April 13 — Tides 4, Charlotte 3 (14)
A few thoughts on the Tides 4-3, fourteen-inning win over Charlotte last night:
- After about the eleventh inning, most baseball games deteriorate into a slow slog of pitching-and-defense domination. Last night, Matt Antonelli hit a game-tying two-run home run in the seventh inning. Charlotte had a great chance in the tenth, with runners on first and third with one out – but Jordan Danks tapped a grounder to the pitcher. Conor Jackson on third broke for home on contact and was retired easily, and Ray Olmedo lined out to end the inning. In the Tides’ eleventh, the first two batters reached based, but Scott Beerer made a terrible sacrifice bunt attempt that led to a 5-6-4 double play, runners out at third and first. Then almost nothing happened for almost the next three innings. Charlotte got two walks in the thirteenth, but nothing came of it, and the Tides were retired in order in the twelfth, thirteenth, and the first two batters in the fourteenth before John Hester hit a line drive that just cleared the left-field wall.
Thinking about it, it’s not surprising that pitching and defense take over. The batters are tired, overanxious, and frustrated. They overswing and under-execute. Meanwhile, the game is in the hands of the bullpen, with fresh pitchers coming in after two or three innings. The batters may not see the same pitcher twice. So we should expect long, extra-inning games to be boring.
- It’s not unusual for a runner on first to break for second while a pitcher is making a pickoff throw. Most of the time, the runner is caught stealing 1-3-6; sometimes the runner successfully steals second. Last night, two Charlotte runners were caught breaking for second on a pickoff, and each time they turned their break into a rundown. Not to any real end – there were no other runners on base, and the first was ultimately retired 1-3-6-1 and the second 1-3-6-1-4-2-3. We think.