World Series Recap! • Clutch “Polar Power” Online League

Clutch It Up™

The Polar Power season of the Official Clutch League is in the books, capped off with a Best of 5 World Series this week that proved to be a true test of strength between Batting and Hitting. The contenders? Ryan Matthews, the #2 ranked Clutch Manager in the world, faced off against #1 ranked James Rate in a battle of Clutch Baseball titans. Let’s take a look at what led them to the World Series, and what went down once they got there.

 

Ryan led his Michigan Bombers to a 13-7 first place finish with help from League MVP Anthony Rizzo, Ace pitcher Noah Syndergaard, Detroit Stadium, and a Clutch-heavy lineup of heavy hitters that included five League-voted Silver Slugger award winners. He then marched through a difficult playoff path that included the 12-8 Boston Clam Chowda and the 12-8 Virginia Neptunes. An offensive juggernaut, Ryan escaped the first two rounds with a 5-2 record and secured his first Clutch League World Series appearance.

 

James, manager of the defending Clutch “High Heat” League World Series winners the Arizona Shade, took an unorthodox approach to team-building this season by investing heavily in Pitching (featuring a rotation of 5 elite SP’s and Trevor Hoffman to close things out) while eschewing the traditionally sought after On-Base and Defense on the hitting side of things in lieu of more Home Run opportunities and lower salaries. The strategy paid off though, resulting in a 12-8 record and James’ third consecutive Clutch League playoff berth. His 9-game postseason win streak carried over from the previous season into this one, leading to 2-0 and 3-0 sweeps of the 13-7 Vermont Monarchs and the 12-8 St. Louis Dingoes, respectively.

 

Game 1: With home field advantage in Detroit Stadium, the Bombers hosted game one against the Shade with Noah Syndergaard toeing the rubber for Michigan against Arizona’s Pedro Martinez. The Bombers kicked off the scoring in the bottom of the third when, with two runners on, MVP Anthony Rizzo padded his resume with a three-run blast off of Pedro Martinez. The Shade responded with authority in the 5th when Joey Gallo hit a grand slam to take the lead, but the lead was short-lived as the Bombers immediately responded with 3 more runs in the bottom of the 5th. The Shade would go on to tie the game again at 6-6, but a Matt Wieters sealed the win for the Bombers with a solo shot in the 7th.

Final Score: Bombers 7, Shade 6

 

Game 2: In Philadelphia Stadium for game 2, Cy Young Winner Max Scherzer hosted the Bombers lineup of lefty power bats at home, and although he pitched 8 strong innings, a Robinson Cano single in the 3rd drove in the only two runs needed to give the Bombers the win. A Kyle Schwarber solo shot in the 6th tried to start a comeback against surprise hero Michael Fulmer, but no dice.

Final Score: Bombers 2, Shade 1

 

Game 3: On the road, on the brink of elimination, Corey Kluber put the Arizona Shade on his back and put on a pitching clinic for the ages. Over 9 innings, Kluber pitched a two-hit, one walk shutout against the Bombers, who managed to get just one of their three baserunners into scoring position. On the offensive side of things, a two-run homerun and an RBI single from Joey Gallo, along with an RBI double from Matt Olson, secured the win over Julio Teheran and kept Arizona’s playoff hopes alive.

Final Score: Shade 4, Bombers 0

 

Game 4: I don’t want to spoil how this one ends, but there isn’t a game 5 listed below, is there? In a crucial game 4 matchup on the road, the Bombers made regular-season juggernaut Chris Sale (of the ASG variety) look human again. The Shade lead off the scoring in the bottom of the first with a two-run Kyle Schwarber double against Michigan starter Andrew Triggs, which activated Philadelphia’s +1 to the Losing Team’s Swing effect for the Bombers. Bryce Harper responded with a solo homer of his own off of a rare Chris Sale mistake pitch in the 3rd, but the Shade would hold their 2-1 lead until the 8th. It was there that +3 Clutch superstar Chase Headley came through in Prime Time with a two-run Upper Decker that gave the Bombers a 3-2 lead. Hoping to make quick work of the deflated Shade in the bottom of the 8th, Aroldis Chapman may have been a bit too quick, as a haphazard pitch got taken deep by Joey Gallo, who tied up the game for Arizona. In a move that will be questioned by analysts for years to come, the Shade made the call to preserve their elite closer in case of extra innings, and Luis Avilan came in to relieve Sale. Eric Thames made Arizona pay dearly for that decision, sending an errant pitch deep and giving Michigan a one-run lead going into the bottom of the final frame. Despite Rougned Odor drawing a walk and moving into scoring position, pinch-hitter Maikel Franco failed to come through in the clutch, and struck out swinging to seal the deal and deliver the Bombers their first World Series championship.

Final Score: Bombers 4, Shade 3

 

The Michigan Bombers win the

Clutch “Polar Power” World Series!

 

Congratulations to Ryan Matthews, who in addition to appearances on the Bottom of the Clutch YouTube series and the Unofficial Clutch Baseball Podcast, will be receiving a custom Clutch jersey, a variety of Limited Edition cards, and will be working along with the runner-up of the World Series to create a small set of Limited Edition player cards for future use. We hope to see him return for next season’s Official Clutch League to defend his championship against a variety of new and returning managers!

 

If you are interested in competing in a future Clutch league online, we invite you to fill out this survey and submit your name and contact information. As new leagues form, we will follow up here and on Reddit with more details, and reach out to respondents directly. The Clutch community is growing larger and larger, and we’re excited to share more exciting moments of gameplay with each and every one of you!

 

 

Click here to view the Official Clutch Manager Ratings

 

Click here to view the 2018 Official Clutch “Polar Power” League Final Standings

 

See below for a list of the 2018 Official Clutch “Polar Power” League Award Winners

 

Tyler Skaggs was robbed.

James Rate
Bug me at...

James Rate

Long-time player, former Official Clutch League champion, and new Clutch Baseball Community Director!
James Rate
Bug me at...