Extra-Inning Baseball is in the Astros DNA
The beautiful aspect of baseball is despite all the knowledge you hold, and you never know how the game will finish. History proves in the Astros case, and you never know when the game will finish. For those of you who rely on TiVo to record your Stros, you may want to extend the record time a couple of hours.
Through the Astros History, there is no shortage of memorable extra-inning games played. You may remember in 1989; the Astros beat the Dodgers in 22 innings in a game that lasted seven hours and fourteen minutes. The game finally concluded at 2:52 a.m. with Bill Doran taking out Mike Scioscia at the plate. The two team were scheduled for a day game that same morning, and some players just slept at the dome. The players were obviously running on fumes, and wouldn’t you know it; the two teams were once again locked up for a 13 inning affair resulting in another Astros walk off.
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A game that you may be more familiar with was In 2005 when the Stros played a 5 hour and 50-minute contest, and then it was the longest playoff game in MLB history (In the 2014 NLDS, The Giants beat the Nationals in 18 innings, time of 6:23). The Astros game featured a Grand Slam by Lance Berkman, a relief win by seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens pitching on two days rest and featured a Milo Hamilton call for the ages. For many of us, Milo’s call is hard wired into our brain “And the pitch, swinging, lining it to left!, It’s gone!, It’s gone! It’s gone! Chris Burke!!! Holy Toledo, what a way to Finish”.
Going back to 1969, the team with the most extra-inning games played in a season is, that’s right, you guessed it, your Houston Astros. In the 1990 season, the Astros played an astonishing 27 extra inning games, or another way to look at it is that 16% of their games reached extra frames. Through 71 games in the 2016 campaign, the Astros are sticking to their strong history with 11 extra inning games or 15.4% of their games played.
Maybe there is something to this extra inning magic, and maybe we should hope all the games go
extra innings. Looking deeper into the numbers, the Astros have seven walk-off game winners this season, and low and behold, they are all in extra inning games. The now surging Astros who stand at 35-36, are 7-4 in those 11 extra innings played.
Any Manager will tell you that they can do without playing any extra frames in a season. Those extra outs, and more importantly the extra pitches can have a devastating effect on the pen over the course of the season.The heavy workload on the Astros bullpen has been dispersed like cards at a poker game, but if you take a closer look at this weekend’s extra-inning affair, it is a perfect example of how the Stros can shield what could be devastating for most teams.
Saturday night the Stros won in 11 innings on a Springer walk-off base knock and used four pitchers in the game. The following Sunday Chris Devenski, or Devo as they call him whipped up a manger’s delight, that negated the previous night’s bullpen usage. After Fiers had gone 5.2, the Astros were looking at the possibility of using four pitchers again. Devo came in with two on two out, and not only did he close the door in the 5th, but he closed out the game.
Devenski went 3.1 to pick up his first major league save, and lower his era out of the pen to 0.68 on the season. Approaching the halfway point of the season, the Astros are also quickly approaching .500 As the season progresses the Astros are proving strong intestinal fortitude in the face of all obstacles. Although Aprils start is the ultimate challenge to overcome, the Astros are showing they will win that war, by winning all the extra-inning battles along the way.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***