Baseball is a weird game, and we all know that. But Monday night's game, in which the Tigers stunned the A's with a ninth-inning walkoff grand slam, had more than its fair share of weird events. As they used to say on "The Outer Limits," there is nothing wrong with your television set — do not attempt to adjust the picture. All of the following things actually happened, all the same game.
Austin Jackson made a diving catch
Austin Jackson does not dive. A search of the MLB video archives returns a video from August of 2012. That was the last time Austin Jackson left his feet to make a catch. When he went flying through the air to snag the ball during Monday night's game, that should have been a clue right there that this was going to be a special game.
Joba Chamberlain failed to record an out
In a season where consistent bullpen help has been a scarce commodity, Joba Chamberlain has been a ray of hope. He gave up runs in just one game during the month of May. He gave up runs in just one game during the month of June, coming into Monday's game. And yet for some reason, he couldn't record even a single out against the A's, giving up a walk and two singles, allowing two runs to score before departing the game.
Phil Coke shut the door
With no one out and runners at first and second, Phil Coke — typically known to the fanbase as "the human white flag" — shut down the A's with seven (!) pitches, inducing a double-play and a groundout.
Alex Avila got a hit
His .286 batting average in June notwithstanding, we don't typically expect Avila to be the one to get the base hit. His stats say he's more likely to draw a walk than he is to get a hit. His career splits against left-handed pitchers aren't impressive: .212/.302/.320. And yet, against lefty Sean Doolittle, who entered the game with a 0.590 WHIP and a 56:1 strikeout-walk ratio, Avila got the hit.
Austin Jackson drew a walk
Perhaps that's not an unbelievable event in and of itself, but in this situation, it was. Jackson's been scuffling a bit lately. His strikeout rate in June coming into the game was over 30 percent, and he was just coming off an 0-for-4-with-3 strikeouts game. Add to that the fact that Doolittle was coming into the game having issue exactly one walk — ONE WALK — in the entire 2014 season, and suddenly Austin Jackson's walk to load the bases in the ninth becomes a very strange event.
Rajai Davis was the one to hit the grand slam
Grand slams are rare enough as it is. But when the guy coming to plate only averages three to four home runs per year, it's even more unlikely that he should be the one to hit the walk-off home run with the bases loaded.
The Trammell-Davis connection
Davis's grand slam is what they call a "super slam" or an "ultimate slam," which is to say, a grand slam that occurs when your team is down by three runs. There have only been 11 of them in American League history, and it just so happens that the only other Tiger to hit one is Alan Trammell — who just happened to be in attendance at Comerica to witness Davis's feat.