In my quest to rebuild the 2006 Tampa Bay Devil Rays into at least a passable team in Baseball Mogul 2006, I made a lot of moves. How much did those moves actually improve the team's chances, however?
I decided since I can, I'd simulate the season 100 times just to see how things shake out. Gives us an idea of projecting things. But I got tired of waiting after 18 of the seasons, so I just stopped there. The average record for us was 76-86 and a fourth place finish ahead of Toronto. Well, that's a far cry from the actual 2006 Rays who went 61-101. Basically, I improved the team by about 15 wins. While that's not a great record, that's only 5 wins away from being a .500 team. A bit of luck and future roster tweaks, along with a breakout or two, could make us competitive.
Our actual season, however, got off to a rough start when Ryan Howard came up with a sore heel that will keep him out 4-5 games. Ugh. This would definitely take away our best bat.
Still, our first game of 2006 was AWESOME! Kevin Brown pitched a complete game shutout! Rocco Baldelli went 2-for-4. Julio Lugo had a couple hits, a stolen base and drove in a run. Mitch Melusky added a sacrifice fly and RBI.
In game two, Scott Kazmir got off to a bad start. He got killed for six runs. Jesis Colome came in and only gave up a homer in two innings. Rob Bell came in for 3 innings and have up only one other run. We lost 8-2. On the bright side, Carl Crawford stole second twice and third once, and Aubrey Huff hit a 2-run homer. Also, the bullpen was great, including Travis Harper's scoreless inning.
Game 3 had FELIX! Somewhat predictably he was good, 8 2/3 innings with 9 strikeouts and only 1 walk and seven hits. Dan Miceli got the final out. We won 5-1, with Carl Crawford and Aubrey Huff the stars of the offense.
I'm not too worried about that loss as Kazmir just had a bad start. The offense is putting the ball in play, we have speed, and Ryan Howard was still out. His presence will change the whole lineup, although Melusky has been fine at first base.
The next series was the Red Sox. Mark Hendrickson got smashed with back to back home runs from "BIG PAPI" David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. In the end, he got pulverized for 7 runs. I sort of expected that, but I wanted to give Mark a chance. Jesus Colome pitched very well again in relief. He may be getting in the rotation at some point. Rob Bell was really solid, too. Either could replace Hendrickson if he stunk the joint up again. We lost 9-3, but our offense kept chugging along.
Our next game featured Jason Hammel as our starting pitcher. We faced off against Talley Haines, who I'm pretty sure never made the MLB in "real life." Hammel is a pretty solid pitcher, but the Sox offense gave him trouble. On the other hand, Haines kept letting our guys get on base, but we weren't scoring. He held us to a single run for 6 innings. Hammel gave up 4 runs in 6 innings. JJ Putz came in and loaded the bases, but gave up no runs. We lost 4-2.
We lost the series, but now we had Howard back! We got to Matt Clement for 5 runs. Brown only gave up 3 runs in 8 innings. Dan Miceli saved it. Howard was only 1-for-5, but his hit mattered. We won 6-3.
So we started off 3-3. Two of those were against the powerful Sox offense. I'm OK with this start. We are competing at about the level to be expected with this current roster. But yeah, we can do better, and I'm sure we will.