Dodgers, Padres Manage to Play 16 Innings of Modern Day Baseball
August may be baseball's grind-it-out dog days, but not for those clubs who still have dogs in the hunt.
- The Los Andeles Dodgers are hot on the trail of San Francisco's surprising Giants for the NL West crown, while
- The San Diego Padres -- the supposed feelgood story of 2021 -- are desperately clinging to the possibility of making the playoffs, something that seemed like a given only a month ago.
Every game has an edge to it as they race to October, and series like this one becomes a personnification of intensity.
These situations are as old as the sport itself, and on this occasion, they weren't gonna let any bloody new rules get in the way of a death match.
And that's damn near what it was.
- Dodgers' pitchers didn't allow a hit for nine innings, but instead of yet another tag-team no-no in the books, it merely kept their team in the game.
- In fact, the Bums' bullpen only surrendered one hit over 9⅓ innings of service.
The @Dodgers bullpen went 9.1 innings and allowed only one hit in tonight's game.— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) August 26, 2021
Since 2000, the only other time a team's bullpen tossed that many innings while allowing 1 hit or fewer was the Dodgers on April 29, 2007, also at San Diego (10.2 IP).
And yet, they couldn't pull away from the Padres, whose hurlers scattered hits to the same effect.The result was a 1-1 stalemate after nine:
- San Diego pushed across a gift run in the second, when an error kept the inning going and allowed Jake Cronenworth to score on Wil Myers' infield hit, while
- Will Smith went yard in the eighth to keep Los Angeles alive.
So on it went to the extras, plagued as it has been all season by starting an inning with a runner on second. The rationale was to deploy this high school tiebreaker to lessen wear-&-tear on ballplayers coming off the abbreviated 2020 season, as if the occasional extra-inning game was gonna be that consequential.
The baseball gods don't take to such insolence kindly, and it showed.
- Because of the runner-on-second rule, Bums skipper Dave Roberts kept walking Padre batters intentionally, setting an MLB record by ordering eight of them.
- The game still went 16 innings, becoming the longest of the season at 5 hours, 49 minutes, giving cause to add a 14-inning stretch for the fans.
Baseball's gonna do what baseball's gonna do.
Instead, this one brought home the old bromide that if you go to any game, you just might see something that you never saw before.
- Like a pair of two-run bombs in the 15th inning or later -- an MLB first -- to keep things going.
- And whatever the hell this was trying to accomplish:
Corey Knebel balks on purpose so the runner can't see the catcher's signs but umpires don't call it so he does it again— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) August 26, 2021
Then he allows the tying home run to Fernando Tatis Jr., sending the game to 16 innings, the longest in the history of the runner on second rule by 3 innings pic.twitter.com/rn2rheykPe
Most of MLB's hitters who aren't 2017 Astros don't really want to know what's coming, anyway. They're more into read and react, believe it or not.
If only they woulda done that on the basepaths. Extra-inning decisions weren't either team's shining moment.
That goes for fundamentals of defense, too. Little Leaguers will tell you not to throw over a runner in a hotbox; you step out to the receiver's glove side. That almost cause a wild throw, too:
Ultimately, it all came down to AJ Pollock.
Dude might've had an idea what was coming by simply observing Daniel Camarena in the 15th. Then again, he might not have. Whatever the case, he finally put an end to the proceedings in the 16th with an old-fashioned blast.
As one would expect in a marathon like this,
- There were two total runs scored through the first 14 innings. Walker Buehler and Blake Snell hooked up in an old-time starter's duel, combining for 18 punchies.
- All told, 19 pitchers and 26 position players got into the game.
- There were 14 total hits and 14 total walks. Only three players had more than one hit: Cody Bellinger, Will Smith, and Justin Turner.
- The Padres ran outta bench players and were forced to use pitchers Ryan Weathers and Joe Musgrove as pinch-hitters with predictable results.
Los Angeles needed this to remain 2½ games behind the Giants. The scoreboard already posted the news that Cincinnati lost, so San Diego didn't cede any ground to the Reds for the second Wild Card slot.
After a 16-inning loss at home, the Friars were probably too tired to feel any better, either.
Don't mess with the pace of play.
It gives fans more time to place bets.
Now, there's a leader who sees the future a lot clearer than Manfred does.