Esoteric Boxscore of the Day

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!