Last night I began my fourth season as an MLB.com "stringer" for the now Enhanced Gameday system (note that a minority of the parks include the equipment necessary to do the enhanced pitch tracking called Pitch F/X but the idea is to add more parks throughout the year and be close to having full coverage by midseason). My first year I was in Kansas City and for the last two have worked here at Coors Field. Today the Rockies will take on the Diamondbacks in the final game of the opening series and I'm sitting in while a rookie takes his turn at the keyboard.
Last night the Rockies escaped with a 4-3 victory in 11 innings on the strength of some shoddy D'Backs defense in the bottom of the 11th inning. After Todd Helton and Matt Holliday started the inning with opposite field singles, Brad Hawpe grounded into a 6-3 double play to put Helton as the tying run on third with two outs. Troy Tulowitzki then hit a Jose Valverde pitch to right field that was poorly played by Eric Brynes and Tulowitzki was credited with a double. On an 0-1 count Chris Iannetta hit a grounder to third baseman Alberto Callaspo and it skipped under his glove for an error and a 4-3 Rockies win.
In the top of the 11th Byung-Hyun Kim got the first two outs before walking 8th place hitter Chris Snyder and hitting Callaspo. Stephen Drew singled to right to score Snyder to give the Diamondbacks the 3-2 lead they carried into the bottom of the frame. The Rockies, however, should never have been in that position. Some poor bullpen management by interim manager Jamie Quirk (Clint Hurdle was serving a one-game suspension stemming from a spring training incident that involved starter Jeff Francis) saw Manual Corpas, LaTroy Hawkins, Brian Fuentes, and Ramon Ramirez all pitch just one inning each which led to having to resort to Kim with the game on the line in the 11th. That said, Quirk did have the good sense or good fortune to bring Kim in when he would face three righthanders to start the inning. As mentioned in our BP2K7 player comment on Kim lefties tagged him to the tune of .325/.414/.534 in 2006 and interestingly, even though he's probably better suited to a relief role (a ROOGY?) given his splits, as he did last night he seems to have control issues out the pen and last season the Rockies brass complained that he works too fast with runners on base. Once runners got on last night Quirk had fewer options and so did not bring in his last lefty reliever in Jeremy Affeldt (with Tom Martin on the DL).
The game also saw a play that I don't think I've seen before. With one out in the top of the third and runners on first and second Snyder hit a fly ball to short right field where Hawpe promptly dropped the ball. The runner on second hesitated and Hawpe had time to relay the ball to Troy Tulowitzki who then threw on to Garrett Atkins to complete the force play. So the play was coded 965(1)/FO/F.1-2. Querying the Retrosheet logs I don't see a similar force play by a right fielder on a runner heading to third. Maybe it was unique.
By the way, here is an excellent article by Joe Sheehan (not the Baseball Prospectus one) on using some of the data generated by the new Gameday implementation. This is similar, although Joe did more work, to an article titled "The Information Revolution" I wrote during the World Series last year.