20 innings. 18 innings. Wild.
On Saturday, the Miami Marlins and New York Mets played a 20-inning game that saw both teams use a starting pitcher out of the bullpen for seven innings or longer. The Marlins also used six bullpen arms, while the Mets used six as well.
The Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers also played an 18-inning affair, with the Jays using all eight of their active bullpen arms (eight-man bullpen, hey!). The Rangers managed to use just four relievers thanks to Ross Wolf giving them 6.2 before surrendering a game-winning Bert (a Bert is an unearned run – earned runs are Ernies).
It’s a minor miracle that none of these four teams had to use a position player to pitch at any point. It will also be a minor miracle if either of today’s games aren’t high-scoring.
My hope for today’s article was to query all especially long MLB games in the modern era and see how scoring was effected in the game after. The logic here is that especially long games are taxing on a bullpen, limiting the efficacy and availability of relievers the next day, while also potentially forcing a rotation shuffle-up. Unfortunately, my SQL game isn’t on point yet and the query is still in the works.
In the meantime, trust the hypothesis and go after Mets and Marlins in a warm-weather game with the wind blowing lightly out to right field and go after Jays and Rangers in a warm-weather game with the wind blowing lightly out to left field. And pray there’s no more #freebaseball in these games, unless you want to see David Murphy on the bump again.
The Daily Five
Josh Thole – $6,001
Am I crazy? Josh Thole? Well, after an 18-inning game, you know J.P. Arencibia isn’t getting the start again. Plus, Thole is a lefty, meaning Rangers’ starter Justin Grimm is likely to serve him something friendly (the Jays have loaded the line-up with lefties and switch hitters today). Thole was hitting very well at Triple-A Buffalo before getting the call the other day (140 wRC+) and has shown good on-base ability in the past. Going the cheap route here saves some money for later, as well.
David Wright – $7,838
Tom Koehler’s done a great job in his 40 innings so far limiting fly balls and walks and forcing teams to tally runs by nickel-and-diming him. Fortunately for the Mets, Wright has a .340 career BABIP and is more than happy to square up balls to put in play. Wright also happens to be very, very good. Jeff Mathis could limit the running game in this one, as he’s wont to do, but Wright should be able to collect a few hits, perhaps even using the right-field wind to push one out to the opposite field.
Scott Diamond – $8,372
Keep the ball on the ground and don’t walk anybody. That’s a pretty good strategy against the Washington Nationals, who have just a .287 team wOBA and have scored just 14 runs in their past seven games. With a double-header potentially also giving some bench players a start, Diamond should be in a good situation to help your ratios, though probably not your strikeouts.
Mike Minor – $17,858
We’ve went cheap in earlier picks to allow us this kind of financial freedom elsewhere on the roster. Minor has been excellent, with a 3.30 FIP backing up his 2.52 ERA, giving him basically a full calendar year of strong performance now. Minor racks up a fair number of strikeouts and limits the walks, the latter being important against an above-average team in terms of patience in the Dodgers. The Dodgers also happen to be punch-less, though, with just a .121 ISO as a team, making this start relatively risk-free for your ratios.
Troy Tulowitzki – $12,931
Again you can see the benefit of going cheap with some picks in a stars-and-streamers kind of strategy. Tulo draws Clayton Richard in Coors Field and if I need to say more than that, you haven’t been paying attention this year. Tulo the best, Richard the worst, Coors the jokiest (especially with temperatures expected to hit 85-degrees and only a breeze blowing toward the third base line).
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