Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Most Dismal Game of 2011

Over at Baseball Prospectus, Sam Miller nominates the Giants/Tigers game of July 2 as the worst game of the 2011 season. I remember this one well: Barry Zito started and there was a long rain delay. I could have been horrible, but as I recall, as dull as things got, watching the Giants score 15 runs--including a grand slam by Miguel Tejada, and homers from Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Crawford--was worth it (unless you were rooting for the home team). Why? Those 15 runs were 2.63% of all the runs they scored all season--we may as well have enjoyed them.

Now...perhaps calling something the worst game is an exaggeration. But I can say that the most dismal game I watched during the season was the Mariners visiting the Blue Jays of July 20th. My buddy Mark and I watched it with Tao of Stieb. Seattle was eleven games into their disastrous losing streak. There was a moment of promise at the top of the first: Ichiro singles and then Brandon Morrow walked the next two batters. Based loaded, no outs. The next two guys could stand at the plate and wait on the count and hope to walk home an RBI. Or something. A sac fly. Anything. But then, strikeout, pop up, and line out. And that's about it for the Mariners until the fourth inning, and by then they're already down 5-2. In the bottom of the fourth, it was 8-2. 

And that's about where everybody tuned out. During the game we talked about the best of baseball books, and then switched to an episode of The Franchise.

Where Are They Now?
The Blue Jays finished the season 81-81, several games away from exploiting the long-awaited collapse of the Red Sox that ended their 2011 campaign.

The Mariners finished 67-95, after a soul crushing 17 game losing streak. Without the Mariners, the Giants would have finished last (of all MLB teams) in run production in 2011. Lacking a designated hitter (apparently) over the last year, during the off season Seattle traded pitcher Michael Pineda to the Yankees for Jesus Montero. Messianic puns not included.

July 20th ended at 12:00am July 21st, 2011. Before the day was out, the Blue Jays won 11-6.  Elsewhere, the Dodgers defeated the Giants 1-0 in San Francisco, the difference being a 7th inning home run by Dioner Navarro off Tim Lincecum. The Giants' offense basically consisted of three singles (Stewart 2, Burriss). Observers will continue to be puzzled by Chris Stewart's .556/.556/1.444 career slash line versus Clayton Kershaw. Were this game not considered a classic pitchers' duel, it would have been the most dismal of the year.

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