Results tagged ‘ extra-inning games ’
Last night, at the Tides-Rochester game, the wind was blowing out to left field at double-digit mph speed. So, naturally, when Matt Carson, the second Rochester batter in the first inning, hit a home run to left-center field, the official scorer Mike commented that that wasn’t going to be the last home run of the game hit to left field.
Wrong. The Tides tied the game in the bottom of the second, and then neither team scored until the fifteenth inning. Rochester’s Chris Parmelee hit a bases-loaded double off the left-field wall, and the Red Wings won, 4-1.
Even though it was a 1-1 game through fourteen innings, it wasn’t as difficult to watch as it could have been. Most important, the game took only 3:51 to play. Pro-rated to nine innings, that’s a 2:16 pace. We enjoy fast-moving games more than slow-moving ones. It moved quickly because there were 110 total plate appearances, which meant that each half-inning featured fewer than four batters on the average.
While it may be needless to say it, I will say that there were many unusual occurrences in the quickness-of-batter-outcome category, particularly in the extra innings:
- Tides reliever Zach Phillips worked his first three innings using only eighteen pitches, four of which were intentional balls.
- In the fourteenth inning, Phillips retired the side on only five pitches – with a strikeout.
- The Tides went through twelve batters – the eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, and the first two batters in the fourteenth – without a batter reaching a count containing both a ball and a strike. Each batter either put the first pitch in play, or the non-in-play pitches were either all balls or all strikes.
- In doing my pitch-by-pitch datacasting, almost all of the pitches not in play are coded as regular balls, called strikes, swinging strikes, or regular fouls, although there are many other codes for unusual results. In a three-batter stretch, there were nine pitches. Two were put in play, and none of the other seven was a “normal” result – four intentional balls, two foul bunts, and a pitchout.
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.