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HAM vs BIL: We’re going to WAR

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San Francisco Giants v Houston Astros Photo by Herb Scharfman/Sports Imagery/Getty Images

For those of you were following the draft and the recap strategies from myself and Bill, you already know we took a similar strategy in our draft approach. Bill focused on drafting players with the highest 5-year average WAR. I used a similar approach but boiled it down to a per game basis with a different weighting on pitchers given the rules.

There are no traditional starters in this tournament, but here were the pre-selected pitchers that would be tee’ing off:

1st Inning:

With Bill having the honor of pitching at home, Clemens faced off against the Mighty Hammers. Cesar Cedeno leads us off with a solid flyball single. He immediately gets to work taking advantage of Brad Ausmus stealing 2nd on the second pitch into Luke Scott’s AB.

Clemens, rattled by the steal, gives up a walk to Luke Scott. Suddenly with 2 on, 2 outs, the Hammers’ are showing early signs of life.

Cliff Johnson flies out on a deep fly ball, allowing Cedeno to tag up to third without a throw. On the first pitch, Luke Scott steals second, putting a man on second and third with one out.

Clemens buckles down to get Kent swinging, but walks Hidalgo to give us the bases loaded and a chance for some fire works in the first. Unfortunately Lee May can’t capitalize and hits a weak grounder to second ending the threat.

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Gerrit Cole, happy to be allowed to have a beard again and not look like Edd from Ed, Edd, and Eddy squares off against Bill’s super team.

Unfortunately, the Bilbos’ don’t waste any time with Altuve leading them off in the first with a single on the third pitch. Not to be outdone, Carl Everett immediately CRUSHES a 440’ home run.

2-0 Bilbos

Luckily, Cole begins to settle in, though he does allow a single to Bob Watson, he gets Springer on a fly ball and back to back strikeouts of Kevin Bass and Bill Doran.

2nd Inning:

Clemens looks locked in, quickly retiring Finley on a ground ball then back to back strikeouts of Geoff Blum and Adam Everett.

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Miguel Tejada hits a line drive single off of Cole, and suddenly the Hammer’s get nervous. Fans sit in the seat wondering if the Bilbos will get an insurmountable lead before they even get on the board. Luckily Cole digs deep and strikes out Garner, Ausmus, and then gets Altuve on a casual fly ball.

2-0 Bilbos.

3rd Inning:

With Larry Dierker coming in to replace Roger Clemens, there’s a sparkle of hope getting past the Rocket. Cesar Cedeno wastes no time getting another single (this time of the ground ball variety), putting some dangerous speed back on the basepaths.

Unfortunately Dierker goes on to strike out both Luke Scott and Cliff Johnson. Cedeno records ANOTHER steal, getting to second on the strikeout of Cliff Johnson.

With 2 outs and Cedeno on second, Dierker throws a wild pitch, immediately advancing Cedeno to third. Hopes run high with the Hammer fans, with hopes that they can actually capitalize this time.

And capitalize they do, with Jeff Kent answering with his own 400+ ft monster shot to tie the game at 2!

2-2 TIE GAME!

Richard Hidalgo strikes out to end the inning.

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Justin Verlander strolls in, taking the ball from the disgraced Gerrit Cole. Although he gave up a lead off walk to Everett, he was able to induce a pop up from Springer, a fly out from Watson, and ends the inning with a strike out of Kevin Bass!

4th Inning:

Lee May gets the 4th inning started with a hard hit line drive single. Unfortunately the back end of the offense could not do much with it. Finley strikes out, Blum flys out, and Adam Everett does Adam Everett things and strikes out looking.

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Verlander breezes through the Bilbos’ with a weak ground out from Doran, followed by back to back strike outs of Tejada and Garner.

5th Inning:

Danny Darwin comes in to replace Dierker.

For the first time in the game, the Bilbos are able to get Cedeno out, this time with a fly ball. Darwin is looking solid as he cruises through the top of the line up getting Luke Scott on a weak 4-3 ground ball.

Cliff Johnson finally shows some of his offensive prowess crushing a pitch to the tune of 111.9 mph exit velocity for a double.

Jeff Kent gets a hold of one, sending it deep, but unfortunately not deep enough as he flies out, ending the threat in the top of the 5th.

———————————————————————————————-

Lance McCullers Jr, after hearing Dantes’ screams, comes out ready to prove himself.

Brad Ausmus grounds out weakly (65 mph exit velocity) to lead off the inning. Altuve comes up to bat, and gets hold of a pitch but it ends up as a can of corn, easily caught in the outfield.

