New York Yankees v Oakland Athletics

Extra innings, man: what’s up with that? If it seems you’re seeing a lot of extra long games in 2013, you aren’t crazy. Well, you are possibly crazy for spending moments of your day considering the relative volume of extra inning games but the 2013 season is absolutely lousy with extra long games.

Already in 2013 we have seen 14 games last at least 14 innings, including two yesterday! The Cubs squeaked past the Reds in 14 while the Yankees and A’s played an unintentional double-header, with the A’s winning in 18 innings. The Yankees/A’s 18 inning marathon was the fourth such game this season, joining the Mets/Marlins, Jays/Rangers, and those same A’s who played another 18+ inning game in April against the Angels. That already ranks fourth-most in the history of the game, with three of these games coming in the last week!

Can we expect this run of super long games to continue? No, no we cannot.

Is there a reason for this influx of long games? Probably not? OR MAYBE THERE IS.

Via the magic of the Baseball Reference Play Index, we see a slight relationship between offense and extra inning games. When runs come more easily, they tend to show up before the game gets to the 14th inning, he intuited.

woba and extra innings

It’s as good a rationale as any – scoring goes up, abnormally long games go down. The relationship here is pretty weak but it isn’t nothing! The deadly confluence of minor factors and major chance, coming together to create some long-ass baseball games. Add in some improvements (?) to relief pitchers and boom – marathons.

While suppressed offense might encourage longer games, they still require great pitching performances from longmen or otherwise idle starters. Yesterday, Adam Warren threw six innings of four hit relief, his third outing of four or more innings already this season. In the Mets/Marlins game last Saturday, Shaun Marcum stepped in and threw EIGHT innings in relief, striking out 7 before eventually allowing the winning run.

No need to draw sweeping conclusions as to why and when these types of games will show up, they just happen. They are ours to either enjoy or loathe, it really depends on your outlook (and often your deadline.)

And the rest

Yesterday marked just the fourth time in his career that Mariano Rivera failed to record a single out in an appearance. Second this year! Time to hang’em up, Mo. [Play Index]

It wouldn’t even have gotten to that point if it weren’t for Vernon Wells! Yes, his lackluster offense is a factor but look at this throw! Keeping the game alive.

This, too

Xander Bogaerts is moving on up to Triple-A Pawtucket. He went from being the youngest player in the double-A Eastern League to being the youngest player in the International League. Gulp. [WEEI]

Cliff Lee just wants to win, man. So much for his time as Phillie, I suppose. [The 700 Level]

Prospects and star power – it takes a lot to move the needle. [Fangraphs]

Matt Carpenter, sort of really good. [StL Dispatch]

Umm, wow.

Talkin’ Jays [DJF]