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Old 08-19-2018, 02:08 AM   #1
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My very first OOTP season - 2018 Giants

These are the highlights from my very first season playing any version of OOTP. My apologies for it being very long. I'm probably writing this more for myself than for the community.

I decided to take my hometown San Francisco Giants, and play as both GM and Manager. As I said, I had never played any version of OOTP before, so as I started my first season I was concerned that I might never make the playoffs and get discouraged after several seasons. I certainly expected my first season to be rough, with various aging stars and the ace of my staff (Madison Bumgarner) expected to miss at least the first two months of the season. So here are the highlights....

Regular Season:
4/1/18 - The season doesn't start off on a high note, as Brandon Belt is badly hurt (quad strain) while running the bases. He is out for six weeks.
5/22/18 - Bumgarner is recovered from his injury and starts his first game at Houston. He gets a no decision, throwing 6 innings, allowing 3 earned runs, striking out 8 and walking one. Bumgarner ends up pitching masterfully during the regular season, not losing a game until his twelfth start. Up to that point his record was 8-0, with a 2.39 ERA, 73 strikeouts and only 14 walks in 79 innings pitched.
6/9/18 - In a blockbuster deal, the Giants sent four players (Gregor Blanco, Hunter Strickland, Cory Gearrin and minor leaguer Ty Blach) to the Athletics for Khris Davis. By that time Davis already had 17 homers, 46 RBI and a .895 OPS.
7/13/18 - The Giants take sole possession of first place in the NL West for the first time. The Dodgers are one game back. Arizona is a distant third, 8.5 games behind the Giants.
7/17/18 - Two Giants are honored to play in the All-Star Game: Buster Posey (starter), and Tony Watson (who had a very strong first half and finished the season 6-1, with a 3.31 ERA, 62 strikeouts and 20 walks in 73.1 innings). Andrew McCutchen placed a VERY distant second in the RF voting behind Bryce Harper, who received the most votes.
7/25/18 - The Giants have gone into a slump and have lost the division lead.
7/31/18 - Right at the trading deadline, the Giants make a deal with the Mets, trading minor leaguer Mac Williamson for 4S closer Anthony Swarzak. The Mets already had 5S closer Zach Britton, who was instrumental in the Mets division title (95-67), four games ahead of Washington. Mark Melancon wasn't dominant enough for me, so I reduced him to a setup role.
8/11/18 - The Giants tie the Dodgers for the lead in the West. Arizona is six games back. Two days later the Dodgers would retake the division lead and never lose it for the rest of the season.
9/20/18 - The Los Angeles Dodgers clinch a playoff spot. They are 5 games ahead of the Giants in the West. The Washington Nationals have the lead for the wildcard, 2 games ahead of the Giants. The next closest contender are the Cardinals, 5 games behind the Giants.
9/26/18 - The Giants clinch a wildcard spot. They are still 2 games behind the Nationals with 3 games left to play in the season, and they gain no further ground. The wildcard game will be played in Washington.

End of Regular Season Stats Miscellany:
- Jeff Samardzija would be the only other player on my roster who would miss any significant time during the season. He had a lingering shoulder problem in July that caused him to miss almost four weeks.
- Bumgarner finished the regular season with a 14-5 record (although he lost his last two starts), a 3.26 ERA, 156 strikeouts and 31 walks. He was tied for the most shutouts with 2.
- During his 97 games with the Giants, Khris Davis hit an additional 30 homers, got 83 RBI and had a .925 OPS. But wow did he strike out a lot (186 times for the entire 2018 season). Davis' 47 homers were 6th most in the majors (MVP Giancarlo Stanton had 60), and 129 RBI were 4th most.
- Buster Posey had the 4th best batting average in the majors at .336. Joe Panik was 7th best at .312. Posey's WAR of 6.5 was 6th best in the majors (Nolan Arenado of the Rockies had a phenomenal 8.3 WAR!).
- Andrew McCutchen scored 115 runs, 4th most in the majors.
- Evan Longoria had 37 doubles, 3rd most in the majors.
- Brandon Belt walked 105 times, 5th most in the majors.

