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SMOOV SIMULATIONS: 1966 Yankees vs. 1990 Yankees (Game 3)
With the 2011 MLB season a mere three weeks away, I thought it would be the perfect time to break out the simulations yet again. These simulations come courtesy of the talented folks at WhatIf Sports — be sure to check out their SimMatchup and SimLeague features, and input your own simulated games. For this installment, I’m jumping the shark a bit and pitting the 1966 and 1990 Yankees against each other. You may remember these teams because they were the last two Yankee teams to finish last in the league/division. This series features Hall-of-Famers Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford, former home-run champ Roger Maris and former AL MVP Don Mattingly approaching the twilight of their careers. Combine this with the other random players on each team, and you have a recipe for an interesting series.
If there’s any good to being down 0-2 in a seven-game series, it’s that you go home to the comfort of your home fans and have a chance to shift the momentum to your side. This is where the 1990 Yankees found themselves as they sent Dave Lapoint to the bump in Game 3 against Al Downing, who looked to push the ’90 squad further onto the brink of elimination. Neither pitcher was stellar but Downing fared much better in the 19-4 blowout win for the ’66 team, throwing seven innings and allowing four earned runs on four hits. Lapoint couldn’t make it out of the 4th inning, allowing six earned runs on seven hits. Even with this abysmal effort it was not the worst performance of the night. Alan Mills was roughed up for a whopping TEN earned runs in 4 1/3 IP, allowing seven walks and throwing more pitches (119) than Downing (113 in 7 IP).
For the second straight game, Roger Maris paced the offense with a monster game. The two-time MVP tallied four hits, including 2 home runs, and six RBIs. The rest of the ’66 Yankees fell in line: Mickey Mantle and Joe Pepitone added home runs of their own, and four different players (Bobby Richardson, Maris, Pepitone and Elston Howard) collected four hits each to account for the 24-hit attack. In contrast, Stump Merrill’s team looked anemic yet again at the plate in mustering just four hits. One can only look at the box score to wonder why the ’90 Yankees have fallen behind 3-0 in this best-of-seven simulated series.
After three games the 1990 Bombers find themselves in desperation mode, facing a deficit that is nearly impossible to come back from (don’t you dare mention that digital year). Can they respond and force a fifth game? Or will the 1966 Yankees finish what they started and complete the sweep? Come back tomorrow to find out!