You’ve heard it on broadcasts or you see it on Twitter. Some baseball pundit, trying to fill air time says something silly and/or asinine along the lines of “home runs kill rallies.” The belief, largely held among former players, hinges on the idea that clearing the deck of base runners gives the pitcher a break, allowing him to refocus and get the job done with a blank slate.
Never mind that the runs are already on the board, nothing is worse than a rally.
It is, of course, bunk. Scoring runs is the name of the game. Homers ensure runs score every time, without fail. It is about the best use of your limited, precious outs.
The Los Angeles Angels are a team built to hit home runs and, as a direct result of said dingers, score in bunches. That’s pretty much their whole thing, with Mike Trout and Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo and some guy named Josh stacking their lineup.
Last night, rather than utilize the home run to their advantage, the Angels dinked and dunked and singled the Detroit Tigers to death – though the Tigers did themselves no favours thanks to their six errors on the night. The Halos won 14-8, representing their single highest run scoring output of the season. The Angels did so on 16 hits – only two of which went for extra bases in the form of doubles by JB Shuck and Albert Pujols.
This was…an unusual night of offense, to say the least.
Since the strike season of 1994, offense and home runs in particular reached historic highs. In that time, only one other team scored 14 or more while hitting two or fewer extra base hits and zero home runs.
The Angels also drew six walks off Tigers pitching, giving themselves a grand total of 22 base runners to drive in – plus the extra base runners/bonus bases the Tigers “defense” afforded the LAA’s offensive efforts. The Angels erupted for 8 runs in the fifth inning, a rally started with adouble but followed by a litany of singles, walks, and sac flies.
|Top of the 5th, Angels Batting, Tied 2-2, Tigers’ Rick Porcello facing 2-3-4|
|t5||2-2||0||—||3,(1-1)||O||LAA||M. Trout||R. Porcello||-3%||47%||Flyball: RF (Deep RF Line)|
|t5||2-2||1||—||6,(2-2)||LAA||A. Pujols||R. Porcello||6%||52%||Double to LF (Line Drive to Deep LF Line)|
|t5||2-2||1||-2-||4,(2-1)||LAA||M. Trumbo||R. Porcello||6%||59%||Single to RF (Ground Ball thru 2B-1B);
Pujols to 3B
|t5||2-2||1||1-3||1,(0-0)||R||LAA||H. Kendrick||R. Porcello||9%||68%||Single to CF (Ground Ball thru SS-2B);
Pujols Scores; Trumbo to 2B
|t5||3-2||1||12-||3,(0-2)||R||LAA||J. Hamilton||R. Porcello||14%||82%||Single to RF (Line Drive to Short RF);
Trumbo Scores; Kendrick to 3B;
Hamilton to 2B/Adv on E9 (throw)
|t5||4-2||1||-23||4,(3-0)||LAA||A. Callaspo||R. Porcello||0%||82%||Intentional Walk|
|Darin Downs replaces Rick Porcello pitching
|t5||4-2||1||123||5,(3-1)||R||LAA||H. Conger||D. Downs||6%||89%||Walk; Kendrick Scores;
Hamilton to 3B; Callaspo to 2B
|t5||5-2||1||123||4,(1-2)||RO||LAA||E. Aybar||D. Downs||1%||89%||Flyball: LF/Sacrifice Fly (Deep LF);
|t5||6-2||2||12-||2,(1-0)||R||LAA||J. Shuck||D. Downs||4%||94%||Single to RF (Ground Ball thru 2B-1B);
Callaspo Scores; Conger to 3B;
Shuck to 2B/Adv on throw
|t5||7-2||2||-23||3,(1-1)||R||LAA||M. Trout||D. Downs||2%||96%||Single to LF (Ground Ball);
Conger Scores; Shuck to 3B
|t5||8-2||2||1-3||2,(1-0)||R||LAA||A. Pujols||D. Downs||2%||98%||Single to RF (Line Drive to Short CF-RF);
Shuck Scores; Trout to 3B
|Evan Reed replaces Darin Downs pitching
|t5||9-2||2||1-3||2,(0-1)||R||LAA||M. Trumbo||E. Reed||1%||99%||Pujols Picked off 1B, safe on E1 (throw);
Trout Scores/unER; Pujols to 3B
|t5||10-2||2||–3||4,(1-2)||O||LAA||M. Trumbo||E. Reed||-0%||99%||Groundout: SS-1B (SS-2B)|
|8 runs, 7 hits, 2 errors, 1 LOB. Angels 10, Tigers 2.|
So suck it, nerds. The Angels are here to show you that you can IN FACT score runs without the benefit of homers. You can string single after single after single after single after single after single after single together and put up a crooked numbers. Happens all the time…