STRAT-O-MATIC SUNDAY: Boston vs. New York using the Baseball Enemies Set
I was quite intrigued upon initially hearing about Strat’s Baseball Enemies set. The set consists of a virtual “Franchise All Star” teams, with the statistical base of games only against their arch enemy. So, Yankee cards were based only on games against Boston. Red Sox cards are based only on games against New York. Could make for some interesting games!
Upon review, I noted that both teams are just stacked. How about a Yankee outfield of Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle? Paul O’Neill as a reserve? On this team he is. Did you think the Yankees had a good bullpen in 2019? Well, this Yankee team has Goose Gossage, Mariano Rivera, Dave Righetti and David Robertson available if the starters get into a jam.
Boston also has a plethora of outfielders, including Ted Williams, Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, Fred Lynn, Manny Ramirez, Jackie Jensen and Carl Yastrzemski to choose from. Decisions, decisions!
I decided to roll a best of seven series between New York and Boston.
Game One: Whitey Ford vs. Pedro Martinez A marquee pitching matchup right off the bat, but the game didn’t quite meet those expectations. Home runs by Williams, Nomar Garciaparra and Wade Boggs gave Boston an early lead and they cruised to an easy win. Boston 13, New York 3 Game Two: Andy Pettite vs. Roger Clemens The Yanks got on the board early, with Derek Jeter’s leadoff single and Mantle’s home run. That was all of the offense for the Yanks though as Clemens got his act together and allowed only four hits the rest of the way. The Red Sox scored an unearned run on Jorge Posada’s error on a dribbler in front of the plate in the second and tied it thanks to Jim Rice’s solo homer off of Gossage in the eighth. In the bottom of the ninth, Boston had runners on the corners with one out when Williams hit a grounder to Jeter who was playing in close and primed to cut off the runner at the plate– except he booted it! Game over. Boston 3, New York 2
Game Three: Lefty Grove vs. Lefty Gomez The battle of the Leftys! Neither were particularly effective, as first Boston sent Gomez to the showers when they scored five runs in the third fueled by Lynn’s home run. The Yanks came back to knock Grove out of the box in the fifth, when he walked five batters, four of whom scored. With the game now tied, you felt like this one was trending in the Yankees’ direction. However, Boston just blitzed the Yankee pen in the sixth and seventh innings as it was the Yankees’ turn to lose the strike zone (walking four batters) and took the game and a 3-0 lead in the series. Boston 13, New York 8 Game Four: Luis Tiant vs. Ron Guidry The Yanks held a 3-1 lead in the fifth led by Roger Maris’ home run. Unfortunately, the wheels again came off for New York, as Yastrzemski ripped a three run homer off of Mike Stanton, and later tacked on an RBI single for a bit of insurance. Jonathan Papelbon and Dick Radatz held, and the Sox had the series. Boston 6, New York 4
In the four game series, the Yankees turned two games with leads and one tied over to their vaunted bullpen. In each of those contests, Boston walked away the winners. That’s why you play the games!
If I had to choose an MVP for the series, I’d have to go with Wade Boggs. The Red Sox’s leadoff hitter batted .526 with five runs scored and six RBI.
I had played this series right before my interview with Hal Richman and John Garcia of Strat-O-Matic and chided them a bit about the results, and threatened to send the set back! Hal gently reminded me that this is a small sample size, and that things would likely even out over time.
Despite the unfavorable results for the Yanks, I enjoyed rolling the games. Setting the lineups was quite enjoyable, as at my disposal as a manager were many of the greatest players in the histories of both storied franchises. With a long winter still ahead of us, I may well pull out the other rivalries (Dodgers/Giants, Cardinals/Cubs) and give them a spin.
Looking for your baseball fix during the long, cold, offseason? Give Strat a try!