A 5-3 score is perhaps the most ordinary outcome for a baseball game. It is not the most common outcome, mark you. I’m going to differentiate here between common and ordinary. 5-3 is an ordinary score because it’s not the most common of anything. It is the seventh-most common final score in MLB history. The two-run difference between winner and loser is not the most common difference. A one-run difference is, of course. 5-3 is not the most common two-run difference, it’s second to 4-2. So 5-3 is the second-most common outcome of the second-most common run differential.
In other words, this A’s 5-3 victory over the Angels was in many ways quite ordinary.
I’ll take ordinary. We have a dysfunctional federal government in a pandemic in a climate crisis that is leaving our state on fire and the air unhealthy to breathe, and we’re all stuck in our homes with the schools closed and the kids trying to do a school year online which we’ve never tried to do before, and God, I really could drink in a nice, big, cold glass of ordinary right now.
Neither starting pitcher in this game, Mike Fiers or Andrew Heaney, was great. Nor were they horrible. They were ordinary. The A’s, for once, got a two-out hit with runners on, when Stephen Piscotty doubled in two runs in the top of the first, that put the A’s ahead 3-0. There were not any dramatic turns after that. The A’s, for once, got a two-out hit with runners on, when Stephen Piscotty doubled in two runs in the top of the first, that put the A’s ahead 3-0. There were not any dramatic turns after that. The win probability chart was as close as a straight line from 50 in the first inning to 100 in the ninth as a baseball game can get. It was a straightforward game, from start to finish.
If there was anything remarkable about this game, is was more in what the Angels did than the A’s. Anthony Rendon went 4-for-5, and seems harder to get out right now that Mike Trout, if that’s even possible. David Fletcher had three hits, one of which was on one of the worst pitches I’ve ever seen anybody get a hit on. It was literally a fastball on the inner half of the plate above his eyes, and somehow he put his bat on it for a double to right field.
Those types of hitters, who can hit any pitch you throw in any location, good or bad, I find extremely annoying to face as an opponent.
The top of the Angels lineup is might be the best lineup in the AL West. It’s a series of incredibly tough outs. But there are holes in the bottom of their lineup, especially with Pujols and Ohtani not playing up to their previous standards. With ordinary pitching, they’d probably be an above-.500 team. But their pitching has been bad. Too many holes, and so the Angels are 8-19, while the A’s are 19-8.