Tribe Madness: First Energy Region Round 1 results
Our IBI Tribe Madness tournament moves into the first round of the First Energy Region where eight players move on and eight are eliminated.
Wednesday June the 13th was a bad day for Strawberry Bill. In an inning and two-thirds, Bill gave up eight runs in a 23-3 dismantlement by Lew Fonseca. The loss sunk Strawberry Bill to a 4-6 record with a 3.25 ERA. The loss made Bill re-evaluate his game and it paid off. Bill tallied nine consecutive wins as he rolled to a 261-99 win over Lew Fonseca. Bill went 6-0 in July with a 1.37 ERA but struggled mightily in August (2-5, 8.84 ERA). Bill then finished like a champion holding the Fonzie’s to a 1.89 ERA. He gave up only three gopher balls all year, and all with no body on base.
Lew's best month was August when he went 46-for-113 for a .407 average and 2 of his 8 homers. This followed up a .370 July but preceded a lousy September (.609 OPS). Fonseca hit well with men in scoring position (.834 OPS) and in the final three innings (.923 OPS). In head-to-head matchups, Fonseca hit .284/.299/.396/.695 with no homers, 15 runs and 14 RBI.
Joe V. hit .423 in April to set the pace and put up a 1.013 OPS and 1.092 OPS the final two months to take down Tioga George 252-78. Joe put up a 1.016 OPS in late game/close game situations and further displayed his clutch hitting by banging out a .321 average with runners in scoring position. He also finished games with a .366 average (.600 in 10 extra inning at bats).
Tioga George couldn't get going as entering August he sported a .257 average. George then found his stroke hitting .374 in August and .368 in September but by then the contest was decided. Tioga George struggled in late game/close game situations (.238 average) and in extra innings (.167 average). George's best performance was with the bases empty (.329 average). George's biggest disappointment was the utter failure in 14 bases loaded at bats as he only plated 5 of those 42 base runners.
Tito and Carlos went toe-to-toe but Tito Francona crushed Baerga 294-207. Tito hit over .400 in April, May, August and September - the final month raking to the tune of a .436 average. Francona also delivered in the later innings of close games as he drove in 19 runners with a 1.024 OPS although he only drove in 10 runs in 12 bases loaded at bats (.619 OPS). Tito wasn't bothered by having two strikes on him as he hit .338 with 8 homers in counts with two strikes but he was really lethal when ahead in the count (.494 average).
Carlos battled and put up good numbers but the second sacker just ran into a buzz saw. As it was, he was only 8 runs scored shy of the target .300 average, 200 hits, 20 home runs, 100 RBI and 100 runs scored. He exceeded all of those numbers except the runs scored. As the season progressed, Carlos got better and better, peaking in August with a .991 OPS. He was also very productive in late inning close games driving in 23 runs with an .884 OPS (6 dingers). He slammed four grand slams while driving in 36 runs with the bases loaded (26 at bats). He just ran into a very hot and consistent bat.
#12 C Johnny Romano (1962) vs 5 OF Albert Belle (1995)
Johnny “Honey” Romano started out hot as he hit .337 in April and kept hitting well until mid-August. That's when Honey's power dried up as he hit his 15th homer on August 19th and didn't hit one after that point. He also only drove in 10 more runs the rest of the year as his OPS dropped 27 points from August 19th through the end of the season (.890 to .863). It was during that period that Romano lost first place and faded. The result was a 288-123 loss to the enigmatic Belle. Honey was a slow starter (.270 average in the first 3 innings) but heated up as the game progressed (.321 in innings 4-6, .365 in innings 7-9 and .500 in extras).
Albert served notice in June blasting 14 homers and 10 doubles while hitting .357. Belle's pursuit of a 50/50 season looked grim entering September though. His doubles looked good (44) but he only had 40 homers. Albert then went on a homer-happy rampage hitting his 50th bomb on September 17th but his pursuit fell short on the doubles category as he ended with 48. Albert hit .462 with the bases juiced with a slam and 16 RBI (13 at bats). Falling behind the count didn't faze Albert (.324 average) but was deadly ahead in the count (.425 average). The only knock on Albert's game was he had a .241 average in the 7-9 innings.
