Esoteric Boxscore of the Day

October 19, 2005

Probability, Shmobability!

As many others, I'm sure, after watching Game 5 of the NLCS, I flashed back to another LCS Game 5 with a team one strike away from their first World Series. As unlikely as this year's outcome was, I think the following one was even more so.

October 12, 1986
ALCS Game 5
Boston 7, California 6, 11 innings
BOS   0  2  0    0  0  0    0  0  4    0  1  -   7 12  0
CAL 0 0 1 0 0 2 2 0 1 0 0 - 6 13 0
Today's Boxscore

The Angels were sitting pretty. Just the day before, they'd overcome a three-run ninth-inning deficit to win Game 4 and take a commanding three-games-to-one lead in the 1986 ALCS. And here they were, with their own ninth-inning, three-run lead, thanks in part to Boston center fielder Dave Henderson turning an out into a two-run homer. Now is when you start thinking, what are the chances that they could actually blow this?

According to the awesome Win Expectancy Finder, which uses game data from 1979-1990, the chances were small. Reeeallly small. The Angels had a 97.9% chance of winning, meaning that if they replayed the ninth inning 48 times, they would win the game, on average, 47 times. But California was no "average" team. Going back seven seasons, to 1980, California had been 288-1 when leading by three or more runs after eight, including 72-0 with exactly a three-run lead!! (Ironically, the only ninth-inning, multi-run comeback the '86 Angels allowed was in the first week of the season against (of course) Dave Henderson’s Mariners.)

And the Red Sox weren't exactly experienced at this, either, The '86 crew entered the ninth inning at least three runs down 53 times and never won. In fact, Boston had lost 113 of these games in a row, dating back to their last such win in August of 1984. And in 1986, in the late innings (seventh through ninth), the Sox generated only 23 three-plus run rallies in 436 turns at bat.

So when California relievers surrendered two runs to make it a one-run game, you get nervous. But with two outs and nobody on, they should still have a 97.5% (39 in 40) chance to win. No sweat.

Um, yes sweat. Rich Gedman--the guy with a .323 on-base percentage, including only 11 HBP in over 2200 plate appearances--gets hit by a pitch. Then Dave Henderson--the guy who'd hit only one home run in 51 at-bats after his August 19 trade to the Sox, and none with a runner on in 102 at-bats since July 22--hits it out of the park...with two strikes. So the Sox have overcome some impressive odds to take the lead. But wait, there's more!

In the bottom of the ninth, the Angels tied the game back up in short order, with a single, sacrifice, and another single. Then after yet another single and an intentional walk, they had another golden opportunity to win it. After missing out on two sure things, a hit, a fly ball, a slow grounder would still win the pennant! At this point, they again were exceedingly likely to win the game and the flag: the win probability was back up to 83.2% (5 in 6). Alas, no. Their cleanup hitter, Doug DeCinces, flew out to shallow right and Bobby Grich hit a soft liner that pitcher Joe Sambito managed to snag.

Now, it's extreeeemely hard to blow a 47 in 48 chance followed by a 5 out of 6 chance. But after all that, they still, probabilistically speaking, had a 50/50 shot at winning this thing. Of course, they didn't.

But even after losing the game, they still only had to win one of the next two games. Again, probabilistically speaking, a 75% chance. Not to be.

So, as tormenting as Monday's loss was to Houston, it was not quite as excruciating as California's. While the Pujols homer was like ripping off a band-aid--painful but quick--California's loss was a tortuous roller coaster, like losing the lottery by one number three weeks in a row. And then getting fired. But I suppose Houston--ironically also seeking it's first World Series berth after years of close calls--still has a chance in these next two games to out-do the doomed Angels...

October 12, 2005

Cubs Keep Getting Even, Astros Keep Getting Mad

Watching 14 pitchers take the rubber on Sunday in Houston made me wonder if that was historically significant. Not really, as it turns out. Five times, 18 pitchers have taken the mound in a single game (since 1969, but since this is a modern phenomenon, I would bet this is the all-time record). This game is the shortest one of the bunch, and, as an added bonus, it has some really cool extra stuff!

September 28, 1995
Chicago 12, Houston 11, 11 innings
HOU   1  0  1    0  3  1    1  2  0    1  1  -  11 17  0
CHI 0 2 3 0 0 1 1 2 0 1 2 - 12 19 0
Today's Boxscore

Talk about a cat and mouse game. Houston had a lead six different times in this game...and lost! How amazing is it for Chicago pitching to give up late leads five times--in the sixth, seventh, eighth, tenth, and eleventh--only to be picked up every single time! And so precisely--by the exact number of runs they surrendered...until Cubs hitters finally managed to one-up the Astros' ante in the eleventh!

During that unbelievable six inning stretch, Chicago and Houston used seven pitchers each. For those of you counting, that's more than a pitcher per half-inning! Interestingly, all got at least one batter out, but 10 recorded fewer than three outs. Nine allowed a run. There were eight mid-inning pitching changes. Unsurprisingly, the game took nearly five hours! It is the longest 11-inning game on record.

Unfortunately, there's no play-by-play data for this game, but I was able to sleuth out the following tidbits:

