I am of the opinion that weird baseball is better than good baseball. I often say that my favorite game ever is the final game of the 2013 Yankees' season. It's something that I'm only slightly kidding when I say.
Yes, edge of your seat pitching duels are exciting, but I'd much rather see a position player come in to pitch with his team down 15 runs. There are plenty of good, exciting games in any season. Weird games only come around once in a while. After the season, lots of media outlets will do a "Moments/Games of the Season," but I wanted to write about my favorite games of the season: the weirdest ones.
A 2-1 game started by Masahiro Tanaka and Anibal Sanchez isn't that weird in theory, and most of it isn't actually that weird, but we'll get to why this one is eventually.
After Tanaka allowed a run in the first, the Yankees' offense went into 2013-14 mode and went to sleep for most of the game. They eventually tied the game in the sixth. Jacoby Ellsbury led off the inning with a single, just the second hit of the game for the Yankees. After stealing second, Ellsbury moved to third when Brett Gardner grounded out. Two batters later, with Brian McCann at the plate, Sanchez was called for a balk, scoring Ellsbury.
Ellsbury also started things off when the Yankees scored the go-ahead run in the eighth. He doubled, was bunted over to third, and scored when McCann grounded out. The smallest of the small ball. The bullpen held on for a 2-1 win. Nearly on his own, Ellsbury won this game for the Yankees.
Weirdest Performance: McCann was the batter when both Yankee runs scored. He got one RBI and no hits.
The day before the previously mentioned game, the two teams played on a snowy night in Detroit. The Tigers had started off the season hot and sent David Price to the mound. The game started with Ellsbury getting hit by a pitch and got super weird after that. The Yankees batted around in the first, scoring six runs. The major blow coming when Gregorio Petit, with the bases loaded, cleared them with a double.
Yankees' starter Adam Warren nearly gave it all back, allowing four runs in the first. However, the Yankees added more in the second and never looked back. Said second inning featured back-to-back triples by Carlos Beltran and Chase Headley, the two Yankees' speed demons. Price finished with a Game Score of 4 and the Yankees moved above .500 with the win.
Weirdest Performance: After the big hit in the second, Petit reached base two more times, both via walk. One of those walks was intentional to get to Didi Gregorius. Baseball is the best.
After struggling pretty mightily against Mike Montgomery, the Yankees went to the top of the ninth down 2-1. Headley started a ninth inning rally with a walk. After Mariners' closer Fernando Rodney got two outs, McCann kept the game alive with a single. That un-ideally left the game in the hands of Stephen Drew. It looked like the Yankees were going to come away with a loss, but there was something in the air that night - base hit to right - Fernando. Drew doubled, scoring Headley and tying the game.
In the 11th, Drew again came up with a big, two-out hit. After his single, Brett Gardner doubled. That brought Garrett Jones to the plate. In his one real moment of Yankee glory, Jones homered to put the Yankees up 5-2. Andrew Miller allowed a run to score in the bottom of the inning and had to face the potential winning run in the form of Nelson Cruz. However, he struck out Cruz and preserved a Yankee win.
Weirdest Performance: Stephen Drew got two huge two-out hits. Doesn't get much weirder than that.
After the teams traded two runs in the sixth, the only thing that separated them was a Red Sox run in the top of the first. Down to their final out, Headley hit a home run to keep the Yankees alive. That would be the beginning of what was the longest night of the season.
The teams traded zeros all the way to the 16th inning. David Ortiz finally broke the deadlock with a home run to put Boston back in front. No worry though as Mark Teixeira tied the game with a home run of his own in the bottom half of the inning. After a scoreless 17th, the Red Sox again took the lead in the 18th. However, the Yankees again answered in the bottom of the inning when Beltran drove in a run. After the two teams essentially played two games, the Red Sox again took the lead in the 19th. Despite putting the lead-off hitter on, the Yankees didn't have another rally in them and lost 6-5 in the early morning of what was now April 11th.
Weirdest Performance: After going through all the important pieces in the bullpen, the Yankees were left with Esmil Rogers. He is a long man and does have the ability to make spot starts if needed (not that you want that), but him pitching 4.2 innings out of the bullpen isn't ideal. He wasn't good, but pitched valiantly before the game finally ended.
There's only one correct choice for the weirdest game of the season. After the Yankees stranded one runner in the top of the first, Chris Capuano, who was making a spot start, came out to pitch for the Yankees. That went about as well as you would expect from a Chris Capuano outing. Capuano walked Delino DeShields to start the game, but then got the next two hitters to fly out. Those were the only two outs he got. After that, it went walk, single, walk, single, double, walk, walk before Capuano was taken out with the score now 5-0. Diego Moreno got out of a bases-loaded jam and, as it turned out, kept the Yankees in striking distance.
The Yankees' offense then came out and scored 11 runs in the second, four in the third, one in the fourth, three in the sixth, and two in the ninth. Non-pitcher Adam Rosales pitched the ninth for the Rangers. All that happened while the Yankees didn't allow another runs themselves. What's even more crazy is that the Yankees scored all that on only two home runs.
Any game where Brendan Ryan drives in three runs is going to be a good one.
Weirdest Performance: Diego Moreno, who replaced Capuano, threw 5.1 scoreless innings, allowing no hits and walking just one and striking out five. That will probably be the peak of his baseball career. Sorry, Diego.
If you think I missed one or just want to share other weird/fun memories from the season, leave them in the comments below.