BotYD: Elite Eight, Series #4 – The 2019 Yankees @ The 1998 Yankees!
Earlier this month, we introduced the next month-long series that I’ll be running, called Battle of the Yankee Decades! To see the introductory and explanation post for this series, check it out here.
Last week, I announced the rules, seeding, and team rosters for each of the sixteen teams that were added into the tournament. Check that out here.
We began our tournament a few weeks back and started the Elite Eight last week. Today we finish the Elite Eight with the 2019 Yankees at the 1998 Yankees.
The great thing about Out of the Park Baseball: 21 is that in these simulations, you can easily see which team is favored (when the logos are different).
Given how good the 1998 Yankees were, it is kinda of amazing to see how they don’t appear to be a heavy favorite against the 2019 Yankees, even while holding a sold +5 seeding advantage.
We run into the problem of similar logos with these teams, but by looking at Overall star rating and OPS, we can see the 2019 Yankees have a 5 to 4 line-up advantage (with one loss going to Spencer over Urshela, which is questionable). With pitching however, as was clear to see last season, the advantage is pretty heavily favored for 1998.
Gary Sanchez doesn’t get enough credit from the game from his performance in Game One as his hitting two home runs for 3 RBI’s- one for a lead in the 8th inning- came in a loss. The 2019 pitching accounted for two separate blown saves, as Scott Brosius delivered the lone home run for 1998, a 2-run walk-off shot off Aroldis Chapman. David Wells pitched, for lack of a better word, well, with a 6 inning, 6 hit, 3 run, 8 strikeout performance; Masahiro Tanaka pitched similarly in 5.1 innings with 3 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, and 5 strikeouts.
Three of the four runs scored in this game came via the solo home run, coming off the bats of Gio Urshela in the top of the 4th, and both Bernie Williams and Paul O’Neill in the bottom of the 4th. A Derek Jeter RBI-single in the 5th supplanted a 3-1 lead for 1998, which would hold until the end of the game. David Cone was credited with the win with a 6 inning, 4 hit, 1 run, 3 walk, and 7 strikeout performance. With a 2-0 series lead, the 1998 Yankees would be heading to Yankee Stadium III to continue the series.
After going behind 1-0 after a 1st inning RBI single from Tino Martinez, the 2019 Yankees came back with a 4-run second inning that tilted the game much in their favor, highlighted by a Gio Urshela 2-run home. Aaron Hicks and Gary Sanchez would also supply 2 RBI’s of their own, as every batter in the line-up collected a hit for 2019 en route to a 10-5 victory at home. Outside of an extremely poor performance from David Hale, who allowed 3 of 4 runs in the 9th inning, the pitching was stable for 2019 when they needed it to hold onto their lead. Now a 2-1 series, we head to Game Four.
Starting off strong with a 2-RBI double from Gleyber Torres in the bottom of the 1st, the 2019 batters continued to provide great offense at home. A Bernie Williams solo HR and Paul O’Neill RBI double in the 5th and 6th inning would tie the game, but 2019 added 2 runs in the 7th and another in the 8th towards their 5-2 victory. Again, there were no truly dominant pitching performances as so many relievers were used and neither starting pitcher got into the 7th inning. JA Haps received player of the game honors with a 6 inning, 4 hit, 2 run, 1 walk, 4 strikeout performance, but Orlando Hernandez technically had a higher game score (61 to 59) in his starting pitching work (5.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 5 K). With the series tied a 2 games apiece, the series headed back to the 1998 version of Yankee Stadium II.
Even in a stadium that has the same dimensions, it appears as though playing on one side of the same street played a dominant role in how this series went. For the first time this series, we had a truly great game from a starting pitcher as Masahiro Tanaka went 7.0 innings, allowing 4 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, and 4 strikeouts. Combine that with a quick 2-run 2nd inning for the 2019 Yankees, and it would appear that the younger team was looking close to advancing. This held until the 9th inning, where Aroldis Chapman emulated his Game One performance, as he allowed a Bernie Williams double and then two batters later allowed a 2-run, walk-off, home run for Jorge Posada. Twice in a 5-game series, the 1998 Yankees walked off Aroldis Chapman, to win the first and the last games, advancing 1998 to the Final Four.
Series Stats and MVP:
For 2019, it was can be debated whether or not Gio Urshela (.316/.316/.632 with 2 HR’s and 5 RBI’s) or Gary Sanchez (.278/.286/.722 with 2 HR’s and 5 RBI’s) led the team, but I’ll be fair and provide honors to both as they played remarkably close as Sanchez had the better stats, but Urshela had more of an in-game effect towards wins. For the pitching, Masahiro Tanaka (12.1 innings, 7 hits, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts, 2.19 ERA) is most deserving of the honor as well as Chad Green who had 4 separate shut-out inning appearances in relief.
Paul O’Neill was given the MVP honors for the 1998 team, with his .350/.381/.650 triple-slash with 1 HR and 3 RBI’s. Both Scott Brosius, who led the team in RBI’s (4), and Bernie Williams, who led the team in HR’s (2), also played well to deserve a shout-out. On pitching, David Wells was great (12.0 innings, 12 hits, 2 walks, 14 strikeouts, 1.50 ERA) among starters, and Mariano Rivera (2 wins and 1 save in 4 appearances, 3.2 innings, 3 hits, 7 strikeouts, 0.00 ERA) for relief.
The Final Four Starts Tomorrow, With The:
1961 Yankees (#4 Seed) at the 1927 Yankees (#1 Seed)