  • In a mere 2 1/3 innings, Cubs batters hit for the cycle against Houston starter Donne Wall.
  • Craig Biggio scored a career-high five runs on four hits and a walk, but, oddly, failed to drive in a run. Yeah, well, it's not really so odd when the three batters in front of you (in the 8-9-1 holes) go 1-for-16 with a walk. In a semi-related story, Biggio also played two games in which he drove in four runs but failed to score a run.
  • Houston stole seven bases without getting caught, including a career high four by Brian L. Hunter (17% of his total for the year). Believe it or not, 41 other teams have gone 7-for-7 or better in a game since 1969, led by a 12-for-12 effort by those hyper-aggressive '76 A's.
  • The hot corner was anything but in this game. Ex-Mets Howard Johnson (Cubs 3B) and Dave Magadan (Astros 3B) did not touch the ball all game! That's right--no assists or putouts! (Note: Magadan was taken out after the seventh and replaced by yet another ex-Met Craig Shipley, who moved over from shortstop. He did have have 2 putouts and 2 assists in the game, but it's unclear where he performed them.)
  • These players were extremely selfless. The game featured four sacrifice bunts and four sacrifice flies. Only seven other games (since 1969) have had four or more of each.
  • This one of only eight games in which the home team let in runs in the tenth and eleventh innings and still won the game!
  • Both teams' catchers commited a passed ball.
  • Speaking of catchers, here's a not quite relevant, but interesting fact: Exactly three months before this game, these two teams swapped light-hitting catchers--Wilkins for Servais. Oh, and Houston also threw in...Luis Gonzalez! (Actually, Houston got Gonzalez back and let him go again two years later.) All three played in this game.
  • And most esoterically of all, Houston used players with last names composed of 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 ,9, 10, and 11 letters:
    1. May
    2. Wall
    3. Veres
    4. Biggio
    5. Bagwell
    6. Martinez
    7. Dougherty
    8. Hartgraves
    9. Stankiewicz
As always there was much below the surface here. Slowly, but surely, these boxscores reveal their secrets, don't they?

October 10, 2005

Add Another Killer B to the Mix!

You all saw it. Here's my take on it, beyond the obvious and into the estoeric. I've included the full linescore, which I didn't see on any official site. Oddly, it happens to fit in with my recent Efficiency series. Atlanta was extremely inefficient in this one.

October 9, 2005
Houston 7, Atlanta 6, 18 innings
ATL  0 0 4  0 1 0  0 1 0  0 0 0  0 0 0  0 0 0 - 6 13 0
HOU 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 - 7 10 1
Today's Boxscore

The most interesting thing about this game is how seemingly different the teams' stats were, but how the results were remarkably similar.

In regulation play:

1-2-3 Innings
Baserunners 17 10
Singles-Doubles 5-4 7-0
Walks 6 2
HBP 2 0
RISP 1-for-9 2-for-4

And yet they both scored six runs on a sac fly, a solo homer, and a grand slam!

And this trend continued in the "second" game:

1-2-3 Innings 2 5
Baserunners 10 6
Singles 2 0
Doubles 2 1
Walks 5 4
Errors 0 1
RISP 0-for-9 0-for-2

Atlanta dominated again (except when it counted!), and yet Houston somehow pulled it out.

Offensive Observations
  • The Braves' one-through-four went only 3-for-25 (.120). In fact, Tim Hudson had more hits (2) than Rafael Furcal, Andruw Jones, and Chipper Jones combined...and in 20 fewer plate appearances!
  • Despite his homer, Brian McCann actually had the worst game, going 1-for-8 (including 0-for-4 with RISP) with four K’s and no walks. The home run was the only time he got the ball out of the infield! His eight at-bats:
    1. 2nd: Grounded out with man on first and second, two outs.
    2. 4th: Struck out with none on, one out.
    3. 5th: Grounded out with bases loaded, two out.
    4. 8th: Homered with none on and none out.
    5. 10th: Struck out with man on second, one out.
    6. 12th: Struck out with man on first, one out.
    7. 14th: Struck out with bases loaded, one out.
    8. 17th: Grounded out with none on, none out.

    Three strikeouts with runners on in extras is pretty bad. But he didn't have it as bad as Alex Gonzalez in that St Louis-Florida 20-inning marathon two years ago. That night, before making the last out of the game, he made the third out with the bases loaded in the 11th, 15th, and 17th!!
  • No player had more than two hits. This was also done earlier this year in the Blue Jays-Angels 18-inning game described in this post.
  • In Andruw Jones' nine plate appearances, he managed to run the gamut. Check out what he did:
    1. double
    2. hit-by-pitch
    3. sacrifice fly
    4. fly out to center
    5. ground into double play
    6. strikeout
    7. walk
    8. fly out to right
    9. reach on error
  • Orlando Palmeiro finished with the coolest line: 0 0 0 1 (sac fly).
  • Six Astros played two positions.
Pitching Observations
  • Burke's home run was the first Astro hit since the tenth. The Braves bullpen pitched 7 2/3 no-hit innings between the 10th and 18th!
  • Of the 14 pitchers used:
    • Only one pitched less than one inning.
    • Nine threw at least 30 pitches.
    • Ten allowed zero or one hit.
    • Eleven pitched at least two innings.
Truly a game made for all the Esoteric-heads out there!

October 07, 2005

Efficiency V - What Else Can Go Wrong?

Here's the last in my series on Efficient and Inefficient games. This is, in my opinion, the most frustrating game for both teams. There were games with more wasted baserunners, but in this one, each team not only got a lot of hits and walks, but also very few runs.

May 14, 1989
Mets 2, San Diego 1
SD    0  0  0    1  0  0    0  0  0  -   1 10  1
NY 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 - 2 12 0
Today's Boxscore

Not a lot went well here. Each team had five baserunners erased one way or another. They went 2-for-20 with runners in scoring position. They botched four sacrifice bunts. Here are the gory details.

New York
What Went Right
  1. Six leadoff singles. No 1-2-3 innings.
  2. 21 baserunners: 12 hits, eight walks, and one reaching on an error.
  3. 10-for-24 (.417) with four walks (.500 OBP) when no runner in scoring position.
What Went Wrong
  1. Three double plays. And just for variety's sake, they grounded into one, lined into another, and also pulled of a strike-him-out/throw-him-out.
  2. 15 left on base.
  3. 2-for-12 (.167) with four walks (two intentional) with runners in scoring position; 0-for-2 and no RBI's with runner on third and less than two outs.
  4. Two unsuccessful sac bunts.
  5. The winning run was thrown out at home in the ninth.
San Diego
What Went Right
  1. Only one 1-2-3 inning.
  2. 14 baserunners: ten hits and four walks.
  3. 10-for-25 (.400) with three walks (.464 OBP) with no runners in scoring position.
  4. Had a runner on with less than two outs in seven of nine innings.
  5. Threw out the winning run at the plate in ninth.
What Went Wrong
  1. Two double plays: one on an attempted hit-and-run (a strike-him-out/throw-him-out) and one on an attempted sac bunt!
  2. Nine runners left on base.
  3. 0-for-8 with one walk with runners in scoring position; 0-for-1 with no RBI's with a runner on third and less than two outs.
  4. Three runners caught stealing.
  5. The three attempted bunts had the following outcomes: force at second, double play, out after running into batted ball (Gwynn).
  6. Ninth inning. Tie game. Go-ahead run on third. Runner (Gwynn again!) thrown out trying to steal second.
  7. Allowed winning run to score on an error.
Yikes! So, to summarize, these teams combined for:
  • 35 baserunners and only one 1-2-3 inning in a 2-1 game.
  • a .408 average (20-for-49) and seven walks (.482 OBP) with no RISP.
  • a .100 average (2-for-20) and three unintentional walks (.217 OBP) with RISP, including 0-for-8 and two walks with two outs.
  • five double plays.
  • four caught stealing.
  • four failed sac bunts (and one other bunt run into!)
Not pretty. It was only fitting that the winning run scored on an error. Especially after the potential winning run was thrown out at the plate on the prevous play!

