The American League and National League rosters are set for the 2015 All-Star Game to be played on July 14 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. The pundits have weighed in with their thoughts, but we decided to sim the game in Out of the Park Baseball 16 and get a glimpse of what might happen. The National League won a 10-inning thriller with a two-out walk-off hit by the Los Angeles Dodgers’ young phenom, Joc Pederson. Read on for all the details.
By the way, if you’re intrigued, OOTP 16 is 50% off now through July 15. For just $19.99, you can guide your favorite Major League Baseball team through unlimited seasons of championship chasing: Sign free agents, trade players, negotiate contract extensions, run the June draft, set lineups and your pitching assignments, call the shots from the dugout, and much more. The game is also an official Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball licensee, so you’ll enjoy authentic team and league logos all the way down through the minors.
The mobile version, MLB Manager 2015 for iOS and Android, is $1.99, or 60% off, for the All-Star break.
Now about the All-Star Game. We set up the National League and American League All-Star teams in OOTP 16 and accommodated the new rule that says pitchers can’t go more than an inning. Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox received the starting nod for the AL squad while the Washington Nationals’ Max Scherzer took the hill in the first inning for the NL team.
Since we had to set this simulation up well ahead of time to get this blog post ready, we had to guess certain things about the rosters, and we couldn’t use the new rule regarding pitchers being ineligible if they pitch the Sunday before the game, since we couldn’t know this far ahead who would be affected by that.
Scherzer has been dominant recently, but he was roughed up by the AL All-Stars when the third hitter he faced, Mike Trout, launched a three-run home run with none out in the top of the first. Scherzer then loaded the bases on two walks and a single before getting out of the inning without further damage, thanks to a home-to-first double play and a ground out.
Sale breezed through the bottom of the first and A.J. Burnett settled things down for the NL with a scoreless second inning. In the bottom of the frame, Paul Goldschmidt homered off Dallas Keuchel and Matt Holliday grounded into a run-scoring double play that cut the AL lead to 3-2. In the bottom of the fourth, Kris Bryant hit a solo homer off Darren O’Day to tie the game, and the next inning saw Johnny Peralta launch a two-run shot that put the NL in the lead, 5-3.
The home run hitting continued to thrill the crowd in the top of the sixth as Manny Machado put one over the fence against Gerrit Cole to pull the AL within a run. After a pair of singles, Michael Wacha relieved Cole and induced a ground out that ended the threat. The next inning, however, Wacha was still on the hill and surrendered a run as Jose Bautista singled in Jason Kipnis, who had doubled.
Tenth Inning Drama
The game was again tied, 5-5, and both teams traded scoreless frames until the fateful tenth inning, which saw Trevor Rosenthal take the hill for the NL. He sandwiched a pair of outs around two singles, but Brock Holt ran the count to 2-2 before delivering a run-scoring base hit that put the AL back on top, 6-5. Madison Bumgarner relieved Rosenthal and coaxed a lazy fly ball to end the inning.
In the bottom of the tenth, the AL put its fate in the hands of Chris Archer, who surrendered a lead-off base hit to A.J. Pollock but struck out Justin Upton. Yadier Molina then singled, advancing Pollock to third, and Anthony Rizzo smashed the first pitch he saw right at AL second baseman Jason Kipnis, who flubbed the grounder and allowed Pollock to score. Rizzo reached safely and Molina advanced to second as Kipnis could only shake his head at what might have been an inning-ending double play.
The next batter, Nolan Arenado, slammed the first pitch he saw too, launching it deep to the wall in right field. Bautista tracked it down for the catch, but Molina was able to tag up and advance to second. Joc Pederson then came to the plate for the NL and decided he wanted some of that first-pitch action too. He hit Archer’s first offering to Kipnis, who fielded it cleanly from deep in the infield but couldn’t get the throw to first baseman Mark Texeira before Pederson reached the bag and Molina crossed the plate.
Game over. The NL All-Stars walked off with a 7-6 victory, saddling Archer with the loss and a blown save for the AL while Bumgarner picked up the win.
Here’s the box score:
How will the actual All-Star Game compare to our simulation? We’ll find out on Tuesday.