All of the oddities (and strikeouts) from the Yankees-Cubs marathon game
The rules of #WeirdBaseball are simple: When a game's local time passes midnight, viewers at home get to eat ice cream. Sometimes, they are simply games that had long rain delays or saw lots of runs, but things never got very strange.
That was not the case in Wrigley as the Yankees defeated the Cubs, 5-4, in 18 innings. It was the longest game in Sunday Night Baseball history; the longest game in Interleague history and it was the longest game in 2017.
Let's break all the oddities down:
Javier Baez hit a home run that Aaron Hicks couldn't even see
It started early. With the dusk sky making it difficult to pick up the baseball, Baez blasted a home run out of the park in the third inning that went almost straight into the air -- eventually reaching a height of 143 feet. Perhaps we should have known early on that things were going to be strange. But we had no idea.
Aroldis Chapman blew the lead against his old team
Since Baez's home run, the Cubs' vaunted offense was stymied. So when fireballing Aroldis Chapman entered in the ninth inning with a three-run lead, you could have assumed it was over. After all, the left-hander hadn't blown a regular-season save since last Aug. 19 against the Rockies.
Facing his old team, Chapman wasn't his sharpest. Maybe it was the cold, maybe being back in Wrigley in a new uniform, maybe it was just bad luck. But after hitting Anthony Rizzo to drive in the tying run, Chapman's day was done. And we were going to extra innings.
Extra innings started with 10 consecutive strikeouts
We all know that strikeouts have been rising in the game. But this was a little ridiculous. From the start of the 10th until Baez grounded out with one out in the bottom of the 11th, everyone was set down on strikes. It's a bit of foreshadowing, as this will become a bit of a theme.
Kyle Schwarber went head-over-heels (literally) to make this catch
Schwarber isn't known for his defensive agility. Perhaps we've just been blinded by his impressive dingers. Chasing Chase Headley's foul in the 12th inning, Schwarber hustled to reach the ball and then went end over end into the stands.
And, like a zombie emerging from the grave, he made sure to shoot his gloved hand into the air to show that the ball was safely ensconced in the leather.
Cubs pitchers kept pinch-hitting
In the bottom of the 14th, Jake Arrieta entered to pinch-hit. That's not that strange. Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the last two seasons -- even posting a .720 OPS in 70 plate appearances last year. He, like seemingly everyone else, struck out.
Joe Maddon wasn't done, though. Come the bottom of the 16th, it was time to bring in another pitcher to hit: John Lackey. Unlike Arrieta, Lackey has never gone deep, posting just a .292 OPS in 214 career plate appearances. It wouldn't make much difference: Like everyone else, he also struck out.
Come the bottom of the 18th, and with Cubs trailing by one, Kyle Hendricks came to the plate to try and keep it going (though surely there were some Cubs fans left that just wanted to go home). It made the Cubs just the 15th team since 1913 to pinch-hit with three pitchers in a single game.
Sure enough, Hendricks, and his career .105 batting average, went down on strikes to end the contest.
Multiple "Bad News Bears" sightings
Yes, multiple men dressed in Bad News Bears jerseys appeared. Did they arrive at the game together? Are they extra-dimensional beings that simply show up in extra-inning games, like a friendly version of Pennywise the clown? We may never know.
It went on so long, we even got to see the new baseballs being brought out
The real question: How much longer would it have to go before someone is making a panicked call to every sports store in the nearby area, begging them to open up in the middle of the night because the teams are in desperate need of baseballs?
Joe West tied a personal record ... in the same stadium
This game went 18 innings -- tying West's personal record for the longest game he called. Naturally, that also happened in Wrigley Field all the way back in 1986. Perhaps the singularity is already here.
Joe West Trivia: This NYY-CHC game is nearing Cowboy Joe's longest as home plate umpire: 9/2/1986 (HOU-CHC at Wrigley Field, 18 innings). pic.twitter.com/zeTglaBJS3- UEFL (@UmpireEjections) May 8, 2017
The game set the record for most strikeouts in a baseball game
Perhaps you could have guessed from all the strikeouts above, but yes. There was plenty of batters going down looking and swinging as 48 total struck out.
It broke the record set in the July 9, 1971, game between the Athletics and Angels when 43 batters went down on strikes. Only difference? That one took 20 innings to complete.
The Yankees struck out 22 times, becoming just the fourth team since 1913 to K 22 or more times and get the 'W.' The last team to do it was the Milwaukee Brewers when they struck out 22 times in a 1-0 victory over the Angels on June 8, 2004.
This was also only the second time each team struck out more than 20 times. The last came 16 years ago when the Padres and Giants kept missing the ball on June 19, 2001.
The Yankees won with four players carrying an 0-fer
Austin Romine and Chase Headley each went 0-for-7 in this one, while Didi Gregorius and Starlin Castro went 0-for-8. That made the Yankees the first team to have four players on a single team go at least 0-for-7.
While that will make some pretty big impacts on their season numbers, at least the Bombers have a 'W' to add in the standings.
Even stranger, despite the lack of hits, Castro drove in the game's first run with an RBI groundout in the first inning, and drove in the final one after reaching on a fielder's choice in the 18th.