  • Three of the first four half-innings ended on a caught stealing.
  • The linescore going into the bottom of the ninth looked like this:
    R  H  E
    1 10 0
    1 10 0
  • And of course this kind of game yields great pitcher's lines. Dennis Rasmussen had the best:
               IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO  HR
    Rasmussen 7 9 1 1 6 1 0
    It's not easy to allow 15 baserunners while whiffing only one over seven innings and lower your ERA!
Current Inefficient Frustration: In the last two days, San Diego has outhit St. Louis 23-16 while being outscored 12-7. That is, they've had at least three more hits than the Cards each game, but have lost both by at least three runs. And St. Louis has only walked two more times than San Diego. Weird, and wonderfully esoteric!

October 03, 2005

Efficiency IV - Mile-High Frustration

While looking for the least efficient game, I expanded my definition of efficient. I found there was really no one true test...but really a judgement call of some combination of men left on base, hits, walks, opposing team errors, and other things like double plays. And then I remembered that I never mentioned an incredible game that occurred in August, one that was perfect for this theme. So here's my choice for most inefficient game of all time, fresh off the '05 season.

August 13, 2005
Washington 8, Colorado 0
WAS   0  2  2    0  1  1    0  0  2  -   8 13  1
COL 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 0 13 0
Today's Boxscore

First off, it's pretty tough to bang out 13 hits and be shut out, period. It's only been done four times since 1969, including the one that inspired this theme to begin with. But there were no more than two walks in any of those games. Only twice has a team saturated the bases with as many as 17 baserunners in a shutout. But to get all those hits, plus five walks plus another reaching on an error plus a wild pitch? That's almost impossible! Nineteen batters reached base...and none of them came in to score!

Colorado batters hit .361 with a .429 OBP. Here's the breakdown:

No Runner In Scoring Position
12-for-21, 4BB
Runner in Scoring Position 1-for-15, 1BB
Runner in Scoring Position, 2 out 0-for-8, 1BB
Runner on Third, 0 or 1 out
0-for-3, 0 RBI

Yeah, they really went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and two outs. Yes, that means in eight of the nine innings, they left a runner on second or third. That's almost "perfect"!

Here's a summary of how far the baserunners got:

Did Not Reach
Reached First 19
Reached Second 12
Reached Third 6
Scored 0

Runners left on base: 2+2+3+1+1+0+2+2+2 = 15

What else did they do wrong? How about grounding into two double plays, a caught stealing, and a pickoff? All that, and having only one extra base hit of the 13 helped, as well.

Both teams' starters allowed nine hits and two walks--Colorado's Byung-Hyun Kim in five innings and Washington's Tony Armas, Jr. over six. But Kim gave up six runs, his already bloated 5.05 ERA rising yet more 5.33. Armas, on the other hand, gave up no runs, and actually lowered his ERA from 4.64 to 4.33!

So it was kind of a "perfect storm" scenario: lots of singles and walks, evenly distributed throughout nine innings--but only before a runner reached second base, and a few strategic baserunners erased. Like I've said before, timing. Reading through the play-by-play, it actually doesn't seem all that strange, which is exactly how "perfectly" Colorado pulled off this amazingly esoteric feat!

September 30, 2005

Efficiency III -Tragedy of Errors

Now this is one wacky game...another "how the heck did that happen?" anomaly. But, as you know, anomaly is one of the core values here at EBD! So here we go...

June 5, 1989
Baltimore 16, New York 3
BAL A    3  0  8    0  1  2    0  2  0  -  16  9  1
NY A 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 - 3 13 6
Today's Boxscore

Here's a little quiz. Who won this game? By how much?

Team A Team B
9 hits 13 hits
5 walks 7 walks
consecutive hits once consecutive hits five times
one multi-hit inning three multi-hit innings
runner thrown out at third runner thrown out at first

Well, as you see from the boxscore, incredibly...unfathomably...Team A, the Orioles, won this 13 runs, 16-3! How is this even possible, you ask? I'm still not sure, but I'll try to explain.

First off, yes, New York collected lots more hits and walks than Baltimore. As mentioned in past Efficiency entries (or should have if I didn't!), walks are usually the primary cause of these run/hit anomalies. Not here, which makes these Orioles hyper-efficient and hyper-lucky! In fact, this game is, by far, the most extreme case of one team being extremely efficient and the other extremely inefficient.

First off, check out the benchmark of efficiency, men left on base: BAL 3, NY 16. Ouch. Leaving 16 on base just flat out hurts! And while it seems amazing to score 16 runs and leave only three on base, having fewer H+BB than runs (It's actually one of only four games like that) makes you wonder how they left anybody on base! Especially with a runner thrown out on the bases, to boot!

Another hallmark of efficiency is timing. Case in point, Baltimore only got hits in innings in which it scored. And they saved their homers for after runners were put on base with walks or errors. And in the all-important runners-in-scoring-position category, the O's were 6-for-16, with three singles, a double, and two homers, including a grand slam. The Yanks had just three singles in 15 times up in that situation. In fact, all 13 Yankee hits were singles, while six of nine Oriole hits were for extra bases.

