We may be running out of weeks in the season. But we never seem to run out of Five Astounding Facts. So the Useless Information Department proudly presents this week's edition:
We now know there will be at least one postseason game played in Washington, D.C. for the first time since the F.D.R. administration (1933). And friends, those 79-year postseason droughts don't come along real frequently. Or, to be more precise, a better term for "not real frequently" might be:
Yessir, this is the first baseball city on our glorious continent to go 79 years between postseason games (in the World Series era, anyway). And despite the slight technicality that they didn't actually have a team in D.C. for 33 of those years, it's still pretty amazing -- and historic:
• Longest previous gap between postseason games in any city during the World Series era: 41 years, by our friends in Cleveland (1954-95).
• And even though we're only talking 45 actual postseason-free seasons in a row (by three different franchises) in our nation's capital, that's still a record. Besides the Indians, the only other city to have even one franchise go 40 seasons between postseason games is the White Sox (1919-59). But the Cubs (we kid you not) played in five postseasons in that span. So the city of Chicago doesn't get credit for a 40-year drought. Sorry. Send all complaints to Ernie Banks. Or Minnie Minoso.
• Finally, here's a leader board we bet you've never seen -- Most Years Between Postseason Games in One City (World Series Era):
Washington 79 (1933-2012)
Cleveland 41 (1954-95)
Chicago 34 (1959-83)
Pittsburgh 33 (1927-60)
Boston 28 (1918-46)
Kansas City 27 (1985-rightthisminute)
Milwaukee 26 (1982-2008)
Philadelphia 26 (1950-76)
Just for the record, this list doesn't include cities like Montreal, which lost a team (after 22 straight postseason-free seasons) and never got one back. It spans only past droughts of more than 25 years, or droughts of current big league cities which are still in progress (see Kansas City). Either way, it's quite the list!
Meanwhile, 40 miles up I-95, the Orioles just keep on working overtime -- and winning. They've now won 15 consecutive extra-inning games, the second-longest streak in extras in history (behind only Lou Boudreau's 1949 Indians, who won 17 in a row). But that's not all
• These Orioles have now won eight games that lasted 12 innings or longer. Only two other AL teams have done that in the last 50 years -- Mike Gallego's 1988 A's and Andy Etchebarren's 1966 Orioles.
• This team is also 7-0 in games of 13 innings or longer. The only other team in the live-ball era to play to play that many games that long and win them all: Those '88 A's (8-0).
• The Orioles have also won all five games that have lasted 14 innings or more. The only team to match or beat that in the live-ball era? You guessed it. The '88 A's (6-0).
• This group also has now won a 15-inning game, a 17-inning game and an 18-inning game. The last AL team to win three games of 15-plus innings in the same year: Oscar Gamble's 1976 Yankees.
• And it isn't every team that can win a 17-inning game and an 18-inning game in the same year. Last team to win two games of 17 innings or more? Charlie Puleo's 1988 Braves.
• Oh, and one more thing: Thanks to all those extra innings, Adam Jones has now hit four home runs this season in the 11th inning or later. So we just had to ask the Sultan of Swat Stats, SABR home run historian David Vincent, how many other players in history have done that. The correct answer: Not a one. Of course!
The good news for Rockies pitcher Alex White is: He's hit a home run two starts in a row. The bad news is: He didn't win either game.
So how rare is that? Thanks for asking. Just three other pitchers have done it in the 40-season DH era:
Scott Karl (Brewers), June 6-11, 1999: HR vs. Pedro Astacio and Dan Perkins (loss and no-decision).
Sean Bergman (Astros), April 9-15, 1999: HR vs Scott Karl and Chris Brock (got two no-decisions).
And in the non-Scott Karl Division
Mike Corkins (Padres), May 23-28, 1973: HR vs. Andy Messersmith and Ernie McAnally (got two no-decisions).4
Sometimes in baseball, miracles happen. Take Saturday in Kansas City, for instance. One minute, the Royals were getting shut out by Zack Greinke, 2-0, with one out in the ninth and nobody on. The next thing you knew, they'd somehow won this game, 3-2, without making another out.
Greinke would leave with a two-run lead and a runner on first. Then Angels closer Ernesto Frieri would do something you almost never see -- give up a game-tying homer and a walkoff homer to the only two hitters he faced (Salvador Perez and Billy Butler). So how often does that happen?
• Last reliever to enter with a lead of two runs or more and do that: Guillermo (Willie) Hernandez (in relief of Jack Morris), to the fun tag team of Cliff Johnson and Buck Martinez, on June 14, 1986, in Toronto.5
Finally, has there ever been a team that had a more unlikely pair of first/ninth innings back-to-back than the Phillies just had in New York?
On Wednesday, they managed to win a game in which they hit a home run to lead off the game (Jimmy Rollins) and another home run with two outs in the ninth (Ryan Howard) -- but never scored in between.
The last time any team pulled that off? Sept. 2, 1983, when the fabled "Wheeze Kids" Phillies did it, with a leadoff home run by Joe Morgan and a walkoff slam by Ozzie Virgil Jr. (against Giants closer Gary Lavelle).
Then, on Thursday, the Phillies fired up an eight-run first inning and a seven-run ninth inning in the same game. And how many teams have ever had a game like that? That would be none, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Ever.
This team ought to go into the framing business -- because in innings other than the first and ninth in those games, you know how many runs they scored? Exactly one.