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Friday, October 12, 2012

ESPN.com: Stark - Jayson Werth’s walk-off home run saves Nationals’ season

As a diehard Nats fan since day one of the 2005 season, I sure picked a great time attend my first game at Nationals Park.

We can’t say that for certain, because we don’t have pitch-count data for every postseason walk-off homer ever hit. We have reliable pitch-count data, in fact, for only most of the past two decades. But here’s what we know:

• This was the longest at-bat to result in a game-ending postseason home run of any of the walk-off shots for which baseball-reference.com data is available. The longest before this? “Only” nine pitches, by Derek Jeter, on the way to his fabled Mr. November homer in the 2001 World Series.

• No one has had a recorded at-bat this long and then hit even a regular-season walk-off homer in 15 years—since Garret Anderson hit one off Rick Aguilera, also on the 13th pitch he saw, on Sept. 15, 1997.

• Werth has been to the plate nearly 4,000 times in the regular season and hit 145 career homers. But he’d never, ever had a 13-pitch at-bat that ended in any kind of home run, let alone a walk-off. (His previous high: 12, before a 2009 homer off Oliver Perez.)

• And Werth’s longest at-bat ever before launching a walk-off bomb was eight pitches, before a 2010 game-ender against (who else?) the Nationals. The reliever who allowed that one? Drew Storen. The same Drew Storen who turned into the winning pitcher in this game, thanks to the latest Jayson Werth walk-off homer.

“The funny thing,” said reliever Tyler Clippard, “was that me and Drew were watching that at-bat in the dugout. And as it went on and on, he turned to me and said, ‘This is starting to remind me of an at-bat just like that two years ago—against me.’ So he called it.”

Esoteric Posted: October 12, 2012 at 12:51 AM | 46 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cardinals, nationals, st. louis, washington

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   1. Kurt Posted: October 12, 2012 at 07:40 AM (#4265741)
Nice job Jayson but jeez, Kendrys Morales would like to have a word with you.
   2. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: October 12, 2012 at 07:59 AM (#4265747)
   3. McCoy Posted: October 12, 2012 at 08:02 AM (#4265749)
You'd think it would be rather easy to find all playoff walk off homers and from there you'd think it would be rather easy to find out how if in the at bat the hitter saw a lot of pitches or not.
   4. AROM Posted: October 12, 2012 at 08:05 AM (#4265751)
Garret Anderson had a 13 pitch AB? I can remember Garret going an entire series without seeing 13 pitches.
   5. WillYoung Posted: October 12, 2012 at 08:06 AM (#4265754)
You'd think it would be rather easy to find all playoff walk off homers and from there you'd think it would be rather easy to find out how if in the at bat the hitter saw a lot of pitches or not.


Well then why don't you spend some time compiling what you can from and then put out a SOS for others to help fill in the missing pieces?

/this is coming off sounding as snarky, but I don't mean it that way. Seriously, it sounds like a project a community like this could perform if someone simply took the lead.
   6. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: October 12, 2012 at 08:17 AM (#4265761)
Hell of an at bat
   7. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: October 12, 2012 at 08:47 AM (#4265785)
Garret Anderson had a 13 pitch AB?

They were trying to intentionally walk him, but he kept fouling them off.
   8. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: October 12, 2012 at 08:52 AM (#4265793)
If I remember right, there were at least 3 13 pitch ABs yesterday. Jay Bruce's AB in the 9th with tying runs on, Jeter's K in the 7th(?) and Werth's. I only caught parts of the 2 earlier games but I saw all three ABs.
   9. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: October 12, 2012 at 08:55 AM (#4265797)
You'd think it would be rather easy to find all playoff walk off homers and from there you'd think it would be rather easy to find out how if in the at bat the hitter saw a lot of pitches or not.
The second part of that is the tricky part.
   10. Spectral Posted: October 12, 2012 at 08:56 AM (#4265801)
Esocteric - Indeed, the perfect time! I went to the Wednesday game, and now I wish I'd blown off work yesterday instead. Ah well.

