The 2020 season didn’t start any better than the 2019 season ended for Cincinnati Reds reliever Raisel Iglesias.

Iglesias surrendered a tie-breaking solo home run to St. Louis’ Kolten Wong in the top of the ninth inning, and then Cardinals reliever Giovanny Gallegos retired the Reds in order in the bottom of the ninth to earn the save and preserve the 4-3 victory for the visitors.

That was the result today as Strat-O-Matic games of Glen Head, N.Y., began its announced plan to simulate the entire 2020 Major League Baseball season on a day-by-day basis for as long as actual gameplay is on hold.

Here is a portion of the box score provided by Strat-O-Matic:

Click the adjacent box score screenshot for a more extensive box score (one that was taller than my ability to capture a screenshot allowed). See the recap of the highlights of the entire simulated March 26 MLB schedule.

Strat-O-Matic has been in the sports simulation business since the 1960s. A USA Today article published today contained this explanation:

Strat-O-Matic and other baseball simulations use statistics from the previous season to create “cards” for each player on a roster. The team managers select the batting order and the starting pitcher. From there, a series of dice rolls and calculations determines the outcome of each at-bat.

Strat-O, as it’s known to longtime players, first gained its immense popularity as a board game. The company has since expanded to a downloadable Windows version and one that’s played online. A few years ago, it introduced Baseball Daily – a new iteration that combined the player cards from the previous season with statistics from the real season being played at the same time.

Unlike many video games, the Strat-O-Matic results are based on algorithms that account for players’ actual past performance. It’s not a game played with a joystick that relies more on the skill of the person with the video game controller in his or her hand.

For the Reds, Shogo Akiyama’s fifth-inning home run drove in two runs as part of a three-run frame that broke a scoreless tie. After that home run, Joey Votto reached base (presumably by a walk) and then scored on an RBI hit by second baseman Mike Moustakas.

However, Reds pitching could not hold that lead. Luis Castillo came out for the sixth, but failed to retire a batter, allowing two St. Louis runs in that frame before being relieved by Pedro Strop. Michael Lorenzen allowed the tying run to score in the eighth before Iglesias came on in the ninth.

The game simulation does not account for players who are currently recovering from actual injuries and whose status would have been questionable had the season actually begun today. Eugenio Suarez started at third base, hitting a double and making a fielding error. Nick Senzel pinch-hit in the ninth but did not reach base.

Shortstop Freddy Galvis was the only Red with more than one hit, going 2-for-4. Lorenzen had a triple in his only at-bat.

The simulation software will keep comprehensive statistics for all teams for the season, so we’ll be able to track year-to-date leaders in many statistical categories. You can follow the season at Strat-O-Matic.com, where they plan to post the results from each day’s schedule at 2 p.m. Eastern time.

What I expect to learn is what effect the additions of Akiyama, Moustakas, Nick Castellanos and Wade Miley might have on a Reds team in a game based on 2019 statistics. The Cubs, Brewers and Cardinals teams will reflect the notable players who have been removed from their respective 2019 rosters.

Please let us know in the comments below your thoughts on whether you’d like Redleg Nation to cover these results on a daily basis, or perhaps a weekly basis (one wrapup), or not at all. We want to give our readers the content that they’re looking for during these difficult times and at all times. Let us know!

If you have not seen it yet, please check out Wesley Jenkins’ randomized simulation initiative.

The 2020 schedule as currently constituted has the Reds off tomorrow, and they will resume the three-game series at GABP against the Cardinals on Saturday.

23 Responses

  1. Mark Elliott

    Biggest problem here… Attendance!

    • Doug Gray

      That’s what I said!

      When they released the game today, Tom and I were looking at it and I said “that looks about right, except for the attendance!”

      • JayDubz

        Clearly they’re accounting for social distancing.

  2. Sliotar

    Thanks, Tom. Nice summary.

    Iglesias HR-allowed decides game…now we are simulating.

    Only one pinch hitter for Reds … no defensive-minded switches, no attempts at platoon advantage? In a one-run game, after the top of the 6th?

    Strat-O-Matic isn’t (yet) fully replicating Bell’s managing. (LOL).

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Strat-O-Matic does not simulate managerial styles. 😉 They have some algorithms that dictate some changes, such as a pitcher’s fatigue (pitch count). To my knowledge, these games are being played by their automated computerized game module. A few years back, I signed up with Strat-O-Matic for an online league in which members had to draft players and set daily lineups. After that was done, Strat-O-Matic just turned on the computer, and everything was automated from there until final score.

    • Don

      agree, 5 pitching changes and no double switch done. Unless Bell is going to do a 180 degree turn from 2019 in managerial style no where close to a real game managed by David Bell.

  3. Steve Schoenbaechler

    Interesting. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around all of this stuff.

  4. Rut

    Strat O Matic has hated us for years…

  5. Steve Schoenbaechler

    Bummer. I’m watching Fox Sports Ohio. We won today. (Well, it was last years opening day)

  6. TBD

    Fake Baseball
    🙂

    But, I still took 5 minutes out of my day to read it over and the comments.
    I guess I have a sad life 🙁

    • Doug Gray

      Right now I think that last sentence applies to just about all of us, TBD.

  7. Jo

    Stat-o-matic didn’t take into account Joey Randa magic. We would of won!

  8. Gonzo Reds

    Castillo still opening day starter I see, imagine Gray will go on Friday. Castillo 5 BB and just 3 K’s? Don’t buy it! Interesting the order of bringing in the RP’s, wonder how they determine that.

    • Gonzo Reds

      Also wondering what they put in for Akiyama’s stats since he played in Japan last year?

  9. AnnapolisReds

    I love it, keep covering it daily!

    • Adam

      Should have tried SBS Baseball by Dave Schmidt. That “Joey Votto reached base (presumably by a walk)” would not have been guesswork.

  10. Lawrence Turner

    Fake news alert!

    The reds defeated the cards by a score of 6 to 3 in ten innings. Kyle Farmer came off the bench to deliver an inside the park homer with two outs. His line drive into right center took a strange bounce and rolled all the way to the wall clearing the bases.

    Greg Lorenzen was the winner having pitched two perfect innings and retiring all six batters he faced with two strikeouts.

    Alex Blandino started at short stop and reached base four times with two singles and two walks. He also made a diving snare of a line drive hit by aMolina in inning four for the final out.

    Joey Votto had a bunt single to lead off inning seven, but he was stranded. He also displayed a crouched batting stance and choked up halfway on the bat.

    When asked the reds manager had no comment.