Wild-Card Game against the Nationals:
- Johnny Cueto gets the start against the Nationals in the wildcard game. He pitches well, allowing only 2 runs in 7 innings, but leaves with the Nationals leading 2-1. The score is still 2-1 in the top of the ninth when Posey and Belt both walk to start the inning. In a shocking move, I call Khris Davis to bunt, as he was surprisingly good at it. He is successful. Brandon Crawford then strokes a ground ball right up the middle, scoring Posey, but Belt has to stop at third. Evan Longoria follows this with a line drive up the middle to score Belt. I am given the option to have Crawford try for third, testing Victor Robles' arm. Crawford slides in before the tag. Finally, with Gorkys Hernandez at the plate, Wander Suero throws a wild pitch (this seems to happen a LOT with a runner at third, has anybody else noticed that?) and Crawford is able to score. With the score 4-2, Swarzak comes in and pitches a clean ninth for the save. The Giants go to the NLDS....

NLDS against the Cubs:
- The Cubs were the best team in baseball, with a phenomenal 114-48 record. But Bumgarner was dominant in game one, allowing only one run in 6 innings, while dueling eventual Cy Young AND MVP winner Jose Quintana (20-5, 2.17 ERA, 232 Ks). The Giants put up a big crooked number in the 7th, thanks primarily to a 3-run double by Brandon Belt. Giants win 7-2.
- In game 2, Samardzija gets the call but has to leave after 2 perfect innings when his shoulder is re-aggravated. Chris Stratton comes in to take over and pitches 4 shutout innings, but the game is still scoreless after six. In the top of the 7th, Evan Longoria hits a 2-run homer off of starter Jon Lester. Lester is rattled and then walks Joe Panik and allows a single by Brandon Crawford before being pulled. Two batters later, Austin Jackson singles in Panik. That was more than enough scoring, as the Giants bullpen held the shutout, and the final score was 6-0 (Posey and Hernandez both got solo homers in the 9th).
- The Giants are thinking sweep. But games 3 and 4, both played in San Francisco, are won by the Cubs. Game 3 is an extra-inning affair in which Addison Russell hit a solo homer off of All-Star Tony Watson for the clincher, and the Cubs win 3-2. Game 4 is another heartbreaker. The Giants are winning 3-1 in the 7th, when, with runners on first and third with two outs, pinch-hitter Mark Zagunis singles and then Albert Almora doubles, for a total of three runs, and the Cubs win 4-3.
- In the deciding Game 5, Bumgarner got the call again, allowing only two runs and three hits through eight innings, but the Giants had failed to score at all and went into the top of the 9th losing 2-0. Brian Duensing was brought in to try for the clinching save and got two outs in only two pitches. Pinch-hitter Hunter Pence (still a team player after losing his starting job to Davis) launched a solo homer to make the score 2-1. Speedster Austin Jackson then singled up the middle and was followed by Andrew McCutchen who walked to push Jackson to second. All-Star Buster Posey then hit a line drive between third and short. I was given the option to have Jackson try for home, testing the arm of Ian Happ, and Jackson was safe! The game was tied! Game 2 loser Jon Lester was then brought in to continue what might have been another extra-inning affair, but he instead gave up two consecutive walks and McCutchen scored the go-ahead run. Longoria then grounded out to end the inning. Swarzak came in for the save, and got two quick outs but then walked Victor Caratini. Ian Happ, who had 20 homers on the season, came up and hit a deep fly ball to left, but Davis was able to field it on the track and the Giants shocked the Cubs and made it to the NLCS. Khris Davis was named the MVP with two homers and five RBI.

