If you’ve been an OTM reader for a long time, you likely know about my affinity for Out of the Park Baseball, a text-based simulation game. Prior to every season, we run a season-long sim right before Opening Day to see what the game sees in the future. It’s typically reasonably accurate, though obviously not totally so. This year, for example, they were short just a couple of wins, having projected Boston for 88 wins, but they did see a playoff berth.
So I went back to OOTP for another simulation to get an unofficial prediction from the game for the Wildcard Game. OOTP offers a Live Start option, meaning we could load up the game on today with rosters and ratings reflecting how things currently stand here in the real world. And as you can see from above, the Red Sox won. In fact, you can be extra confident because I ended up having to run the simulation three times. The first time, I forget to get José Iglesias off the roster, and the second time because I forgot to enable game logs. The third time I got everything settled, and Boston won, just as they had in those two previous attempts. Here’s how they won the third, which is our official unofficial prediction.
Just as is the case here in our real world, both Boston and New York had their aces on the mound, and it was actually Nathan Eovaldi getting into the initial trouble. He had to work around a leadoff triple in the first, and then two singles and a walk in the second to put Boston in an early 1-0 hole. But after those two innings, he got through three more scoreless ones, though it was never entirely easy for him. Still, five innings with just one run against him? We will take that every time in a game like this.
But one the other side, the Red Sox had trouble getting going against Cole. They stranded two in the first, went down in order in the second and third, and then stranded two more in the fourth. That meant they were still trailing heading into the fifth, but this is where the game turned. Four of the first five batters they sent to the plate in that inning hit singles, plating three runs and putting Boston up by three. Rafael Devers, the last batter Cole would face, stuck the dagger in the Yankees ace with an RBI double, giving Boston a 4-1 lead.
At this point, Adam Ottavino came out for the sixth, and in realistic Ottavino fashion he didn’t make it easy. He retired two of the first three batters he faced with a walk worked in there, but then Rougned Odor came up and hit a monster 449-foot home run to bring New York to within a run. Ottavino then gave up a double and another walk before Eduardo Rodriguez came on and successfully worked out of the jam to keep the lead.
Rodriguez had another scoreless inning in him as well before Garrett Whitlock came on in the eighth, the score still 4-3. He worked around a leadoff single to maintain that score, and then the offense added big insurance with a two-run homer from Alex Verdugo in the ninth. That was more than enough for Whitlock, who struck out two in a perfect ninth to end this game and advance the Red Sox by a score of 6-3.
For what it’s worth, the sim then had the Red Sox losing to the Rays in four in the ALDS, with Tampa Bay ultimately going on to beat the Brewers in the World Series in seven games.
But for this game, they see a win, and I think we’d like that outcome.