Esoteric Boxscore of the Day

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 one...by 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 lost...by 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!

Notes:
  • 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...

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