Pinch-Running Pitchers, Chapman Flaming Out, and Back-to-Back Homers: The Great Weirdness of That Reds-Phillies Game
Sunday afternoon, the Phillies came back from down 2-0 to beat the Reds. That’s not particularly newsworthy on its own — the Phillies aren’t a bad team, and in a game as unpredictable as baseball, comebacks like that are commonplace.
But dive a little deeper into what happened and you’ll start to appreciate exactly how unpredictable baseball was on Sunday afternoon.
• FanGraphs posts a Win Probability chart for every game. This one looks like the first 40 seconds of a really scary roller coaster. Before Erik Kratz’s home run, the Phillies hadn’t been an even bet to win since the first at-bat of the second inning.
• Aroldis Chapman walked Delmon Young on four pitches to start the ninth inning. This is Young’s eighth major league season, in which he’s batted 3,632 times and walked 150 times. Barry Bonds walked 150 times in a season four times.
• It didn’t matter, because Cliff Lee immediately pinch-ran for Young (which raises the question of what, exactly, Delmon Young is good for if a pitcher runs the bases better than he does). Chapman picked him off first base. It was Chapman’s first pickoff since July 9, 2011, when Chapman caught Corey Hart wandering.
• Kratz then hit a solo home run to tie the game. Strangely enough, something like that has happened before. Of Kratz’s previous 11 career home runs, one was a game-tying, ninth-inning solo shot against Craig Kimbrel (perhaps the only reliever in the game as nasty as Chapman right now) last August 31.
• Freddy Galvis hit a solo home run to win the game. Galvis now has six career home runs over two seasons, and has never slugged .400 for a full season at any level of professional baseball.
• Because the one out of the inning was recorded on the bases, Chapman technically did not retire a batter. He hadn’t appeared in a game and failed to retire a batter since September 10, 2011.
• Aroldis Chapman had never before allowed back-to-back home runs. In fact, he’d never allowed multiple home runs in the same game before Sunday.
• In baseball, there is great weirdness.