But, as you have surely guessed by now, what put this game over the top and into the Esoteric Hall of Fame was New York's six errors! Four runs scored on errors, and four batters who reached base on errors scored. Baltimore's bizarre third inning sums it up. Check out the five consecutive unusual plays to start it off.
  • On a bunt Finley reached on an error by Mattingly
  • C. Ripken reached on an error by Hawkins
  • Tettleton reached on an error by Sax
  • Orsulak singled to right, Tettleton out at third
  • Traber doubled to center (Brookens missed easy fly ball)
  • Sheets was walked intentionally
  • Worthington singled to center
  • B. Ripken singled to center
  • Anderson forced Sheets at home
  • Finley homered (grand slam)
  • C. Ripken was called out on strikes
  • 8 Runs, 5 hits, 1 walk, 3 errors
Those three consecutive batters reaching on errors have to at least tie a record, I would think. Considering that the Yankees' infield that year made only one error for each fifty chances (.980), three in a row's a pretty slim occurrence. And then two batters later, the outfield added a missed fly ball that, by all but baseball logic, was yet another error.

But I guess they should have seen all this coming after the top of the first inning. After New York starter Andy Hawkins (more on him later) got the first two outs easily, Baltimore loaded the bases on only one hit (of course) and two walks. When he induced Jim Traber to hit a fly ball, he was probably already walking off the mound, relieved to be out of the jam. But on this special day, center fielder Jesse Barfield collided with right fielder Tom Brookens, and all three runners came in to score! Poor Andy Hawkins. You'd think allowing no earned runs on five hits and three walks was pretty good, but check out his line:
                 IP    H   R  ER  BB  SO  HR
Hawkins L(5-7) 2.1 5 10 0 3 1 0
Definitely one of the stranger lines you'll see. In fact, 13 of Baltimore's 16 runs were unearned (not the record by the way...anybody know that piece of trivia?).

Hawkins, as you may know, was also the losing pitcher in perhaps the most efficient game of all time. Just a year after this game, he threw a no-hitter...and a score of 4-0! So 10 runs on five hits was just a warmup for him!

And to top off this wonderfully bizarre game, it ended with Rickey Henderson getting thrown out at first after he rounded the bag too far on a single! As they say, you can't make this stuff up!

  • Only two Orioles had multiple hits, while five Yankees did it.
  • The only time in the whole game Baltimore got two consecutive hits, one of them was actually Brookens' dropped fly ball, generously scored as a double.
  • In the fifth, Baltimore managed to go 0-3 with runners in scoring position and still score, thanks to an error.
  • This was the linescore after six:
         R H E
    BAL 14 8 0
    NY 1 6 6
  • Believe it or not, in Hawkins' unfortunate no-hitter loss a year later, he was again the victim of a bases-clearing dropped fly ball!
Next up, frustration! The least efficient game...

September 28, 2005

Efficiency II - Eight Is Unbelievable

Keeping with my theme of efficiency, or making the most of your hits, here's my favorite game.

April 12, 1994
Oakland 8, Toronto 4
TOR A    1  0  1    0  2  0    0  0  0  -   4  9  4
OAK A 3 0 2 0 3 0 0 0 x - 8 2 0
Today's Boxscore

Yeah, they really scored eight runs on two hits. The next most runs on two hits (since 1969) is six. And that was done only once. Even five runs on two hits has only been done four times. So this is definitely a rare, perfectly esoteric gem.

Unfortunately, there's no play-by-play for this game. So it's rather puzzling to find that Oakland had four runners thrown out on the bases--three were caught stealing and one on a double play. And that they left five additional runners on base. But you soon see how that might have happened: Toronto pitching issued 12 walks and their fielders made four errors. That's a bad combo...especially when they come in bunches. Oh, and the only two Athletics hits? A double and a homer.

Unexpectedly, though, there were eight RBI's credited, meaning that no runs came in as a direct result of an error. And only the three fifth inning runs were unearned. So let's see...three runs came in on the two hits and there was one sac fly. So there must have been some combination of four bases loaded walks and run-scoring grounders. That's an awful lot of either. In any case, this was one strange game.

Games like this are treasure troves for weird lines. Check it out:
  • Rickey Henderson had one of the weirdest lines of all time: 1 3 0 0. That is, 0-for-1 with three runs. Tough to do.
  • Stan Javier ran a close second with his 3 3 1 1. That is, 1-for-3 with three runs and an RBI.
  • Blue Jay Scott Brow produced one of the more unusual pitching lines you'll see:
               IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO  HR
    Brow 2.2 0 3 0 3 2 0
    Hmmm...walk three guys and have them all score without allowing a hit? Sounds like your teammates didn't help you out much. Errors? How many you want?...Inherited runners? No thanks.
  • Despite only two hits, five Oakland players got on base twice in the game.
  • And the Stat of the Game: Four Oakland players drove in a run despite going hitless.
It was also a "sweep" game. That's what I call a game in which one team wins the game without losing even an inning. That is, in no inning are they outscored. One of these weeks, I'll run a series on those.

And one last note. Two current and two probable Hall-of-Famers played in this game: Paul Molitor, Dennis Eckersley, Rickey Henderson, and Mark McGwire.

Bonus Boxscore:
On the same day, believe it or not, Boston also had one of the most efficient games ever, with one of the only four times since 1969 that a team scored seven more runs than hits. It's a little less impressive, though, when you do this with 15 hits. Check it out:
BOS   6  1  2    0  0  8    4  1  0  -  22 15  0
KC 0 1 3 0 0 0 4 0 3 - 11 15 3
Bonus Boxscore

Stat of the game: Both teams pounded out the same number of hits, but Boston still won by 11! Well, 11 extra base hits, 13 walks, and three KC errors will do that...

So, I know, now you're dying to find out: What's the most a team has won by while still outhit? Tune in next time! I guarantee, it's another rub-your-eyes "huh?" kind of game!

September 26, 2005

Efficiency I - Both Teams Make It Count

Inspired by Friday's game, I'm going to do an "efficiency" theme, that is, getting the biggest bang for your hitting buck. I'm defining efficiency as the most runs per hit.

