Mariners Avoiding Extra Work

I noticed last night that the Mariners were the only team left in baseball that had yet to play an extra-inning game this season. Division-mate Oakland has already played eight. Sometimes I am content to let a little nugget like that pass off into the twitter-verse and let it die, but in this case I got intrigued enough to head to Retrosheet and see if I could dig up some context. I restricted the search to seasons starting in 1962 when the expansion to 162 games took place and started the season earlier in the year.

The best that I could do was to go by calendar dates. I would prefer to go by game counts, but that was not available to my database at this time. Luckily, calendar dates are a reasonable proxy for how many games a team has played. And the winner for the longest it has taken to play extra innings goes to the 2005 Boston Red Sox who didn’t go beyond nine until their 99th game of the season on July 25. They lost that one and then promptly went to extras the next day and won. The Red Sox also jointly own the mark for earliest extended game with Oakland when their first game went to 10 innings on March 25th, 2008 in Japan.

Having reached May 6th, the 2011 Mariners are currently in a tie for 152nd on the latest date list. That sounds low, but this is out of 1,438 team-season pairings. The Mariners franchise has some familiarity with this accomplishment coincidentally. The 1992 Mariners are tied for second on the list, needing until June 18th to play more than the needed nine frames and the 2007 and 1989 Mariners are sixth and seventh. Fourteen team-seasons have gone until at least the month of June before playing extras and the Mariners have three of them. Now only 67 more games to go to pass those ’05 Red Sox.

I also manually compiled the complete list of teams that needed at least 50 games:
BOS 2005 7-25 99th game
CHA 2002 6-18 70th game
SEA 1992 6-18 65th game
DET 1992 6-10 58th game
SEA 1989 6-05 58th game
SEA 2007 6-08 57th game
ANA 2008 5-26 53rd game
CHA 1964 6-14 51st game
KCR 2006 5-30 50th game
CAL 1981 5-31 50th game
PIT 2002 5-27 50th game

Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
11 years ago

Avoided an extra-inning game again tonight

11 years ago
Reply to  bobbamopolis

Awww, beaten to the punch.