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Begin season and play the first game
In the first installment, I started a new 2011 season and took over the Boston Red Sox. I showed you around the game and set up my team in preparation for Opening Day.
Now, I will begin my season and play out the first game in Texas.

The real Boston Red Sox lost their first 3 games in Texas, so let's see if I can guide my Red Sox to a better start.

Above is the Home Screen from last time. As you can see, my first game is tomorrow, so I just tap "Finish Today" on the right side.

The game simulates the day and now I, one day later, I have the option to play out my game.

After tapping "Play at Texas," I come to a screen where I can set some options. I could let the CPU handle parts (or all) of my job, I can decide between full Play by Play (PbP) detail or just one line describing the play, and I can set how fast the text should be presented.

I want to make all my own managerial decisions, so I leave those settings on the defaults. I do the same with the PbP detail. The Play by Play database in iOOTP Baseball 2011 is rich and varied, so it's a lot of fun to follow the detailed descriptions while managing my club. It's like listening to a radio or TV announcer call the action.

Next, the starters for today's game:

For me, lefty Jon Lester takes the mound against Brandon Webb.

On the last screen I get to set my lineup:

I prepared the lineup during my last article, so I can just move on to the game. iOOTP uses the preset lineups you created before the season starts, but sometimes you might want to shuffle your players if you want to give someone the day off or if you're looking to shake a sleepy offense out of its doldrums.

Now it's time to play ball!

Now let's take a look around the game screen. On top you always see the most important information: the score, base runners, outs, and the inning. The bottom bar has all the buttons necessary to play out a game:

Quickplay lets you jump ahead a half inning or an inning, or you can just finish the game.

Swing (it reads Pitch when you're on defense) starts the at-bat; with my first batter up and the bases empty, I'll tap it to get the action started.
Strategies gives you such options as steal a base or put on a hit-and-run, and the baseball field icon lets you switch to different views. We'll get to those buttons in a moment.

That's the first part of the Play by Play text, giving you some basic information about the game. Then Ellsbury leads off with …

... a line drive single to right, and my leadoff man is on base!

Take a look at the new situation: Ellsbury on first base, Pedroia at bat. Ellsbury is fast and a good base stealer (Speed 20, Stealing 20) and the Texas catcher has only an average arm (Catcher Arm 9). See the screenshot:

Let me show you more options you have: the middle part of the screen is used to display different views you can switch between. The default is the Field View, on which you can see the batter, pitcher, defense and base runner, with the most important ratings displayed. Long-time OOTP players will recognize this view.

I want to put pressure on the pitcher early and try to steal second base, but first I want to check the pitcher's ability to hold runners. To do so, I switch the view to Batter/Pitcher by tapping the baseball field icon at the bottom of the screen and selecting that option.

Note that this menu also lets you view the team rosters, the scoreboard and next three batters due up, the in-progress box score, and basic information about both teams (the number of available pinch hitters and pitchers, as well as basic team stats). From Field View, you can tap any player's name and see basic information about him, including his biographical details, ratings overview, and stats from the past three seasons.

However, you'll want to use the Batter/Pitcher screen to see more in-depth ratings for both players, which will give you better information for making decisions.

As you can see, Webb has a Hold rating of 9, which is average. I will take my chances. To order the base runner to try a steal, I switch back to Field View (you can use any view you want when executing decisions; I just use the Field View most of the time) and tap Strategies:

You can see the different options you have above. I tap Steal 2nd Base ...

... and Ellsbury is out at second base. Texas had a feeling I might try that, so they called for a pitch-out, which gave their catcher with an average arm a much better chance at throwing out Ellsbury, despite his speed. Now I have one out and Pedroia is still at bat.

I will finish my offensive half inning and welcome you back when Boston takes the field ...

As you can see, nothing more happened: after Ellsbury was caught stealing, Webb retired the next two batters. Now Lester is on the mound, so let's check out your options on defense. In iOOTP Baseball 2011, you can set your defense separately for the infield ...

and the outfield ...

You can position your defense according to the current situation. Is it a close game with a runner on third? Bring the infield and outfield in to defend against the run at home plate. Are you facing bases loaded with one out? Set your infield at normal depth for your best shot at a double play. Have a hunch that the next batter will try to lay down a sacrifice bunt? Bring in your first or third baseman, or both of them.

Those are the basics of managing, so I'll continue my game and check back in when it's done…

Wow, what a game! I took an early 1-run lead in the second inning, but Texas came back in the 4th with 2 runs and added another in the 8th inning. Up by 2 runs in the top of the ninth inning, Texas brought O`Day in to close the game, but my batters got the best of him and I was able to score 3 runs to take the lead! Looking to seal a stunning come-from-behind victory in the bottom of the ninth, I brought in my closer, Papelbon, to finish the game and he delivered a strong 1-2-3 inning with 2 strikeouts. Take a look at the box score, which scrolls so you can view all the information:

Part 2:

Part 3:

That was a nice way to start the season: an exciting Opening Day victory that should provide some nice momentum.