather that mercifully ended the slaughter. Mike Trout hit two HRs, and Giancarlo Stanton, Matt Kemp, and Jimmy Rollins also homered.

The Venezuelans beat the Netherlands 4-2, as the Dutch- once one of the last teams to be defeated during the season- fell to 14-18.

In Cuba, Yasiel Puig homered twice and Yulieski Gourriel also homered, and Raisel Iglesias had 12 Ks in a 8-hit shutout, as Cuba defeated Australia 11-0. Ned Kelly O’Shaughessy drank a lot of rum in response to this.

Finally, Yan Gomes hit his second HR of the season as Team Rest-Of-World beat Italy, 9-3.

MORE BELOW THE JUMP.

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OOTP International Baseball Competition Part 6: No-Hitter?

Throughout the year, I’ll be posting updates of a simulated league from Out Of The Park Baseball 2016 made up of national “dream teams” to determine what the greatest baseball country on Earth is… or something like that. Previous installments can be found here. This is a long post, so there is a JUMP after the first day. Also, hit any picture to make it bigger and more readable.

April 27

Team USA manager Joe Maddon spoke to his team in the visitor’s locker room of Jamsil Stadium:

“Gentleman, Americans, lend me your ears,” he said, as bench coach Buck Showalter sat silently, “We have played extremely well so far. We have gone 22-2, including games against some quality opponents.”

He paused for a second, “But we are about to enter one of the toughest parts of our schedule. Every game we have from now until May 13 is against a team that is .500 or very close to it. Korea, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Japan, the Dominican. So… go out there and make your country proud.”

He decided not to mention the whole “Babe Ruth ghost” thing.

And so, at 5:05 AM on the East Coast of the USA, Team USA took the field against Korea, a Kershaw-Ryu matchup.

In the top of the second, it looked like Team USA would score. Trout was HBP, Goldschmidt walked. Posey infield-flied, but then Ryu let loose a wild pitch against Tulowitzki that moved the runners to 2nd and 3rd. But then, Tulowitzki flew out to mid-shallow center, and Yong-Kyu Lee was able to unleash a tremendous throw in to get the tagging-up Mike Trout at the plate for the rare 8-2 double-play to end the inning.

And after that, the game was a pitching duel…. until the bottom of the 6th, when Dae-Ho Lee took advantage of a controversial HBP call that allowed Hyun-soo Kim to get to first by hitting a 2-run home run off of Kershaw to make it 2-0. Ho-Joon Lee then got a hit, then got to second after an equally controversial balk call, allowing him to score and make it 3-0 when Jung-Ho Kang was able to bounce one into left. A Jeong Choi double later, and it was 4-0, and Kershaw was yanked for Steve Cishek.

Team USA would score a run in the top of the 7th, but that would be all they’d get, as Korea pulled off the 4-1 win. Hyun-Jin Ryu was named the player of the game for his 7 innings of 5-hit ball.

But perhaps, Joe Maddon mused, they should have given the player of the game to Babe Ruth’s ghost. After all, Team USA had lost two of the three games it had played since he’d first shown up.

The other game in Asia that day was Netherlands at Taiwan, and the Dutch continued to struggle, falling 7-6 despite a HR from Wladimir Balentien.

 

As morning broke in the Western Hemisphere, news already came up that the Mexico-Venezuela game would not be played due to a forecast of bad weather in Caracas:

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 2.21.09 PMIn Toronto, where weather is no worry thanks to the dome, the Canadians beat Australia 5-2. That was just the start of the bad news for Australia, though, as David Kandilas got hurt in the field and suffered a 2-week elbow contusion and Justin Huber bruised his elbow and would also be out for 2 weeks. In face of this news, Ned Kelly O’Shaughessy ordered a Molson and a Labatt, then poured them both together and mixed them, and then drank. A lot.

The Panama-Puerto Rico game had a short delay in the second inning due to rain, but it didn’t stop the home team Puerto Ricans from beating Panama 12-5 as Carlos Beltran went 3-4 with 2 RBIs.

The night games would be an eclectic mix: Italy and Colombia would be a match-up between two of the teams with the worst records in the league, Japan and Cuba would be a match-up between two of the best. And Dominican-Rest of the World looked like it could be a massive rout.

The Italy-Colombia game, in Colombia, was won by Italy, 7-4, moving them to 3-22 on the year and tying them with Colombia in the standings. Mario Chiarini homered.

Japan beat Cuba 6-3 in Havana, as Seiichi Uchikawa went 2-5 with a triple and a homer, racking up 4 RBIs. Yoshio Itoi also homered, while Masahiro Tanaka went 8 innings.

And, finally, the Dominican hit five home runs as they routed Rest-Of-The-World, 9-3.

GO BELOW THE JUMP FOR MORE:

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Recurring Characters of the OOTP International Baseball Competition

Many of you have likely been following the International Baseball Competition here, in which I simulate a season-long World Baseball Classic-style competition between national baseball teams and also add in some storylines and cast of characters to spice things up. But if you haven’t read all of them, or simply are having trouble remembering, there’s a rundown of some of the cast of characters after the jump. It will be updated occasionally as the IBC season goes on:

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