Milwaukee Brewers: Anatomy of a walk-off win
The Milwaukee Brewers walked off the San Diego Padres on June 16, 2017. Let’s take a look at just how dramatic, impressive, and exciting the come from behind was.
The Milwaukee Brewers fell behind in the first inning and had to claw their way back from a 4-0 deficit. According to the win probability graph from FanGraphs, the Padres had an 84% chance of winning after the second inning. The Brewers needed runs and zeroes in a hurry. Runs from the offense, and zeroes from the pitching and defense.
Brewers started Junior Guerra settled down, and the runs came in the form of a solo shot from third baseman Travis Shaw and a three-run bomb from center fielder Keon Broxton tied the game at four.
Padres second baseman Yangervis Solarte and Brewers catcher Manny Pina exchanged homers to keep the game knotted at five. That was where the score still stood when the ninth inning ended.
Milwaukee Brewers reliever Jared Hughes retired the Padres quickly in the top of the 10th inning. Slugger Eric Thames lead off for the Brewers in the bottom of the 10th against competent reliever Ryan Buchter.
The Home Run
Buchter’s 1-1 pitch was a 94 MPH meatball about belt high and in on Eric Thames hands. Right where it shouldn’t be. The ball went to the wall, but Padres left fielder Franchy Cordero was still able to make an attempt at a leaping grab. Cordero not only mis-timed the jump, but he also appeared to be about a foot away from the ball. It bounced into the Brewers’ bullpen as Thames did the point in the air/fist pump combo as he rounded second base.
This was where the walk-off took a turn for the weird.
Thames gets doused with Gatorade twice while the team meeting at the plate is still going on. Usually, a Gatorade shower comes after the player/hero has been separated from the pile. This method ensures maximum probability that the player/hero will get soaked instead teammates who just want to have a good time.
Then, instead of going for the head slap/back slap/hug/jump combo, the Milwaukee Brewers tore off Eric Thames jersey while appearing to tickle him. Seriously. Watch the video.
The Post-Game Interview
A wet, shirtless Eric Thames is surprisingly eloquent…and surprisingly jacked. He managed to send a shoutout to Manny Pina before launching into a “Yeah! Let’s go!” and ending the interview. The exuberance shown was very genuine and Thames came across as a legitimately happy to get the win. The walk-off homer is almost secondary to his pure joy for the win.
Next: Is Eric Thames An MVP Candidate?
This was a solid all-around effort from the team. The comeback had plenty of time, but the did battle back. The homer was made more dramatic by the fact that it just cleared the wall. The celebration was odd and memorable. Finally, Eric Thames is clearly leading his best life as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers. This was a solid walk-off that was completely memorable for all the right reasons. The next one should be an event to really look forward to.