It really was an incredible at bat. I remember thinking that with Werth's cut down swing that he's used since he came back from the injury that a home run shouldn't really be something to think about (2 HR in 231 PA since coming back).
   11. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: October 12, 2012 at 09:15 AM (#4265815)
Eso, I'm glad for you. I watched you suffer all these years so I can't begrudge you this go-round. Come April though, the kid gloves are off. :)
   12. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 12, 2012 at 09:52 AM (#4265853)
Eso - Why have you never gone to a game before? Are you not in the DC area?

   13. Dan Evensen Posted: October 12, 2012 at 10:04 AM (#4265869)
Eso -- you picked the best game to go to. Hope that you can go to more in the future.

I watched this game before work this morning (I'm in China right now, and this ended around 7:15 AM). What an exhilarating, tense game it was. Unfortunately, I'll miss the first half or so of tomorrow's game, since I've got to pick up a friend at the airport.

By the way, I envy all of you who are actually able to attend. I also feel lucky to be able to watch it on a cable feed of TBS broadcast from the ESPN network, which is routed through Hong Kong. Otherwise, I'd be stuck watching Olympic diving reruns on CCTV-5.
   14. Chris Needham Posted: October 12, 2012 at 10:06 AM (#4265871)
I spent the final 5 innings of that game rocking like Leo Mazzone having a seizure. I'm not sure I've ever been so nervous during a game.
   15. Esoteric Posted: October 12, 2012 at 10:10 AM (#4265880)
I'm in the DC area, but I had been away until 2010, and just didn't have the time (with my job) or inclination to get out there, since I enjoy listening to Charlie & Dave on the radio so much anyway. I kept telling myself this season that I'd make my first game a playoff game if they made it...and then I didn't get playoff tix. These fell into my lap the night before. Incredible luck!
   16. Esoteric Posted: October 12, 2012 at 10:17 AM (#4265890)
Also, sorry about the busted link. It's my fault, totally clammed it when I submitted the article -- realized the second after hit the submit button that I'd forgotten the URL. Thanks to Joey B. for reinserting it.
   17. hokieneer Posted: October 12, 2012 at 10:17 AM (#4265891)
Jay Bruce needs to grow a beard.

//stile recovering
   18. McCoy Posted: October 12, 2012 at 10:21 AM (#4265896)
Well then why don't you spend some time compiling what you can from and then put out a SOS for others to help fill in the missing pieces?

I would do it, might even still do it, but I'm rather busy at the moment and by the time I'm not busy the moment will have passed.
   19. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: October 12, 2012 at 10:22 AM (#4265901)
I spent the final 5 innings of that game rocking like Leo Mazzone having a seizure. I'm not sure I've ever been so nervous during a game.
Welcome to my annual October experience. May there be many more.
   20. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 12, 2012 at 10:23 AM (#4265902)
My favorite cheap seats are always in the nosebleed sections behind home plate. Tickets for tonight's Nats-Cards game up there begin at $139 on stubhub, while similar tickets for the Yanks-Orioles finale begin at $26.00.
   21. Esoteric Posted: October 12, 2012 at 10:50 AM (#4265938)
I spent the final 5 innings of that game rocking like Leo Mazzone having a seizure. I'm not sure I've ever been so nervous during a game.
This is hilarious, because it's 100% true for me as well. It got to the point where I was actually having trouble looking at the pitcher's mound or the batter's box, because I was so crawl-out-of-my-skin wrought up during that agonizing pitcher's duel. I would just turn and look at the scoreboard instead.

By the way, the REAL story of last night, as the WaPo has covered a bit already? The crowd. Wow. Obviously I don't have any other Nats Parks crowds to compare it to in person (tons of RFK crowds, and of course what you hear on radio), but that crowd was AMAZINGLY INTENSE all the way from the first pitch to the walk-off homer. Every single strike got huge applause. Every single ball call (against us) was greeted with groans and oftentimes angry boos (and, from Section 303 at least, cries of "WHAT THE F**K JIM JOYCE? WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM?" which is ironic since that zone of his definitely helped the Nats too).

The moment things really kicked into high gear, though? Definitely when Jordan Zimmermann stalked out of the bullpen and blew away the side swinging on 12 pitches. I was terrified given that JZ had never pitched in relief in his entire career (and had looked terrible two nights before), but wow...he was a man on a mission. Then Clippard came in and did the same. Then Storen. Everywhere.

