Motor City Bengals Plays Out of the Park Baseball 16 Part 1
Baseball video games have been a staple of many a childhood from Ken Griffey Jr.’s Major League Baseball, to Backyard Baseball, to MLB the Show. Out of the Park (OOTP) Baseball looks to be next in that line and we at Motor City Bengals will take the next two Mondays to play out what could have been for the Detroit Tigers in 2015.
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I was new to the OOTP series, so I went to their website and checked out their game modes. I chose to play in the General Manager/Manager mode, but did not play out any of the games as the manager, trusting the AI to be competent with the roster and set up situations. OOTP allowed me to set the lineups, first hitters and runners off the bench, starting rotation, bullpen roles, and how much each bullpen should be used.
When I started the season, there were a few things different than the real world. Victor Martinez, Justin Verlander, and Joe Nathan were all healthy, competent players in this game. Injuries were going to be different as the season went on, but the only consistent injury between OOTP and the real world was Bruce Rondon out for the first few months of the season.
OOTP also had a very interesting Opening Day roster and bullpen for the Tigers. The lineup went:
- Anthony Gose
- J.D. Martinez
- Miguel Cabrera
- Victor Martinez
- Yoenis Cespedes
- Nick Castellanos
- Ian Kinsler
- Alex Avila
- Jose Iglesias
I tweaked that lineup to look like this:
- Victor Martinez
- D. Martinez
In the bullpen, OOTP deemed Al Alburquerque to be the closer. Joe Nathan and Joakim Soria were sharing the setup role equally with Nathan as the backup closer. Joba Chamberlain was listed as the middle reliever who was to be used the most.
I went back and moved Soria to the closer’s role, put Alburquerque as the setup man, and the Nathan to the most often used middle reliever.
I was given clear instructions from Mike Ilitch for the season. He wanted three things: reach the playoffs this season, sign David Price to an extension, and reach the World Series in the next four seasons.
Mr. Ilitch then gave me a $240 million budget for the season. I had a $173 million payroll to start the year with almost $61 million left for extensions.
The first thing I worked on was David Price’s extension. Price asked for a 7-year $160 million contract which comes out to $22.9 million per season. If the Tigers could have signed Price for that price, they would have in a heartbeat. I offered Price a 7-year $163 million deal which he signed. My first objective was fulfilled.
I simulated my Opening Day game against the Minnesota Twins, and Price came down with Justin Verlander syndrome and was shelled in route to a 9-0 loss. I also suffered my first injury of the season. Anthony Gose pulled a hamstring and was out for 3 weeks. A week later, Rajai Davis went down with a broken hand and was out for 4 weeks. That forced me into bringing up Tyler Collins and Daniel Fields up from Toledo.
Nick Castellanos was struggling mightily through the beginning of the season, so I was going to call up Jefry Marte to try to give Castellanos some time on the bench and work his way back into the lineup.
To call up Marte, I placed Hernan Perez on waivers and had a few interesting offers. The St. Louis Cardinals offered John Lackey, the New York Mets offered Dillon Gee, the Kansas City Royals offered Mike Moustakas, the Boston Red Sox offered Daniel Nava or Shane Victorino, and the Cleveland Indians offered Ryan Raburn. I ended up taking up the Cardinals on the Lackey deal, which became bigger as the season went on.
At the end of May, I lost David Price for 5-6 months with shoulder inflammation which left me with a rotation of Verlander, Lackey, Sanchez, Alfredo Simon, and Shane Greene. Ian Kinsler then tore his labrum at the beginning of June which left him sidelined for 4 months. Three weeks later, Miguel Cabrera broke his thumb, and I lost him for 7 weeks.
Somehow, my lineup and bullpen kept me afloat to the All-Star break. In the bullpen, Soria had 21 saves in the first half and a 1.25 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. Tom Gorzelanny had a 1.74 ERA and a 0.82 WHIP as the LOOGY. Joe Nathan had a 2.38 WHIP and a 1.22 WHIP. Joba Chamberlain had a 2.91 ERA, Angel Nesbitt had a 3.08 ERA, and Al-Al had a 4.58 ERA. Overall, that is a 2.90 ERA which was second in the AL to only the Oakland A’s.
These Tigers scored 407 runs in the first half of the season which was more than everyone else in the AL Central. That left the Tigers with a 47-42 record and a half game lead over the Cleveland Indians. The Kansas City Royals were in last place with a 36-52 record. Aren’t video games fun and realistic?
As we head toward the trade deadline, the Tigers definitely have a need for starting pitching. Tune in next week to see what happens down the stretch as the Tigers get healthy and try to make a stretch run to the playoffs and maybe even that elusive World Series Mr. I has tried so hard to win.
Next: Netting, Justin Verlander's bad luck, Tigers' great radio duo