20 Innings of Really Stupid Baseball
On Saturday the Mets and Cardinals played for 20 innings, and I think it fell into the category of “so terrible that it’s compelling.” Both managers did just about everything they could to hurt their teams (short of having Albert Pujols pitch 8 innings), both in this game and for the future. I said to my roommates in the 15th that when the Mets get a run, the Cardinals will score two to beat them. Well, I almost had it; the Mets got one in the 19th, the Cardinals answered, and the Mets got another in the 20th.
Here’s what we know about this game:
- K-Rod, who warmed up at least 6 times and said he threw about 100 pitches, blew the save in the 19th but got the win. On the plus side, he’s now stretched out long enough to take John Maine’s spot in the rotation.
- Mike Pelfrey, the Mets No. 2 starter, got the save (barely) after giving up a hit and a walk. Seriously, Mike, at this point everyone just wanted to go home. Maybe Pelfrey was padding his stats because he now leads the Mets in wins and saves.
- Down 1 in the bottom of the 19th, Ryan Ludwick led off with a walk and with Albert Pujols at the plate, TRIED TO STEAL SECOND BASE. If this would have been successful, all it would do is ensure that K-Rod walks Pujols to get to…KYLE LOHSE, who was now hitting behind Pujols thanks to all of this brilliant managing. Of course, Pujols then doubled and two batters later Yadier Molina singled him home.
- After Jose Reyes walked to start the 19th, Jerry Manuel had Luis Castillo bunt against Joe Mather. Yeah, that’s Joe Mather, part-time infielder/outfielder, while Kyle Lohse is playing leftfield. I don’t know if Jerry didn’t watch his team hit for the first 18 innings, but giving away outs isn’t a great way to go about scoring runs. PS The Met run in the 19th came without a hit.
- Two position players pitched the last three innings for St. Louis; every team needs six setup guys, but we can’t afford a long reliever anymore? BULLPEN FAIL. I guess it worked though; the Mets only got one hit (that’s all we got? One god-damn hit?) through the first 11 innings.
Finally, one of my favorite things at FanGraphs is the win probability graphs for each game. It basically states what chance each team has to win based on the game state (inning, score, outs, runners). It’s derived from Tom Tango’s work examining what the likelihood of scoring is given a certain game state, and then applying those likelihoods to the rest of the game based on what has already happened. So a team with a 10-0 lead in the first might have a 98 percent chance of winning, and a team with a 10-0 lead in the ninth has a 99.999999999 percent chance of winning.
Anyway, each individual action either adds or takes away from a team’s win probability; therefore, these values can be assigned to each player based on what just happened. Whatever happens for the hitter, the opposite occurs for the pitcher. Here are samples from a fairly normal game and a kind-of crazy game. Now check out the monstrosity from Saturday.