There have been only 12 games since 1969 in which both teams had more runs than hits, and only one in which both teams had two more runs than hits. This is the story of that game.

August 12, 2001
Boston 12, Baltimore 10
BOS   6  1  0    0  0  1    0  4  0  -  12  9  2
BAL 3 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 4 - 10 8 3
Today's Boxscore

Well, to accomplish this strange feat you need three key ingredients: walks, homers, and errors...and this game had plenty. The teams combined for 14 walks, seven home runs, and five miscues. Surprisingly, only four of the walks scored. The five errors were actually more important here: four of the five allowed a run to score. Also, you need bunch hitting. That is, some innings, it's hit after hit, and all others are practically 1-2-3. Here, there were only two hits in ten non-scoring innings, and 15 in the eight in which they scored.

Check out Boston's bizarre first inning. This is the sequence:
  1. Garciaparra flied to right
  2. Nixon was called out on strikes
  3. Everett doubled to left
  4. Ramirez walked
  5. Bichette reached on an error by Mora
  6. Stynes reached on an error by Segui
  7. Offerman singled to center
  8. Offerman was picked off first but was safe on an error by Segui
  9. Lansing homered
  10. Mirabelli popped to catcher in foul territory
Just your basic two-out, six-run, three-error rally. That's what happens when you give six outs in an inning! I love the ones that start out so innocently and then spin out of control!

  • Doesn't it look like Ripken hit a grand slam? His line is: 4 1 1 4. But he actually had a two-run double, a sacrifice fly, and an RBI-groundout.
  • Tony Batista hit home runs off Rod Beck in the eighth and ninth innings.
  • Jeff Conine went 2-for-4 with no walks or HBP, but scored three runs.
  • Only one player had more hits than runs.
On deck: How many runs can you possibly score on two hits?

September 23, 2005


This one's a doozy. When I discovered this gem, I couldn't believe my eyes...that it could really have happened.

August 15, 1989
Seattle 2, Texas 0
TEX    0  0  0    0  0  0    0  0  0  -   0 13  1
SEA 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 x - 2 1 0
Today's Boxscore

How could it be possible to throw a one-hitter, bang out 13 hits...and two runs?! To put it in perspective, consider this. Both teams achieved rare feats. In the 35 years I have complete records for (1969-2004) over 75,000 games have been played. In them, a team has scored two or more runs on one or fewer hits 36 times, or about once every 2,100 games; a team has been shut out on as many as 13 hits only four times, or around once every 19,000 games. So, for these two to happen in the same game is unbelievable! In fact, the probability of this happenning even once in 35 years less than 1 in 500!! Wow. No, double wow. Here's the story.

The tough luck loser of this one was Charle Hough. It isn't easy to pitch a one-hitter and lose--especially when that one hit was a single. Though walking five, throwing a wild pitch, and committing a balk helps a little. Even so, all he needed was just a little help from his friends to win his best start of the year.

No such luck. His teammates let him down when it counted. Rangers hitters established a strange pattern throughout the game, getting a baserunner in every inning, including two baserunners in six innings. But the hits and walks were scattered so perfectly by Seattle pitcher Brian Holman that none of the 15 who got on base came around to score. Their typical inning went: out, out, hit, hit, out; or hit, out, out, hit, out. They would threaten with two outs and then fail to come through. Check out their situational hitting:
  • Bases empty, 2-out: 5-for-5
  • Runner on first, 2-out: 3-for-6
  • Runner in scoring position, 2-out: 0-for-6
  • No runner in scoring position: 13-for-31 (.419)
  • Runner in scoring position: 0-for-8
Pretty pathetic. Hough must have been huffing around the dugout after watching the bottom fall out of every inning.

As for Seattle, they managed to score on two unusual rallies (with a lot of help from Texas). Check it out:
  • Sixth Inning: single, balk, intentional walk, wild pitch, sacrifice fly
  • Seventh Inning: walk, stolen base, 3-base error
That sixth inning sequence must be one-of-a-kind! Believe it or not, they almost scored in the first inning as well, after loading the bases on three walks (with a passed ball in the mix, too).

But they apparently used up all their luck for a while, because this was their last win for two weeks...immediately after this improbable win, the Mariners began a 12-game losing streak!

Crazy stuff!

  • The Texas 2-3-4 hitters went 8-for-14, including 4-for-5 by Rafael Palmeiro, hitting from the two-hole.
  • I thought it was pretty unusual for a team to commit a balk, a wild pitch, a passed ball, and an error in the same game, but it's actually not that uncommon, done in 146 other games, as well.
  • Holman, who gave up the first 10 hits (and no runs), also allowed 10 hits in the start before and after this one (both eight-plus innings), but allowed a total of nine runs in those games!
  • Incredibly, there were two 13-hit shutouts last month (on 8/13 and 8/31) after there being none in the previous 12 years, and four in the previous 35.
  • There have been two games in which a team was no-hit but still scored at least two runs. The no-hit team has won both of those games!
  • This happens to be the same day that Dave Dravecky broke his arm, ending his career.

September 22, 2005

Welcome, new Esoteric-heads!

Thanks for stopping by, Hardball Times fans! I hope you think my blog lives up to Dave's praise. Check out my other blog, Baseball Esoterica, too!

Come back tomorrow for some more Esoterica...I will depart from the Consistency theme and analyze one of my favorite games ever!

Here's the teaser: What's the most a team has been out-hit by and still won the game?

You won't believe this's probably the strangest, most anomalous game I've come across.

See you then,

September 19, 2005

Consistancy - Singletons IV

Well, here it is! The king of the binary, the most one-derful game of all time!

Preface: On September 4, 1992, the Tigers lost to the Brewers 6-3 in an unusual nine-singleton game. That is to say, the teams' nine single-runs innings accounted for all the scoring. How unusual was that? It was the first time that had occurred in 12 years! Fast forward to:

September 15, 1992
Texas 6, Detroit 5

Today's Boxscore
TEX   1  1  1    0  0  0    1  1  1  -   6 12  1
DET 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 - 5 10 0
Yes, folks, that's a real linescore. And yes, after tying the nine-inning singleton record just 11 days earlier, Detroit helped smash it, combining with Texas for 11 singletons, and nothing else! For the record, the next "best" nine-inning game contained only nine, and that had only been accomplished twice since 1969 (including Detroit's previous one).

