This is the second half of an experiment to test how a proposed new rule would affect the Blue Jays’ 2016 extra-inning games. For an explanation of the rule, click here. For the first half of this article, which explains the experiment, click here.
June 7th – at Detroit (10 innings)
In the simulation: Steve is stranded at second in the top half of the inning. Tom scores on Justin Upton’s single to center field, walking it off for the Tigers.
Results: Tigers still win 3-2, but three batters earlier. This saves about six minutes.
In the simulation: Baltimore leaves Tom stranded in the top of the 10th, and Edwin’s home run becomes a 2-run shot.
Result: Jays still win at the same point, but the score is instead 5-3.
July 1st – vs Cleveland (19 innings)
In real life: The two teams entered the 10th tied 1-1. Despite 22 baserunners between them over the next eight innings, nobody could score until Carlos Santana led off the top of the 19th with a home run off Darwin Barney. Game time: 6:13
In the simulation: Mike Napoli drives in Tom with a single in the top of the 10th. Jays can’t score in the bottom half, game over.
Result: Cleveland wins 2-1 anyways, but 9 innings earlier, which cuts off about half the length of the game. Russell Martin never gets ejected in the 13th, and Goins and Barney never make their memorable pitching appearances.
July 26th – vs San Diego (12 innings)
In real life: Things were 4-4 through the 11th. The Padres scored two on a Matt Kemp home run in the top of the 12th, pulling ahead 6-4. In the bottom of the inning, Toronto loaded the bases on two hits and a 14-pitch Devon Travis walk, then Jose Bautista walked to bring in a run. Josh Donaldson tied it with an RBI forceout, then Travis ran home on a wild pitch to win it in walkoff fashion for the Blue Jays. The final score is 7-6, the game time 3:58.
In the simulation: Nobody scores in the 10th, or the top of the 11th. Edwin Encarnacion then leads off the bottom half with a single, scoring Steve to win the game.
Result: Jays still win, 5-4 in the 11th. This saves an inning and a half, and about 40 minutes.
July 31st – vs Baltimore (12 innings)
In real life: Each team had a walk in the 10th, and each had another runner in the 11th, but it stayed tied 2-2 until a Jonathan Schoop RBI single and then a 3-run Adam Jones home run in the top of the 12th. Baltimore won, 6-2. Game time: 3:47
In the simulation: Chris Davis drives in Tom with a 2-out single in the top of the 11th. Steve is stranded in the 10th and again in the 11th.
Result: Orioles win anyways, but with a score of 3-2 and one inning sooner. This saves about 25 minutes.
August 1st – at Houston (14 innings)
In the simulation: Nobody gets on base in the 10th, then Jason Castro leads off the bottom of the 11th with a single to right that scores Tom and walks off the game.
Result: Astros still win with the same score of 2-1, three innings sooner. This cuts a little less than an hour off the time of the game.
September 21st – at Seattle (12 innings)
In real life: Jose Bautista tied it 1-1 in the 9th with a solo home run, the Jays got four runners in extras but left them all on base. R.A. Dickey pitched the 12th and two Josh Donaldson errors set up a Robinson Cano sac fly to walk it off, 2-1 for the Mariners. Game time: 4:23
Result: Blue Jays win 2-1 instead, and the game is 2 innings and almost an hour shorter.
October 4th – AL Wild Card vs Baltimore (11 innings)
In real life: Tied at 2, The Jays’ bullpen didn’t allow a runner for 2 innings, and Edwin Encarnacion hit a 3-run bomb in the 11th to walk off the game 5-2 and send the Jays to the ALDS. Game time: 3:25
In the simulation: Devon Travis is the hero as his leadoff single in the 11th scores Steve and walks off the game.
Result: Jays win the wild card 3-2, two minutes are saved, and EE never gets his signature moment as a Blue Jay.
October 9th – ALDS G3 vs Texas (10 innings)
In real life: With the game tied 6-6, Rougned Odor made a throwing error on a double play attempt in the bottom of the 10th. This led to Josh Donaldson racing home to score and secure the sweep. Jays walked it off, 7-6. Game time: 3:21
In the simulation: Donaldson is still the hero – but for a different reason, as his leadoff double scores Steve and wins the game, as well as the series.
Result: Jays win the game 7-6, in a time about 10 minutes shorter than the reality. Jeff Bannister doesn’t get to hold up the celebrations by ordering a review on the play.
In total, my experiment found that the runner on second rule only changed the outcome of one game, and it was in the Jays’ favour. The same team won 14 of the 15 games, with significant time saved (an inning or more) seven times, and little change to the game length eight times. Obviously, this is a small sample size, and the predictions aren’t exactly scientific – there are numerous other mitigating factors – but some of the most memorable moments from the season were dramatically altered.
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