Headley’s walk-off walk came after he made a two-run throwing error to tie the game in the bottom of the 9th. Fun fact: his career batting average is .227 at Petco and .294 on the road. very underrated player, imo.
Verlander didn’t have a lot of strikeouts, but he did get an unusual number of pop-ups. Functionally, they’re similar to strikeouts, in that they’re almost sure outs and runners can’t advance. I wonder what they indicate about pitching performance. I doubt it’s all luck – with a pop-up in fair territory, the batter is swinging to put the ball in play and missing most of it, and from a pitch-count perspective it’s a better result than a K. Game log shows six flies caught by infielders, so he needed less luck than just the four strikeouts indicated.
Has anyone studied what causes popups? Unusual rise? Drop on another pitch? throwing to certain areas?
I imagine soft grounders are similar, although batters have a better chance of beating them out.