Carl Everett, who has carried the Bilbos’ offense hits a line drive off the first pitch, but directly at a fielder - ending the inning.

6th Inning:

Danny Darwin faces off against Richard Hidalgo to lead off the 6th. On the second pitch of the AB, Hidalgo gets a hold of one, hitting a solo homer (369 feet).

3-2 Hammers

Darwin upset with himself rallies and strikes out the side with Lee May, Steve Finley, and Geoff Blum going down in order on strike outs.

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George Springers leads it off for the Bilbos’ in the 6th, but ultimately grounds out. Bob Watson follows it up with a hard hit fly ball, but the ball is unable to find a hole.

Kevin Bass turns on a 1-1 pitch hitting a double into the gaps.

There’s tension in the air with the tying run on second. McCullers smirks, and strikes out Bill Doran on one of his notorious curveballs.

3-2 Hammer

7th Inning:

Mike Hampton comes in to replace Darwin.

Adam Everett comes to bat, and battles Hampton. Ultimately on a 3-2 Pitch, Everett hits a TRIPLE to lead off the 7th. (Admittedly, I was not expecting this lol)

With the top of the line-up coming up, a man on third, and no outs, I was sure we would be adding at least one to give us some breathing room... unfortunately...

Cedeno hits a grounder, Everett looked back to third and Cedeno thrown out.

Luke Scott strikes out swinging.

Cliff Johnson wasn’t getting much in the way of decent pitches and ultimately walks to first.

Jeff Kent strikes out swinging to end the threat, and hopes of Hammer fans.

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Although we didn’t score, the Hammers’ have the best bullpen in this sim league, so I’m cautiously optimistic.

Will Harris and Tejada go to battle. An 11 pitch at bat, Tejada continuing to foul off everything that Harris throws, ultimately leads to a lead off walk of Miguel Tejada.

Harris responds by getting back to back strike outs of Phil Garner and Brad Ausmus.

Altuve takes 4 straight balls, leading to a walk and a man on 1st and second with 2 outs. Luckily, Harris is able to strike out Carl Everett and end the threat.

3-2 Hammers

8th Inning:

Shane Reynolds comes in, and doesn’t waste any time. He faces:

Richard Hidalgo .... strikes out swinging

Lee May .... strikes out swinging

Steve Finley ... strikes out swinging

In a total of 11 pitches, Reynolds strikes out the side.

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Ken Giles, upon realizing that aggression is better used towards batters instead of his own face, answers for Hammer’s with back to back strike outs of George Springer and Bob Watson.

He’s not quite able to strike out the side with Kevin Bass hitting a weak grounder to end the inning.

3-2 Hammers

9th Inning:

Larry Anderson comes in to try to keep the game within 1-run in hopes for 9th inning walk off heroics.

Geoff Blum has a hard hit fly ball, but unfortunately, it’s tracked down and caught.

Adam Everett is able to work a walk, but unfortunately gets caught trying to steal second against Ausmus.

Cedeno continues to be the offensive spark, first with a line drive single, and then on the second pitch into Luke Scott’s AB, another steal.

With Cedeno now at second, Anderson ends up walking Scott.

Cliff Johnson, ready to have his name universally remembered by Astros fans...strikes out swinging to end the threat.

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Say your prayers, little one

Don’t forget my son to include everyone

I tuck you in, warm within, keep you free from sin

Till the sandman he comes

Sleep with one eye open

Gripping your pillow tight

Doran comes up to the plate. Wagner attacks hard, with Doran barely fouling off a pitch as Wagner strikes him out on 4 pitches.

**Exit light

Enter night

Take my hand

We’re off to never-never land**

Tejada swings at the first pitch leading to an easy pop-up. 2 outs.

**Something’s wrong, shut the light, heavy thoughts tonight

And they aren’t Snow White

Dreams of WAR, dreams of liars, dreams of dragon’s fire

And of things that will bite, yeah

Sleep with one eye open

Gripping your pillow tight**

Phil Garner steps up the plate, the last hope of the Bilbos.

1st pitch - Called Strike (0-1)

2nd pitch - Called Strike (0-2)

3rd pitch - Called Ball (1-2)

4th pitch - Foul Ball (1-2)

5th pitch - Swinging Strike!!

**Exit light

Enter night

Take my hand

We’re off to never-never land**

The Hammers win!!

View the complete game log here.

Here is the updated bracket after this game’s results: