OOTP 21: April 24, 2020 – Pirates 4, Dodgers 3 – Virtual sign stealing

Fresh off of a three-game winning streak against the Pittsburgh Pirates with Dustin doing the recaps last week, the Los Angeles Dodgers decided to annoy me again as they blew a one-run lead with literally Caleb Ferguson closing the game.

And it is a shame this is a simulation with no video of the meltdown, because it sure reads like one for the ages. The box score shows Ferguson with just five pitches, so Guillermo Heredia apparently connected for a walk-off homer on the first pitch of his at-bat after coming in cold off the substitution menu and driving home Jacob Stallings, who walked on four pitches. This allowed the win probability chart to do its best impression of the recent stock market movement (actually, Monday’s oil price is probably the better joke).

We did a lot of things right,” said Heredia, who clearly took sign stealing a step further as they programed Dave Robots to put Ferguson in with the binary code for four straight balls followed by two mouse clicks to signal a change-up.

Why would the 12-14 Pirates feel the need to cheat in an April simulation game? I don’t have the answer, but I hope we can get to the bottom of it.

So while MLB is still holding onto the results of the Reality Boston Red Sox investigation last I checked (Note: Nevermind, they did it after I wrote this but I don’t want to change this now), I am calling for a new investigation into the Simulation Pittsburgh Pirates and what mechanisms they may have in place at PNC Park. Hopefully Rob Ot Manfred takes this more seriously than he has in the past.

Now, getting back to the game’s results. I’m not actively tracking the Dodgers’ record in Walker Buehler’s fake starts, but this doesn’t feel like the first time Los Angeles wasted an excellent outing by their young starter. Working through 8 innings on 97 pitches, Buehler allowed two runs on six hits and a pair of walks. Bryan Reynolds drove home both of the Pirates’ runs against Buehler, first with a solo shot in the fourth and then a two-out single in the sixth.

After striking out seven, Buehler handed the ball over to Ferguson. With Buehler taking away the eighth from Ferguson, Doc-Bot apparently decided he had to make sure Ferguson got some kind of work.

The Dodgers found themselves just three outs from victory with the ball in Fake Ferguson’s ever unreliable hands thanks to a seventh-inning error by Adam Frazier on a ball hit by Buehler. Will Smith scored his second run of the day on the play to give Los Angeles a 3-2 lead. Earlier on in the game, a two-run dong by Gavin Lux, his fifth of the simulation, brought home Smith in the fifth. However, the three runs and six hits was all the Dodgers (15-11) could push across against Chris Archer and a trio of relievers for the Pirates (12-14).

As a result of the lack of offensive support, Ferguson entered the game with little room for error but still immediately walked Stallings to open the ninth. Heredia then stepped to the plate as a pinch hitter, sent there by clearly cheating first-year Pirates manager Derek Shelton, and connected for the 4-3 victory.

There wasn’t much else to take away from the game, but Matrix Muncy struck out three times and the Dodgers did so 11 times as a team.

(Another Note: The definition of “matrix” includes “a rectangular array of quantities,” so that sounds like Muncy to me.)

Clayton Kershaw will face Joe Musgrove in Saturday’s game at PNC Park, the same matchup from last Sunday’s game in which the Dodgers needed a late home run by Code Bellinger to come away with the victory. 

About Cody Bashore

Cody Bashore
Cody Bashore is a lifelong Dodger fan originally from Carpinteria, California (about 80 miles north of Dodger Stadium along the coast). He left California to attend Northern Arizona University in 2011, and has lived in Arizona full-time since he graduated in 2014 with a journalism degree. He now works for the university’s athletics department after spending seven years with the local newspaper.