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Behind the Numbers: The Day Every Home Team Won

It is often said that any baseball game offers the possibility of seeing something that you have never seen before. With six months and 2,430 regular season games every year, each MLB season practically guarantees that records will be broken, memorable plays will occur, and that we will be left with incredible things to ponder when the season is over. As yet another testament to the randomness and greatness of the sport, Tuesday, August the 11th presented something that had never happened before and we may not see again in our lifetimes: all 15 home teams won on the same day.

As a stand-alone fact, it sounds surprising but not that remarkable. After all, home teams have obvious advantages via friendlier umpiring, the home crowds, familiarity, better rest, and many other factors, so it would make sense that all stars would align on some days to tender them all victors. And yet, the nature of the game had never allowed this to reach such an extreme. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the closest we have come to this came in 1914, when the 12 home teams playing on May 23rd won. Other that that, baseball had seen six different 11-0 sweeps, with the most recent one appearing in 1989.

If we just assumed that every team had a 50-50 chance of winning any game, the odds of all 15 home teams winning on the same day stands at roughly 1-in-32,000, or about once every 80 baseball years. The fact that the day included a slew of memorable games and dramatic walk-offs made it all the more exciting, and will surely be added to the 2015 ledger among the year’s most improbable and defining moments.

With this in mind, we take a look at 15 awesome facts from August 11th in honor of the 15 home teams that won on this day. While a single win usually doesn’t mean much in baseball terms, the fact that all 15 home teams sent their fans home happy with a big W does mean a lot from a historical perspective.

#1 –Home teams outscored their road counterparts by a total of 80-32. Even with this huge disparity, the day featured 8 games that were decided by 2 or fewer runs, including five 1-run games. The gap was widened by Arizona’s 13-1 win over Philadelphia, and San Diego’s 11-6 victory over the Reds. By the way, the Phillies had been the best second-half team in baseball entering the day.

#2 – Out of the five 1-run games, four were won in walk-off fashion. This included the Marlins, Indians, Mariners, and Twins, who saw these players get the winning hit, in order: Justin Bour, Michael Brantley, Austin Jackson, and Eduardo Escobar. These players entered the day hitting a combined .270 for the season, and had gone a combined 4-for-15 during their respective Tuesday games before delivering their timely knocks.

#3 – Seven road teams had a lead during the day, with the Red Sox winning by 4 in the sixth against the Marlins, the Yankees leading the Indians by two in the 10th, and the Rangers had a 2-0 lead over the Twins in the 8th. These games all featured the road team with a 90%+ win probability, and yet they all lost.

#4 – Six out of the fifteen home teams entered the day with worse records than their road counterparts. The biggest difference came from the Yankees-Indians game, which had Cleveland a full 10 games behind New York.

#5 – However, the betting lines at least augured a good chance at success for home teams. Only 2 saw their closing lines as underdogs, and they were slight underdogs at best, with the Marlins (+105) and White Sox (+110) being the rare home dogs for the day. On the other hand, we had heavy favorites of at least -170 in Toronto, the Mets, Dodgers, Rays, Royals, and Diamondbacks. The Cardinals, Cubs, and Giants also won as solid favorites of at least -140 in the betting window.

#6 – This incredible happenstance of circumstances led a British man to cash in, as he placed a 50-pound parlay wager on all 15 MLB home teams. The yield on the bet netted nearly 65,000 pounds, good for 1,290-to-1 odds.

#7 – The day included four shutouts, with the Rays, Mets, White Sox, and Dodgers blanking their opponents.

#8 – Home teams combined for only 4 errors during the day, while their road foes committed a whopping 15.

#9 – The action began at 7:05 ET with Toronto’s Drew Hutchinson’s first pitch against Oakland’s Billy Burns (a 91mph fastball that was fouled off). It ended at 1:34 ET of Wednesday when Austin Jackson pushed TJ McFarland’s first-pitch fastball to right field and scored Logan Morrison from third to give Seattle a dramatic walk-off against Baltimore.

#10 – Home teams only out-homered the road teams by a 15-9 margin, even as road teams featured dingers from unlikely power sources. Among the batters who hit a homer on August 11th, we saw Cincinnati’s Jason Bourgeois (his first of the season), Elvis Andrus (5th), and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (4).

#11 – Matt Harvey, Zack Greinke, and Madison Bumgarner combined for23 innings of 1-run ball, with 15 hits and one walk allowed, in exchange of 22 strikeouts. Bumgarner had the day’s highest Game Score, with a cool 85 after his complete game masterpiece.

#12 –The worst Game Score of the day, and one of the absolute worst performance you’ll ever see from a starting pitcher, came from Philadelphia’s David Buchanan. Over 1.2 innings, he allowed 13 base runners, 11 earned runs, and 2 homers. His -12 Game Score now ranks among the worst 10 of the past 25 years. Buchanan closed his outing with a 9.00 ERA for the year.

#13 – The winning team bullpens were essential for the day’s final results, as they combined to allow 12 runs from visiting teams from the seventh inning on. This came over a full 54 innings, which translates to a cool 2.00 ERA.

#14 – The day only included six saves, but three came from pitchers who recorded their first save of the season. Chicago’s James Russell, Kansas City’s Luke Hochevar, and Tampa Bay’s Xavier Cedeno were called up to finish the game as emergency closers, and they delivered. This unheralded trio had combined for only six saves in their respective big-league careers.

#15 – Following Tuesday’s bloodbath, home teams have cooled off but only a little bit. They went 15-9 in the ensuing two days, including an impressive 11-4 mark on August the 12th.

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