Seasons sometimes do turn on a single pitch. One second you can almost taste victory, the next you’re left wondering where you went wrong. Unfortunately, being ‘one pitch away’ has become a bit cliché in a season filled with mistakes and disappointment. I decided to go back and look at the games this season and figure out where changing a single pitch would have changed the outcome. So, here’s a short trip through a half-season of what-could-have-been.
One Pitch Away
4/9 – Hoffman
misses with a 1-2 pitch to Stavinoha who hits a 2-run HR
throws an ugly pitch that Stavinoha turns into an ugly 2-run HR, Brewers
lose 5-4 to STL.
4/14 – Bases loaded with two outs, Hawkins has Theriot 0-2 and gives up a 2-run single. CHC score 4 runs with two outs to win 7-6.
4/28 – Top of the first inning Narveson works both LaRoche and McCutchen to full counts, then surrenders solo home runs to each. Change one of those pitches and the game never goes to extra innings, where they lose to PIT in the 14th.
5/22 – Lots of opportunities in this interleague game vs. MIN. In the bottom of the first YoGa misses on a 3-2 pitch and walks Young to force in Morneau; if he makes that pitch he saves another run when Plouffe’s sacrifice fly becomes the 3rd out. In the 7th inning Estrada gives up a run-scoring double to Mauer on a 3-2 pitch; later in the inning when Young grounds out it becomes the 3rd out instead of driving in a run. Brewers go on to lose in the 12th inning.
6/1 – Nobody out in the bottom of the 7th vs. FLA, Hoffman blows the 3-2 pitch giving up a leadoff double to Coghlan. If he makes that pitch Coghlan doesn’t score on Cantu’s double, and Paulino never drives in Cantu and Ross, making Escobar’s 8th inning RBI the game winner.
6/5 – Two opportunities in the first inning vs. STL; an 0-2 pitch to Pujols by Narveson for a home run, and Holliday steals second. One good pitch to His Holiness or throwing out the runner and the Brewers win 4-3 or 4-1.
6/12 – Second batter in the 1st inning vs. TEX – If Manny makes the full count pitch on Mike Young he gets out of the inning with no runs scored and the Crew goes on to win 3-2.
6/19 – Kameron Loe
gives up a single to Seth Smith
on a two-out 2-2 pitch, Lucroy’s error complicates things and COL ends up with three runs after that in the inning and eventually win 8-7.
There were a lot of games where we held the lead and lost it in the 9th or grounded into double plays killing rallies, but they would have needed more than one pitch here or there to change the outcome. If the Crew had made those pitches and these decisions were overturned, this is what the standings would look like as a result:
Cent W L GB
CIN 52 42 --
MIL 51 43 1.0
STL 50 43 1.5
CHC 41 53 11.0
HOU 38 55 13.5
PIT 31 61 20.0