Cactus League Blows Away Pitching

Wind: 36 mph, L to R.

It's not often you see a line like that in a box-score, but it turned up in the Cactus League game between the White Sox and Diamondbacks yesterday. Near gale-force winds played havoc with most of the afternoon contests in Arizona, resulting in such gems as a 16-16, nine-inning tie.

After the jump, we'll look at some of the box-scores that resulted. Pitchers might want to avert their eyes.

My first thought was, is there precedent for a game being called purely because of wind? Turns out there is. On April 30, 1984, a game between the Rangers and Blue Jays was stopped, Baseball Digest reporting in August, due to "winds gusting to 35 mph." But one suspects the teams played on yesterday partly because this was a charity event to honor one of the victims of the Tucson shooting. The White Sox took full advantage, beating the D-backs 12-1

They were also part of the 16-16 tie, the other half of their squad facing the Indians - one wonders how often a team has scored 28 runs in a day... The tie featured a combined 39 hits, six homers and six errors. To put it into context, since 1979, only four teams in the majors have scored 16 runs and not won, most recently the Rangers in August 2008. Chicago led 9-6 after two frames, and the starters - Mitch Talbot for Cleveland and Lucas Harrell, each threw 1.2 innings, allowing a total of 14 hits, three walks, four homers and 15 earned runs.

It didn't seem to affect everyone equally. Sure, the Brewers scored 15 runs on 25 hits against the Reds - but their pitching staff held Cincinnati to scoring just twice. The game featured one of the nastiest pitching lines of the afternoon, but there were quite a few to go around. Here are my bottom three.

3rd: Bill Bray (Reds):  0.2 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 2 HR
2nd: Jorge De Leon (Astros): 0.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 HR

1st: Ryan Braun (Angels): 0.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HR

No, not that Ryan Braun. This one is a non-roster invitee to the Angels. And, based on performances like that, you can see why, though this was the kind of day which plays havoc with analyzing a pitcher. What can a manager do, when a box-score contains a statement like, "Kila Ka'aihue homers on a line-drive to right-field"?

All told, five teams scored 14 or more runs yesterday - something which happens about twice a week in the regular season. The last time even four did it on the same day during the regular season, was September 14, 1998 - which included one of those "scoring 16 runs and not win" games, as the White Sox - yes, them again! - beat the Tigers, 17-16.

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