April 23, 2021

Every Box Score Is A Crime Scene

In the absence of Red Sox game recaps (and the accompanying linescores), I have been scrolling through each day's games this season, looking for the most interesting linescores, thinking I would choose a handful of them for a "Best of the Month" post or something.

Unfortunately, April's linescores have been rather pedestrian, even though it is a near certainty that none of them (at least those involving more than six or seven total runs) have ever occurred before in major league history. However, this week has brought us these two gems:

Wednesday. April 21

This was Oakland's 11th consecutive win and its second walkoff win in four games (and its third of the young season). MLB has not seen a winning streak this long since May 16-27, 2019, when these same Athletics (well, not really) also won 11 in a row. Also: No major league team had ever lost its first six games and later in the season won 11 straight. Oakland did it before April was over.

Twins -     103 033 000 2 - 12 18  2
Athletics - 034 002 001 3 - 13 13  2

The three runs in the bottom of the tenth inning scored on exactly zero hits. The rally began with two outs and no one on a man on second (as per the Not-Real-Baseball Rule): F8, K, BB, BB, E4 (one run scores), E5 (two runs score). The Athletics (12-7) had Thursday off and play in Baltimore tonight.

The Athletics have allowed 14 runs in their last six games: 0, 0, 2, 0, 0, 12.

Thursday, April 22

Diamondbacks - 002 002 400 6 - 14 14  1 
Reds         - 100 003 310 3 - 11 13  1 

Craig Calcaterra includes brief write-ups of every game in his "Cup of Coffee" newsletter under the heading "And That Happened". This is what he (a big Columbo fan) said about this game:

Diamondbacks 14, Reds 11: Anyone who has been with me since I began this feature back in 2008 knows that I don't watch 8-15 ballgames a day. I watch one a day, maybe. The rest of my recaps are a function of box score detective work and forensic science. Each box score is a crime scene and I try to reconstruct it all and make sense of what happened. To do justice to that which transpired and to speak for the dead.

Sometimes it's easy. A 3-1 or a 9-2 game is not hard to get to the bottom of. A strong pitching performance or an offensive outburst from one side is an case to solve. A shutout is like getting a confession while the body is still warm. The paperwork on those are easy and you're out of the station house before midnight.

Others are harder. 7-6 or 4-2 games can be deceptively difficult to get one's mind around. The clues often hide. You have to dig a little to solve the case. Especially these days when, thanks to changes in pitcher usage, there are so many more suspects walking around. So many more guys you have to put in the box and sweat a little.

Then there are box scores that look as if the uniforms who caught the call failed to secure the scene and it's all basically contaminated. It's all so convoluted that the clues initially escape your gaze and you feel like it'll end up a stone-cold whodunnit that defies solution.

Look at this box score, for example, and tell me how I'm supposed to make sense of it:

Do you lead with David Peralta's 5-for-6 day and seven — seven! — runs batted in, including his three-run triple in the top of the 10th? Obviously that has to go in the report, but I don't think the D.A. will run with that alone given all the other evidence lying around. I mean, there were five more runs scored between the teams after that triple and the medical examiner will tell you that any extra innings game that ends separated by three runs is a tell-tale sign of a bullpen meltdown. They hyoid bone of baseball. Peralta Couldn't have acted alone. So, OK, detective, maybe you should include the fact that Lucas Sims' and Cionel Pérez's fingerprints were found all over the place in your report.

Also worth noting that the victim here put up a hell of a fight. Jesse Winker hit two homers. Nick Castellanos, Eugenio Suárez, Joey Votto and Jonathan India also went deep and Reds starter Jeff Hoffman only allowed two runs in the game. The Dbacks' bullpen was way, way, way less than sharp too. The killer was sloppy and the defensive wounds here make it difficult to peg a cause of death as easily it may first appear. But you've got to be thorough. You've got to put it all in your report. Of course all of that thoroughness doesn't help you when the D.A. is telling you that it's gonna be a hard case to present to a jury. There's reasonable doubt everywhere.

