Like many of our friends throughout the SB Nation network, we are simulating the 2020 MLB season with MLB The Show 20. While we are unable to stream the games as they would otherwise be happening (more details on that below), we will try to get ahead of the curve and post about the games on the same day they would have taken place. Now, onto the recap!
The Detroit Tigers kicked off the simulated season in style on Thursday, scoring four first inning runs against Cleveland Indians starter Shane Bieber en route to a 9-0 whitewashing at Progressive Field. Matthew Boyd tossed seven scoreless innings for the victory, while the Tigers offense hit five home runs in the blowout win.
The Tigers wasted no time getting to Bieber in the first. Victor Reyes punched the second pitch of the game into left-center for a double, and Cameron Maybin drew a five-pitch walk. Miguel Cabrera plated both runners with an opposite field double of his own to put the Tigers up 2-0. Bieber finally recorded his first out four batters in... but only after Christin Stewart singled down the right field line to score Cabrera. Stewart hesitated* coming around first, and was thrown out trying to stretch the play into a double. Niko Goodrum capped off the first inning scoring spree with a mammoth 434-foot home run to right field.
The Tigers added to their scoreline one run at a time after that, mostly via the long ball. Austin Romine hit a solo shot to left-center in the second, his first as a Tiger. Jeimer Candelario hit a long double to chase Bieber in the fifth, then later scored on a Maybin groundout. C.J. Cron opened his account with a pair of solo home runs, and Candelario added a homer of his own for good measure.
Meanwhile, Matthew Boyd was nearly untouchable on the mound for Detroit. He was rarely challenged, and allowed just two hits and a walk across seven innings of work. He struck out nine hitters, and generated plenty of weak swings along the way. Rony Garcia and Jose Cisnero combined for a pair of scoreless innings out of the bullpen to preserve the shutout.
*Those familiar with MLB The Show will realize that your esteemed content creator doesn’t know how to control multiple baserunners at once, leaving Stewart as a casualty for the Cabrera run.
The Tigers’ simulated lineup was as follows:
Victor Reyes - LF
Cameron Maybin - CF
Miguel Cabrera - DH
Christin Stewart - RF
Jonathan Schoop - 2B
Niko Goodrum - SS
C.J. Cron - 1B
Austin Romine - C
Jeimer Candelario - 3B
If the outfield looks strange, it’s because I forgot to change the positions before starting the game. Going forward, Reyes will be in center, with Maybin in right field and Stewart in left.
In terms of ordering the lineup, your esteemed manager went with Stewart in the cleanup spot to maintain balance between the right and left-handed bats in play. C.J. Cron’s ratings against right-handed pitching are also poor, despite the two home runs, and I have hit very well with Stewart in other game modes. Against lefties, I plan to flip Cron and Stewart in the lineup.
Opening Day roster
The lineup is posted above, but here is the rest of the Tigers’ simulated Opening Day roster.
Bench: Dawel Lugo, Grayson Greiner, JaCoby Jones, Jordy Mercer, Harold Castro
Rotation: Matthew Boyd, Daniel Norris, Spencer Turnbull, Jordan Zimmermann, Michael Fulmer (he’s healthy in the game, but I’ll defer to the comment section if you want me to roll with Ivan Nova for a while)
Bullpen: Joe Jimenez, Buck Farmer, Gregory Soto, Tyler Alexander, Jose Cisnero, Rony Garcia, Ivan Nova
About the simulation
As I mentioned on Twitter, I am unable to stream simulations or game play in real time like other SB Nation sites did on Thursday. We will try to play the games ahead of time so that these recaps can be posted at or around the scheduled start time for each game.
In terms of the gameplay, I have the franchise mode set to “dynamic” difficulty. We will experiment with this throughout the simulated season to hopefully offer some modicum of realism. I have found that I am much better at pitching than I am at hitting, so we may see another low-scoring game or two for Cleveland before things settle in (they deserve it anyway). If you want a more realistic result for your Opening Day festivities, check out Baseball Reference’s simulated box scores.
Want to join in on the fun? You can purchase MLB The Show 20 here.