What made this game possible was timely hitting--and I mean that in an "Esoteric" way. Before a run was scored, the teams were a combined 6-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Afterwards? How about 0-for-10! And all four home runs came with none on. It's almost as if they were trying to make Esoteric history!

Oddly, in the seven non-scoring innings, there were no hits...the only baserunners came on a walk and a hit batsman. Weirdly efficient for a game with 32 baserunners.

On the "ones" theme Bill Gullickson earned his 11th loss, and Matt Whiteside his first career save. In an somewhat unrelated story, when this one was over, both Gullickson and winning pitcher Jose Guzman sported matching 14-11 records.

Well, that's about it for the singletons. On deck: duos, trios, etc. What the most double-run innings, and more!

September 16, 2005

Consistancy - Singletons III

Today we look at the singleton game with the "oddest" pattern...oddly enough, just four days after San Diego's picket fence.

August 19, 1986
Milwaukee 5, Cleveland 3
MIL    1  0  1    0  1  0    1  0  1  -   5  8  1
CLE 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 - 3 11 1
Today's Boxscore

How odd! Milwaukee managed to score exactly one run in the first, third, fifth, seventh, and ninth innings. They threatened to upset the pattern, stranding runners in scoring position three times, but the Gods of the Esoterica came through for us! And check it out: the Brewers got zero hits in the even innings!

Paul Molitor was the big (and little) guy that day. He was inolved in all five one-run rallies, driving in three of the runs with two solo homers and a double, and scoring another. His fifth contribution? Would you believe a sac bunt? How often do you see a guy lay down a sacrifice bunt in a multi-homer game?? At least it was to set up fellow HOF'er Robin Yount.

This odd pattern has also occurred four other times since 1969.

To their credit, Cleveland attempted their own binary pattern, and nearly had a very nice one. But the seven singletons in this game is definitely not the most...tune in to Monday's boxscore, which will reveal the game with the most by both teams...

September 15, 2005

Consistancy - Singletons II

Next up on for the Singletons is the natural picket fence record.

August 15, 1986
San Diego 7, Cincinnati 1

SD    1  1  1    1  1  1    0  1  0  -   7 13  0  (2)
CIN 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 - 1 4 0
Today's Boxscore

San Diego, once again, is of king picket fences. Unsurprising, considering its rather staid image. Six single-run innings is the most to begin a game.

There were several close calls in this one, including current Pads manager Bruce Bochy getting thrown out at the plate in the fifth. They also had the bases loaded in third and runners on second and third in the fourth. Two patterns emerged in this single-minded game: they either made a big fuss but came up with only a single run, or they just hit a solo homer and nothing else (second and sixth).

I like that Cincinnati picked up the slack in then ninth, getting a singleton of their own. Too bad San Diego couldn't quite convert in the seventh!

It's ironic that, in game 1 of the doubleheader, a 7-2 win by Cincinnati, neither team scored any single runs! And in game 2, only singletons. That's why I do this, folks!

Tune in tomorrow when I'll give the award for the "oddest" pattern...

September 14, 2005

Consistancy - Singletons I

The current theme is consistancy, which I'll define as scoring the same number of runs--and only that exact number of runs--several times in a game. For the first few days, I'll concentrate on games in which one or both teams built picket fences.

April 9, 1982
San Diego 7, Los Angeles 4
SD   0  0  1    1  1  1    1  1  1  -   7 10  0
LA 0 0 0 1 0 3 0 0 0 - 4 10 1
Today's Boxscore

What's the most single runs a team has scored in a game without a multi-run inning? How about seven! It's happened eleven times since 1969 (including two extra-inning games), and even once this year. I chose to begin with this SD-LA game because it's the only one in which the team scored a lone wolf in seven consecutive frames!

Here are the fun facts. The ones were definitely wild in this one:
  • Seven ribbies for seven players: seven Padres had exactly one RBI!
  • Six Padres scored exactly one run.
  • Eight Padres either struck out once or walked once, but none did both.
  • Opposing pitcher Ted Power earned this line:
             IP     H   R  ER  BB  SO  HR
    Power 2 1 1 1 1 1 0
  • The winning pitcher went to 1-0, while the loser dropped to, of course 1-1. And Gary Lucas earned save number one.
  • Believe it or not, there were actually no solo homers the game.
  • Oddly, only three of the Padre runs came in on hits. Three ground balls and a suicide squeeze accounted for the other four.
  • They almost blew the streak in the ninth. After they already scored their singleton, they had a man on third with only one out. Luckily (for us, that is!), a foul-out and a fly-out ended that threat, and put San Diego in the Esoterica Hall of Fame!

September 13, 2005

Welcome to Our First Theme Week!

I'm doing something a little different over the next few weeks. I'll be picking a "theme"--some quality or characteristic--that a set of games has in common and present them over the course of a week. Have fun!

September 09, 2005

Is This Thing On?

Just posted the Expos-Cubs game below. Check it out.

Also, just checking if anyone is out there. I haven't gotten much feedback on this site. I enjoy writing it, but it takes a lot of time, and would prefer if someone besides my Mom actually read it. So I was just wondering if you 1) exist, and 2) like what you see. Make a comment or drop me a line!

Is Dawson Up the Creek Despite Career Day?

September 24, 1985
Montreal 17, Chicago 15

MON   2  1  0    0 12  0    0  2  0  -  17 17  1
CHI 0 0 0 2 0 1 3 4 5 - 15 20 2
Today's Boxscore

How do you have a 12-run inning in a game that you're already winning, and still almost lose it? Ask manager Buck Rodgers, who must have thought he'd stepped into an alternate universe after crossing over the seventh inning!

It started out pretty normally, as you can see, a 3-2 game after which point the game entered the fifth dimension (or perhaps the wind started blowing out!). Montreal, ranked 24th of the 26 major league teams in scoring at 3.85 a game, had a blockbuster inning, pounding out 10 hits, including three homers, on the way to scoring 12 runs. Yikes! How'd that happen?