So you sit back, open up your desk drawer, pull out your office bottle and tip a large pour into a small glass and ask yourself, "what do I really know here?" All you know for sure is that you've got a body and what you think is a suspect, but there's a long way in between that and putting this case to bed. You throw back what's in your glass and feel its warmth, but it's a warmth that brings no comfort. You know you're in for a long night.

Thank God you just put in for retirement. Only a week until you can turn in your badge and gun and take that boat you saved up years for down to Florida. Fishing all day in the warm sun, away from this cold dark city, is just what you need.

I'm sure nothing bad will happen in the final few days on the job.

From Doug Kern:

David Peralta is the second Diamondbacks player to have:

5 hits and 10+ total bases but score only 2 runs (Danny Bautista at Milwaukee, April 22, 2004)

5 hits and miss the cycle by the double (Mark Reynolds versus Houston, May 25, 2007)

5 hits and 7 RBI in a game (Shea Hillenbrand versus the Rockies, July 7, 2003)

7 RBI in a road game (Damion Easley at Atlanta, June 3, 2006 (G2))

Peralta also hit the first bases-loaded triple in extra innings in Diamondbacks history (24 seasons (since 1998)).

It was the first time the Reds scored 3+ runs in the bottom of an extra inning and lost since July 2, 1976 (G1) against the Astros.

This was the second game in Diamondbacks history in which they scored 6+ runs in extra innings (same inning or multiple). The other was a walkoff win against the Dodgers on September 27, 2011.

Linescore Break!

July 2, 1976
Astros       - 100 000 300 030 03 - 10 25  0
Reds         - 300 001 000 030 01 -  8 14  1

September 27, 2011
Dodgers      - 000 001 000 5 - 6 12  1
Diamondbacks - 000 000 100 6 - 7 11  2 

More Kernage:

Played first 14 MLB games for Detroit and collected 13+ RBI over that span:

Dale Alexander 1929 (18)
Brennan Boesch 2010 (15)
Barbaro Garbey 1984 (15)
Akil Baddoo 2021 (13)
Johnny Groth 1948-49 (12)

Nick Wittgren is the second Cleveland pitcher to give up (exactly) 2 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, and 2 strikeouts while getting only 2 outs. He joins Albie Lopez (at Seattle, July 27, 1995), who also gave up 2 homers!


Astros pitcher Cristian Javier recorded the first eight outs of last night's game by way of the K (all swinging). He's the first Houston pitcher to get the first eight outs of a game by strikeout since Jim Deshaies on September 23, 1986.

In Boston last night, Nick Pivetta threw 5.2 no-hit innings and he and three relievers limited the Mariners to only one hit through nine innings. But the game was tied 3-3. Everything went to hell in the tenth, as Darwinzon Hernandez gave up a one-run double and a three-run homer (Darlosszon?)

The Mariners became the first team to score 7+ runs on three or fewer hits since Oakland scored eight runs on two hits against Toronto on April 12, 1994.

It was the first time the Red Sox hit a home run and two triples but scored three or fewer runs since losing to the Blue Jays 2-11 on July 1, 2015.

Alex Verdugo became the first Red Sox batter with a triple and two stolen bases since Dustin Pedroia (in a 2-0 win over the Dodgers on June 20, 2010). Verdugo is the first to do it in a loss since Tommy Harper (a 9-6 loss to the Twins on May 4, 1973. (Of course, the stolen bases have nothing to do with the triple. It's just a random occurrence of items that had not happened together for a long enough time to warrant mentioning.)


Jere said...

"A 3-1 [...] game is not hard to get to the bottom of. [...] 4-2 games can be deceptively difficult to get one's mind around"

I don't get why 3-1 is so different from 4-2, am I missing something?

the bus driver said...

thanks that was an awesome post to read on a Sunday morning!