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 simulations last week, and continue the Sweet 16 today with the 1910 Highlanders 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).
Today we have a match-up between the second oldest (and second-worst) team in the tournament, against the 4th youngest (and second-best) team in the tournament. As we’d expect, the 1998 Yankees hold a big advantage over the 1910 Highlanders, with an advantage at 6 line-up spots and a tie at one other. However, 1910 appears to have an advantage on the pitching side. Could they pull through with a massive upset?
Game one of the series was nail-biting up until the very end, as both starting pitchers held their opposition to zero runs over the first six innings. However, in a surprising effort- and aided by two error from the 1998 Yankees- the 1910 Highlanders pull ahead with a 2-run 7th inning to give themselves a lead late in the game. The 1998 Yankees responded with a run of their own in the 7th inning, but they were able to crash the game in their favor the next inning. It’s seen easily in the win probability graph, but back-to-back walks to Bernie Williams and Tino Martinez set up Jorge Posada and Chad Curtis to hit RBI-singles to give the 1998 Yankees a 3-2 lead, and eventually the win.
After a very close Game 1 between the #2 and #15 seed, the 1998 Yankees seemed to wake up around their entire team. With David Cone on the mound, he pitched what was quite easily the best game of the Sweet Sixteen by going 8 innings while allowing 2 hits, 0 runs, 2 walks, and a whopping 14 strikeouts! With a performance like that, Coney needed very little work from his offense, but they also came to play, helping him out with a 6 run performance. Highlighted by a Shane Spencer 3-run homerun in the bottom of the 8th, the 1998 Yankees took the game 6-0 and the series in a two game sweep.
Series Statistics and MVP:
For the 1910 Highlanders, both Hippo Vaugh (0.00 ERA) and Russ Ford (2.84 ERA) pitched well for the team. They were led by Harry Wolter on offense, but with a .429 SLG as the top on the team, it’s evident why they came up short losing the series in two.
For 1998, while the game lists Shane Spencer as the Series MVP- which he did have a great performance (4-8, 1 HR, 1.000 SLG) to support- I believe the honor should have gone to David Cone after his dominant Game Two performance. As you can see below, the pitching didn’t favor who the game had above as every pitcher for 1998 technically ended up with a 0.00 ERA (even though 2 runs did score against them in the series).
The Elite Eight Starts Tomorrow:
1956 Yankees (#9 Seed) @ 1927 Yankees (#1 Seed)!