NLCS against the Dodgers (who had swept the Mets):
- The biggest rivalry on the west coast gets another chapter! The Dodgers finished six games ahead of the Giants with a record of 95-67. And it was Kershaw vs. Samardzija, who was able to recover within a few days. Kershaw is completely off his game and allows two runs in EACH of the first three innings. The Giants hit FIVE homers in those three innings, including a 2-run homer by Belt, and solo homers by Belt, Crawford, Davis and Samardzija(!). Kershaw lasted only 4.1 innings, throwing 85 pitches. But the Dodgers have an excellent offense and are able to claw their way back, tying the game at 6-6 in the sixth inning. The Giants strike back and make the score 7-6 on a Longoria sac fly in the seventh. In the eighth, McCutchen delivers a run-scoring double to make it 8-6. Chris Taylor hits a solo homer in the bottom of the eighth to make it 8-7, but the Dodgers can't score any further. The final is 10-7 after Davis hits a 2-run homer off of Kenley Jansen.
- Game 2 was the opposite. Chris Stratton gives up seven runs in 3.1 innings, with homers by Chris Taylor, Joc Pederson and Cody Bellinger (who placed a very close second in MVP voting) to lead the charge. Going into the top of the sixth inning, the Dodgers are leading 7-2, with the Giants runs coming on a 2-run homer by Belt. The Giants struck hard in the top of the sixth, scoring four runs on five hits (no homers!). But that would be the end of the scoring, with the Dodgers winning 7-6.
- Game 3, and Bumgarner takes the mound. He pitched seven solid innings, but was pulled for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the seventh after throwing 110 pitches, with the Giants up 4-3. He did hit a double and scored in the 2nd and hit a solo homer in the 4th to keep the Giants in the game. But he failed to get a decision as the Dodgers tied the game in the top of the 8th on a Logan Forsythe sac fly. Will Smith had come in and right away gave up three consecutive walks. He was pulled for Pierce Johnson, who was able to limit the damage to only one run. In the bottom of the ninth, Khris Davis hit a one-out solo walkoff homer to win the game for the screaming fans.
- Game 4 was less dramatic. The Dodgers scored two in the top of the first and never looked back. The final was 5-2.
- Game 5, the last game of the series in SF, was a low-scoring affair until the bottom of the seventh. The Dodgers were up 1-0, with masterful pitching by the same starters as in Game 1. Kershaw was pulled after six innings and 94 pitches, and the Giants feasted on the Dodgers' bullpen. Each of the four relievers allowed at least one run, thanks to two homers by Crawford (7th and 8th innings) and one by Longoria. Crawford had 4 RBIs and the Giants won 7-2.
- Game 6, back in LA. Alex Wood is on the mound and allows five runs in the first inning, highlighted by a 3-run bomb by Khris Davis. By this point, Davis has 7 homers and 14 RBI in the playoffs. But the Dodgers try to mount a comeback, scoring twice in the third and twice again in the sixth, making the score 6-4. They are also able to load the bases with one out in the seventh, but Will Smith comes in to prevent any damage. In the eight, Logan Forsythe hits a double but is thrown out by Austin Jackson trying to stretch it into a triple. Chris Coghlan follows that with a pinch-hit double, but again they aren't able to score with runners in scoring position. Further drama in the ninth, with Swarzak on for the save. He allows two singles to Enrique Hernandez and Austin Barnes to start the inning, followed by a successful bunt by Joc Pederson. Yasiel Puig is then intentionally walked to load the bases. Corey Seager comes to the plate, and with a 1-1 count, hits a sharp grounder to Crawford, who throws to Panik, who spins and fires to Belt for the double play! THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT! The MVP of the series was Brandon Belt, who was 10-20, with 3 home runs and 6 RBI.