I loved that crowd. Loved it. There were a bunch of kids sitting behind me, young kids, I'm guessing ages 8-12. I was actually worried when I got to my seat that they might be annoying. THEY WERE AWESOME. One kid would explaining to the younger one about the infield fly rule. Another was busy picking apart Kyle Lohse's pitching style during the 6th inning with disgust. (Imagine a tiny high-pitched boy's voice saying "c'mon this guy, he's a junkballer! He throws slop! How is he making us look so dumb!" <--- VERBATIM QUOTE.)

Those kids are the future of Nats baseball in this town. And they got to see a game that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
   22. Chris Needham Posted: October 12, 2012 at 10:59 AM (#4265945)
I was doing the same thing... turning away at times, not wanting to see the results. Like a bad horror movie, but one that ends with everyone surviving and going home with a lovable puppies.

The other thing that'll stay with me from the game was the aftermath. Nobody wanted to leave. Everyone was standing there cheering for a good 10-15 minutes, watching Werth do the post-game radio/tv rounds. At one point, they put the interview up on the screen with the audio, and the crowd (probably 5 minutes after the game ended) was still so loud, you couldn't hear a single word of audio, not even a low buzz you couldn't make out.

One of the WaPo writers lives about 3/4 a mile from the stadium. His wife was home with the kids, windows shut, and said she could clearly hear the crowd in her house. Someone else said they lived like 1.5-2 miles away and was able to hear it.
   23. ThisElevatorIsDrivingMeUpTheWall Posted: October 12, 2012 at 11:17 AM (#4265973)
That was indeed loud. I've been to a few important Nats moments, and maybe it's too soon to judge, but right now that tops the 1st pitch at RFK, Zim's opening day walkoff, Strasburg's walk off the mound after his debut, Soriano's 40/40, Teddy's 1st win, BY FAR. Just crazy.

I was in a pretty bad mood before (and certainly during) the Wednesday game, yesterday I went in feeling much better about it for some reason. I guess I'll keep referring to Detwiler as Detsy Ross, that must have helped.

Ever since I broke a knuckle hitting the refrigerator during the 2004 Red Sox-Yankees series, I take these things slightly less seriously, but no matter what, I'm gonna be positive tonight.
   24. Esoteric Posted: October 12, 2012 at 11:50 AM (#4266014)
The other thing that'll stay with me from the game was the aftermath. Nobody wanted to leave. Everyone was standing there cheering for a good 10-15 minutes, watching Werth do the post-game radio/tv rounds. At one point, they put the interview up on the screen with the audio, and the crowd (probably 5 minutes after the game ended) was still so loud, you couldn't hear a single word of audio, not even a low buzz you couldn't make out.
Yes, this is exactly right. I remember wondering whether they actually were broadcasting the audio of the interview or just doing a video feed, because I simply couldn't hear a single word. They had to transcribe it and put it on the bullpen-announcement scoreboards instead!

It was just such a great atmosphere. I was hugging and fist-bumping random people in the stands. This big black guy sitting in the row in front of me and I literally started fake-punching each other in our chests, spastic frat-bro-style, because we were so excited and had already high-fived three times. I kissed the girl sitting next to me! Who I don't know! And she kissed back! It was like VJ Day, for chrissakes!

On the way out of the stadium, on the ramps down from the stands, the crowds just started busting out "LET'S GO NATS! LET'S GO NATS! LET'S GO NATS!" every three minutes or so. We were high-fiving stadium personnel, sharing hugs with the cops directing traffic, chatting happily about Gio going tomorrow. Cars would drive by as we walked to the Metro (took the long way, went to Capitol South to avoid the mega-crowd) honking their horns at us. People rolled down their windows to shout "who won?" and we'd respond with a roar, upraised arms, and thumbs-up. On the Metro going home, more sudden cries of "LET'S GO NATS!"...man what a great communal experience.
   25. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: October 12, 2012 at 11:52 AM (#4266019)
Does anybody know if Sheldon was at the Nats game? If you don't know who I'm talking about -- if you've been behind home plate at a Nats or Orioles game, here's a hint:

"YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE! NOW BATTING FOR THE NATIONALS, THE CENTER FIELDER, BRYCE HARPER!!!"

