Saturday, September 27, 2014

We've (kinda) made postseason baseball a thing in Philadelphia


By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
September 27 2014, 12:00PM EDT.
@Philabaseball

Meaningful October baseball likely won’t be a thing in Philadelphia for quite some time, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t have some postseason fun.

I reached out to the geniuses behind the best computer-simulation baseball game around, the folks at Diamond Mind Baseball, to simulate a full postseason using eight of the greatest teams in Philly history.


Since greatness is a subjective term, we’ve used a ranking system similar to the one used for our Power Poll to select the eight participating teams. Also, to keep with the spirit of American League versus National League, we’ve included four teams representing the Athletics from their time in Philadelphia. 

Our postseason tournament will progress along with the actual Major League Baseball playoffs with scores and game stories published every night.

The bracket is broken into two sides – the Mack Division and the Manuel Division. Today’s article looks at the Mack side, tomorrow we’ll look at the Manuel side.

No. 1 1929 Athletics (104-46) vs. No. 4 2008 Phillies (92-70)
Al Simmons | 1929 Philadelphia AthleticsThe 1929 Athletics enter the tournament as the top seed, ranking as the best major league club ever to have played in Philadelphia. Led by Al Simmons (.365, 34 HR, 157 RBIs) and Lefty Grove (20-6, 2.81 ERA), the Athletics won the American League pennant by an 18-game margin and went on to defeat the Chicago Cubs to win the World Series.   

The 2008 Phillies were a good team, but they weren't great. In fact, the club ranks just ninth best in franchise history. Led by Ryan Howard (.251, 48 HR, 146 RBIs) and Cole Hamels (14-10, 3.09 ERA), the club defeated Tampa Bay in the World Series and in doing so snapped a 28-year championship drought while securing the franchise’s second World Series title.

Ranking: The first number in parentheses is the club’s all-time ranking according to our Power Ranking formula – this ranking is out the more than 2,300 professional teams that have played since 1900. The second number is the team’s rank in franchise history | 1929 Athletics (11/1) vs. 2008 Phillies (381/9).

Team Wins Above Replacement: 1929 Athletics (30.8 Offense + 25.8 Pitching) 56.6 TEAM WAR | 2008 Phillies (29.1 Offense + 13.2 Pitching) 42.3 TEAM WAR

Pick: The 1929 Athletics are the much better team, but anything can happen in a five-game series. That said, I believe the ’29 A’s offense has too much firepower so I’m picking Connie Mack’s club to win in the series in four.  

Schedule | Probable Pitching Matchups:
Game 1, Thursday, October 2 at Shibe Park | Lefty Grove (20-6, 2.81) vs. Cole Hamels (14-10, 3.09)
Game 2, Friday, October 3 at Shibe Park | George Earnshaw (24-8, 3.29) vs. Jamie Moyer (16-7, 3.71)
Game 3, Sunday, October 5 at Citizens Bank Park | Brett Myers (10-13, 4.55) vs. T.B.A.
* Game 4, Monday, October 6 at Citizens Bank Park | Joe Blanton (4-0, 4.20) vs. T.B.A.
* Game 5, Wednesday, October 8 at Shibe Park | T.B.A. vs. T.B.A.

No. 2 2011 Phillies (102-60) vs. No. 3 1931 Athletics (107-45)
2011 Phillies | Roy HalladayLed by Roy Halladay (19-6, 2.35 ERA), Cliff Lee (17-8, 2.40 ERA) and Cole Hamels (14-9, 2.79) the 2011 Phillies boasted one of the best starting rotations ever assembled. Combined, starters finished the year with a 4.22 K/BB ratio, the best rate in baseball history. The club cruised into the postseason, but the offense fell silent against the eventual World Series champion Cardinals in the Division Series, prompting a disappointing playoff exit.  

The 1931 Athletics was Connie Mack’s last hurrah as manager of the club. The team finished 13.5 games ahead of the Yankees to clinch the American League pennant but fell to the Cardinals in seven games during the 1931 Fall Classic. Similar to the 1929 club, the ’31 Athletics were led by Al Simmons (.390, 22 HR, 128 RBIs) and Jimmie Foxx (.291, 30 HR, 120 RBIs). Lefty Grove also put together another stellar season, finishing 31-4 with a 2.06 ERA.

Ranking: The first number in parentheses is the club’s all-time ranking according to our Power 
Ranking formula – this ranking is out the more than 2,300 professional teams that have played since 1900. The second number is the team’s rank in franchise history | 2011 Phillies (131/2) vs. 1931 Athletics (40/4).

Team Wins Above Replacement: 2011 Phillies (16.7 Offense + 37.2 Pitching) 53.9 TEAM WAR | 1931 Athletics (30.5 Offense + 25.3 Pitching) 55.8 TEAM WAR

Pick: Of all the contests in the first round, I see this as the most intriguing. Here you have quite possibly the best pitching staff ever assembled facing off against an extremely dangerous offense. If the Phillies can contain Foxx and Simmons at the plate than I can see this series being short and in favor of the Phillies. If, however, Foxx and Simmons can string together some hits than I think this series can go either way. I’ll lean with the Phillies in five.   

Schedule | Probable Pitching Matchups:
Game 1, Thursday, October 2 at Citizens Bank Park | Roy Halladay (19-6, 2.35) vs. Lefty Grove (31-4, 2.06)
Game 2, Friday, October 3 at Citizens Bank Park | Cliff Lee (17-8, 2.40) vs. George Earnshaw (21-7, 3.67)
Game 3, Sunday, October 5 at Shibe Park | Rube Walberg (20-12, 3.74) vs. Cole Hamels (14-9, 2.79)
* Game 4, Monday, October 6 at Citizens Bank Park | T.B.A. vs. T.B.A.
* Game 5, Wednesday, October 8 at Shibe Park | T.B.A. vs. T.B.A.

- The Philadelphia Baseball Review is the top baseball news source in Philadelphia, providing news coverage and analysis of all things baseball in the Philadelphia region.

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