Virtual Ray-ality?

In advance of the 2008 American League Championship Series, which opens Friday night at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., ran a simulation using 2K Sport’s MLB 2K8 on the xBox 360 console to see how a virtual series might play out. Click on the video above to watch highlights from Game 1, which featured the Rays rallying from an early deficit behind a three-run seventh inning outburst to emerge with a 3-1 triumph over the Boston Red Sox.

How did the rest of the series play out? Follow the “full entry” link below to find out.

Despite stacking up 10 hits in Game 1, the Red Sox settled for their lone run on a second-inning homer by Jason Bay. With one out, Bay jumped on a changeup and sent it careening off the foul pole in left field for a 1-0 advantage.
Daisuke Matsuzaka carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning (Cliff Floyd broke it up with a two-out, opposite-field double to left) and a shutout into the seventh before encountering turbulence. Loading the bases (Hey, this thing really is lifelike!) with one out in the bottom of the seventh, Matsuzaka surrendered a sacrifice fly to Carlos Pena, allowing the Rays to tie the game. Rookie Evan Longoria followed with a two-out shot to the gap in right-center, plating Akinori Iwamura and B.J. Upton to put Tampa Bay on top, 3-1.
James Shields worked 7 1/3 innings, scattering eight hits and striking out seven. He fanned his last batter of the night — David Ortiz — before Dan Wheeler and J.P. Howell bridged the gap to closer Troy Percival.
The Sox had a chance to tie the game in the ninth as singles by Jason Bay and Jed Lowrie (team-high three hits) put runners on the corners with two outs, but Jason Varitek flied to right to end the game.
The rest of the ALCS didn’t get much better for the Sox.
The Rays took both games at Tropicana Field, but Boston rebounded at Fenway Park with back-to-back wins in Game 3 and 4 from Jon Lester and Tim Wakefield to even the series.
Tampa Bay roughed up Matszuaka in Game 5 and ultimately closed out the series with a win at home in Game 6 (with Beckett as the Sox’ starter). The Rays won the best-of-seven series, 4 games to 2, and advanced to the World Series.
How we did it: With permission from 2K Sports, video game junkie Chris Forsberg set up a simulation between the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays on the xBox 360 console. The latest rosters were downloaded from 2K Sports’ servers and all pertinent changes were made to each team’s roster (including lining up the proper rotations for the playoffs).
The xBox 360 version allows a computer vs. computer option, so a human player did not control a team at any time. Only one single simulation was attempted per game in the best-of-seven series and footage was recorded for inclusion online. Additional simulations could produce different results.
Want more?: Check out our Patriots’ posteason simulations utilizing EA Sports’ Madden 2008, including our take on Super Bowl XL II (Hint: It turned out better for Pats’ fans than the actual Super Bowl). You can also watch our Celtics-Lakers simulation, that accurately predicted the Green would capture banner No. 17 this past June.

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