On Tuesday night, the Braves beat the Cubs 4-3 in a game in which they had 3 hits. JamesD wants to know how rare that is. As he points out there are games in which teams were no-hit and won: actually, there are five, the most recent being almost exactly 11 years ago, when the Dodgers beat the Angels without the benefit of a hit. But teams that are no-hit have a 2.3 percent chance of winning. I’m actually surprised it’s that high. In any case, here are the winning percentages by number of hits:
Wait… what’s that last row? As it happens, the major league record for hits (at least in my database – I only go back to 1920 and there are a few games missing) is 33 and that team lost! It turns out to be this game. What a bizarre game. Eddie Rommel replaces Lew Krausse for some reason after the first inning (Lew gave up 3 runs on four hits), pitches the next 17 innings, gives up 29 hits and 14 runs (only 13 earned) and emerges the winning pitcher in an 18 inning game!
In any case, teams with 3 hits have won almost 30 percent of the time, which strikes me as absurdly high, but we’re going back to the deadball era here. I repeat the exercise for games in this century:
Pretty much the same.
For completeness, the same table limited to Atlanta Braves teams:
How many runs did those three hit wonders score? (This is only the winning three hit teams.)
So winning a 3 hit game is not particularly rare, but scoring 3 or more runs and winning is pretty unusual, and the Braves on Tuesday needed every one of them.
Game 2 of the Keuchel Era found Dallas from Tulsa in Chicago, taking on Whirling Yu Darvish. I have no Chip Caray anecdotes to relate because I chose to listen to Bob Costas and Joe Girardi on MLB Network. Yes – that’s how much I dislike Chip, particularly when he broadcasts in the Hog Butcher to the World. Also, there was an unfamiliar player in left: somebody named Camargo – not sure whether he’s related to the Camargo we had last year who had to go into the Witness Protection Program. Probably related.
Following up from yesterday, the first run scored without the benefit of any hits at all. Walk, Stolen Base, Error, Passed Ball.
In the second inning, the Braves decided to score the traditional way – with a hit. And it was a big hit from McCann. Added to an infield singled from Freddie and a solid single from Keuchel, the Braves had equaled their hit output from yesterday in the first two innings.
In the third, the Braves had two hits and a walk. The second hit was yet another big fly – this time from Nick to take the lead to 5-0.
Meanwhile, Keuchel be Keucheling. Three innings, three double plays. Only one nongrounder. No strikeouts.
Then came a brief rain delay. Bears (and presumably Cubs) hibernate in winter. Braves, apparently, hibernate after lightning delays. The five runs would be all they’d get. But the Cubs kept playing. In the fourth, Keuchel gave up his first fly ball… to the left field bleachers, by their Contreras, not ours. (Ours had a day off today.) Bryant hit one in the bottom of the fifth to make it 5-2. Contreras scored again after a triple on a classic Heyward groundout and it was 5-3, and after another single that was all for Keuchel after 87 pitches. Two Keuchel starts – ground balls early and rockets late. Webb came on, threw one pitch and ended the 6th. Unfortunately, he was then lifted for a pinch hitter. On a day without a full bullpen (Jackson and Swarzak are probably unavailable) you’d like to avoid one-pitch pitchers.
So the bottom of the 7th brings on Newky whose inning was uneventful. Touki gave up a walk and a hit which brought on Minter with two outs in the 8th. He wild pitched the tying run to second, but struck out Caratini to maintain the Minter Margin for the 9th. Schwarber: noisy out to left. Almora: 6-3. Bryant: K. Newky, Touki, and Minter, whose favorite Green Day album is Dookie.
One more tomorrow, at 2:20 Eastern. Go get ‘em.