World Series against the Indians. The Indians won the Central division by ten games, then handily beat the Astros (West winners) in four games and the Yankees (East winners) in five games to make it to the Championship. The AL wildcard game was between the Angels (winners) and the Rays.
- Game 1 was a tribute to Bumgarner. He pitched a complete game, allowing only one run, striking out eight and walking none. The only run the Indians scored was in the fifth, but by then the Giants had scored nine times. Posey and Crawford both had 3-RBI games, with the latter hitting a 3-run homer. The final was 9-1.
- Game 2 was a matchup between two cleanup hitters. Brandon Belt hit two homers and got 4 RBI, but Jose Ramirez matched Belt, hitting one homer and getting 5 RBI. Pablo Sandoval got a homer thanks to being DH in the AL park. The score went back and forth until the bottom of the sixth, when the Indians scored five times on five hits, all off of Will Smith, who had come in for Chris Stratton. The final was 8-6, Cleveland.
- Game 3 was all about Johnny Cueto, who pitched eight innings of one-run ball, allowing five hits and walking one. He left the game with the Giants winning 3-1, and that was the final score, with Swarzak getting the save. Khris Davis hit a solo homer in the 6th.
- Game 4 brought the Indians back into a tie. Michael Brantley was the hero, going 3-5 with 4 RBI and a 2-run homer. Jeff Samardzija gave up four runs in 3.2 innings and the Indians never looked back, winning 6-2. Hunter Pence had another pinch-hit homer in the 8th to justify the extension of his contract.
- Game 5, the last in San Francisco for the season, was incredibly tense. There was no score through seven innings, as Bumgarner went toe-to-toe with a platoon of five Indians pitchers. With two outs in the top of the eighth, Bumgarner made his first mistake, and Yan Gomes launched the first pitch he saw into the right-field seats. The bottom of the eighth and the top of the ninth (with Bumgarner still pitching) were scoreless. Zach McAllister was brought in to close out the game for the Indians and give them the series lead heading home to Cleveland. After a leadoff walk to Crawford and a three-pitch strikeout to Longoria, Pablo Sandoval (pinch hitting for Gorkys Hernandez, who was hitting only .179 for the playoffs) dropped a line drive single into left field, moving Crawford to second and into scoring position. Hunter Pence came in once again to pinch hit, but grounded out to second. Joe Panik then worked a walk to load the bases for Andrew McCutchen. McAllister must have been feeling the pressure at this point, because he then walked McCutchen on four straight pitches to tie the game. Posey then grounded out to send the game to extra innings. With Bumgarner finally off the mound, Jose Ramirez led off the tenth with a single off of Pierce Johnson, but the threat never materialized. In the bottom of the tenth, Belt led off with a line drive single. Davis then flew out. A passed ball pushed Belt to second, and Crawford singled, but Belt had to hold up at third. Cody Allen then came to the mound, and with a 2-2 count, Longoria smacked a single into left-center, winning the game with a walkoff hit.
- Game 6, back in Cleveland. Chris Stratton is next in the rotation. Stratton dueled eventual Cy Young winner Corey Kluber to a scoreless game after five innings. In the top of the sixth, Posey got a solo homer to put the Giants in front. Stratton held the Indians without a run until he allowed two singles in the 7th and, with one out, was pulled for Mark Melancon. Melancon struck out Yonder Alonso and got Lonnie Chisenhall to weakly ground out to Belt to end the threat. In the top of the eight, Panik led off with a single and then McCutchen hit a two-run homer to put the Giants up 3-0. The Indians never got another baserunner, with Will Smith and Swarzak combining to finish off the game...and the Indians. THE GIANTS ARE WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS! Buster Posey was named the MVP of the series, going 9-for-21 (4-for-4 in the final game), with 4 RBI, 4 runs, 1 homer and 6 walks (a .556 OBP).

Post-season awards:
- Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford won Great Glove awards.
- Buster Posey won a Platinum Stick award.
- Buster Posey was 5th in MVP voting.
- I got Manager of the Year.

Honestly, this game isn't really that hard.

I have to say that I LOVED the tension of the series, and was very happy with the transactions I made. All in all, an extremely rewarding experience. Thanks to the OOTP Development Team for a phenomenal game!

Last edited by Myrddin111; 08-20-2018 at 12:52 PM.
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Old 08-19-2018, 12:01 PM   #2
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Looks like you are having fun, keep it up! I find this game harder than you but I may overthink things causing analysis to lead to paralysis.
Welcome to the club this game can very addictive. Handle with care.
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Old 08-19-2018, 01:18 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by JaBurns View Post
Looks like you are having fun, keep it up! I find this game harder than you but I may overthink things causing analysis to lead to paralysis.
Welcome to the club this game can very addictive. Handle with care.
Thanks! It took me about six weeks of occasional play to finish the whole season. I just don't have the will power to stick with a game for hours/days on end.

I guess one thing I should have mentioned is that I simulated about 2/3 of the regular season, manually playing only the first game of each series (after the first couple of weeks in which I was getting the hang of things). I can only assume that the changes I made to the AI Strategy at least didn't make things worse. I did play every playoff game, though, obviously.
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