*Holds both hands up*
   26. Chris Needham Posted: October 12, 2012 at 12:01 PM (#4266035)
Is that the guy who used to sit in the upper deck at RFK, off toward the first base line? He would carry a giant scoreboard and make all the PA announcements on his own?
   27. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: October 12, 2012 at 12:10 PM (#4266046)
That's the guy. He's at O's games, too. He's hilarious.

I don't think he carries a scoreboard anymore, though.

At the O's home finale, he got up in the eighth inning and said, "YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE! I AM LEAVING!"

Which was hilarious on multiple levels.

I didn't see him at Game One. It would suck if he didn't get to go to any playoff games.
   28. ThisElevatorIsDrivingMeUpTheWall Posted: October 12, 2012 at 12:12 PM (#4266048)
Now, I'm disappointed. I've known the girl next to me for 17 years and she still didn't kiss me, Eso. I tell you what though, people actually waited for stoppage of play before going back to their seats - I've been dreaming of that for eight years.

   29. Chief Posted: October 12, 2012 at 12:23 PM (#4266059)
Great game. My son and I both went to our first playoff games last night.

After the 12th pitch to Werth, I pointed out the number of pitches to my son. I don't know what the stats say about those long at-bats, but it seems to me that they frequently end with the pitcher giving in a little bit or making a mistake and being punished. I wouldn't have called the homerun, just because Werth hasn't really regained his power since the injury, but I felt like something good was going to happen. When Werth hit the 13th pitch, he obviously crushed it but from my perspective in section 203, it was hard to tell if it would clear the wall. I was "worried" that it would be a double off the wall. Clearly, Werth could tell though.

I picked my son up so he could better see Werth round the bases -- homeplate celebrations are something that have long held a particular fascination for him. In retrospect, I wish I had picked my son up when I made the comment about the number of pitches, though that's obviously with the benefit of hindsight. My son weighs 65 pounds, so it's not it's very comfortable for either of us for me to hold him for an extended period.

The moment things really kicked into high gear, though? Definitely when Jordan Zimmermann stalked out of the bullpen and blew away the side swinging on 12 pitches.

I think that's definitely right, though it's fair to say that folks were very appreciative of Detwiler the whole game and responded enthusiastically whenever he had a two-strike count and in other critical situations. But when Zimmermann came into the game and came out throwing so hard (much harder than he would have as a starter), the crowd really recognized that as a "leaving it all on the field" kind of moment.

Does anybody know if Sheldon was at the Nats game?

Is he usually in section 310 (or maybe 311)? I'll check with my buddy that had our regular seats in 312 last night.
   30. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: October 12, 2012 at 12:24 PM (#4266060)
Looking for details of Alex Cora's long at-bat (18 pitches) that resulted in a home run, I found this list from Mental Floss: 6 Epic At-Bats (misnomer because a couple ended in walks, including--and I had blocked this from my memory--CC Sabathia walking Brett Myers in the 2008 playoffs).
   31. McCoy Posted: October 12, 2012 at 12:25 PM (#4266063)
I tell you what though, people actually waited for stoppage of play before going back to their seats - I've been dreaming of that for eight years.

Well, they make you do that at the ballpark. I believe they instituted that this year since I don't recall that ever being an issue in previous seasons.
   32. Spectral Posted: October 12, 2012 at 12:57 PM (#4266112)
Regarding Zimmermann's appearance, it further reinforced in my mind why relievers just shouldn't really win Cy Youngs. This is a very good, but not great, starting pitcher than has good, not great, velocity and a good, not great, K rate. Granted, a one game sample size in a hugely emotional spot doesn't necessarily mean much, but his stuff was absolutely electric, it looked a couple steps above what he brings to the table as a starter. It's just a lot easier when you can go out and throw as hard as you can, be jacked up emotionally, and just pitch the one inning.
   33. ThisElevatorIsDrivingMeUpTheWall Posted: October 12, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4266137)
Yeah, standing up at two-strike counts felt pretty good.

McCoy, they did not even try to enforce that policy at Nationals Park until this year, as far as I can tell, and most ushers couldn't even be bothered to check a ticket in the upper deck sections unless someone looked lost, nevermind holding people up during atbats.

   34. Esoteric Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:45 PM (#4266303)
I sat down in my seat and literally did not move from it until 15 minutes after Jayson Werth's home run.