Finley for his part never really got on track. When he did pitch well, the 37-year old southpaw left early and his bullpen failed to hold the lead. Finley lost his first five decisions but didn't fare much better as he saw his record fall to 7-20 with a frustrating 5.04 ERA. Finley just had trouble putting together back-to-back quality starts as he only won consecutive games twice and never had a win streak longer than two. On the other hand, Finley had losing streaks of four and five games. Predictably this doomed the lefty as he was destroyed by Guy “Alabama Blossom” Morton 300-78.
Sitting at 5-6 heading into June, Alabama Blossom heated up going 18-3 the rest of the year. Morton used a 5-1 June with a 0.98 ERA to right the ship as he mowed through the Finley Fanatics. In June, Morton gave up zero runs three times and one run three times with his only blemish a 7-0 loss on the 26th. As it was, Morton finished the year going 9-1. The secret to his success was a .196 average with runners in scoring position and an .077 average after loading the bases.
Next up: #5 OF Albert Belle (1995) vs. #4 SP Guy Morton (1915)
Hitting out of the leadoff spot, Cardenal could only muster a .307 OBP but when he did get on he flew on the bases swiping 59 while scoring 81 runs. The lack of getting on base really hurt Junior as he fell 173-87 to Joe Sewell. As a leadoff hitter, Cardenal should have thrived in no out situations but only hit .248 with the bases empty. For the season he only hit .261 and got on base 30% of the time. Things got worse with runners in scoring position (.197) and it got down right awful with bases loaded (.067).
Sewell on the other hand used an expert batting eye to draw 128 walks which helped to produce an incredible .473 OBP. The '20's shortstop was already having a solid season when he put it all together in August hitting .413 and earning a .538 OBP. Close game/late game situations were a jewel in Sewell's game as he put up a 1.036 OPS while plating 20 runners. Another jewel was his 1.027 OPS with bases loaded.
Next up: #11 OF Tito Francona (1959) vs. #4 SS Joe Sewell (1923)
Statistically this would appear to be a blow out but “Bo” Strickland's calling card was defense. The shortstops for Gregg committed 39 errors and Bo was less than half of that (17). Finally the Stricklander pitching staff gave up 79 unearned runs while Sylveanus Gregg's boys gave up 103 unearned runs. The defense kept Bo in the game but in the end it was Gregg's 25 complete games and 2.99 ERA which gave Vean the 207-120 win. Bo started out slowly hitting .135 in April then rebounded in May hitting .311. His best month was July where he hit .374.
Gregg pitched very well but it didn't show up in the win column. In his 41 starts, Gregg's team gave up 31 unearned runs which in some way explains the 19-21 record despite his 25 complete games. In five games Gregg came out to pitch the 10th inning and went 2-3 in those affairs. Gregg enjoyed the friendly confines of League Park going 11-2 with a 2.34 ERA but struggled at Cleveland Stadium with an 8-19 record with a 3.38 ERA. Vean stepped up in late games/close games situations holding the Bo's to a .207 average. He also limited Bo's boys to a .224 average with runners in scoring position. In head-to-head matchups Strickland hit .279/.372/.331/.703 with 1 homer, 13 RBI, 20 walks and 20 strikeouts.
Next up: #7 OF Joe Vosmik (1935) vs. #2 SP Vean Gregg (1911)
I knew from when I ran the Nostalgia League earlier this year that OOTP loved Vic Wertz and this simulation didn't change my opinion on that. Wertz and Rosen were first and second in homers, RBI, OPS, and batter WAR. All that said, the 1953 MVP Flip Rosen took first in all five of those statistics in addition to batting average, and he cruised to a 315-162 pounding of the big first baseman. Flip can look at June as the month that won him this contest as he hit 9 bombs on his way to a 1.246 OPS. Rosen hit .410 that month and had a .516 OBP. While Flip hit .317 against lefties, his .327 average and 1.038 OPS against righties made a difference. Flip hit 36 of his 43 long balls against right-handers.
As for Wertz, what can one say? He played well but the #16 seed was just out played in the round. Like Rosen, Wertz had a stellar June (.995 OPS) but his July was better (1.152 OPS). The big first baseman hit .326 in late game/close game situations with 6 homers and hit .343 with runners in scoring position.
Next up: #9 SP Bill Bernhard (1902) vs. #1 Al Rosen (1953)
I like doing things like this just to take a trip down memory lane and sometimes get a little more familiar with some players from years before I started watching baseball as a 7 year old :-).