Cubs starter Roy Fontenot was coming off his worst start of the year, lasting only 2 2/3 innings and allowing three dingers. If he was looking for redemption this day, he didn't get it. He didn't make it out of the fifth, giving up three runs over the first four, then four more to start the fifth. Who ya gonna call? A 28-year-old September callup, that's who! Poor Jon Perlman never had a chance. In his fifth ever game, those Montreal bashers tagged the "youngster" for 8 runs on 6 hits and two walks. His sad line:
                IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO  HR
Perlman 0.1 6 8 8 2 0 2
Oh, and the one out he recorded? A sacrifice bunt by the pitcher.

After some guy named Dave Beard came in to record the last out, the damage was done. Andre Dawson, who had already lit up Fontenot for a two-run homer in the first, hit not one, but two three-run homers in that crazy fifth! That's six RBI's in the inning (one more than his previous high in a game!) and a career-high eight for the game! Also, three Expos collected two hits in the inning (Dawson, Tim Wallach, Mitch Webster). They did somehow strikeout twice, though. But who cares when you're up 15-2.

So it was seeming like quite a nice day, the confines of Wrigley Field feeling extra friendly to Montreal. But then the winds shifted again...

Unsurprisingly, by the seventh inning, in a 12-run hole, Cubs scrubs had replaced five of the eight regulars. Nice move, Jim Frey. The best all day. You've now made up for bringing in the "kid". Why? Because from the seventh through ninth innings, the replacements went an astonishing 12 for 17 with nine RBI's, highlighted by Billy Hatcher (3-3), Chris Speier (3-3), Dave Owen (2-2), and Gary Woods (2-3).

Rodgers, justifiably, brought in his own September callup, John Dopson, for the seventh. Then things went, um, south for the 22-year-old--to the tune of seven runs on eight hits in 1 1/3 innings. There was still no panic, though, with a 17-10 lead. So he brought in another rookie, Randy St. Claire. That's when things got a little dicey. After finishing off the eighth and getting the first two outs in the ninth without further damage, he gave up his fifth hit to his last batter to cut the margin to 17-13.

After another reliever allowed two more to score on a double, the Expos actually had to bring in their closer, Jeff Reardon, to face the tying run! Hmmm...when his team took a 13-run lead, he probably wasn't thinking about his 35th save, ya think? He did, indeed, save the day by getting Steve Lake, the only ineffective Cub scrub (0-3) on an easy grounder. Just your routine 17-15, almost blow a 13-run lead kind of game! That is to say, a routine day in the friendly confines!

Some notes:
  • Don't forget Sal Butera's career day! He drove in only 12 runs in 120 at-bats that year...and a third of those (four) came in this game! (a career high) That leaves 8 RBI's in his other 116 AB's! Ugh. Oh, and his eighth-inning, two-run homer was the margin in the game!
  • It was also Dawsons fourth consecutive game with a round-tripper during a stretch of 10 games in which all 15 runs he drove in were on homers.
  • Dopson was such a flop in his 1985 cup of coffee--compiling an offensive 11.08 ERA in a year when the league average was 3.59--that he didn't see major league action again until 1988.
  • Here's the linescore for the first four innings:

        R H E
    MON 3 4 1
    CHI 2 3 1

  • ...and for the last five.

         R  H E
    MON 14 13 0
    CHI 13 17 1

And my favorite note...
  • Chicago scored a different number of runs in six consecutive innings!! From the fourth through the ninth, they scored 2, 0, 1, 3, 4, and 5. It's meaningless, but I just love that stuff!
Anything I missed? Leave a comment or drop me a line.

August 25, 2005

Blowing Your...Lead

August 20, 1972
Detroit 11, California 9

Today's Boxscore
CAL   0  0  0    9  0  0    0  0  0
DET 2 0 0 0 0 8 1 0 x
I was inspired for this one by the Blue Jays yesterday, who scored 9 in the fifth in a 9-5 victory. It was the 23rd time since 1969 that a team has scored 9 or more runs in a game, all in one inning. For today's boxscore, we harken back to 1972, when, inexplicabley, there four of these games. But this one was special. It's the only one of the 23 where the team managed to lose!

It was a day of hope for the Angels. Looking to avenge a 10-1 clobbering by the first-place Tigers the previous day, California had their best pitcher not named Nolan Ryan set to pitch against spot-starter Bill Slayback...yes, they were looking for payback against Slayback! And they thought they had it after a nine-hit, nine-run fourth inning. Being the lowest scoring team in the majors at 2.9 runs/game, and not having scored more than four runs in an entire game for over two weeks, this must have been pretty exciting.

Apparently, it was too much for Angel pitcher Clyde Wright. Heading into the sixth, he'd allowed only three hits and was enjoying a rare seven-run lead...and then utterly fell apart, allowing five consecutive hits to start the inning. He was removed, but to no avail. When the dust settled, the Tigers had put up an eight-spot and took the lead 10-9. Still exhausted from their outburst, I suppose, they put up little fight the rest of the way, losing 11-9. For such a low-scoring team, it must have been extra devistating that this was their third loss when scoring at least eight runs, also losing 10-9 and 9-8 earlier in the season. Sigh.

Here are the other teams who have outburst games.

Runs Team Date Inning Score
13 ATL 9/20/1972 2 13-6
13 PHI 4/13/2003 4 13-1
11 PHI 7/15/1972 7 11-4
11 SDN 8/2/1995 8 11-3
11 SLN 9/6/2002 3 11-2
10 BAL 7/8/1969 4 10-3
10 OAK 5/9/1972 4 10-2
10 HOU 6/11/1974 7 10-1
10 ATL 7/27/1989 6 10-1
10 MIN 6/28/1992 4 10-2
10 CLE 8/27/1997 4 10-4
10 SFN 9/23/2003 2 10-3
9 WSH 6/22/1969* 4 9-5
9 OAK 5/7/1975 7 9-1
9 TEX 5/23/1976* 2 9-0
9 NYA 6/5/1988 1 9-2
9 TEX 9/14/1988 5 9-1
9 CAL 5/8/1989 4 9-2
9 PIT 8/8/1995 2 9-5
9 KCA 4/6/2000 6 9-3
9 BOS 4/18/2001 8 9-1
*rain-shortened game

August 22, 2005

Team Cycling Without Lance

May 22, 1984
Montreal 3, San Diego 2

     R  H  E
SD 2 4 0
MON 3 4 0
Today's Boxscore

This is a fun one, impossible to find without the wonders of modern computing. Did you figure this it out over the weekend? If not, here it is:

Montreal had only four hits, which happened to be a single, double, triple, and HR! And not only that, they did it naturally, with a single in the third, a double and triple in the fourth, and a homer in the sixth. But wait, there's more! San Diego almost pulled the same feat, also getting only four hits: two singles, a double, and a home run!

