What gets to the heart of baseball, and to the heart of a baseball season, is that 162 games is supposed to be enough for any anomaly or bit of screwiness a long enough timeline to flatten out. Anyone can get hot, but no one can get unreasonably hot for 162 games and six months. Every team is going to have a hot streak, and a cold streak too. But when we get through September, 162 games is enough to tell us exactly what every team and every player is.
It doesn’t always work that way, and the more ways we study and measure baseball, we see that some goofy things can last for six months. Some teams just go cold with runners in scoring position for an entire year, with little explanation. Some teams just have an inordinate amount of contact hit right at guys for months on end. There are seasons where a team just has more fly balls go for homers because they all happened to be hit 10 feet to the left or right than they were the previous season.
Last night, perhaps the weirdest trend of the 2023 season came to an end. The San Diego Padres won a game that lasted more than nine innings. They are now 1-12 in extra innings. Perhaps it would have been better had they lost and gone the whole season with a donut in that category, to be truly unique in history. To complete the set, as it were.
It’s already been remarked that had the Padres even just split their extra inning games, which would be the nominal record in a situation that essentially works as a coin flip, they would have been in a wild-card spot right now. Comfortably so, even. Perhaps it’s the brightest example of San Diego’s incompetence with runners in scoring position this season (.241 team average). Or maybe their weird bullpen setup at times.
But most likely it’s just another factor in a confluence of idiocy and randomness that have doomed the Padres this season. This is a team that still has the third-best run-differential in the NL. It has the likely Cy Young Award winner. There isn’t all that much one can point to that would explain why one or two more flares off the hands or a seeing-eye grounder through a hole or a another fly ball or two that were five feet deeper didn’t happen and led to a handful of more wins in extras that would have made the Padres the playoff team that most numbers indicate they should be. It just was, and it didn’t even out over a season designed to be long enough to flatten everything out. It was a bit of voodoo that wouldn’t answer to logic and time. Fiendish baseball treachery that thumbed its nose at averages and sample sizes.
1-12 isn’t 0-12 or 0-13. It is not complete, or whole at 1-12. But it is still remarkable and bewildering, and a testament to there still being things in baseball that 162 can’t solve.
Trying to navigate the Hudson
A special shoutout to CBS Sports last night, who parachuted human migraine Ray Hudson onto their broadcast of the US Open Cup final between Inter Miami and Houston Dynamo FC last night. And they specifically did so with the expectation that Hudson would preside over yet another Lionel Messi game, giving him the platform to retch out more of his inane, barely sensical, but self-celebratory and eternity-winded ramblings that he spent months constructing. Hudson became famous in soccer broadcasting for the way adjectives and phrases car-crashed out of his mouth whenever Messi was making magic at Barcelona on whatever backwater cable station La Liga washed up on back in those days. It gained a niche because in Hudson’s Geordie accent the word “magisterial” sounded like a noise that your brakes would make when the pads wore down, but fans couldn’t get enough. This surely is what CBS wanted to replicate by hiring Hudson last season and sticking him on whatever PSG match in the Champions League they could, but to little effect given how little Messi played or did for the Parisian club.
Well for all that trouble, last night not only did Messi not even play due to injury, but Miami got their ass womped as Houston toddled off with the Cup. Guess Hudson will have to put the thesaurus and madlibs away for another year.
Finishing in style
Ending with the highlight of the day, and that’s Dominik Szobszlai’s goal for Liverpool yesterday that was the winner in the League Cup tie:
Another angle because I’m feeling frisky:
A shot is often described as “hitting the net” simply because it’s on target. This one hits the net as if it just caught it grabbing its partners ass at a Motorhead show. A righteous menace to it.
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Original source here
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