Well I stood up and sat down a lot, obviously. But I was glued.
   35. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:53 PM (#4266309)
You will see a huge, insane Friday night crowd for Game 5....A lot of people gave up hope after the two beatings in Game 2 and 3, and the resurrection in Game 4 will make this one of the best moments in Washington sports history..I hope. I will feel a lot better if Gio gets by the first inning without throwing 30 pitches..
   36. McCoy Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:59 PM (#4266318)
McCoy, they did not even try to enforce that policy at Nationals Park until this year, as far as I can tell, and most ushers couldn't even be bothered to check a ticket in the upper deck sections unless someone looked lost, nevermind holding people up during atbats.

Last year was the first time I saw them be really adamant about having the proper ticket for your section but then this year they applied that rather inconsistently. For game 3 they enforced it and I had to smile at the karma gods as an usher was insistent that she see all tickets and ended up knocking two beers on herself when she grabbed a guy's arm to get him to show her his tickets.
   37. McCoy Posted: October 12, 2012 at 03:00 PM (#4266319)
You will see a huge, insane Friday night crowd for Game 5....A lot of people gave up hope after the two beatings in Game 2 and 3, and the resurrection in Game 4 will make this one of the best moments in Washington sports history..I hope. I will feel a lot better if Gio gets by the first inning without throwing 30 pitches..

If it starts like Game 3 it is going to fizzle big time and I wonder how a Nationals crowd would react to that.
   38. Chris Needham Posted: October 12, 2012 at 03:01 PM (#4266323)
I so want to go... dammit.
   39. Dingbat_Charlie Posted: October 12, 2012 at 03:08 PM (#4266337)
#29, that's pretty sweet. He'll cherish that memory, unless you're some kind of crazy/abusive parent (doesn't sound like it!).
   40. Esoteric Posted: October 12, 2012 at 03:08 PM (#4266340)
I actually might be able to score tickets to the game tonight...and I'm not sure if I want to go. I can't even put into words how awful I'd feel if we blew it. I'd be barely functional on the long, long, LOOOOOONG trip back home.
   41. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: October 12, 2012 at 03:16 PM (#4266349)
Good luck to all the Nats fans save one!
   42. Chief Posted: October 12, 2012 at 03:19 PM (#4266357)
#29, that's pretty sweet. He'll cherish that memory, unless you're some kind of crazy/abusive parent (doesn't sound like it!).

Well, only time will tell, but I'm hoping that my experimental parenting methods will be validated in the end.

I hope he always remembers it, but it's always interesting to see what makes an impression on kids. Even this morning, his memory of how the homerun actually happened was a bit fuzzy. I should encourage him to do something this weekend to memorialize his experience while it's still fresh.

I will say this...as the season wore on, his interest in sitting through entire games waned a bit, but last night there was no hint that he was ready to leave. 4 pm is probably about the ideal game time for an 8-year-old anyway.
   43. Dingbat_Charlie Posted: October 12, 2012 at 03:24 PM (#4266364)
I'm hoping that my experimental parenting methods will be validated in the end.


uh oh.. I might've been on to something. Let me ask you this: do you make him call you "Chief"?
   44. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: October 12, 2012 at 03:39 PM (#4266385)
Good luck to all the Nats fans save one!


Thanks, Edmundo

It's been a great season, even if we lose. But it will be deflating to lose in the first round, at least for a while, particularly to St. Louis. I am tired of them.
   45. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: October 12, 2012 at 03:46 PM (#4266393)
or game 3 they enforced it and I had to smile at the karma gods as an usher was insistent that she see all tickets and ended up knocking two beers on herself when she grabbed a guy's arm to get him to show her his tickets.


Yeah, they were actually incredibly obnoxious about it at game 3. I got to the park really early, and then wound up leaving my ticket at my seat when I went to go grab food, and they absolutely would not let me go get the ticket. If my dad hadn't been there to bring it up to them I don't know what the #### would've happened. Easily the worst interaction I've had with staff in my probably 50th time at Nats park.
   46. Chief Posted: October 12, 2012 at 04:10 PM (#4266415)
uh oh.. I might've been on to something. Let me ask you this: do you make him call you "Chief"?


No, I tell him to stop calling me chief.

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