  • This "exclusive" team cycle has occurred 40 times since 1969.
  • In those 40 games, the cycling team had a record of 14-26.
  • How many runs did they score? Funny you should ask. Here's the run distribution in those 40 games:
    1   3
    2 16
    3 11
    4 3
    5 3
    6 4
  • This odd feat was achieved exactly 10 times each of the past three decades.
  • It's been done nine times already in the 00's (don't we have a name for this decade yet??), including four times in 2004.
  • When Oakland did it in 9/10/92, only two guys got the hits: Mike Bordick with a double and triple, and Ruben Sierra with a single and homer.
I'd love to check out other individual feats in these and other games, but don't have the data. Does anyone know if there's downloadable player-game data available?

August 19, 2005

18 Innings of (Almost) Nothing

July 28, 2005
Blue Jays 2, Angels 1, 18 innings

LAA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 1 9 0
TOR 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 - 2 9 0

Today's Boxscore

Fans of Jayson Stark's Useless Information columns at ESPN should be familiar with this one. He included several of my observations on this game in his August 5 column.

It's a game from just a few weeks ago in which Toronto beat Anaheim (I still can't say LA) 2-1 in 18 quick, largely hit-free innings. Here's the scoop on this modern classic:

  • The 18 hits in this game were the fewest hits in a game of at least 18 innings since Aug. 8, 1972. And this was the first 18-plus inning game in at least 35 years in which neither team even got 10 hits.
  • Can a 4 hour 50 minute game be called quick? Well, not really, unless it's as long as two games! It was the shortest 18-or-more-inning game since June 11, 1985 (4:44, by Giants-Braves). That's only 23 minutes longer than a nine inning LA-SF game a few years ago!
  • How does that happen? It's easy when no one ever gets on base. There were two streaks of at least six consecutive 1-2-3 innings. One ran from the bottom of the first through the bottom of the third (six). The other ran from the ninth through 13th innings (eight). Altogether, there were an amazing 22 1-2-3 innings (that's 61% for those of you counting, and I'd be disappointed if you weren't!).

  • But wait, there's more! All those 1-2-3's strung up together added up to an exceedingly rare occurrence: a "quasi-perfect game". From the bottom of the ninth to the top of the 14th, the line for the nine relievers went like this: 27 up, 27 down. And after a walk to Jeff DaVanon, eight more batters went down. Orlando Cabrera finally ended this unbelievable 0-for-35 stretch with a single in the top of the 15th. It was the first extra-inning hit by either team! That's gotta be a record.

  • Finally, before the Blue Jays won this epic in the 18th, the only runs in this game consisted of a run by each team in the ninth. And that means the two teams matched runs for 17 consecutive innings. That's the most consecutive duplicate innings in a game that didn't end 1-0 in at least 35 years.

  • Only four batters eked out more than one hit, which is pretty amazing considering there were 15 players with at least six at-bats in this marathon. And no one got on base more than twice all game. That sure is a lot of standing up and sitting down!

  • Aaron Hill's average plummeted nine points from .309 to .300 after his 0-6 performance.


EBD Quiz 1: What's So Special About This Game?

Monday's Boxscore

This is going to be a weekly feature here at EBD. Tune in Monday for the full explanation.

August 16, 2005

Giant Comeback Out Of Nowhere Spoils Nomo's Debut

May 2, 1995
Giants 4, Dodgers 3, 15 innings

LA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
SF 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4

Today's Boxscore

This is one of the most unlikely comebacks I've seen. No runs for almost five hours--14 innings worth of zeroes. Los Angeles pitching has allowed only five hits. None of their seven pitchers has yielded more than a single hit each, including Hideo Nomo in his ML debut. The effort is wasted because San Francisco has nearly matched them.

Finally, the Dodger offense explodes for three runs in the 15th. Then Rob Murphy comes in and retires the first two Giants in the bottom of the 15th. So what are the chances that the Giants score four runs without making an out after making 44 outs without scoring? Pretty darn low. Verrry low. Extreeemely low. Well, the next five batters go like this: walk, single, home run, single, double. Game over!!

  • This is the most runs scored in an extra inning of a previously scoreless game, and the 15th inning is the latest it has occurred, at least since 1969.

  • Before finishing with four consecutive hits, Giant hitters had gone 5-46 (.109).

  • The teams used 17 pitchers, who combined for 33 strikeouts.

  • There were eight pinch-hitters and two pinch-runners used.

  • The line score was anemic at the end of regulation:
        R  H  E
    LA 0 5 0
    SF 0 2 0
  • According to the boxscore, there were 46 players used in the game, inlcuding 25 by LA (9 pitchers and 16 position players). How is this possible? Seven of the nine pitchers were exclusively relievers, so they must have had a 12-man pitching staff. And there was no Dontrelle-style pitcher pinch-hitting, so how could there have been 16 non-pitchers on the roster? Were rosters expanded because of the late start to the 1995 season? I can't remember...anyone?

August 15, 2005

Welcome to Esoteric Boxscores!

Thanks for stopping by! In this space, you will find links to and analysis of boxscores of unusual baseball that are the answers to questions like:

  • What is the most a team has been out-hit by and still won the game?
  • What's the highest scoring game that was scoreless after six?
  • What's the most times teams have matched runs in extra innings?
  • Has there ever been a game without a strikeout?
And so on. I hope you'll enjoy reading and commenting as much as I've enjoyed researching!

Hope to see you here every day!