The HB2 Projection System: Australia Opener

Sydney Cricket Ground, former home of the 49ers

In less than a month, the Diamondbacks and Dodgers will be squaring off in Australia. Using an old video game, we determine how it will go. Spoiler: Not well.

(All images can be clicked on to make bigger in a new window or tab)

You may recall back in January I took the 1989 Accolade Computer Game Hardball II and plugged the Diamondbacks into its built-in team editor, then played them against one of the pre-build teams in the game. The Diamondbacks came away with a 1-0 win on a Paul Goldschmidt Home Run.

This time through, I took the time to plug in the probable lineup and pitching staff for the Los Angeles Dodgers for the season opener in Australia. I put in last year's stats for their position players and pitchers, save for Alexander Guerrero, who has not played in a major league game yet, I used his CAIRO projection.

The pitching matchup was Patrick Corbin against Hyun-Jin Ryu (Since Grenkie is hurt and there's rumblings that the Dodgers won't bring Kershaw). The lineups were as follows:


Basically the standard lineup. Put Didi in against the lefty because why the hell not?


My best guess as to a Dodger lineup with Matt Kemp still hobbled.

You may notice that the D'Backs are the away team here, when in reality they will be the home team for both Australia games. This is solely because in Hardball II the home team always wears blue and the away team always wears red, and it would have been REALLY confusing considering the teams involved.

The part of the Sydney Cricket Ground was played by Candlestick Park in San Francisco. The parks available in Hardball II are a generic one (used in the last game I posted here), Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Kaufman Stadium, Wrigley Field, Candlestick, and The SkyDome (now Rogers Centre) It was basically picked at random through me holding down the down arrow key with my eyes closed and letting it cycle through a few times until I let go of the key and settling on what it landed on.

I also took control of the Diamondbacks with the AI playing the Dodgers, because it's more fun that way.


Away we go!


Martin Prado gets a one-out walk in the top of the first, this is noteworthy because it's REALLY hard to walk or strikeout in this game.


That walk led to nothing, and the Dodgers came up in the bottom of the inning. Corbin got through the inning unscathed.

Remember how I said it was hard to strike out?


Mark Trumbo delivers!


Much has been made (rightfully so) about Didi Gregorius and his struggles against left handed pitching. Well, here he is getting a hit of Ryu, so it's all fine.


One of the AI quirks in Hardball II reared its head in the above screenshot. Ryu hits a soft grounder to the right side, and Aaron Hill decides that covering second base is more important than, you know, actually fielding the ball. Ryu is on with a single.

But Hill's mental error can be avoided, it's not like Yasiel Puig will get a single and bring up Carl Crawford to...


Aw, dammit.


He flies out to Pollock to end the threat, so no harm, no foul.

13_-_prado_doubles_medium |

And here we have Martin Prado leading off the fourth with a double! We are in buisness! However, Goldy and Trumbo got outs without advancing the runner, which left it up for Hill. He smashes one towards center... It gets down! Andre Ethier cuts it off, and tries to fire it towards home with Prado racing there and Prado is.......... OUT?

No, really that happened. Here's a screenshot


The white arrow points towards where the ball is at the time (It's in the process of leaving Ethier's arm, so it's heading home). The yellow arrow is where Prado was at the time. Basically, Ethier is on drugs to be able to make that throw. I don't mean your standard steroids, greenies, or HGH. He has found all of the PCP in the world, and has taken it, and his arm is now weaponized.

The downside, of course, is that Andre thinks he's a badger right now, and that he must save the Queen from the Space Monsters, who all look like Humphrey Bogart wearing leotards painted like the Welsh flag.

Basically: This projection system suggests that this year, Andre Ethier will be tripping balls.

(The real reason why that happened: All throws in Hardball II made while fielding do not hit the ground at all. There are variables to adjust for running speed, and a high number of errors inputted will make a fielder bobble the ball or throw off line, but it will never bounce, even from the warning track to home plate, and they will all be bullets. So that's what happened.)

The score remained tied at 0-0.


Both teams went through the fifth without anything happening. Everything went a bit... wrong in the sixth. It starts with the above Carl Crawford double.


But Hanley Ramirez doubles as well to bring Crawford home, because Trumbo has not subjected his body to all sorts of bad substances. This made it 1-0 LA. Still could limit the damage, though, just gotta get outs. Hey, Adrian Gonzalez hits grounder to the right side and...


DAMMIT HILL, SECOND IS NOT THAT IMPORTANT, GET THE OUT. Ramirez scored on that play and made it 2-0.

Time to get the bullpen ready!


Left Corbin in for one more batter, and this screenshot is part of what happened. Basically, when fielding in Hardball II, it gives you control of the closest fielder and you manipulate it from there. It can change the fielder as the ball moves. On this play, Juan Uribe bunted, and I had control of Miguel Montero at first, and I hit the Up arrow to charge towards the ball and get the out. However, the bunt moved up enough that control was given to Patrick Corbin, but I still had the up arrow mashed down so Corbin started to just meander up to second base and Montero stopped. Then as that happened, and as I was trying to hit down to get Corbin to field the ball, control was given to Montero, while I had the down arrow pressed and.. well Uribe was safe. Bases loaded and no outs.


Brad Ziegler brought into the game to stem the bleeding and...


Well, crap.


That was the extend of all the weirdness, but the Dodgers lead 4-0.


Nothing for the D'Backs in the top of the seventh. Will Harris came in to pitch. How would he do?




Harris' spot came in the next half inning, and I wanted to pinch hit for him, since that makes sense to do. However, the following people were the only options that came up when I wanted to sub.


Ha ha, the game likes to think that you can only sub pitchers for pitchers. However, I found a way around it.


Yep, I briefly changed Miggy's position to Pitcher, and then subbed in Cody Ross to pinch hit and play Catcher, as far as the game was concerned. Nothing came of that, so it was all a bunch of meh. J.J Putz pitched a perfect eighth inning to bring up the last chance to somehow get 7 on the board.


Despite Kenley Jansen being in the bullpen that last screenshot, Brian Wilson, sans federal watch list beard, came in to mop things up.


Prado doubled and Goldschmidt singled for first and third with one out! Oooh, exciting!


Mark Trumbo gets a single to score Prado and the Diamondbacks will not be shut out. Small victories!

Aaron Hill came up with at least a chance to make up for his defensive... whatever the hell that was. And he delivered!


Three run dinger! Now it was 7-4 and technically a save situation!


Paco Rodriguez came in the game to face two lefties in a row in Montero and Parra. He got Miggy to line out.


But Parra singled!


This brought up Didi with two outs. I decided that a computer game only two years younger than I am would know what platoon splits are and so I pinch hit Chris Owings.


Another unrealistic facet of this game: Gerardo Parra stealing a base successfuly.

Owings got a pitch and drove it to center. Andre Ethier, thinking the ball was a flying Lamborghini made out of pickles, ran towards it and.....


Welp. The Dodgers celebrate by just walking off the field. So unrealistic. I mean, I just wanna see what Ethier does.

So what can we decipher from this totally accurate projection system?

- The Dodger starting pitching is really good, but their bullpen can be dented

- Aaron Hill will not have a great defensive season, as he will always want to go towards second off contact. The team will have to work on that.

- I'm afraid to simulate the Trevor Cahill - Dan Haren grudge match

- If you're in Tempe and run into Andre Ethier's supplier (Because he went to Arizona State. Bet you didn't know that!), give him a wide berth. You do not want to mess with him.

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