18 Innings of (Almost) Nothing
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
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?
This is going to be a weekly feature here at EBD. Tune in Monday for the full explanation.