While watching the inning that shall forever be known around MLB as “the 7th inning” (not to be confused with the more recent David Price/Aaron Loup/Ryan Goins 7th inning from the ALCS), much of Toronto was steaming over that bizarre play in which Russell Martin‘s throw back to the pitcher hit the batter’s bat, and the go-ahead run was allowed to score.
However, what captured my attention took place several minutes, several bench-clearing brawls and several video reviews later. In the bottom of the 7th, with emotions and adrenaline high, Russell Martin leads off and gets aboard thanks to an error by Elvis Andrus. Next up is Kevin Pillar, and he chops a ball to first, that Mitch Moreland throws low and Andrus can’t dig out, for the second consecutive error. Finally, Ryan Goins steps to the plate and lays down a sacrifice bunt, that gets fielded by Adrian Beltre and is dropped by the aforementioned Elvis Andrus, for his second error of the inning and the Rangers’ 3rd consecutive error.
Toronto Blue Jays
If only Buck Martinez was calling the game, he’d have a field day announcing “all of them ‘airs”.
We all know what happens next. Josh Donaldson hits into a fielder’s choice to tie the game, and then Jose Bautista launches one to the Space Station and initiates the ‘bat flip heard around the world’ – “Babies will be made because of that bat flip” said Justin Klugh.
When the dust settled I was left with one question – what is more rare? A run scoring because of an errant catcher’s throw or 3 consecutive errors. My hypothesis was that I could watch an incredible amount of baseball (which I have) and never again see 3 consecutive errors.
While most in the business speculated but were too lazy to research, I enlisted the help of my robo-research team at askwonder.com to help me determine the answer. There you submit a question and their team of crack internet researchers return a response within hours.
Before I had a chance to hear back from Wonder, I listened to the postgame interview with Rangers’ Manager Jeff Bannister. In this interview, he was asked about the Martin play and said that he knew the live ball call was correct, because he’d been a part of a similar play earlier in his career. So far so good for my hypothesis.
Then a few hours later my research arrived, and thanks to “expert researcher” Annmarie P, we now had our answer!
The first thing that was interesting to learn was that “in baseball history, there have been four games in which three errors were counted on the same play, one after the other: – LA Dodgers vs Padres, 9/9/14 – LA Angels vs Tigers, 4/20/14 – Yankees vs Brewers, 7/27/88 – Nashville Volunteers, 1937”.
Next I learned that “In 2010, the Nationals had three errors in a single inning in their season opener, but there were batters interspersed between them”. Close but no cigar.
Finally the research concluded to my delight:
“However, after extensive research I haven’t found anything like what happened last night in which the errors stacked up on different plays, and three-error innings in general are very unusual at this professional level of play. It seems like, in exact terms, last night’s game may have been one-of-a-kind.” And oh yeah, this happened in the 5th and deciding game in the ALDS!
So next time you’re having a beer with Sam Dyson or Cole Hamels and they complain about how Jose Bautista disgraces the game with monstrous bat flips, remind them that had they not been the first team ever to commit 3 consecutive ground ball errors, the bat flip would’ve never happened.
Thanks to askwonder.com for the research. Use this link to try Wonder out for FREE ! If you think 3 consecutive errors has occured before in the Majors, please let me know in the comments below. Go Jays Go!