The Cardinals hit not one, but two extra-inning home runs Tuesday night. The bl

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The Cardinals hit not one, but two extra-inning home runs Tuesday night.The blasts, a two- Trey Hopkins Jersey run shot by Paul Goldschmidt that plated the Magic Runner in the top of the 11th inning and a three-run homer by Tyler ONeill four batters later, helped the Cardinals beat the Brewers6-1. It was a pretty rare display of power for an extra-inning contest since MLB introduced the new extra-innings start with a runner on second base rule prior to the start of the 2020 season.Extra-inning home runs are down. Way down. Lets start with the very basic numbers, and then well dive a little deeper.In 2019, there were 129 home runs hit after the ninth inning in 208 extra-inning games.In 2020-21, there have been only 35 homers hit after the ninth in 123 extra-inning games.MORE: The most obvious difference, of course, is the length of games. Most extra-inning games under the new rules end in the 10th or 11th (for the purposes of this story, were only looking at games originally scheduled for nine innings, not the eighth/ninth frames of a seven-inning double-header contest that goes extra). They average 11.3 extra-inning plate appearance per game, whereas in 2019 the average was 18.6 extra-inning PAs per game, which often made it to 12 innings and beyond. Fewer PAs, fewer home runs. Makes sense.But the dip in home runs isnt just about a lack of opportunities at the plate. Lets look at the plate appearance per home runnumbers for 2019 compared with 2020-21.201927.5 PA/HR for A J Green Jersey innings 1-9 (6,647 HR/182,656 PA)29.9 PA/HR for innings 10 and beyond (129 HR/3,861 PA)2020-2130.2 PA/HR for innings 1-9 (3,492 HR/105,318 PA)39.6 PA/HR for innings 10 and beyond (35 HR/1,387 PA)Pretty significant differences there, though its not a completely stunning revelation. It makes sense that, with a runner already in scoring position in 2020-21 extra-innings games, batters might not be swinging for the fences quite as much, if the primary goal is to push home that runner on second base. It makes sense, at least in theory, that hitters are adjusting their approaches based on the situations.But on the other hand, the impact and effectivene s of defensive shifts have shown that a large majority of batters either arereluctant to or cannot change their approach at the plate. And even though trying to hit the ball the opposite way and trying not to hit home runs isnt exactly the same thing, it still falls under the can I change my approach? category.And its worth mentioning the baseball itself. Its lighter for 2021, and offense has been down this season, acro s the board. Fewer home runs and fewer runs scored. Its created a bit of a difference between 2020 and 2021.202028.5 PA/HR for innings 1-9 (2,284 homers/65,719 PA)39.4 PA/HR for 10th and beyond (20 homers/787 PA)202132.8 PA/HR for innings 1-9 (1,208 homers/39,599 PAs)40.0 PA/HR for 10th and beyond (15 homers/600 PAs)There's still a big gap in both years between regulation innings and extra innings, thanks to the rule.I wanted to see what people in the game thought. I presented Angels manager Joe Maddon with the PA Boomer Esiason Jersey /HR numbers for extra innings, mentioned the difference from regulation innings and asked whetherhis hitters were intentionally taking a different approach. I figured that, if nothing else, Maddon would have a theory I could explore. I was right.Thats interesting, Maddon said. I would almost bet that, from the home side, if the score is tied, weve just got to score a run. Thats definitely going to put a different mindset in. The guys already in scoring position, so youre not just trying to end the game with one swing. Automatically, your mindset changes. The difference is, on the visitor's side, you do want to put up multiple runs. Of course you want to score one, but youre trying to impact more than just one so you can cover (the home team) scoring the guy from second base.Maybe that has something to do with it.That theory definitely makes sense. If the home team knows it only needs one run in a tie Alex Erickson Jersey game to win, why swing for the fences? Any sort of contact a slow chopper, a fly ball to right field, a soft-contact bloop single or a gifted error stands a good chance of getting the Magic Runner to third base, and more contact stands a good chance of getting him home with one out. Heck, the A's completed a comeback win in the bottom of the 10thagainst the Twins on April 21 without even a single hit, scoring three times thanks to two walks and back-to-back errors on routine grounders."You know what? You put a ball in play," A's manager Bob Melvin said after the game. "... Put it in play, and something good can happen.And that's what did."So lets look.The numbers for 2021 support Maddons bet. Of the 15 extra-inning home runs hit so far this year, 13 were hit by the visiting team 10 in the 10th, two in the 11th (those two Cardinals) and one in the 12th. Both of the home-team homers Jordan Luplow and Kyle Schwarber were hit with the game tied, not with the home team trailing.The mindset of the hitter, Maddon said, if the guys already at second base, is going to be different, I believe.In 2020, though? Different storyThere were, as noted above, 20 homers hit in the 10th inning and beyond in 2020. Of those 20, 11 were hit by the the home team, just nine by the visitors. Yep, you read that correctly. Ten of those 11 hit by the home team were walk-off homers; four of them by Freddie Freeman, Randal Grichuk, Manny Machado John Ross Jersey and Jose Ramirez came with the home team trailing by one run heading into the at-bat. One, by Christian Walker, came with his team trailing by four.Seven of the nine hit by the visiting team came with the game tied. Two came with a run already acro s in the 10th inning.One rule, two seasons worth of sample sizes (both small, of course), two completely different results.MORE: "MLB Tonight" analyst Billy Ripken, a former infielder who logged 12 seasons in the bigs, spends pretty much every day and night watching baseball, so I asked him, too. Hed clearly spent some time thinking about the subject ahead of our conversation and came prepared with questions of his own, a nice flipping of roles.See where punch-outs go in those extra innings, the strikeouts, he Kevin Minter Jersey said. Id love to think, in my old-school brain that still lives inside my head, that these guys are making a conscious effort to try and move a guy up 90 feet to get him closer, even though they might not be bunting. But the idea of putting the ball in play and watching something happen is positive. Nothing positive happens when the guy walks back to the dugout after he swings and mi ses three times.Its a great thought, and would certainly speak to the theory that hitters really are making adjustments,
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